Research Chat podcast shares graduate students’ research findings

Graphic by Jamie Mere

Launched in 2020, Research Chat is a podcast where graduate students share their research and experience at Wilfrid Laurier University. The first season features conversations to make academic research fascinating for the general public. 

Shawna Reibling, knowledge mobilization officer at Wilfrid Laurier University, discussed the podcast and shared her passion for this new project. 

“The idea of the podcast is to focus on two aspects that people may not hear much about,” Reibling said.

The graduate student experience and the research done by graduates at Laurier are an integral part of this up and coming podcast.

“We decided to put together a program that could give our graduate students skills in communicating their research to the wider world. We also wanted to feature the unique aspects of the Laurier graduating student experience, and to share that with an audience through podcasting,” Reibling said. 

There are is a selection of graduate students from across campus and faculties that are participating in the podcast. 

Another episode includes the research work of Peter Fisher, who focuses on how to avoid bias and improve corporate hiring practices. 

“We tried to pick graduate students who are interested in gaining more communication skills and participating in a podcast,” Reibling said.

“Given this first season is the pilot season, it’s rolled out a little slower. I am pleased to say that students have been really giving with their time and they’ve been great in answering questions about their Laurier experience, as well as their research.” 

Listeners of the podcast will gain information, such as tips and tricks on how to make their Laurier experience successful. 

“The students are very down to earth about the struggles that they encountered in graduate school and the hard work they had to do to be successful,” Reibling said.

Reibling appreciates that students are able to share their experiences through the podcast. 

“It gives listeners a sense of what graduate school is like at Laurier. It’s a unique and personal experience,” Reibling said.

“People will learn how students approach their research as well. You don’t often hear about graduate student research because there is so much being done on campus. It’s really nice to have an opportunity to hear directly from students what they’re working on and some of the issues they encounter.” 

“They were able to think about their research as something that people would be interested in. It really opened them up to being more of a storyteller, to invite the listener or reader into the research experience,” Reibling said.

“To be successful in that process, you have to be vulnerable enough to invite people in to hear more about the struggles you’re having with graduate school.” 

“It can often be very lonely on a research journey, you don’t have the experience that faculty members have of going through a large, long term research project. Student’s are very articulate and vulnerable with the research that they are doing,” she said. 

The Research Chat podcast will have multiple seasons. The podcast is currently at seven episodes for the pilot season. They hope to release one per month up until the summer months.

“Just as we started recording, the pandemic hit. We were able to use technology to keep on recording and push the podcast forward,” Reibling said. 

“Laurier is starting to build a community of podcasters. I was able to chat with other hosts and talk to them about their struggles on how to continue the process. It’s nice to have that community of people who are working in podcasts.” 

Reibling believes that podcasts are the way of the future.

“The fact that graduate students are being asked to write and communicate in all different forms of media, podcasting is an excellent skill for them to have” Reibling said.

The podcast is available on all platforms and the website has transcripts and show notes accessible as well.

If you would like to get involved for the next season, email Shawna Reibling directly at:

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