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Black cancer scientist from Mississippi meets Asian literary critic from Canada. A podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Both Ivy League PhDs. Both fans of lipstick.

Black cancer scientist from Mississippi meets Asian literary critic from Canada. A podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Both Ivy League PhDs. Both fans of lipstick.
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Black cancer scientist from Mississippi meets Asian literary critic from Canada. A podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. Both Ivy League PhDs. Both fans of lipstick.




S04E14 | Ethics of Ecology: Saori Ogura on Crops & Indigenous Knowledges in Zimbabwe & Himalaya

How can we address global inequalities in this era of climate change? What disciplines, methods can we use – and how can we do this research ethically, collaboratively? UBC Forestry PhD student Saori Ogura is working with Indigenous peoples in Zimbabwe and the Himalayas to support their knowledges about traditional nutritious crops as a counter to monocultural cash crops like cardamom. Saori tells PhDiva Xine about her research journey from Japan to Berkeley to UNESCO involving agricultural...


S04E13 | On Being in Public Pt 2: When Our Voices Make Us Into Targets

Here come the trolls! Degrees, peer-reviewed publications, respect in the field -- markers of academic respectability do not shield scholars, especially BIPOC women, when people don't want to hear what we have to say. Remember PhDiva Xine's naivete in our previous episode? A month after recording, she tweeted a critique about Asian American appropriation of Blackness tied to the erasure of antiBlack, antiLatinx racisms when the media takes the Harvard affirmative action case as solely...


E04E12 | On Being in Public Pt 1: 3 Years of PhDivas! Lifting Others, Lifting Ourselves

From ABD to the verge of becoming faculty: PhDivas Liz and Xine have been doing this podcast for 3 years strong! We had no idea what impact, good or bad, this might have on our lives as junior scholars. In this episode we reflect upon public scholarship from scicomm to public humanities to TED Talks. We're proud to build a public stage to help raise other women in academia -- and you can join in too! (Enjoy Xine’s naivete before listening to part 2.) Images taken from a gif by Libby...


Decolonizing or Indigenizing the University? Interview with Sereana Naepi

To decolonize or Indigenize the university? Sereana Naepi, an Indigenous Pacific Islander, takes on this question through her doctoral studies in Education at UBC on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Musqueam people. PhDiva Xine interviews Sereana about Education as a discipline unto itself and how she brings Indigenous methodologies into her work on Indigenous women's experiences as higher ed staff. As a Fijian Pasifika scholar from New Zealand, Sereana explains how...


Surviving the Job Market, Setting Up a Lab: Interview with Dr. Nadia Chernyak

If you survived the academic job market, what comes next? Xine catches up with Dr. Nadia Chernyak who will be tenure-track at UC Irvine in the Cognitive Science department. Nadia does amazing research on cognitive and moral development in children, but as it turns out, nothing truly prepares you to be a #newprof. What is involved in setting up a lab, which could be described as running your own small startup?


S03E23 | The Secret Life of Academic Conferences

Conferences are like icebergs: there's a lot going on below the surface. We give you insight on the secret life of academic conferences. First, Liz and Xine cover the obvious considerations about STEM and humanities conferences. But in the majority of this episode we discuss the hidden dynamics: institutional privilege, social ecosystems, and how cliques make visible professional power dynamics. In some ways, academic conferences can be like a teen movie! You enter as an overwhelmed junior...


S03E22 | #TED2017: PhDiva Liz and Black Excellence

Here's the inside scoop on #TED2017 in Vancouver from TED Fellow and PhDiva Dr. Liz Wayne who delivered a TED Talk about her research on cancer drug delivery. Xine interviews Liz about the application process, preparation process, and life-changing experience of the TED Conference. What is it like to take science communication to the next level? What entrepreneurs and creatives did Liz rub shoulders with? Congratulations to Liz on continuing to develop her black excellence! Liz's TED Talk...


S03E21 | April Showers: End of Semester Stress

April is the cruelest month! It's a rough time in higher ed: originally our theme for this episode was just "being tired." Work, travel, bills, dying houseplants. We push through our exhaustion to talk about the musical Hamilton, Get Out, Ghost in the Shell, and that awful Pepsi commercial with Kendall Jenner. The PhDivas just came back from their visit to Earlham College where they gave talks on their individual research and on bridging the STEM/humanities divide. Connecting with students...


S03E20 | Coming-of-Age in Academia: Interview with Brianda Beverley of Flyy Science

Our latest guest Brianda is at a turning point: pursue a PhD in STEM or follow her dream of growing Flyy Science, which combines science communication with hip hop and style. This is a coming-of-age in academia episode that everyone can relate to! Liz and Xine chat with Brianda about her current work as a certified Medical Laboratory Scientist, the gap between STEM degrees and jobs, and the journey from realizing you love something to what it means to develop a career. Why don't kidneys...


