Enter ‘The Adrenaline Zone’ with Winnefeld, Magnus, of the Nunn School

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Two distinguished professors of the practice in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs recently launched a podcast about taking risks. Adm. James “Sandy” Winnefeld and former astronaut Sandra Magnus are co-hosts of The Adrenaline Zone, in which they interview people who have taken physical, financial, emotional, or reputational risks.

Magnus, Ph.D. MSE 1996, and Winnefeld, AE 1978, are well-versed in the chances Georgia Tech students take as they move throughout their education and employment. In fact, both hosts have built careers around risk. Winnefeld is a former fighter pilot and Naval commander, and Magnus flew to space three times as a NASA astronaut. However, they were adamant about telling stories that dealt with risks outside of physical ones.

“We felt it would be incredibly one-dimensional to talk only to people who take physical risk,” Winnefeld said. “There are forms of risk beyond that, which also extend into all walks of life, and we want to explore those areas as well.”

The first episode of the podcast features Brad Snyder, an explosive ordnance officer in Afghanistan before being blinded in combat. After leaving the military, he took up competitive swimming and has won gold medals in three Paralympics. Other interviews have included a flight leader for the Blue Angels, the first female referee to officiate a Super Bowl, and musician and actor Tim McGraw.

“These risk-takers have a lot in common,” Winnefeld said. “They all developed a willingness to take personal risk in order to pursue their dreams, realizing that if it didn’t work out, they could always do something else.”

The idea for the show came about when Winnefeld spent a road trip to Colorado listening to podcasts. He felt that some were too much about the hosts and not enough about the guests, and others didn’t move at a quick enough pace for his liking. He looked to start his own podcast and decided to focus on taking risks, as it’s something he’s done his entire life.

Winnefeld, seeking out a co-host who could represent female risk-takers, immediately thought to bring on Magnus, whom he had met at a Georgia Tech Research Institute meeting. The two spent nearly a year putting together interviews and seeking out a platform to publish the podcast before landing on an independent producer. A short audio introduction, “Welcome to The Adrenaline Zone!”, aired on Feb. 25.

Magnus and Winnefeld hope that in listening to the podcast, audience members from Georgia Tech are encouraged to take risks and believe in their abilities.

“Listening to our guests will give concrete examples that if you work hard and are bold, there is nothing to keep you from realizing your dreams,” Winnefeld said. “You’ll never achieve anything unless you do.”


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:gwyner3
  • Created:05/13/2022
  • Modified By:gwyner3
  • Modified:05/13/2022


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