Ada Jaarsma wearing headphones

About Us

The Learning Gene is a collaborative project, undertaken by undergrads, grad students, recent graduates and professors. The Learning Gene is facilitated by Ada Jaarsma, who is professor of Philosophy at Mount Royal University, located on the traditional territories of the Blackfoot and the people of Treaty 7 in Calgary, AB Canada.  Ada teaches existentialism, critical theory, feminist philosophy, continental philosophy and philosophy of science. Her book Kierkegaard after the Genome: Science, Existence and Belief in This World  (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) explores the existential significance of placebos, epigenetics and science studies.  Additional publications can be found here. Ada’s CV is here.  Listen to a conversation about her teaching here, and read about her philosopher-portraits here.

close-up of Kaitlin Rothberger

Kaitlin Rothberger studies philosophy and gender studies at York University in Toronto. She’s a reporter-in-the-field for The Learning Gene podcast, tracking and exploring the dramas that beset undergraduate classrooms. Kaitlin has wide-ranging interests in feminist, critical, disability and queer theory, philosophy and pedagogy.

close-up of Namrata Mitra

Namrata Mitra teaches English at Iona College in New York. In addition to research in postcolonial literature and political philosophy, she is working on a study of the somatic, affective and relational nature of shame. She also researches the creative dissonances at play within classrooms—a theme that you can hear more about in the first episodes of The Learning Gene podcast. Her primary interest in the medium of the podcast is that it can host exchanges, pauses, and reflections in rhythms similar to the ones enacted in the classroom. She hopes that one day her students will also participate in the podcast. mega888official

Close-up of Melody Morton Ninomiya

Melody E. Morton Ninomiya is postdoctoral fellow at CAMH and a sessional lecturer in Applied Health Studies at the University of Waterloo and Health Sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University. In her teaching on public and population health, Indigenous determinants of health, and health communication, she is constantly experimenting and exploring the use of storytelling and creative mediums for presenting synthesized knowledge – mediums such as podcasts, radio PSAs, infographics, flip books, whiteboard animation videos, and comic strips. Melody loves collaborating across disciplines to see how radically different viewpoints carve out new ways of thinking and doing. i918kiss

Close up photo of Tara Pedersen

Tara E. Pedersen is an Associate Professor of Literature and the Director of Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. She has a passion for Early Modern Literature, communicating ideas in elegant and unexpected ways, mermaids, and opening up spaces in the classroom that invite students to develop their own questions, embrace risk taking, and find joy in the surprising conclusions that learning often generates.

close-up of Kyle Kinaschuk

Kyle Kinaschuk is a doctoral student in the Department of English where he studies contemporary poetics and questions of elegy, mourning, and vulnerability. At the Learning Gene, Kyle tracks the soundscapes of graduate student research and teaching.

close-up of Anna Mudde

Anna Mudde listens to podcasts and teaches philosophy in Regina, Canada, on Treaty 4 land. Peter Gzowski’s CBC radio conversations were the soundtrack of her childhood, and she likes to keep her mind busy while she does things with her hands — so: podcasts! Her interest in the critical philosophical possibilities of audio essays, her appreciation for the artful skill of an interview done well (and badly!), and wondering about the potential for podcasts to form philosophical launch points or “texts,” make The Learning Gene an exciting place for her to think with others about podcasts. You can see more about her work at

[Listening for things we don’t know how to listen for]