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: 

Elizabeth Gibes, Raynor Library and the Digital Scholarship Lab   

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 Wawryzniak, 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.

Expand all   |   Collapse all