7 Columbia-Made Podcast Episodes From 2020 to Binge Over Winter Break

As 2020 winds to a close, 'Columbia News' looks back on seven podcast episodes from across Columbia University's campuses that had an impact on us this year. 

Kelly Moffitt
December 17, 2020

The intimacy of podcasts proved perfect for 2020, when many of us struggled with a need for connection. The Columbia community met that need with an impressive range of audio content. There are more than 35 podcasts produced across our campuses, from students to faculty to researchers, and most of those podcasts are listed here. As 2020 winds to a close, we look back on seven episodes that had an impact on us this year. 

Are we missing a podcast we should add to our list? Email [email protected] to let us know about your Columbia-affiliated podcast so we can update our directory. 

1) Tramell Thompson on the Frontlines of NYC Subways

From: Black Lives: In the Era of COVID-19

Produced By: Institute for Research in African American Studies and the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies

“Who loses six people they know in such a short amount of time?” asks Tramell Thompson, a Metropolitan Transportation Authority conductor, union member, and community organizer, who lost six colleagues to COVID-19 in the first 90 days of the pandemic in New York City. Hosted by Professors Samuel K. Roberts, Jr. and Mabel O. Wilson, this episode of Black Lives: In the Era of COVID-19 compassionately and deeply probes the impact of the pandemic on transit workers and the disparities that underlie the experience of some of the city’s most essential workers. 

2) Untapped New York Explores Morningside Heights

From: GSAPP Conversations

Produced By: Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Untapped New York

Desperately missing Morningside campus? We’ve got the cure for campus wanderlust in this episode of GSAPP Conversations. Michelle Young, a GSAPP faculty member and alumna of the M.S. in Urban Planning program (GSAPP‘12), founded Untapped New York in 2009 to help people discover the secrets and hidden gems of the city. In this episode, she shares five hidden spots around Morningside Heights, including Alma Mater, Guastavino Dome at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Riverside Church’s Labyrinth, Ulysses S. Grant’s Tomb, and the meeting of 125th and 129th streets. 

3) Donald G. McNeil Jr. with Michael Barbaro in our own "The Daily: This Is Your Life" episode

From: On Assignment 

Produced By: Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards

If you’re a fan of The Daily, you surely recognize The New York Times’ science and health reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr. from his frank, informative, and early (we mean months ahead of the general public) reports on the COVID-19 pandemic. This episode features McNeil, the 2020 John Chancellor Excellence in Journalism award-winner, in conversation with The Daily host Michael Barbaro. You’ll be fascinated to learn McNeil’s backstory and how decades of infectious disease reporting led him to the reports he’s able to give today. 

4) The Ice Sheet Goeth

From: Pod of the Planet

Produced By: Earth Institute

Meet Marco Tedesco, a climate scientist and research professor at Columbia’s Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory. He’s devoted his life to studying the cryosphere (the part of Earth that consists of frozen water) and spends a lot of time on research in Greenland, which is melting at a rate greater than ever before. Don’t believe his dedication to ice? Check out the photo at the link above, which shows Tedesco’s tattoos of snowflakes! 

5) Facing the Crisis

From: Lab in the Time of Coronavirus

Produced By: Zuckerman Institute

Hosted by Kathleen Durkin and Devin Powell of the Zuckerman Institute, this episode is the first in a series of many that follow the pivots brain researchers at the institute have made in finding solutions to the COVID-19 crisis. This episode follows three young researchers who heeded the call to find a way to produce Personal Protective Equipment for essential workers in the middle of a city-wide shutdown–this time using the Institute’s 3D Print Farm. 

6) Images of protests

From: How to Read

Produced By: Columbia University students

Who doesn’t love a short-form podcast? Or a short-form podcast that goes deep? Over the course of 16 minutes, in “Images of Protests,” we hear from Social and Personality Psychology Professor Colin Wayne Leach discussing what happens in our mind when we see images of protests. 

7) Helping Small Businesses Survive—and Thrive

From: Beyond Unprecedented: The Post-Pandemic Economy

Produced By: Columbia Law and Millstein Center for Global Markets and Corporate Ownership

Aside from a really snappy intro, this episode takes an oft-cited topic, the Paycheck Protection Program, and breaks down what we should be focusing on next in regard to ensuring the future of small businesses in the United States. The guests on this episode are truly at the heart of this work: Columbia Law Professors Lynnise E. Pantin (Law’03 ) and Tim Wu. 

Find more Columbia-produced podcast episodes to listen to here.