Episode 30 – “Cancer Epidemiology” by Pranoti Pradhan

Runner-Up; Graduate & Professional: “Excellence in Podcasting” Competition

Sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and the Office of Immersion Resources.

What do nuns, chimney sweeps, and tobacco smokers have in common? Well, you’ll just have to listen to unravel the answer to this riddle. In this episode of VandyVox, Pranoti Pradhan explores how cancer epidemiology sprung to life and directs our attention towards the future of the field regarding health disparities. She was awarded runner-up in the graduate and professional students category for the Excellence in Podcasting competition. The featured audio is a component of the larger podcast “Going Viral,” Season 2 Episode 5 “Cancer Epidemiology”

“Going Viral” is a podcast with a mission for listeners to “understand the basics of epidemiology – health for the population,” co-created by Pranoti Pradhan, a Ph.D. student in Epidemiology at Vanderbilt University, and Saimrunali Dadigala, a Master of Biomedical Sciences student at Tufts University. Together, the pair communicate scientific information surrounding the basics of epidemiology and interview experts and field specialists to discuss epidemiological relevance to modern society.

To build a common knowledge base between herself and the listener, Pranoti approaches the historical lens of cancer epidemiology as a chronological tale of creation. Storytelling in this manner plops the budding science into contextual relevance, creating a cast of characters to capture the audience’s attention. From this vantage point, listeners are exposed to the scientific method in action as Pranoti strings together a series of observations and highlights how they shaped a novel medical field. More than just stories, these tales operate as case studies, an effective teaching tool to relate conceptual ideas to real-world situations.

As Pranoti shifts from past to present and the field of cancer epidemiology broadens, she continues to provide corporeal evidence to help listeners latch on to otherwise abstract considerations of health disparities. Applying a compare-and-contrast analysis when discussing the ways epidemiological factors diverge between different types of cancer, she provides supporting examples that highlight differences in health disparities. For instance, Pranoti asserts that certain types of risk are controllable, compared to those that are generally unavoidable, such as those influenced by genetic inheritance, socioeconomic status, disabilities, or race and ethnicity factors.

Her approach touches on Bloom’s taxonomy, a framework that categorizes and hierarchically assembles sets of learning objectives in a pyramid shape. As one works up the pyramid, the level of retention and complexity increases as well. By the close of her audio, Pranoti has climbed into the “analyze” category, organizing, comparing, contrasting, and differentiating modern cancer epidemiology. An image of Bloom’s Taxonomy by the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching is displayed for ease, while further guidance on the framework can be found amongst the additional resources below.

Bloom’s Taxonomy by the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

In addition to the educational tools Pranoti utilized, her podcast also stands out through the application of supplementary audio. From bookend to bookend, this audio is peppered with attention-grabbing pops; Pranoti’s intro highlights the previous podcast, enticing the audience from the very beginning, her outro is formatted as a teaser, hinting at upcoming content in future audio to draw them back, and her chronological look through history is augmented via musical transitions that make time travel almost tangible.


New episodes of “Going Viral” by Pranoti Pradhan and Saimrunali Dadigala are available every Monday at 8 AM EST. Listen now:

“Going Viral” Website: 

  • https://goingviralepidemiology.libsyn.com/website

Apple Podcasts:

  • https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/going-viral/id1520085421

Google Podcasts:

  • https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9nb2luZ3ZpcmFsZXBpZGVtaW9sb2d5LmxpYnN5bi5jb20vcnNz?sa=X&ved=0CBEQlvsGahcKEwiA2rvhhfDzAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQHA&hl=en


Incorporating key components of scientific research and teaching/learning frameworks can boost your audience’s knowledge retention. Explore the tools Pranoti employed:

Khan Academy’s “The scientific method”

  • https://www.khanacademy.org/science/biology/intro-to-biology/science-of-biology/a/the-science-of-biology

Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching guide to “Bloom’s Taxonomy” by Patricia Armstrong

  • https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/blooms-taxonomy/

Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching guide to “Case Studies”

  • https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/case-studies/


Giving your science a setting and cast of characters like Pranoti can increase listener retention and comprehension. This Forbes article outlines the key components to achieve effective podcast storytelling.

