Tales from the Field
On the podcast Cuppa with a Scientist, Meg Cox invites listeners to cozy up with a cup of tea and hear stories about Mount Everest, mouse skeletons, and more.
Launched in February 2021, the monthly show from Loughborough University features conversations with scientists from across the U.K. institution. Host Cox, PR and Media Relations Officer at Loughborough, asks guests about their research, tales from the field, and their career journeys—showcasing the breadth of scientific activity at the university.
On the show, she has talked with a conversation analyst, an expert on aging, and a cognitive psychologist who studies math anxiety, among other scientists. In the inaugural episode, she interviewed climate scientist Tom Matthews, who helped install the world’s highest-altitude weather research station on Everest.
Aimed at prospective students, the show is an opportunity to show how “not all scientists are old white men in lab coats,” Cox explains. That mission is both personal and professional for her: As a student, she loved science but couldn’t picture herself in the field. But three years ago, she re-enrolled to study biology.
In 2021, Loughborough’s PR team was tasked with brainstorming podcast ideas, and Cuppa with a Scientist was born.
“I wanted to make sure that this podcast showcased how vast science is. Science is for everybody, and the more diversity we have in it, the better,” she says. “I wanted to create a resource that I wish I’d had when I was a student trying to figure out what to do with my life.”
To reach students, the Loughborough team shares Cuppa on YouTube and podcast platforms. They’re 10 episodes in and there’s no shortage of topics to cover, Cox says. Next Loughborough is launching Cuppa with an Engineer about engineering.
The show won a silver COE Award for podcasts, with judges praising it for being “low budget and high-impact.”
And feedback from listeners, Cox says, has been positive: Recently, a parent emailed to say her daughter was considering studying science because of the show.
“That’s our job done. Even if it is just one young woman that has been inspired to think, ‘Maybe this could be for me,’ that’s great,” she says.
About the author(s)
Meredith Barnett is the Managing Editor at CASE.
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