Student Corner: Erik Anderson  

A group of medical and graduate school students at Baylor College of Medicine have launched a podcast to highlight research, healthcare and education at the College. Entirely student-run, the podcast, Resonance, offers the opportunity to learn about what’s going on at Baylor through the eyes of young trainees.

The podcast got its start with Erik Anderson, a second-year medical student in the M.D./Ph.D. Program. Learn more about how the podcast got off the ground in this Q&A with Anderson.

Where did the idea for the podcast come from? Who was involved in creating the podcast?

The idea to start a podcast for me came from my love of late night talk show interviews. I grew up watching David Letterman and Jon Stewart on their respective shows, and my favorite interviews were when they had scientists on. Later on, I started listening to podcasts like NPR’s Radiolab and realized the podcast format is a great way to capture just the interview portion of late night shows. Our episodes range between 30-45 minutes, giving us the opportunity to go into more depth than any network show would have ever allowed.

Brandon Garcia and Jennifer Deger are the two co-founders with me, and have been instrumental in helping me run the podcast. I initially came up with an idea to do a podcast and wrote up a proposal, and about a week later serendipitously Brandon messaged a group of us friends asking if anyone would want to try to get a podcast going. We recruited Jennifer to help us write; she is the wizard behind all of our episode outlines and story boards. We have now expanded to an organization of 17 people with a mixture of graduate and medical students.

How do you come up with topics?

We ask all of the writers to submit three topics and faculty they would like to interview, and then Brandon, Jennifer and I go through them and put together a list that has a diverse array of topics and faculty. We then take this list to a faculty committee made up of Drs. Lee Poythress, Kjersti Aagaard, and Anoop Agrawal, who help us decide if there are any additional topics we could cover or faculty we could interview.

What do you think is unique about this podcast?

I think the most unique thing about this podcast is the fact that it is entirely student run and recorded. There are other podcasts at schools across the country, but many are either classes that students take for credit or they have professional engineers helping them record and edit the episodes. We do everything in house, from determining how the organization will be structured to recording, editing and mastering the episodes for release.

How does being involved in projects such as this contribute to your medical and graduate education at Baylor College of Medicine?

This project has been and will continue to be important for my development as a medical scientist because I am honing my previously nascent organization skills. I intend to have my own lab someday, which comes with a need for managerial experience that is not always taught directly in school. The Resonance podcast teaches me every day how to work on a team and delegate responsibilities, because it is bigger than just me, Brandon or Jennifer.

What have you learned while doing the podcast?

I think one of the most significant things I’ve learned from doing the podcast is how enthusiastic the faculty at Baylor are to help students with projects. Our faculty advisor Dr. Poythress has many other responsibilities, but he still finds time to listen to each episode that we produce. Additionally, the faculty members we interview are incredibly generous to devote an hour to students, and they always come with enthusiasm and excitement.

What other podcasts are you listening to?

I listen to Baylor’s other great podcast Body of Work, put together by the amazing communications team that also helps approve our episodes. Beyond that, most of the podcasts I listen to are in the NPR universe, like Radiolab and Hidden Brain. I’ve recently started listening to Conan O’Brien’s new podcast.

Anything else you want to add?

None of this would have been possible without the help of Brandon Garcia, Jennifer Deger, Erin Yang, Jason Shiau, Phillip Burkhardt and Karl Lundin. This is the group that helped write the first season of the podcast that we are currently releasing, and they all believed enough in the idea to devote many hours to help get the podcast off the ground. Also thank you again to Dr. Poythress and Dr. Aagaard, they were the two faculty Brandon and I approached first and have been incredibly supportive and helpful during this entire journey!

Subscribe to Resonance and Body of Work!