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Alumni Magazine

The BME Grad Podcast

A lasting resource for BME students and alumni — available wherever you listen to podcasts

Allie Mitzak and Brian Kim

Navigating the end of college and the start of a career is tricky — especially during a pandemic that cut off in-person interactions for months.

Out of these challenging circumstances came The BME Grad Podcast, co-hosted by recent alumni of the UNC/NC State Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME). On the podcast, hosts and guests offer insights and advice on pursuing paths in the medical technology industry. During the pandemic, it was especially helpful to BME students who missed out on networking opportunities and were struggling to figure out where they fit into the job market.

The BME Grad Podcast logo with blue lettering and photos of hosts Allie Mitzak, left, and Brian Kim.

Allie Mitzak, BME ‘19 and product manager at Teleflex, and Brian Kim, BME ‘19 and associate project manager at Stryker, are the current co-hosts.

“Our goal has been to create a resource for the BME community,” Mitzak said. “That’s at the front of our minds, to make this resource accessible and ever-growing.”

Mitzak started hosting Zoom calls in 2020 with Grace Cronin, BME ‘19 and former co-host, to help students navigate their post-graduation challenges. After noticing some common themes and questions, the two started The BME Grad Podcast.

Kim was the guest on the first episode released in January 2021. He became a co-host of the podcast for its second season last April.

Episodes cover different early career paths available to BME students, share tips on interview preparation and feature graduate students talking about their master’s and Ph.D. programs, among other topics. Some guests are just a few years out of college. Others are established professionals in their fields.

“A lot of it was rooted in our questions from when we were in undergrad, or our struggles,” Kim said. “It was a way for us to share introspective thoughts to students who are currently living it in this moment, from a couple years down the line.”

The podcast is reaching its intended audience: 75 percent of listeners are aged 18-27. While most listenership is in North Carolina, they have listeners across the United States. Biomedical engineering educators have told Mitzak and Kim that they’re tuning in to better understand jobs students are starting.

“The things people are thanking us for in the show are exactly what we set out to do,” Mitzak said.

BME faculty and staff members are supportive, and they have been featured on episodes and suggested guests for the show. Mitzak, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill graduate, and Kim, an NC State University graduate, were both drawn to the department because of the partnership between the two universities. Each was the other’s closest friend from the other campus.

The BME Grad Podcast now has 50 episodes, and plans for the third season are in the works. Episodes are available on a variety of platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and Audible.