Student Podcasts

The Unintended Health Consequences of COVID-19 Pandemic

Stay tuned – Fall 2021


For our podcast, we studied type 2 diabetes because there are high prevalence rates in the South. The focus of our podcast was to look at how living in the South and partaking in southern culture can affect one’s experience with diabetes. We wanted to examine whether people living in the South are more susceptible to type 2 diabetes due to the diet and the culture of the South. For instance, southern food is notorious for having high levels of sugar, butter, and salt. Fast food restaurants like Chick-fil-A and Kentucky Fried Chicken are symbols of the South, and they predominantly serve fried food. Another common southern staple is sweet tea. However, sweet tea contains a lot of sugar, and drinking it on a regular basis could put one at risk for type 2diabetes. Overall, there are several factors that are unique to the South that could put one at a heightened risk for type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Digest is a podcast created by an interdisciplinary team of students at Georgia Tech. In this podcast, we focus our storyline around type 1 diabetes and the experience of living with this chronic illness. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a condition where the body’s immune system starts attacking the pancreas, which weakens and ultimately destroys the beta cells, the body’s main producer of insulin. In some cases, like with our interviewee Patrick*, the immune system has a faulty response to a sickness. In the podcast, we capture the challenging experience of being a college student with type 1 diabetes due to the nature of the disease as well as its financial burden, and this became the main point to drive our podcast. Many people have false perceptions and lack knowledge about type 1 diabetes; the stakes of our podcast were to give a voice to the diabetic community, especially in informing the college community. In conclusion, living with type 1 diabetes is a very unique challenge for each individual, and our podcast ends on a note for the audience to reflect on that challenge – in this case, the unique challenges of our interviewees

Mental Health

Over the past two years, mental health has grown as a popular and pressing topic on campus. Students discussed mental health on forums such as Reddit, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. There have been hundreds of discussions and posts—all with an overarching theme—depression. The death of 21 year old Scout Schultz (who attempted suicide years before and had clinical depression) in 2017 by a police officer and three suicides on and off campus in 2018 were four of the major incidents that contributed to the dialogue. To some on campus, these series of events come off as unexpected and surprising. However, to many others, especially students, these series of suicides were inevitable. Through the anxiety and stress of classes, it seems unsurprising that so many students struggle with their mental health. Depression is defined by the Mayo Clinic as a mental health disorder characterized by  persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing impairment in daily life. Our podcast, GT: The Collective Struggle encompasses stories from students living with depression on campus and insight from a professor of psychology. The Georgia Tech counseling center reports that it served 1,177 students during the 2016-2017 academic year. They had only thirteen licensed psychologists and therapists, meaning each professional served well over 100 students and had little capacity to serve other students in need of counseling services.

Our group chose to study the issue of student athlete mental health and illness. The NCAA has begun to appreciate the needs of student athletes and recognize the added pressure that comes with playing collegiate sports, however, action has yet to be taken. The main point of our podcast is that the NCAA does not do enough to protect the mental health of its student athletes and has not created a safe, and stigma free, space for them to seek help and ask questions. Evidence we used to support our claim was taken from interviews of two Division 1 athletes, an anonymous survey of student athletes on Georgia Tech’s campus, and scholarly articles related to this issue. The reason this is so important is because suicide rates have steadily increased since 1999 and college aged students are the most likely to attempt and commit suicide. Among student athletes, suicide is the third leading cause of death.

From the outside, the student-athlete life is a mirage of a fun and ease-after all, don’t athletes spend all of their time doing what they love and get scholarships for it? However, most people don’t consider what is occurring beneath the surface, and that most student athletes’ passions become their own living nightmares. College athletes experience a unique and demanding culture; wins and losses are seen by the world, stats and times are constantly being compared, and the athletes are often publicly criticized. Daily practices and conditioning, weekly games, and monthly travel competitions all in conjunction with a full academic course load lead to a tiring, lengthy, and stressful schedule. In the midst of these athletic challenges and commitments, relationships and a social life often move to the bottom of the priority list. It is no surprise that many college athletes feel that the accumulation of these pressures can affect their mental health, so why is it still unmentionable amongst athletes to talk about their concerns? We have created a podcast exploring this stigma surrounding the mental health of student athletes. Despite the fact that there has been a massive mental health awareness shift recently in society, this shift was not necessarily equally distributed throughout different communities. Although it might be socially acceptable for non-athlete college students to address their mental health issues and seek professional help, it is greatly disapproved of within the athletic community by a plethora of people. This is a major issue considering that the pressure of student-athletes to perform well in all aspects of their college career will most likely never disappear. However, introducing the idea of mental health accommodations within the athletic community would be a substantial first step to improving the quality of athletes’ lives. The podcast we created explores this phenomenon by looking at the cultural, historical, critical, and structural factors that prevent athletes from discussing and addressing their mental health.

This podcast “Progress and Stress: Hidden Lives within the Hive” focuses on the mental health of first year international students attending Georgia Tech. According to Georgia Tech’s Spring 2018 Mental Health & Well-being Population Data, 7 in 10 students reported experiencing one or more days when emotional or mental difficulties impacted their academic performance in the past four weeks; however, 6 in 10 students reported managing their stress well in healthy ways. Although these statistics, and a few others, are reported on Georgia Tech’s Health Initiatives website, there are little to none that pertain solely to international students. Through a series of twenty minute interviews from three international first year students, Helya Taghian, Joaquin Uriarte, and Magdiel Batista, the podcast analyzes stress-inducing factors that international students may experience.

