Find Your People: A Conversation About Meaningful Connections


Welcome to The Academic Life! In this episode you’ll hear:

  • How part of the hidden curriculum is the support networks you need to create for yourself;
  • How you create that by “finding your people” and what qualities to look for in those people;
  • Determining whether they belong in an advisor, mentor, thought partner, or academic friend role, and ways those relationships may transcend time and institutions;
  • Barriers to making connections and to being authentic;
  • And the importance of asking, “does this have my best interest at heart?”
  • Dana’s personal examples of why we need to be intentional in community building.

Our guest is: Dr. Dana Malone is a scholar and practitioner energized by facilitating meaningful learning experiences for students and educators alike. She loves connecting with kindred academic spirits and collaborating on inspiring projects. When she’s not having engaging conversations on The Academic Life channel, she writes, teaches, and works with institutions on a contract basis. Her specialty areas include student cultures, the intersection of gender, sexuality, and religious identities as well as student success and assessment and evaluation. Dana is the author of From Single to Serious. She counts herself fortunate to have made many meaningful connections that sustain her as she journeys through life and the academy.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian specializing in women and the environment, the writings of under-represented voices, and in public engagement with the humanities. She believes everyone deserves to have the support they need inside and outside academia. It was out of this belief this that she co-created and co-founded the Academic Life channel on NBN with Dr. Dana Malone in the summer of 2020. She and Dr. Malone work as the co-producers and hosts of the Academic Life. This is the channel’s 81st episode.

  • Listeners to this episode might also be interested in:
  • How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong
  • Being Well in Academia: Ways to Feel Stronger, Safer and More Connected by Petra Boynton
  • Radical Friendship: Seven Ways to Love Yourself and Find Your People in an Unjust World by Kate Johnson
  • Dana’s conversation with Dr. Claire Renzetti about mentoring in academe
  • Dana’s episode on creating a mentor network
  • Christina’s conversation with Dr. Frank Martell about making a meaningful life through connection

You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. We reach across our mentor network to bring you experts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring on an expert about something? DM us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN

Your Host

Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler is the creator, show host, and producer of the Academic Life podcast. She holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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