COVID Conversations Podcast

Covid Conversations is an exciting project designed to highlight some of the research currently underway at Marquette, as well as share how our classes are exploring topics related to the pandemic and its impact on society.  Our goal was to bring together an interdisciplinary group to reflect on a topic and then produce a podcast based on their conversation. We hope to highlight similarities and divergences in the ways different fields do research and share the resulting information learning.    


Find Covid Conversations on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or most podcast-listening platforms!

Individual podcasts are linked below.  Each one has a theme, which is identified in the brief descriptions, along with information about the contributors. A transcript of each episode will become available shortly after the release of each episode, and will be posted alongside episode links.   

If you have ideas for a topic or would like to share your own expertise, please join us!  The collaborators can be reached at or individually.  

Thanks for listening! 

The Covid Conversations organizing team: 

Dr. Laurieann Klockow, Department of Biomedical Sciences  

Dr. Lezlie Knox, Department of History 

Benjamin Linzy, Department of History 

Dr. Samantha Mahjor, Department of English 

Dr. Sameena Mulla, Department of Social and Cultural Sciences 

Dr. Brittany Pladek, Department of English 

Elizabeth Wawrzyniak, Raynor Library and the Digital Scholarship Lab   


Podcast Episodes 

Series Introduction 

Lezlie Knox, Department of History, introduces the series (2 minutes) 

Episode 1: Narratives of Disease 


This conversation focuses on the expectations we bring to pandemics, including their timelines and human responses. It ranges from contemporary vaccine science to medieval laws to zombies, as these three scholars consider how we construct stories about disease and use them to understand our experience of it.  Participants include: 

Dr. Laurieann Klockow - a virologist who teaches in Biomedical Sciences, including a new class focused on understanding Covid-19.   

Dr. Lezlie Knox - a medieval historian who teaches a course on the Black Death and other historical pandemics. 

Dr. Brittany Pladek - a scholar of Romantic literature and its intersections with nineteenth-century medical practice. 

Episode 2: Race, Immigration, & COVID-19



This conversation focuses on the ways people blame immigrant communities for Covid-19 outbreaks and the historical and present contexts of these political orientations. In this discussion, we begin by asking how states sustain policies and practices that make some communities sicker and more at risk than others, whose behavior is attributed to racial identity and whose is not, as well as the strategies that immigrant communities share to resist racist narratives and to survive the pandemic. Participants include:  

Dr. Jeffrey Coleman- a scholar who teaches Spanish language and culture and studies immigrants in Spain and their representation in Spanish theater. 

Dr. Erin Hoekstra - a sociologist who studies medical humanitarianism and immigration in the Arizona-Mexico border region.  

Dr. Sameena Mulla - an anthropologist who studies and teaches about violence, law and medicine.

Episode 3: Native American Responses and Strategies for COVID-19



This conversation focuses on the unique perspectives and concerns of Native American tribal nations and communities in the face of Covid-19. We discuss the ways in which Native people both draw on generational knowledge and practices when faced with a new disease as well as new innovations that are helping us sustain and protect our communities during the pandemic. We also touch on unique challenges, like issues of funding, data collection, and reporting that Native communities face both in the local Milwaukee area and nationally. Participants include:

Dr. Samantha Majhor (Dakota/Assiniboine) – a Native literature scholar whose work focuses on Native American material philosophies and relationships between the humans and nonhuman

Dr. Mark Powless (Oneida Nation) – an advocate of Oneida language and culture, the director of Our Ways at the Indian Community School, and a Marquette alumnus who serves as a member of the Marquette University’s Council on Native American Affairs

Episode 4: Mask Up Marquette


This conversation focuses on mask-wearing and how the current science on COVID-19 transmission supports their effectiveness in preventing community spread.  We discuss when you should wear a mask, what you should consider in choosing one, who is and who is not wearing them, and why everyone should wear one if we hope to contain this virus and return to life together. Participants include: 

Dr. Paul Gasser - A biologist and neuroscientist in Biomedical Sciences who teaches biochemistry.

Mike Haischer (HSci ‘14) -  The research lab manager at the Athletic and Human Performance Research Center and a current PhD student in Exercise and Rehabilitation Science.

Dr. Laurieann Klockow - A virologist who teaches about microbiology, including a new class focused on understanding Covid-19.   

Dr. Paula Papanek - A physiologist and Director of Graduate Studies for Clinical and Translational Rehabilitation Science and faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy.

