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


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. 

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Skip Wiltshire-Gordon

Assistant DIRECTOR 

Skip Wiltshire Gordon is a junior from Wilmette, Illinois, pursuing a dual major in Government and History. This spring, Skip will transition into the role of Director of Free Food for Thought. In addition to the podcast, Skip works at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and helps teach music theory to local youth through Uncommon Good. In the Fall of 2017, Skip studied in Washington, D.C. and interned on Capitol Hill for Rep. Mike Quigley. When not recording podcasts, Skip can be found reading POLITICO, listening to music, and snacking on almonds -- sometimes all at once.


Wesley Whitaker

Media Technology

Wesley Whitaker is a senior from Denver, Colorado, pursuing a degree in Philosophy and Public Affairs. At Free Food for Thought, Wesley embraces his inner geek by managing the podcast studio and its equipment. For the 2017-18 academic year, Wesley is serving as one of the Athenaeum's Woolley Fellows, who are responsible for introducing speakers and facilitating discussion with students at the head table. 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. 



Melanie Wolfe


Melanie is a sophomore from South Florida pursuing a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics with a sequence in Public Policy Analysis. She joined the Free Food for Thought team to explore her passion for podcasts by becoming a content creator herself—just try and catch her without headphones in at least one ear. Besides podcasting, Melanie researches redistricting policy at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and spends her Friday evenings working on policy proposals of her own with her new campus organization, Roosevelt @ the Claremont Colleges. 

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Kate Ridenour

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 government ethics. Kate spent this past summer in Washington D.C. working for K&L Gates as the Lloyd Meeds Policy Fellow.

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.


Zach Wong

Zach Wong is a junior at Claremont McKenna College majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.  On campus, he conducts research for the Rose Institute of State and Local Government, managed the Free Food for Thought podcast in the Spring of 2017, and competes on CMC’s Model UN Team.  In the Fall of 2017, Zach studied in Washington, D.C. and interned for the American Enterprise Institute’s Government Relations team.  In the future, Zach hopes to attend law school and pursue appellate litigation or policy work on Capitol Hill. Outside of school, Zach is an incorrigible coffee snob, hobbyist photographer, and recreational road cyclist.

Christian Curcio

Christian is a sophomore at CMC, where he majors in Math and Economics and is the running back on the football team.  Originally from the North East, his hobbies consist of fishing, skiing and sports.  He was interested in the Free Food for Thought podcast due to its ability to interview Ath speakers.  Aside from some of the serious speakers, Christian enjoys discussing sports and comedy.


Salone Goel

Salonee Goel is a sophomore at Claremont McKenna College who comes from Hong Kong. She is pursuing a dual degree in International Relations and Media Studies. In addition to Free Food For Thought, Salonee is a fellow at the CARE Center on campus. In her free time, Salonee enjoys making Spotify playlists, watching Vine compilations and playing the guitar badly.


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.


Nick Sage

Nick is from Seattle, Washington, and is majoring in History and Government at Claremont McKenna. Nick has worked as a research intern at the Harry S Truman Presidential Library in the summer of 2015. He also worked as a curator for the civic startup ActiveGiver in 2016, which is working on a crowd-funding style campaign finance platform. In the summer of 2017, he was awarded CMC’s Appel Fellowship, and drove 9,500 miles around the United States writing about American history and politics. On campus, Nick serves as a student steward for the history department.

Connor Sinclair

Connor Sinclair is a sophomore from Alamo, California, pursuing a degree in Economics and Film Studies. Connor is a defensive lineman on the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps football team and enjoys fishkeeping, producing multimedia, and browsing Reddit for the hottest memes. He can be found conversing with friends in Collins dining hall or sleeping on the beach in his spare time. Connor's career ambition is to produce film and other forms of entertainment...and maybe make a few people laugh on his journey through the cosmos.


Michael Waters

Michael is a sophomore at Pomona College, pursuing a degree in History. This summer he worked as an Editorial Fellow at Atlas Obscura, where he wrote about everything from 15th-century university hazing techniques to the fascist roots of clothing made from milk. In his free time he can be found writing middle grade books and overusing Lucille Bluth GIFs.


Sam Whittemore

Sam Whittemore is a sophomore at Claremont Mckenna College from Mill Valley, California. Currently he is pursuing a degree in Economics and looking to add Philosophy as a second major. His love for learning, comedy, and storytelling quickly turned into a passion for podcasts. In his free time, Sam enjoys watching the Warriors win, playing basketball, and reading fantasy novels.


Will Frankel

Will is a freshman from Shaker Heights, Ohio, majoring in Government. He became interested in podcasting by falling asleep to Coast to Coast AM every night as a 10-year-old. In high school, Will participated in Public Forum debate, his school newspaper, and was on the Youth Forum Council of the Cleveland City Club. Will is also a research assistant at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government and a staff writer at The Claremont Journal of Law and Public Policy. In his free time, Will reads Axios AM and watches Cleveland baseball and Bojack Horseman.