New podcast makes hearing Athenaeum speakers a virtual reality

by Tom Johnson

A big benefit of enrollment at CMC is the opportunity to hear the amazing array of speakers (and subjects) featured at the Marion Miner Cook Athenaeum almost every day of every week.

But for Shivani Pandya ‘18 and four of her sophomore friends (Lauren Giurata ’18, Nisha Behrman ’18, Janine Ivy ’18 and Melissa Muller ’18), that benefit also presented a challenge.

“By the time we got to sophomore year, my teammates and I realized that, between classes, extracurriculars, and other commitments, there was no way we'd get to hear all speakers we wanted to. And that, honestly, was something that really bothered us,” Pandya said.

Their solution was to develop a podcast – Free Food (for Thought) -- of Ath events that can be accessed whenever busy students can fit the presentations into their hectic schedules. The podcast went public earlier this month and can be accessed on the iTunes Podcasts app under Free Food (for Thought), and at the website:

According to Pandya, much of the beauty of a liberal arts education is having the chance to learn about different perspectives. “My entire team loves podcasts, and we quickly realized that podcasting would be a wonderful medium for capturing the essence of an Ath speaker and making the perspectives of these amazing thought leaders available to all listeners.”

Pandya and her team executed the podcast platform in less than one month and so far, the results have been encouraging. “We have a feeling this is something any curious mind would love,” she said. “I've found that most folks have a sense of wonder: we hope to feed that.”

Pun definitely intended!