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Getting the Most Out of Your DNA Results (ft. Diahan Southard)

  • Episode #2

Episode summary: How do you create an online course about DNA and genealogy and make it interesting and understandable to people? First, you become an expert in the field and start your own DNA education company. You work with DNA tests that people have taken and use the results to help them better understand their family history. And when a pandemic hits, you pivot your knowledge of genetics into something that is accessible online.

In this episode, our hosts Danny Iny and Abe Crystal will take a closer look at the course “Your DNA Guide”.  The course creator, Diahan Southard, is a microbiologist and the author of the book “Your DNA Guide”. She has a gift for making complex DNA concepts engaging and understandable. Diahan started volunteering in a college lab, and that project turned into the first genetic genealogy database. And that exploded into the industry of genetic genealogy we know today.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How the little project she worked on birthed a billion-dollar industry. 
  • How the pandemic left Diahan sitting on 1000s of books but led her online 
  • The bite-sized course content has 10 to 12 minutes instructional videos, homework, and research. 
  • How the students use the interactive step-by-step workbook to help them apply their research.  
  • Danny’s and Abe’s debrief after the interview 

“So the pilot really helped me refine what was necessary for them to learn at this stage. And the great thing is I’ve taken all the extra and I’m going to make a second course.”

Diahan Southard

Guest Bio: Diahan Southard is a leading voice for consumer DNA testing, one of the world’s most fascinating, dynamic and socially-transformative new hobbies. Nearly 30 million people have taken a DNA test. The numbers keep rising and so do the uses of their data–and questions about that use. As Founder of Your DNA Guide Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, consults with leading testing companies, is the author if Your DNA Guide – the Book, and producer of Your DNA Guide – the Academy, an online learning experience. Southard’s company, Your DNA Guide (YourDNAGuide.com), provides genetic genealogy education products and services. You will walk away from an interaction with her enlightened and motivated as she has a passion for genetic genealogy, a genuine love for people, and a gift for making the technical understandable. 

Diahan’s involvement in genetic genealogy began nearly 20 years ago as a bench scientist for the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, the world’s first genetic genealogy database. Diahan often weighs in on the compelling–and sometimes competing–ethical, familial, health, and criminal justice implications of consumer DNA testing. She voices the conviction that learning ancestral ethnicity can unite people rather than divide them. She counsels those who learn family secrets to tread carefully but courageously. Diahan seeks to bridge the needs of those who want answers from DNA with those who want privacy. The stories she shares illuminate the human experience of navigating the histories hidden deep within the genomes of individuals, families and societies.

Resources or websites mentioned in this episode:

Credits:

  • Guest – Diahan Southard 
  • Hosts – Danny Iny & Abe Crystal
  • Producer – Cynthia Lamb
  • Executive producer – Danny Iny
  • Writer – Michi Lantz and Cynthia Lamb
  • Assembled by – Geoff Govertsen
  • Audio Post Supervisor: Evan Miles, Christopher Martin
  • Audio Post Production by Post Office Sound
  • Music soundscape: Chad Michael Snavely

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Music and SFX credits: 

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Course Lab

Ever wondered how online courses could be even better? What would that next level look like? Those are the questions driving online course experts Danny Iny (founder of Mirasee) and Abe Crystal (co-founder of Ruzuku) in Course Lab. In each episode, they bring on an innovative course creator and deconstruct what makes their course (and course business) work for them and their students.