Amplifying the Stories of Emerging Podcasters

Amplifying the Stories of Emerging Podcasters

In June, we hosted our first-ever Sound Up Bootcamp, a weeklong intensive for aspiring female podcasters of color, as part of our larger Black History is Happening Now initiative. The ten attendees were selected from over 18,000 applications.

They spent the week learning about everything from storytelling and voice to editing, marketing, and distribution from facilitators Rekha Murthy and Graham Griffith, and experts like Nadia Reiman (This American Life), Brittany Luse (Gimlet), and Leila Day (The Stoop). They also received a private tour at WNYC's Greene Space, and attended a mixer for podcasters of color held at Spotify and cohosted by Podcasts in Color.

At the end of the week, the ten women pitched their ideas in front of a panel of judges including New York Times bestselling author and podcaster Luvvie Ajayi, Jenna Weiss-Berman (Pineapple Street Media), Nishat Kurwa (Vox), and Spotify's Global Head of Original Audio and Podcasts, Dossie McCraw. The top three ideas were awarded $10,000 to make their pilots.

Meet the three winners and get to know more about their podcasts.

Janina Jeff, In Those Genes, which focuses on genetics and the black community, with cohost Ashley Huderson

Dr. Janina Jeff, PhD is a Human Geneticist and the first African American to graduate with a PhD in Human Genetics from Vanderbilt University. She is currently a Senior Scientist at Illumina, a biotech company that creates technology for companies such as and 23 & Me. Her research career was focused on population genetics, specifically studying admixed populations (descendants with African ancestry) and discovering population specific genetic risk factors of common disease. Dr. Jeff’s passion however deeply rooted in the community. She is a STEAM-activist, educator, motivational speaker, and now a podcaster! Dr. Jeff has recently been the face for African American Geneticist as she was the cover feature for The Network Journal and the Spelman Messenger discussing her journey and future aspirations. Janina attributes her success to her “village” which includes her late grandfather, Dr. Morris F.X. Jeff Jr. (social worker and civil right activist and the first PhD in the family), her family, and her close circle of sister-friends from her alma mater Spelman College, the leader in producing black women with PhD in STEM fields.

Kristina Ogilvie was raised overseas as an army brat and returned to the US to finish high school and go to college and grad school. She recently moved from Chicago to Washington DC to be closer to her family, and currently works at a national nonprofit aid organization. Her podcast is called Your Job Seems Easy and it aims to give working women of color the Terry Gross treatment - telling their stories and creating awareness of what America's working class actually looks like. You can find Your Job Seems Easy here and as seemseasypod on all social platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)

People think that when a woman of color does a job, that means it's easy, but it's more along the lines of a woman of color is doing her job, and having to do it despite discrimination, despite sexual harassment on occasion, despite all kinds of drama. And then they also make it look easy.   

– Kristina Ogilvie

Titilayo (Titi) Shodiya is from Upper Marlboro, MD but currently lives in Washington DC. She’s 30 and received her B.S. in materials science and engineering from Penn State University, and her PhD in mechanical engineering and materials science from Duke University. Titi is currently a program manager at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the National Voluntary Lab Accreditation Program (NVLAP). Her podcast, Dope Labs, is a show that taps into your inner scientist by showing the intersections of science and pop culture.

We're going to be showing the intersection between science and pop culture, and making it really fun and relatable and accessible to everyone.   

– Titi Shodiya

Learn more about the other attendees.

Amanda B.

Why were cats gods in ancient Egypt but Satan's familiar by Europe's Middle Ages? Why do serial killers and despots hate cats? Are cats influencing our gender norms? Who was Muezza? Let's talk CATS.

Your host, Amanda B. is a Korea-born, Midwest-bred NYC-based musician & sexual / intimate partner violence prevention educator. Throughout this podcast, listeners will explore the longstanding & diverse kinships between human and feline, hearing from experts in culture, history & science about the surprising connections we have to our self-possessed, autonomous (& often misunderstood) furry counterparts.

Shonté Daniels

Shonté Daniels is a poet and games journalist, currently working as an Editorial Associate at Rewire.News. Her podcast will be a conversation with people who go ignored in the gaming community about the games that defined them and the reason they play.

Tiara Darnell

Tiara Darnell is a freelance writer, podcaster, and videographer based in Portland, Oregon.

She finds purpose in telling the stories of underrepresented communities. Her work focuses on cannabis, music, culture, and lifestyle. Tiara's work has appeared in Portland Monthly, Sprudge, Willamette Week, and Medium among other publications.

She is currently the host and producer of High, Good People a "potcast" (podcast) about cannabis in the new age of legalization from the perspective of people of color.

Tiara is a Maryland native, and a returned Peace Corps Morocco volunteer. She holds dual Masters of Science in Strategic Communications and Multimedia Journalism from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.

Ivy Le

Ivy Le is a Vietnamese-American marketer, mom, and immigration activist in Austin, Texas. Her show is “FOGO: Fear of Going Outside,” a nature show with the most reluctant host ever -- follow it on Instagram and Twitter.

Gabriela Quintana

Gaby Quintana is from the beautiful town of Cuernavaca in Mexico where she grew up listening to her mother’s ghost stories which resulted in a passion for anything horror and a severe case of insomnia. Those stories were the inspiration for her podcast - a show that celebrates people's supernatural tales and views them as gateways into the storytellers' family, community, and culture. Gaby moved to the Bay Area to attend Stanford University and double major in art history and English. After graduating, she decided to stick around the bay and has worked with multiple nonprofits teaching filmmaking, feminist art, media studies, and why Tyler the Creator is one of her idols. She has collected and shared the stories of SF’s immigrant populations for the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs and was Chief Academic Officer of Next Generation Scholars, a college access nonprofit where her students taught her the meaning of “esketit.” Currently, she is working with the amazing Florencia Manovil (Dyke Central) on an independent film that centers queer women of color and trans/non-binary characters. If you have any supernatural stories of your own, please make sure to reach out. She is excitedly awaiting your call!


Sun is a photographer, writer and pseudo adult trying to figure out what to be when she grows up. Her podcast is about how Muslims date and find partnerships, incorporating the queer and trans Muslim experience.

Doreen Wang

Doreen W. is a Taiwanese American community organizer and writer with a background in environmental philanthropy, museum education and exhibitions, and searching for the Chinese diaspora in Latin America. She is currently working on an audio documentary where she and her grandmother talk story about the men they loved, the borders the crossed, and how history is chasing them down.

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