The Growler

A podcast featuring original interviews conducted by members of the Ursinus community with writers, artists, scholars, filmmakers, current faculty and guests visiting our campus.


  • Mary Atta-Dakwa and Johannes Karreth

    Researching the political economy of civil war prevention and reconstruction

    Mary Atta-Dakwa ’18 and Johannes Karreth reflect on each other’s research on the role of the international community in preventing civil wars and helping rebuild countries after civil war. Hosted by the Department of Politics and International Relations.

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  • Dr. Ian Simon

    Plans of Mice and Men: From Bench Science to Science Policy

    • Dr. Simon was always passionate about science generally, and he learned more became particularly interested in virology and retroviruses.
    • In the midst of his graduate career, he began attending graduate student government meetings, mostly for the free pizza and beer. But as he attended these meetings he found he developed a passion for policy that improved people’s lives.
    • After his graduate program, Dr. Simon was awarded the Henry Luce Scholarship, which enabled him to work in health policy in South Korea for a year immediately following his graduate program. 
    • After he returned from this year abroad, he began looking for science policy jobs in the States. Eventually, he landed a position in then-Sentate Majority Leader Harry Ried’s office where he would inform the senator on issues pertaining to science policy.

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  • Jaytari speaking about breaking down complex scientific concepts

    Talking About Science in a Changing Society

    •Jayatri spoke about how you break down complex scientific concepts such that they are easy to understand for someone with little or no scientific background.
    •She explained that most often, communicating science requires that you understand a concept thoroughly, so that you can create a compelling narrative that people will find exciting and understandable.
    •She explained that she sees herself as more of a guide than a teacher, meaning she engages with people to discover what they may already know and understand so that she can engage with them so that they understand whatever it is she’s communicating.
    •Jayatri speaks about how arts and the humanities can be incorporated into how we communicate science to create visuals and experiences so that people can understand complex things like the human brain.
    •Finally she explained that part of her job is showing other scientists how they can effectively communicate what they do in the lab, field, or clinic to someone who may know very little about their research. In doing so, they necessarily engage the public in the process of discovery, which is pretty exciting.

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  • Richard Wallace

    Richard Wallace The Future of GMOs is Not (Just) About Science

    • How professors can be both educators and advocators, and while many attempt to separate those roles, that isn’t always the best method.
    • Companies like Monsanto accumulate large amounts of power. Currently Monsanto nearly monopolizes the GMO market.
    • The public occasionally misunderstands that GM crops aren’t dangerous to consume, based on current evidence. Moreover, how misunderstanding persists because fear-mongering is so effective.
    • What methods of farming would be most sustainable in the face of climate change
    • How students, advocates and citizens can continue to oppose structures of power in our lives.

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  • Mitch Hunter

    Agriculture in 2050: The Path Forward

    As the third speaker in our series on genetically engineered crops, Mr. Hunter examines how many people we need to feed by 2050 and how this can be done sustainably.

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  • Dr. David Mortensen

    Lock-in: What to do when crop technologies fail?

    • Genes from the bacterium Bacillus subtilis are being engineered into crops by large ag companies to make them resistant to pests or herbicides.
    • ’RoundUp’ is the most common herbicide in use today and we are making crop plants resistant to it so we can use heavier doses of herbicides.
    • The use of GMOs is very dangerous because it produces “lock-in”. 
    • Cover cropping and other methods of mitigating weed growth are far more beneficial to the health of agricultural ecosystems.

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  • Poet Marilyn Chin

    Marilyn Chin Interview

    • Working through grief with elegies
    • Dealing with discrimination
    • Writing openly about sexuality
    • Teaching at an MFA program (and some advice for those applying to MFA programs)
    • Learning about rhyme through hip hop

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  • Dr. Nina Fedoroff

    Interview with Dr. Nina Fedoroff: Feeding 10 Billion: Can we? Will we?

    • The importance of genetically-engineered (GE) crops in feeding the expanding global population
    • Gives her defense to the anti-GMO opposition

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  • Caitlin O’Connell in Africa

    Interview with Caitlin O’Connell: Elephant Conservation in Africa

    • We’re not the only special beings on Earth 
    • How she got interested in Elephants 
    • How students get involved in her research 
    • GIS mapping systems and their benefits 
    • Crazy elephants stories 
    • Grizzlies sound like Chewbacca

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  • Filmmakers Spencer Gillis and Ludovic Littee

    Interview with Filmmakers Spencer Gillis and Ludovic Littee

    • Advantage of studying film theory in addition to production
    • A film set is like a chaotic ant’s nest
    • Movies that are meant to be watched on the big screen
    • How to go about finding locations for independent projects
    • Learning to adapt as a director
    • Finding a gas station to film at 

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