Women’s Health

The purpose is to understand the biological, social, and economic components of endometriosis. Endometriosis is defined by the “presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus, which induces a chronic, inflammatory reaction,” and is a disease that affects women of all socioeconomic statues and ethnic groups. The topic of endometriosis as a whole is too broad, so the focus is on the social, physical, mental, and economic experiences of diagnosed women in the United States. The hosts Jamie and Anne strive for a slightly mocking, cheesy tone, but the interviews have a somber feel as most of the interviewees recount their lives and experiences being chronically ill. As the podcast progresses, the hosts try to steer their dialogue into the direction of the stigma and the steps that need to be taken to improve the lives of those who are affected. Mainly, that endometriosis is a chronic, highly stigmatized disease that is delayed in being diagnosed as well asunder-diagnosed and if the status quo is to change, then people need to be aware of the realities of this disease and feel free to openly discuss the experience.

For expecting mothers, making the decision of where to have their children is extremely important, as it has emotional, social, and financial ramifications. In the state of Georgia, over 99% of babies are born in hospitals, but this does not mean it is the best option for every woman. Instead, by taking a critical sociological perspective, women can understand the historical roles that physicians, midwives, and doulas play in the birthing process and the varying levels of intervention and risk associated with having a baby at home and at a hospital. The focus of the podcast is the pros and cons of different birthing options and the factors that women should consider when deciding where to deliver their children. The main point of the podcast is that home births attended by midwives are relatively safe for low-risk women, and they provide a chance to avoid unnecessary medical interventions that could negatively impact the experience of such an important life event.


Asthma, a long-term disease that affects the lungs, is affecting more people each year. As a group, we decided to study the illness because of its impact on the lives of those close to us. We all had close friends or family who have or are currently dealing with asthma, and realized that it is an illness that is often disregarded in society as a prevalent issue, even though the statistics say otherwise. We wanted to research this topic in depth, and later in our studies, realized the disparity that exists between masculinity and asthma. We specifically studied the experiences of men with asthma and how their gender played a role in their experience. We talked to two male asthmatic college students about their daily experiences, their perceptions of asthma, and the difficulties that they face. Our podcast incorporated two interviews, and the rules were structured and easy to follow. We began the podcast with a brief introduction of asthma and then went into the background of our interviewees. Next, we structured the responses of our interviewees based on the topics we were covering in the podcast. We found this to be easier for the listener to follow but also logical for our argument. Our evidence was incorporated within the responses, as our interviewees relayed segments of their experiences that supported our primary topic of masculinity and asthma. We also incorporated statistics of asthma prevalence within our podcast and information about the established stigma of masculinity and illness.

Over the duration of this project, we explored the experience and impact that food allergies can have on college students, specifically students at the Georgia Institute of Technology. We chose to pursue this health condition for several reasons. For one, food  quite a common condition experienced by those recently exiting their adolescent years. Secondly, in a college atmosphere, the consequences of living with a food allergy can be further exacerbated during the transition period between one’s senior year in high school and their first year in college. Food allergies impact one’s life outside of necessary dietary restrictions. The focus of the podcast relates to the experience that Georgia Tech students with food allergies face during their initial months at Georgia Tech. Additionally, background information regarding Rachel Abraham’s experience growing up with a food allergy is included.

Our podcast’s focus is to show that living with IDD does not hinder one from growing academically, socially, or vocationally. The main point we emphasize is that students with IDD possess similar interests, passions and motivations as every other college student. Through talking with students from the Excel program, we noticed that Excel students do not let their disabilities define their success. This theory is also backed through the literature we have examined, as we took a critical look at post-secondary education for students with IDD. As a group, we feel the stakes of our podcast are important because there is an existing misconception that people with IDD are not capable of having successful careers through post-secondary education. In bringing awareness to this issue we wanted to help dispel these misconceptions.

Not every invention geared towards improving health produces its intended results. In fact, with inventions such as that of the e-cigarette, the product can become the cause of new illness and the targeting of novel populations. In the podcast, we discuss the vaping industry from its original intentions to the current explosion of the product into new vulnerable markets, causing not only an increased number of smokers but also entirely new health concerns. Due to its increasing prevalence among student populations and the recent need for legislation as vaping has caused negative health consequences, even death, we decided to narrow our focus from the entire vaping industry to specifically its evolution from a smoking alternative to a novel product marketed towards youth populations. In “The New Age of Nicotine” as part of a series called “Good Intentions” examining devastating results from originally well-intentioned inventions we discuss e-cigarettes, which began as an invention to reduce cigarette use and decrease lung cancer prevalence. Our podcast begins with a specific anecdote that illustrates the health risks associated with vaping through the near death experience of Alexander Mitchell, a twenty-year-old who was placed on two separate intensive life support systems due to vape use. The expertise of Dr. Holton and the personal experience given by students further convey the dangers of vaping along with the reasons for using the product before the final conclusions of the podcast are addressed. As asserted by Dr. Holton “we do not yet know all of the risks associated with vaping,” so even beyond the current health concerns it is important that these populations understand the risks associated with the product and the mechanisms through which they have been influenced to use this product.