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News Release

April 7, 2023

Lemon Lecture to feature co-host of NPR’s ‘Code Switch’ podcast April 19

Northwest Missouri State University will host the co-host and senior producer of National Public Radio’s critically acclaimed “Code Switch” podcast Wednesday, April 19, as a featured speaker for the University’s Distinguished Lecture Series and the annual Lemon Lecture.

The lecture featuring Shereen Marisol Meraji begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Charles Johnson Theater at the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building. It is free and open to the public. 

“Our committee selected Shereen Marisol Meraji as this year’s Lemon Lecture due to her unique combination of personal experiences and journalistic integrity,” Dr. John Gallaher, a professor of English, said. “Through one of the most widely listened-to podcasts of the past decade, ‘Code Switch,’ Meraji not only embraced the most important issues of our day, notably the Black Lives Matter movement and the 2016 election but did so with nuance and complexity. It’s the kind of inclusive conversation people continually call for, and Meraji exemplifies it. Her story is a great starting point.”

Meraji is an audio producer and reporter who has told stories with sound for more than two decades, most recently examining racial identity formation and how race plays out in our lives. As a founding member of the “Code Switch” team, Meraji reported on issues of race, racism and racial identity from 2013 to 2021. In 2020, Apple Podcasts named “Code Switch” its first-ever Podcast of the Year.

Meraji also has been a Nieman Fellow and is currently an assistant professor of race in journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

On the “Code Switch” podcast, Meraji was well-known for saying, “It’s complicated.” During her visit to Northwest, she will share three personal stories that illuminate why she has, for her entire career as a journalist and person of Puerto Rican and Iranian descent, pushed for more context and nuance and has fought against simple storytelling binaries.

Funding support for the Lemon Lecture series is provided through the generosity of Beatrice E. Hanson, who graduated from Northwest in 1936. The program is named in honor of James H. Lemon, her grandfather and a founder of the Fifth District Normal School, which is now Northwest Missouri State University.

For more information about the Lemon Lecture, contact Gallaher at


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215