Two generations, one mic: the Quinnipiac mother-daughter podcast debunking science myths

Tesni Phillips ’16 and her mother, Kate Phillips, a long-time professor at Quinnipiac, launched a podcast called “Who Told You That” focused on science, health and fitness myths in the age of social media misinformation.

Quinnipiac quickly became home for the Phillips mother-daughter duo as soon as they moved to the area. When Kate started teaching as an adjunct professor of anatomy and physiology, she fell in love with the Bobcat community, which led her to take on a full-time position on campus for many years. Tesni followed in her mother’s footsteps when she enrolled in 2012 to study entrepreneurship.

“My time at Quinnipiac taught me a lot about hard work and resilience which has been very important for me in my professional career,” said Tesni. “My career path has not been a straight and simple one, so being able to balance multiple projects and jobs was very important in getting to where I am now. I learned to balance my classes and workload with playing rugby and teaching spin at York Hill while also working a part-time job so that really prepared me for my years after graduation.”

Since walking across the stage at graduation, Tesni founded her own custom shoe designer business, Shoe B_tch, works as the marketing manager for Nina Berenato Jewelry and collaborates with her mother on their weekly podcast episodes.

The concept behind “Who Told You That” was born when Tesni and her friends would send health and fitness “hack” TikToks to Kate, wondering about the truth behind the videos. When this became a regular occurrence, the duo decided a podcast would allow them to explore the misinformation represented on social media.

“It really all came about as a result of us genuinely having these conversations together and having a giggle but also each of us finding out useful information about science on social media,” said Kate. “We felt that other people might enjoy listening to our interactions as we come with a very different skill set.”

Kate has an extensive background in science, while Tesni has a background in social media marketing and management, creating a fascinating dynamic to listen to through their episodes. The two are constantly finding new topics to discuss, as the world of science is seemingly limitless, they said.

“We've both gained insight into each other's worlds and speaking personally, I've loved hearing Tess understand and then frame the science in her own way. I think our listeners have really enjoyed that,” said Kate. “People seem to really enjoy our dynamic as well as being lead through the science in a basic but hopefully not condescending way.”

This show is the very first podcast experience for the two women and they continue to learn from each other as they record weekly. Kate’s time as a professor is often referenced throughout the show, as well as Tesni’s academic experience at Quinnipiac. The duo will bounce off one another chatting about science concepts and questions, while providing research methods that are straightforward and accessible for listeners.

“I didn’t really like science growing up but the more I talk about it with my mom through this podcast, the more I absolutely love it and find it incredibly interesting,” said Tesni. “She does a great job of explaining complicated science topics in a way me and my artsy brain can understand. At times it definitely makes me consider a new career path and try something with a little more science in it!”

“Who Told You That” currently draws in listeners from the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia. Episodes can be found on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts.

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