An illustration of two people talking during a podcast recording

Credit: Illustration by James Steinberg


Stories to grow by

In her interview for the #100 Alumni Voices podcast, Casey Daniels, BSPH '15 (DrPH), admits to a persistent case of impostor syndrome. She grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, where she earned a bartending degree during high school "just in case [her career] didn't work out." It wasn't until she passed her PhD program's qualifying exams that her self-perception shifted. She's now a senior scientist at AstraZeneca.

To create a space for such candid accounts, Johns Hopkins launched the #100 Alumni Voices podcast, which doesn't shy away from the messier aspects of doctoral life, such as self-doubt, work-life imbalance, and disorientation in the face of a complex job market.

Available through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify, #100 Alumni Voices is part of PHutures, which provides life design support for PhD candidates and postdocs. Alumni from across all divisions have appeared on the podcast, and each episode is accompanied by images that are meaningful to the guest and by explanatory text. The podcast's developers, Roshni Rao, executive director of Doctoral and Postdoctoral Career Design, and Meg Swaney, A&S '22 (PhD), assistant director of PHutures, view #100 Alumni Voices as a type of mentorship, a means of allowing current students to learn from their predecessors.

"The transparency that alumni provided in their responses is so powerful," Swaney says. "These are things people are often afraid to share, but this project created a space where it was safe."

Despite the podcast's title, Swaney and Rao have no plans to stop at 100 episodes—there are, in fact, already 101. A spinoff for faculty is in the works, and the original podcast has already inspired networking events.

While the show has resonated with students, Rao notes that it has also been meaningful and healing for participants: "Meg and I receive letters saying things like, 'You don't understand how much I needed to share my story.' That was the best part—seeing how excited they were and how much they wanted to give back."

Posted in Alumni