My ultimate fangirl moment
By Lauren Quinn
September 17, 2018

I listen to podcasts all the time – while I’m cooking dinner, cleaning up around the house, or walking around the neighborhood. I tend to favor the NPR podcasts, including This American Life, Embedded, and Up First. But one of my all-time favorites is NPR’s Hidden Brain. The show focuses on social sciences research and reveals, in an engaging and relatable style, the “whys” behind common human behaviors. I’ve found nearly every episode to be simply fascinating. And I’ve heard them all.

So, you can imagine my reaction when an email arrived a few months ago from one of the producers on Hidden Brain. He and the show’s host, Shankar Vedantam, had learned about the work of ACES researcher Ming Kuo, and they wanted to set up an interview with her for a future show. The producer, Thomas Lu, was having a hard time reaching Ming and hoped I could help.

I may have screamed a little bit from my office.

Immediately, I got in touch with Ming, who studies the effects of nature and urban greening on human health and behavior in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences. It turned out she was just getting back to Thomas herself and was happy to do the interview. Thomas set up a remote link to WILL studios, and the interview was set.

As a public information officer at ACES, part of my job is serving as a liaison between media and our researchers. Technically, by putting Thomas and Ming together, my job here was done. But, being a massive fangirl, I weaseled my way into accompanying Ming to the studio and listening in from an adjacent sound booth.

It was everything I hoped it would be. Ming gave a great interview about her incredible work – she has empirically demonstrated that urban green space increases health outcomes and decreases crime and violence rates – and I got to hear Shankar unscripted. I was in heaven. And of course I got the selfie to prove it!

Please go listen and share with friends.