Recipe for creative energy: Mix @PhillyGrrl and @GinoTheFilipino, add law school
When Kishwer Vikaas Barrica and Gino Barrica get an idea in their heads, they don't delay — they make it happen. When they spontaneously decided to get married, they found a way to tie the knot in less than a week. When they decided to launch the weekly interview podcast known as "Talkadelphia," they bought a microphone, plugged it into a laptop and they were off (the show soon was named Best New Podcast by Geekadelphia). We can't wait to see what this husband-and-wife team of Beasley School of Law graduates decides to do next.
Temple Times: What brought you to Temple?
Kishwer Vikaas Barrica: I went to Temple as an undergrad, so I knew what Temple had to offer, from the city to the diversity. I chose Temple Law because it's a great value, and because it has a very good reputation for its focus on public interest law. I wanted to stay in my current job at Public Health Management Corporation, and Temple Law offered evening programs. I also wanted to explore Philadelphia more. I never really had a chance to get to know Philadelphia as an undergrad. Now, I've fallen in love with the city all over again.
Gino Barrica: After I graduated from Millersville with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 2006, I ended up in the insurance industry for five years. I moved to Dallas. The contrast was dramatic. Dallas just doesn't have a personality. I realized how much I wanted to be in Philadelphia. I needed a night school. Temple Law has the No. 2-ranked trial advocacy programs in the nation. It was a great match.
TT: That wasn't the only good match that happened at Temple. You met and got married here. How did that happen?
GB: We first got to talking via Twitter. A classmate, @JoeRoss, gave each of us the other's Twitter handle during orientation. She's @Phillygrrl.
KVB: And he's @GinoTheFilipino. The truth is, while we met during orientation, we didn’t really remember each other’s faces — only each other’s Twitter handles.
GB: Who knew she was the Twitter queen of Philadelphia? [Kishwer was recently named one of Philadelphia's 15 "most influential people on Twitter" by Philadelphia Magazine's "The Philly Post" blog.]
KVB: He was always tweeting about music. That was the subject that brought us together.
GB: We started dating in our second semester at Temple Law. And we eloped in November 2011. That was our first wedding.
TT: Your first wedding?
GB: By graduation, we'll have been married three times. The first time was an impulse. We had never even discussed marriage. I came over to her apartment one day at lunch and she said 'We should just get married.' So we did.
KVB: We went to City Hall. They said we needed $80 cash and three days notice. The following Tuesday we got married. One of my professors, Judge Ida Chen, married us in the law library of Family Court. Our second wedding was when Mayor Nutter married us on 'Talkadelphia,' and our third wedding — that's the real one, with guests and our families — will be on May 18, a few days before Temple Law graduation.
TT: What's 'Talkadelphia'?
KVB: 'Talkadelphia' is our podcast interviewing people in Philly who fascinate us. It started when I was listening to NPR's 'Fresh Air.' I thought, 'Why doesn't Philadelphia have a show like that about Philadelphians?' I had been blogging a lot, but I felt limited. I wanted to get Philadelphians to tell their stories in their own words. So in the fall of 2010, I tweeted that I wanted to start a podcast and asked if anyone knew how to do it. Gino called me a minute later.
GB: I said, 'I know how to do a podcast! Let's do it.' I ordered a mic on Amazon, and we were off. The first one was an interview of my roommate, a DJ. That was episode one of 73.
TT: Your favorite interviews so far?
KVB: Tim Whitaker, the former Philadelphia Weekly editor who started this fabulous organization in Philadelphia called Mighty Writers, a network of volunteer reading and writing mentors working with kids. I loved it so much that I volunteered, and now I'm a member of the Mighty Writers board.
GB: My favorite was Matthew Ross Smith. He wrote a story called 'The Spaces Between Your Fingers' based on his relationship with his grandfather, who had Alzheimer's. He drove all around the country asking people to trace their right hand and write advice to pass down to their children. He's collected thousands of these hands.
TT: Of all the things you've done at Temple Law, what has defined your Temple experience the most?
KVB: Last semester I took a class with Sarah Katz. She led the “Temple Legal Aid Office: Family Law” clinic. We had to work on all aspects of custody, paternity, support and adoption cases, including interviews, counseling clients, negotiating settlements, trial prep and court appearances. I went from being in a classroom to standing in an actual courtroom — right from the first week of the class. I was shaking I was so afraid. Public speaking doesn't come easily for me. But it really built my confidence.
GB: Temple has a great integrated trial advocacy program. It's a year-long experience. You focus on criminal trials one semester and civil trials the second semester. You focus on one case each semester and work with real professionals — in the fall, I worked with a Department of Justice attorney, and in the spring I worked with a partner from White & Williams.You learn so much; it's real-world trial advocacy experience. And it helped me get a job. I have accepted a position with Nationwide Insurance as a trial attorney.
TT: You work full-time. You go to law school. You're married. You do a podcast. How do you pull off that balancing act?
GB: The key is variety. You need variety. That's one of the reasons we did 'Talkadelphia.' Kishwer needed a creative outlet; I needed something to distract me from law school.
KVB: Our marriage has really helped. It's given me a routine. We work together to make things happen. Gino keeps me balanced.