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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Student hosts the “Out of the Lab Podcast”

Photo+courtesy+of+Grayson+McDowell.%0AGrayson+McDowell+has+started+a+podcast+to+encourage+K-12+to+look+into+STEM+careers.
Photo courtesy of Grayson McDowell. Grayson McDowell has started a podcast to encourage K-12 to look into STEM careers.

The “Out of the Lab Podcast” interviews local science professionals in the Spartanburg area.

“With each guest, we discuss the particularities of their field and their path to their current career,” McDowell ’24 said. “Guests like to bring demonstrations that pertain to their field that anyone can recreate at home.”

McDowell decided to pitch the podcast idea to the SSC because of his interest in the human side of the sciences. McDowell’s original intent for the scientific podcast was to interview a handful of his professors at Wofford for the Science Center’s YouTube channel.

McDowell originally planned on using his own video equipment to interview his professors; however, Executive Director of the SSC, Mary Levens, helped McDowell expand his idea. Levens applied for a grant from AFL Telecommunications and a separate grant from Contec Inc. for the studio space. 

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The first episode of the “Out of the Lab Podcast” premiered on the SSC YouTube channel on Feb. 25 of this year. The first guest, Edward Donovan, is a local science teacher whose teaching career spans over 50 years. 

Donovan demonstrated The Law of Conservation of Energy (energy can neither be created nor destroyed) with an experiment known as the “obedient can”. 

The experiments by the guests on the “Out of the Lab Podcast” can be found in the video’s description so that students can recreate them at home or teachers can teach them in class. 

“Out of the Lab Podcast” also demonstrates ideas that fall outside of “mainstream” science. On March 11, McDowell interviewed Rachel Grotheer, a mathematics professor at Wofford.

Grotheer shared about her research in machine learning and topic modeling. 

McDowell said this podcast has been a “learn as you go” experience, but that the learning process of starting a podcast was not as hard as he expected it to be. 

“In a strangely self-centered way, I have learned that the best I can do is produce content that I would enjoy listening to,” McDowell said. “Above all else, I want to produce a show that inspires curious K-12 students who, like myself, may not have had the most inspiring STEM teachers.”

The “Out of the Lab Podcast” has inspired McDowell to dive into the humanities aspect of science, particularly scientific journalism. He believes that scientific journalism is one of the most important aspects of scientific research.

“Good science journalism is crucial in today’s world,” McDowell said.” “The general public does not read scientific papers, they read what scientific journalists report.” 

McDowell would also like to acknowledge the help of Charley Yang ’25 and Will Lawson, who help with the show’s production.

The podcast can be accessed exclusively on YouTube.

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