Meet the Smooth Brain Society

Introducing all our amazing co-hosts and logo designers

Olivia Webb

The original co-host of the show. Olivia started the podcast with Sahir back when she was the President of the Psychology Society at Victoria University of Wellington. She has been the voice on the most podcast episodes. However, a Master’s in Cross-Cultural Psychology focusing on Buddhist ideas in New Zealand and their relation to anxiety and well-being and her work for UNICEF Aotearoa has kept her occupied. We look forward to having her back as a cohost and even as a guest speaking about her research whenever she is available.

Jeremy Hall

Jeremy, Jay, Jez, Jem, Coach; he goes by a few names, but he definitely doesn’t go by Banksy… Why would you even bring up Banksy? Bit weird if you ask me. 
A former Wellingtonian and current Londonian, Jeremy’s an Art Director, Illustrator & Creative Strategist who’s worked with some of the best in the biz. From marketing the Powerpuff Girls, to helming ad campaigns for NZ’s biggest game studio, he’s always biting off a bit more than he can chew in pursuit of his next creative challenge, and each concept has to be bigger and better than the one before. Jeremy’s not usually a logo designer, but he makes exceptions for exceptional people and projects, and it just so happens he considers Sahir and the Smooth Brain Society particularly exceptional.
If he’s not in his studio listening to Jungle on repeat and doodling ideas for his next short film on a whiteboard, he can usually be found getting his butt handed to him by Sahir on the squash court, or leading* his teams to victory** on the indoor netball court. 
 *Providing terrible pep talks and chasing up late payments. 
**Usually gold medals to be fair, but there have been some silvers too 😬

Feryl Badiani

I am a PhD student studying the cultural evolutionary roots of Hinduism to explain its growing success. I am interested in all things religion – why we believe, why we don’t believe and anything that falls in the middle. Apart from co-hosting the regular podcast, I am the coordinator for Smooth Brain Society’s work with the Explaining Atheism Project and you will see me on all of those episodes.

Outside of my obsession for religion, I am interested in doing pottery and solving jigsaw puzzles.

Feryl Badiani

Francesca Georgia Pietkiewicz Nutsford

I’m an independent journalist/writer and podcast producer and manager. I worked at Salient Magazine (Victoria University of Wellington’s publication) as the Podcast/ Station manager from 2021-2022, and before that as the Salient Podcast Producer in 2020. In 2023, I worked as one of the co-editors of the mag. I was the Salient Podcast Manager when Smooth Brain Society was first born and helped Sahir & Olivia set it up. I’m extremely proud of where the show has ended up, as I psychology nerd myself I think it’s sick. I joined Sahir and Professor Bart Ellenbroek on the Drugs 101: Psychedelics ep, which was super fun. 

I’m currently studying towards my Master of Arts in Creative Writing (Non-Fiction) and working as a tutor in the subject where I did my undergraduate: Communications.


Terise Broodryk


For those who don’t speak emoji, Terise is a PhD student at Victoria University of Wellington, with far too many research interests across social psychology. Her program of research focuses on understanding the role of emotional processes in political engagement and behaviour, with her thesis specifically looking at emotion regulation in conspiracy theory belief. Outside of her studies, Terise loves to travel, or head to the local theatre or cinema to catch a play or movie.

Luisa Bucci

Luisa is a clinical psychology student and completed her masters in 2023 in Cross-cultural psychology. From Brazil originally, she moved to Aotearoa in 2016 to study at Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington. Her research interests include Social psychology, Mental health, Sexism and relationships, Mindfulness, Cultures in contact.

RoydoN Goldsack

I am a PhD researcher in Computer Science looking into how we can generate and understand emotional movement. My interests range from technology and AI in general, to consciousness and neuroscience, to ways we can integrate AI into our daily lives to learn useful new skills. I completed my Masters in Psychology in 2023. Outside of Academia I enjoy playing various sports, yoga and eating good food, I also enjoy spending time with family and friends.


Roydon doesn’t brag so we will for him. His Masters feedback included, “This is one of the best Theses I have ever read… In my mind, this is better than some PhD level these I have read.” A high bar to begin my PhD with!

Emma (Last name redacted)

From: De, a United Nations member state. 

Date of Birth: 27/ A day of the year

Occupation: Has one

Sex life: Epic and Private

Signature Redacted

Fin Johnson

Finley Ngarangi Johnson (Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu) is a researcher, mentor, and clinical psychologist in training, currently based in Te Whanganui-ā-Tara. Fin is completing his Doctoral research, developing a self-report Māori wellbeing measure. He is interested in creating, strengthening, and sharing tools and resources that are grounded in Māori understandings to support whānau flourishing. Fin has advised and consulted on projects alongside Stats NZ, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ministry of Social Development, and the Health Promotion Agency. He is also currently working with E Tū Whānau to create a wānanga-based whānau wellbeing measure. Fin also has a background in mentoring, both at the high school and tertiary levels. He currently supports ‘Ngā Manaakitanga’ – a kaupapa Māori mentor-based educational intervention for Māori students attending Wellington High School.