S03E19 | Black Child Joy: Black History Month Recap with Prof Danielle Morgan

Black child joy is a fundamental reason Black History Month needs to exist. We recap Black History Month 2017 with Danielle Morgan, Assistant Professor of English at Santa Clara University, from Beyonce's pregnancy with twins to Moonlight, Fences, and Hidden Figures at the Oscars. The figure of the Black child is important to address beyond sentimentality: Danielle and Liz explain to Xine what celebrating Black History Month meant to them as children. How do we make space for respecting...


S03E18 | Not Just in February: Black History Month Interview with Prof Mari Crabtree

This week we have a double episode release for Black History Month! Historian Mari N. Crabtree is Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the College of Charleston and works on lynching, narrativity, and memory in the South. She researches and teaches Black history not far from Emanuel AME Church, the site of the massacre committed by Dylann Roof, and in South Carolina, where Bree Newsome took down the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds. We talk with Professor...


Muslim Fictions: Interview with Dr. Noor Hashem

Muslim fictions and fictions about Muslims: we talk politics, stereotypes, and histories with Dr. Noor Hashem, expert on Muslim American literature. What are the ordinary, everyday, boring lives of Muslims in the United States? What is it like to be a person of faith in the academy and how does it inform one's work? Noor, Xine and Liz discuss points of intersection, activism, and ethical emotions. If tough love isn't doing it, what do we need? We end with a more recent interview with Dr....


S03E15 | Whose Science? Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Harvard

Preparations for the Science March on Washington are underway! Whose science is it anyway? Liz brings us a group interview with aspiring physicists from the 2017 Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics at Harvard. We get insight into how these young women are inspired to study different aspects of physics: from Instagram selfies to engineering to parental guidance to the thrill of knowing the wonders of the universe. How do you transition from a childhood love to your professional...


S03E13 | Hip Hop Scholarship: Interview with Dr. Shahara'Tova V. Dente

Crystal Springs, Mississippi: two girls graduated from their small town high school and grew up to be Dr. Shahara'Tova "Shaye" Dente, English PhD, and our own Dr. Liz Wayne, TED Fellow. Shaye gives us insight into the research and teaching of hip hop, social movements, and hip hop literature. Xine and Liz interview Shaye about pipeline programs for underrepresented minorities to the question of what makes good literature. We talk Jay-Z, Drake, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj, Lil' Kim, Iggy Azalea...


New Year's Resolutions 2017

Think positive, not punitive. How can we make resolutions that are not just individually-oriented? Make resolutions shared with friends, nominate good people for awards, buy a coffee/tea/drink/lunch for someone junior. We are trained in critique and then forget how compliments feed the human self. Xine and Liz are committed to making sure they lift others as they climb! The PhDivas are also dedicated to their own different approaches to body positivity -- but they're both aiming for...


S03E11: End of 2016 Review

On New Year's Eve we go meta and reflect on our best moments, interviews, behind-the-scenes production, and the melanin contrast between us in our promo photos thanks to the inadequacies of phototechnology. We discuss what it means for us to be in public while academics are under attack in this post-Steven Salaita moment. How do we talk to each other in seminar, in question period, in our citations? As we climb, let's not forget to lift each other. Thank you to our amazing interviewees and...


Dark Matter: Axions, Cosmology, & Being a Black Scientist; Interview w Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

Would a Black physicist have called it "dark matter"? Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is the 63rd Black American woman to earn a PhD in physics and works on early universe cosmology and the dark matter problem. Xine and Liz talk to Chanda about the mysteries of the universe and the differing conundrums of being Black in the United States versus Canada. Literature emerges as a necessary form of education and survival -- shout out to the writings of Lawrence Hill and Langston Hughes! We discuss...


Data is Us: Interview with Rumman Chowdhury

Blaming biased data and bad algorithms? Stop moral outsourcing to machines because data is a reflection of us! Liz and Xine interview Rumman Chowdhury, PhD candidate in political science and a full-time data scientist. We talk about how ethics, diversity, and social justice play an integral part in data, dubious robots, and the uneven development of data science through industry and academia. Beyond tin foil hats, we discuss everything from racist redlining in Chicago, philosopher Hannah...


Nasty Women: Hillary Clinton and the Question of Critique

Nasty, sassy, bossy -- how do we criticize women? And how can we articulate valid criticisms without being accused of misogyny? In this pre-election conversation, Liz and Xine discuss Hillary Clinton, gender, and the politics of representation and, well, politics! Is it just about Hillary, or also a post-Obama moment that has transformed our ideas about hope and change? We talk political compromise, respectability, US imperialism, histories of suffrage and race, and the power of memes....


For Women, By Women: Insecure, Broad City, and Girls

Insecure, Broad City, and Girls: shows for and by women! These are shows that Liz and Xine watch as part of their lives as *serious* academics and researchers. What is the appeal? Well, we are still part of the much maligned Millennial generation. The PhDivas discuss how these female creators explore the trials and tribulations of work and love as Millennial women. What racial and gender barriers still exist despite the DIY innovations of Issa Rae, Lena Dunham, and Abbi and Ilana? We...