Episode 5: Adolescent Voices



In this podcast, we discuss various perspectives on how to put youth voices front and center as schools, colleges, and universities consider the coming academic year. We touch on the challenges young people and their families face, as well as strategies to elevate their perspectives and participation. We end by addressing the potential of restorative practices to heal and transform during this challenging time. Speakers include:

Gabriel Velez is an assistant professor of Educational Policy and Leadership in the College of Education at Marquette University currently working on a study of adolescent experiences of COVID-19. Twitter: @GabrielMVelez

Dorian Tellis is very immersed in the work of restorative practices and has taught various members of the community as well as organizations both locally and globally. Ms.Tellis’ email is

Antonio Butler works at the Center for Self Sufficiency in collaboration with the Office on Violence Prevention as a Restorative Practices practitioner and is on the front line of social justice. Facebook link:

Heather Sattler has taught in the Milwaukee Public Schools for 24 years and presently teaches Restorative Practice (RP) at The Alliance School and co-facilitates RP workshops and trainings with her current and former students as well as her work partner, Sharon Lerman.

Episode 6: Reading and Rereading During the Pandemic


This conversation focuses on the value of reencountering works of art—and especially writing—during a pandemic. We touch on how the meditative focus of re-reading can help combat doomscrolling and the attention deficit of a 24-hour bad-news cycle. We also discuss how returning to beloved written works can offer solace and strength during difficult times. Participants include:

Gerry Canavan - is an associate professor in the English Department here at Marquette, specializing in twentieth- and twenty-first-century literature. His first book, Octavia E. Butler, appeared in 2016 in the Modern Masters of Science Fiction series at the University of Illinois Press.

Angela Sorby - is a professor in the English Department at Marquette. She has published 4 single-author books and 2 edited collections. She has won multiple awards for her poetry, including a Midwest Book Award and the Brittingham Prize.

Amy Cooper Cary - is Head of Special Collections and University Archives in the Raynor Memorial Libraries at Marquette University. In addition to her MLIS, she holds a Masters in Comparative Literature and Translation, and is an eclectic reader with interests in British history and dystopian fiction.

Episode 7: Pivot to Digital


This conversation focuses on the efforts of the Center for Teaching and Learning & the Division of Digital Learning in facilitating Marquette's transition to online learning as a response to the initial COVID19 outbreak in the Spring of 2020. How they are preparing to support faculty in hybrid/online teaching for Fall 2020, and the opportunities to rethink the classroom towards the Jesuit value of Cura Personalis. Participants include:

Dr. Jennifer Maney - Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL)

Dr. María Parés-Toral - Director of Online Pedagogy and e-Learning Production with the Division of Digital Learning

Elizabeth Wawrzyniak - Digital Humanities Specialist, Raynor Memorial Libraries' Digital Scholarship Lab.

Episode 8: Mental Health Contexts and COVID 


This conversation focuses on how the COVID19 pandemic has impacted both individual and collective mental health in our community. The discussants outline the contexts that existed before the outbreak and how the outbreak has exacerbated the struggles of communities lacking mental health resources. Participants include:

Dr. Weneaka Jones - Clinical Assistant Professor, Counselor Education Counseling Psychology.

Dr. Alexandra Kriofske Mainella - Clinical Assistant Professor, Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology.

Dr. John Mantsch - Professor & Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences.

Episode 9: Politics and COVID

This week's conversation focuses on the intersection of the pandemic with the country's political climate. To understand the underlying challenges the pandemic plays to the functioning of the government. Participants include:

Dr. Amber Wichowsky - a political scientist whose research explores the intersections between politics and inequality, including class biases in turnout, money in electoral campaigns, and how public policy affects societal disparities.

Dr. Jula Azari - a political scientist whose research and teaching interests include the American presidency, American political parties, the politics of the American state, and qualitative research methods.

Dr. Sameena Mulla - an anthropologist who studies and teaches about violence, law, and medicine.

Episode 10: History and Catholic, Jesuit Contribution to Healthcare and COVID-19

This week the conversation centers around the historic contribution of both Catholicism and the Jesuit tradition to the evolution of Healthcare. And how that tradition informs responses to COVID-19 from both a healthcare and humanitarian perspective. Participants include:

Dr. Carmel Ruffolo - Ph.D., Medical Microbiology, Associate Vice President for Corporate Engagement, Office of Economic Engagement.

Dr. Alexandre A. Martins - Ph.D., Bioethics, Assistant Professor College of Nursing & Theology Department

Elizabeth Wawrzyniak - Digital Humanities Specialist, Raynor Memorial Libraries' Digital Scholarship Lab.

Episode 11: Privacy and Surveillance during a Pandemic

This week's discussion focuses on how the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement to work from home and online learning further blurred the lines between the public and the private—resulting in questions about balancing public safety with data privacy. Participants include:

Dr. Micahel Zimmer, Associate Professor in Marquette University's Department of Computer Science

Dr. Jessica Vitak, Associate Professor in the University of Maryland's  College of Information Studies and an affiliate professor in the Department of Communication

Episode 12: Public Health and the Managing of Pandemics

This week's conversation focuses on the role of public health in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It also highlights lessons learned from coping with prior epidemics. Participants include:

Dr. Joseph Byonanebye - Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Health Sciences, Marquette University. He teaches and researches public health and global health aspects.

