March 25, 2021
Purdue entrepreneur finds success in food trucks
Ariel Smith, a doctoral student in American studies, is the founder of the podcast, “The Food Truck Scholar.” As part of her enterprise, Smith started and hosts a podcast looking at individual stories of those in the food truck industry.
The idea came when Smith noticed an increasing number of black-owned food trucks being operated in her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama.
“This stems from my academic research,” Smith said. “I combined that research and my entrepreneurial aspirations to develop ‘The Food Truck Scholar’ brand. I attended school in Alabama, where I became very interested in the voices of Black food truckers.”
Smith also is scholar-in-residence for the Black Cultural Center and has taught classes at Purdue about entrepreneurship. She also has gained insight through Purdue’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and the Purdue Foundry.
“Enterprise has been the undergirding of our American history,” Smith said. “I try to inspire other young innovators by helping them realistically understand the risks and benefits associated with being an entrepreneur. I also bring in Black entrepreneurs to share their stories.”
Rayvon Fouché, a professor of American studies, said he has enjoyed seeing Smith’s passion for entrepreneurship grow since she arrived as a graduate student at Purdue. Fouché serves as a co-advisor for Smith’s dissertation.
“Ariel seeks to build connections between her research and the communities she studies,” Fouché said. “You can see her bold spirit and passion for sharing stories and taking a smart approach to storytelling that brings the human connection alive.”
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Writer: Chris Adam, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Ariel Smith, email@example.com
Rayvon Fouché, firstname.lastname@example.org