Andrew Kim Launches "Get to Know" Podcast for Other Med Students

August 9, 2021

As the start of his first year in the College of Human Medicine approached last fall, Andrew Kim looked forward to meeting his classmates.

COVID-19 scuttled that. As the world now knows, in-person learning was deemed a health hazard.

“The best we got was Zoom,” Kim said, so he began thinking of another way to meet his classmates and allow them to meet each other: He would create and host a weekly podcast featuring interviews with his classmates, he decided.

Getting it off the ground would take more than an idea. His only experience with podcasts was as a listener. Kim thought about it for a few months. “I haven’t done anything like this before,” he said. “There was a lot of self-doubt.”

Encouraged by other students, he took the leap, bought recording and editing equipment, draped fabric on the bedroom walls of his Grand Rapids apartment to dampen the sound, and last May launched “Get to Know,” a series of weekly interviews with College of Human Medicine students.

His interviews can be found on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and on his Instagram page.

From the start, Kim decided he’d be happy if 10 students listened each week. As of the end of July, his nine episodes have attracted about 700 unique listeners, he said, a modest audience by some standards, but respectable given his target audience. Kim estimated that about a quarter of the nearly 200 students who enrolled with him have tuned in.

His goal is to include a diversity of students. “I don’t want to exclude anybody because they don’t think they have a story to tell,” Kim said. “I believe everyone has a story.”

His subjects are varied: a classmate who combines his interest in art and fashion with medicine, one who studied political philosophy before deciding on a career in medicine, another who enrolled at age 40 after serving as a Green Beret medic.

He describes his podcasts as “a work in progress.” His style is informal and conversational. Each episode is about 40 minutes, although Kim estimated he spends six to eight hours each week conducting the interview, editing it down and uploading it. That’s a lot of time in addition to his studies, but it is time well spent, he said.

“I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile,” Kim said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot.”

Could it lead to a career combining medicine with broadcasting, like that of CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta?

“If it leads to something else,” he said, “so be it.”