Biology Student Launches STEMology Podcast

Alynah Adams created a niche for students pursuing science, technology, engineering and math degrees

Alynah Adams ‘20

Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri

High school: Liberty North High School

Degree program: B.S. Biology, minor Chemistry

Get to know our people and you’ll know what UMKC is all about.

Alynah Adams has explored a few areas that intrigued her academically, but with her interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and with her sights set on the medical field – she decided to create a podcast for other students like her.

“Science students like to talk science, but there’s not always a space to do that,” says Adams, who is majoring in biology at UMKC. “I was talking about this with some of my friends one day and thought, ‘Someone should start a podcast.’ And then I thought, ‘Why not me?’”

Once she had the concept in mind, she started coming up with potential names. Her friends were her focus group.

“I sent about 30 friends 10 podcast names,” she says. “Within a day they helped me settle on ‘STEMology: The Young Scientists Survival Guide.’”

Adams’ parents had encouraged her to try different things. She played college volleyball in Nebraska for two years before transferring to UMKC. At one point she considered a journalism degree, but her focus kept coming back to a career in the medical field. These two interests peacefully coexist on STEMology.

“Science students like to talk science, but there’s not always a space to do that.”-Alynah Adams

While her interview subjects have a common interest, their backgrounds and focus are different.

“Mostly, I try to choose based on what people are studying in school now and their future plans,” Adams says. “But I reach out to my professional network, too.”

Close to home, Adams has interviewed Tammy Welchert, associate teaching professor, director of student affairs and academic advising in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, on information high school students should know that will help on the first day of college classes and beyond. In a recent episode, Adams interviewed one of her mentors, David Tung, Ph.D. of BioMed Valley Discoveries, on the importance of developing mentoring relationships. In the interview, Tung outlines elements of a beneficial mentoring relationship that goes beyond a resume entry. He sees a real advantage in making interviews like Adams’ available for interested students.

“I was an engineer by training before I went into drug discovery research,” Tung says. “There were a lot of encounters in this vocation that surprised and shocked me. I feel that while everyone is trying to get more minorities and females into the STEM world, no one has actually provided an honest picture of how life is really like.  

“I’ve always known what I wanted to do. My compass has always pointed North." - Alynah Adams

Having the intellect to survive in this business is only part of the story. Having the aptitude to endure and excel is something that is seldom addressed. In all these conversations, the words 'happiness' and 'fulfillment' were never mentioned. Alynah has always wanted to share her experiences and help others.”

Adams worked with Tung on a research project for a family in England who needed information on Sengers Syndrome, a rare mitochondrial autoimmune disorder from which their son was suffering.

“Only 44 people in the world have this condition,” Adams says. “I was able to find information on what might help mitigate the symptoms and what won’t. I put it in presentation form and we presented it to the family and their team of medical professionals. It was amazing for me to able to directly affect their lives.”

Adams’ parents have encouraged her to explore opportunities in health care that go beyond being a physician.

“I’ve thought about being a pharmacist and a few different specialties,” she says. “But it’s always been about health care. I may be an anomaly, but I’ve always known what I wanted to do. My compass has always pointed north."