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 is a junior from Sugar Land, Texas, pursuing a dual-major in Government and History at Claremont McKenna College. Her interest in people and podcasts led her to start Free Food (for Thought) with some of her closest friends. On campus, Shivani in involved with the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, and a student journalist for the Asia Experts Forum. 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 

Zach Wong is a sophomore from Chicago, IL. He is interested in majoring in International Relations at CMC. He likes Free Food (for Thought) because it offers insight into the minds of incredible people in an engaging and convenient format. When not taking photos, Zach can be found halfway up a mountain on his bike, competing with the Model UN team, or studying and debating the intricacies of modern politics.


Wesley Edwards

Media Technology

Wes Edwards is a junior 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 junior from the greater Chicago area, dual majoring in Government and Economics. Outside of Free Food (for Thought), Kate serves on the Executive Board for CMC’s Model UN team, is Director General for this year’s McKennaMUN conference, 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 sophomore from Wilmette, IL 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.

Jacqueline Siegler


Jacqueline Siegler is a Sophomore Government major at Claremont McKenna born and raised in Los Angeles California. She is passionate about responsible governance, culture, aesthetics, and learning about what makes people happy. Jacqueline is involved with student efforts to promote gender equality on campus by leading the club Power of Women and as an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, she is also a part of the college’s Mock Trial Team. As a bonafide podcast junkie she is ecstatic to join the Free Food for Thought team and hopes to help grow the show so that people beyond the Claremont community can enjoy the interesting stories our guests have to share. 

Shiv Pandya


Shiv Pandya is a freshman at Pomona College from Sugar Land, Texas, considering to major in Economics or International Relations. 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 junior 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 junior 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 junior 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.