About Us

The Story Behind Our Podcast

About Our Show

One fateful afternoon in 2019, Maddy and Zenon, classmates and co-research assistants at the time, were scheduling participants when Maddy said, “What if there was a podcast that interviewed a psychologist from each division of the APA?” To which Zenon replied, “Well, I actually do some sound engineering in my free time.” Thus, Pre-Occupied was born. It started with interviews with our favorite professors, who recommended their friends, who recommended their friends. Now, Pre-Occupied has interviewed people from San José to Detroit to Cambridge, sharing insight, stories, and lessons with an audience of over two thousand.
Photo of Maddy & Zenon
Maddy and Zenon outside of the Rackham Graduate School on the U of M-Ann Arbor campus

Your Hosts

Maddy Paxson


Maddy is a senior at the University of Michigan pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences. Behind the scenes, Maddy authors questions and introductions with Zenon, coordinates interviews, maintains the website, and designs social media content and advertising. This summer, Maddy is interning with the Moral Psychology Research Lab at Harvard University. During the school year, Maddy works as a Peer Facilitator for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, interns with the University Center for Child and Family, and cultivates her honors thesis with the White Allyship Lab and the Personality, Relationships, and Hormones Lab. In her free time, she is probably eating ice cream or taking long walks with people she cares about. 

Zenon Sommers


Zenon is a senior at the University of Michigan-Dearborn pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and a B.S. in Behavioral and Biological Sciences with minors in German, Women’s & Gender Studies, and Sociology, and certificates in LGBTQ Studies and Professional Language & Cross-Cultural Competency. Behind the scenes, Zenon authors questions and introductions with Maddy, records and edits episodes, and handles website design and maintenance. In his free time, Zenon develops research projects, works as a Supplemental Instruction Leader, tutors other college students, leads UM-Dearborn’s German club, and serves as the Treasurer for Ratio Christi at UM-Dearborn.