Josh Knox, PA-C, M.A. - Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. He currently practices emergency medicine part-time and serves as the associate director of the Marquette University Emergency Medicine Post-graduate PA program.

Dr. Sameena Mulla -  Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences. She studies and teaches about violence, law, and medicine.

Episode 13: Marquette Research & the COVID Pandemic

This week's conversation focuses on research at Marquette University and how the COVID19 Pandemic has impacted researchers at both the student and faculty levels. The discussants also talk about the opportunities for collaboration; the current reality has presented. Participants include:

Dr. Jeanne Hossenlopp - Professor of Chemistry and Marquette University's Vice President for Research and Innovation.

Dr. Lezlie Knox - Associate Professor of History and History Department Chair.

Episode 14: COVID Longhaulers 


This week's conversation focuses on the emerging phenomenon of "COVID Longhaulers" and the challenges associated with tracking this phenomenon through healthcare data management systems. Participants include:

Dr. Jessica A. Pater - Research Scientist and Manager of the Health Services and Informatics Research Lab in the Parkview Research Center (PRC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dr. Shion Guha -  Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science. 

Dr. Sameena Mulla -  Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences. 

Episode 15: What Chicago’s Historic Bronzeville is Teaching us about Pandemics

Dr. Jane Peterson and Noel Hincha discuss their archeological efforts to recreate life in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. As a result of the Great Migration, the area became home to many Black Americans in the early twentieth century. COVID-19 interrupted their fieldwork but prompted them to pursue new methods and pay more attention to racial health disparities, especially in the context of the Influenza Pandemic of 1918–1919. Participants Include:

Dr. Jane Peterson - Professor of Anthropology in Marquette's Department of Social and Cultural Sciences.

Noel Hincha - A Spring 2020 Marquette University graduate with degrees in French & Anthropology working as a Field Technician for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Cultural Resource Management Program and the Commonwealth Heritage Group.

Dr. Alison Clark Efford - Associate Professor of History in Marquette's Department of History.

Episode 16: Undergraduate Research During COVID-19

This week two of Marquette University's outstanding undergraduates, Brooke McArdle & Gretchen Zirgaitis, join Dr. Lezlie Knox to discuss their undergraduate research, the importance of female mentorship, and the impact of the pandemic on undergraduate researchers. Participants include:  

Brooke McArdle - A Senior Majoring in Classical Languages & History. 

Gretchen Zirgaitis - A Junior studying Excercise Physiology in the Physical Therapy Program.

Dr. Lezlie Knox - Associate Professor of History and History Department Chair.

Episode 17: Death, Dying, & the COVID Pandemic 

This week we discuss ways that people have responded to previous pandemics and large-scale death events, and are there parallels to how people are responding today. Participants include:

Fr. Michael Maher, SJ, - Visiting Professor, Marquette University Department of History.

Dr. Amy Amendt-Raduege - English Adjunct Faculty, Whatcom Community College. 

Kat McConnell - Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student who studies bereavement and multicultural psychology. 

Elizabeth Wawrzyniak - Digital Humanities Specialist, Raynor Memorial Libraries' Digital Scholarship Lab.

Episode 18: How COVID-19 Has Changed How We Teach

This conversation, between three Marquette faculty who team-taught a course in Spring 2020, reflects on the ways in which COVID-19 has reshaped their pedagogy, from syllabus design to student expectations.

Participants include:

Dr. Michael Zimmer, Associate Professor in Marquette’s Department of Computer Science, is a privacy and internet ethics scholar, whose work focuses on digital privacy, internet research ethics, data ethics, and the broader social & ethical dimensions of emerging technologies.

Dr. Yoon Choi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Marquette University. She is interested in Kant’s philosophy as well as theories of self-consciousness and self-knowledge.

Dr. Brittany Pladek is Assistant Professor of English at Marquette University. She specializes in Romantic literature and literature and medicine.

Episode 19: Community-Engaged Research and Teaching in Times of COVID


This week our panelists talk about how they work with community partners to collaborate on research and interventions. Working in varying research areas, including nursing and racial disparities in maternal and health outcomes, the long civil rights movement and criminal justice reform, and autism and disability advocacy, the panelists think together about specific challenges that arise in their work. They discuss ways that the communities among whom we work are directly impacted both by COVID as well as movements for racial justice. How can we be better partners to our collaborators, and what lessons do we bring to our students that we learn from our communities? Participants include:

Dr. Karen Robinson, Associate Professor of Nursing

Dr. Robert Smith, Johns Chair of Urban Studies, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for Urban Research, Teaching and Outreach

Dr. Amy Van Hecke, Professor of Psychology

Dr. Sameena Mulla, Associate Professor of Anthropology

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