Geetika Pandya, Lucas Duffy, and Cara Nolan (left to right) recording an episode of Theory of Change. Photo by Karen Jimeno.
This month, second-year Master of Development Practice (MDP) students launched Theory of Change, a podcast that highlights issues relevant to development studies and the MDP program. Created, written, and produced by the students, it’s slated to feature about two episodes per month.
“Theory of Change is essentially a medium for the students in the MDP program to share their experiences in international development,” says Geetika Pandya, a second-year student in the MDP who focuses on women’s development around health and economic opportunity, among other issues. “It goes a step further to examine the personal stories that brought people to this program, and their motivation to continue advocating for and working toward change in society.”
To date, the group has produced four episodes, with rotating hosts and guests. Every episode is organized around a central theme, geography, or topic, the idea for which typically arises organically from informal brainstorming. Past episodes have featured students recounting their experiences working abroad in Uganda, talking about the climate crisis, or discussing how the private and government sectors intersect in international development.
The podcast team (left to right): Lucas Duffy, Cara Nolan, Selena Wang-Thomas, Jennifer Liu, Geetika Pandya, Christianne Aikins, Guillaume Hansel, and Daniel Payares Montoya. All students are second-years in the MDP program. Photo by Bianca Oetiker.
The idea for Theory of Change came about last year when the group was thinking about how to capitalize on the cohort’s rich diversity of experience. While the MDP program has a blog, the students wanted a more interactive, central venue through which they could share research, ideas, and projects at length with the community and professional networks.
Geetika and her classmates plan to post at least five more episodes before graduating in May, at which point she hopes continuing MDP students can take over the production process. She views the podcast as a great resource not only for students and the college, but for prospective applicants to learn about the MDP program before applying.
Geetika says that the interdisciplinary nature of MDP, with students from diverse cultures, countries, and backgrounds, has offered a vast, eclectic mix of material. "Podcasts are a wonderful medium to tell stories and the MDP definitely has many of them,” she says. “Theory of Change is just an attempt to have those stories heard."