“The Power of Podcasting For Telling A Story” by Carrie Kerpen

  • https://www.forbes.com/sites/carriekerpen/2020/03/11/the-power-of-podcasting-for-telling-a-story/?sh=1654323c2fb4


Pranoti’s closing teaser entices the audience to keep listening. Add sounds and edit audio for free using Audacity, then publish for free on Anchor:

Audacity, a “free, open source, cross-platform audio software”

  • https://www.audacityteam.org/

Anchor, a “free, beginner-friendly platform for podcast creation,”

  • https://anchor.fm/


More information on the history of events that steered the field of cancer epidemiology Pranoti described can be found below:

“History of Cancer Epidemiology: 18th Century to Present” by The American Cancer Society

  • https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/history-of-cancer/cancer-epidemiology.html

“Cancer: A History Perspective” by The National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute



Written by Kaelyn Warne, Teaching Affiliate at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching

Episode 25 – “Noise Pollution, COVID-19, and Your Health” by Emma Fagan

Winner; Undergraduate: “Excellence in Podcasting” Competition

Sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities in collaboration with the Center for Teaching and the Office of Immersion Resources.

Since early 2020, dialogues have begun swirling around the effects of coronavirus and the implications of global pandemics. In this episode of VandyVox, Emma Fagan is bringing the conversation back to science to discuss its unexpected correlation to pollution, taking home first place in the undergraduate category for the Excellence in Podcasting competition.

While this audio was not produced for a class, it stands strong because it’s still rooted in research. Emma employed interviews of her roommates to take research into her own hands, grounding the conversation to tangible ways we experience noise pollution on a local level. Broadening the scope to the global perspective, she references international publications and cites scientific conclusions regarding the effects of noise pollution on human health.

Supplementary sounds of noise pollution plop listeners into a shared experience as Emma reveals that noise pollution can be unrecognized as a form of pollution by many. Emma’s tactic for revealing noise pollution to the listener is simple yet effective: pause the audio. When listeners return to the podcast, she offers them examples of both indoor and outdoor noise pollution to calibrate their senses.

Scaffolding our learning, once we’re oriented to the existence of noise pollution, she goes on to describe how the resultant stress and annoyance can negatively affect human health and cognition. Onto the final step of the framework, Emma relates noise pollution and human health to COVID-19, citing studies that compared pre-pandemic noise levels and exposure to those in various places after lockdown or stay-at-home orders were mandated. As she references research both domestic and international, Emma builds scientific trust between herself, as the host, and the listeners.


Interviews are a great tool for creating stellar podcasts like Emma’s. Here are a few guides to ensure your future interviews are in great shape:

NPR’s Special Series, Student Podcast Challenge: “Starting Your Podcast: A Guide For Students” (What Makes a Good Interview?)

    • https://www.npr.org/2018/10/30/662070097/starting-your-podcast-a-guide-for-students#interviews

Mark Schaefer’s 5 Steps to Conduct a Superior Podcast Interview

    • https://businessesgrow.com/2017/05/25/podcast-interview/


Educational podcasts shine when evidence-based teaching methods are employed, the way Emma implemented informational scaffolding. Convey your content with precision:

The IRIS Center at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College offers free, online resources related to implementing instructional scaffolding:

    • https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/sca/cresource/q1/p01/


Emma’s supplementary sounds made her podcast pop. Add sounds and edit audio for free using Audacity, then publish for free on Anchor:

Audacity, a “free, open source, cross-platform audio software”

    • https://www.audacityteam.org/

Anchor, a “free, beginner-friendly platform for podcast creation,”

    • https://anchor.fm/


To learn more about specific noise pollution topics Emma discussed, please visit the articles below:

Basu, B., Murphy, E., Molter, A., Sarkar Basu, A., Sannigrahi, S., Belmonte, M., & Pilla, F. (2021). Investigating changes in noise pollution due to the COVID-19 lockdown: The case of Dublin, Ireland. Sustainable Cities and Society, 65, 102597. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scs.2020.102597

Münzel, T., Sørensen, M., & Daiber, A. (2021). Transportation noise pollution and cardiovascular disease. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 18(9), 619–636. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41569-021-00532-5

Nicole, W. (2013). Road traffic noise and diabetes: long-term exposure may increase disease risk. Environmental Health Perspectives, 121(2), a60–a60. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.121-a60

Bickel, N. (2020). Stay-at-home orders cut noise exposure nearly in half. Michigan News, University of Michigan. https://news.umich.edu/stay-at-home-orders-cut-noise-exposure-nearly-in-half/

Local Learning: Noise pollution and Nashville’s education:

Sutton, C. (2021). ‘We deserve to learn in peace” Hume Fogg students call for party bus regulation in Metro Nashville. Nashville News Channel 5. https://www.newschannel5.com/news/hume-fogg-students-call-for-party-bus-regulation-in-metro-nashville


Written by Kaelyn Warne, Teaching Affiliate at the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching