College students like free food and interesting thoughts. 


Free Food for Thought is a student run podcast that aims to connect college students with thought leaders. Many students’ hectic schedules prohibit them from attending live speaker events, so Free Food for Thought has transformed content into downloadable podcasts that students can listen to on the go through Soundcloud and iTunes. Going beyond prepared remarks, the podcast gives speakers the opportunity to share their personal passions and stories. By allowing listeners to learn more about speakers, Free Food for Thought hopes students will be able to connect in more meaningful ways with the speakers and their message.

Listen to our most recent podcast

Listen to our most recent alumni interview

Who We Are

We created this podcast to share unique ideas with the world.

Shivani Pandya

Executive Director, Founder

Shivani Pandya is a senior from Sugar Land, Texas, pursuing a degree in Government at Claremont McKenna College. Her interest in people and podcasts led her to start Free Food for Thought in early 2016. On campus, Shivani is also Technology/Data Manager of the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. In her free time, Shivani enjoys watching her beloved Packers win, reading books about World War II, and watching anything created by Joss Whedon and Aaron Sorkin. 

Zachary Wong

Assistant DIRECTOR 

Zachary Wong is a junior from Hinsdale, Illinois, pursuing a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.  On campus, Zach is a member of the Model UN team and Rose Institute of State and Local Government. He spent summer 2017 working on a political campaign in New Zealand and a ranch in Southern California. Zach will spend the fall of 2017 working for the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.  An incorrigible coffee snob, Zach also enjoys road cycling and taking photos.


Wesley Edwards

Media Technology

Wesley Edwards is a senior from Denver, Colorado, pursuing a degree in Philosophy and Public Affairs with a sequence in Ethics. At Free Food for Thought, Wes embraces his inner geek by improving storytelling through the use of technology. On campus he works at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and is a member of the Claremont Art Council and Claremont Captures Volunteer Photography Club. Wesley spent most of 2016 abroad, studying photography in Prague and then working for Young in Prison in Cape Town, South Africa where he assisted in music therapy in Pollsmoor prison. 


Kate Ridenour

Public Outreach

Kate Ridenour is a senior from the greater Chicago area, majoring in Government. Outside of Free Food for Thought, Kate serves as President of CMC’s Model UN team and works at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government. She intends to pursue a law degree and a career in public policy, focusing on campaign finance reform and lobbying regulation. Kate spent this past summer in Washington D.C. working for Polaris on the Global Programs team.

Skip Wiltshire-Gordon

Alumni Series

Skip Wiltshire Gordon is a junior from Wilmette, Illinois, pursuing a dual major in Government and History. In addition to Free Food For Thought, Skip works at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and helps teach music theory to underprivileged youth through Uncommon Good. When not recording podcasts, Skip can be found reading the New York Times, listening to baseball, and snacking on almonds. Sometimes all at once.

Shiv Pandya


Shiv Pandya is a sophomore at Pomona College from Sugar Land, Texas, pursuing a degree in Economics. His interest in economics and world affairs grew after working with his local mayor and from having a very debate-oriented family. In his free time, Shiv enjoys watching any historical or sci-fi TV shows, reading, and playing the occasional game of badminton.

Melissa Muller


Melissa is a senior at Claremont McKenna College double majoring in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics and Government, which she realizes is confusing. Besides Free Food (for Thought),  Melissa is involved with the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, the Center for Writing and Public Discourse, and the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College. She is very interested in what you have to say regarding Settlers of Catan, privacy rights, rock climbing, and all different kinds of cheeses!

Nisha Behrman


Nisha is a senior at Claremont McKenna College from the Seattle area. She is a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics Major and is passionate about government. On campus, Nisha is also involved in SOURCE, a nonprofit consulting group and the CMC admissions office. In her free time, Nisha enjoys nature walks (not to be confused with hikes), playing Scrabble, and listening to podcasts of course! 

Lauren Giurata


Lauren is a senior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in International Relations and Spanish.  She is originally from Woodside, CA, but also lived in Zaragoza, Spain during a year-long study abroad program in high school.  On campus, in addition to working for Free Food for Thought, Lauren is a campus tour guide, a research assistant at the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, a member of the Model United Nations team, as well as Fundraising Chair for buildOn.  In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading, going to the beach, and eating delicious food.