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Black Holes: Stories about dark times
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories about dark moments in science. Part 1: Astrophysicist Jesse Shanahan tries to uncover the mysteries behind both the black holes she studies and her own chronic pain. Part 2: Comedian Sarah Pearl is committed to a mental hospital after suicidal thoughts. Jesse Shanahan is a science writer and astrophysicist, currently serving as a Coordinating Committee member in the Working Group on Accessibility and Disability that she co-founded for the American Astronomical Society. Her writing can be found in Science, Astronomy Magazine, and Forbes amongst others. In addition to organizing STEM outreach in local elementary schools, she works on behalf of disabled scientists to facilitate accessibility and accommodations in STEM. Outside of her research on supermassive black holes, she spends her days wrangling a very high energy Border Collie named Hubble and playing way too many video games. Follow her @enceladosaurus.   Born and raised in St. Louis, Sarah Pearl is an up-and-coming comedian, musician, and storyteller. She's performed throughout the Midwest, most notably at Laugh Factory Chicago, Helium Comedy Club, and one time, a back porch without a coat during winter. Her honest and sardonic style has been referred to as, "kind of sad, but really funny." Sarah will be debuting the story of her experience with mental illness and she hopes the storytelling class she took when she was eight pays off. You can follow her at @standupsarah.

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Heartbreak: Stories about times science breaks our hearts
The Story Collider

This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, we're presenting two stories about heartbreak in science. Part 1: Rattled by a recent heartbreak, neuroscientist Prabarna Ganguly makes a mistake in the lab. Part 2: Marine ecologist Kirsten Grorud-Colvert bonds with her diving buddy when they have an unexpected encounter with a hammerhead shark.  Prabarna Ganguly is one of the many Bostonian graduate students, studying neuroscience at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on how and why maternal care is necessary for the healthy development of infants. As an aspiring science writer, she is constantly looking for good science stories to share, and makes sure that her elevator pitches are always grandma-friendly. Comfortably Indian, she likes cricket, Pink Floyd, and enjoys simple frivolities. Also, having just dyed her hair red, she is quite excited about its possibilities.   Note: Kirsten's story was produced as part of our partnership with Springer Nature's Springer Storytellers program. Find out more at beforetheabstract.com. Kirsten Grorud-Colvert is a marine ecologist at Oregon State University, where she has studied ocean organisms in the Oregon nearshore, the Florida Keys, and California’s Catalina Island, along with other marine systems from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean. She uses data from different species and habitats to ask, What happens when you protect an area in the ocean? And what can we learn from those areas to design even better protection? She also directs the Science of Marine Reserves Project and loves learning from her creative colleagues in science, communication, and graphic design. Kirsten has always been obsessed with water—that’s what growing up in the 120 degrees Arizona desert will do to you!  

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Kinari Webb: Tearing Down the Wall
The Story Collider

Kinari Webb’s philosophy as a scientist is shaped by her experience of the fall of the Berlin Wall as a teenager. Kinari Webb first developed the vision for Health In Harmony when studying orangutans in 1993 at Gunung Palung National Park in Indonesia. There she encountered not only a beautiful and threatened natural environment but also the dire health needs of the people surrounding the National Park. After this experience, Kinari decided to become a physician and return to Indonesia to work together with local communities both to improve their health and to preserve the natural environment. She graduated from Yale University School of Medicine with honors and then completed her residency in Family Medicine at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, California. Kinari founded Health In Harmony in 2005 to support the combined human and environmental work that she planned in Indonesia. After a year of traveling around Indonesia looking for the best site for this program (unmet health care needs, forest that could still be saved and a responsive government), Kinari helped co-found the Alam Sehat Lestari (ASRI, which means “harmoniously balanced”) program in West Kalimantan with Hotlin Ompusunggu and Antonia Gorog. She is also an Ashoka Social Entrepreneur and Rainier Amhold Fellow. Kinari currently splits her time between Indonesia and the US. This story originally aired on Sept. 1, in an episode titled "Metamorphosis." Full episode and transcript here: https://www.storycollider.org/stories/2017/9/1/metamorphosis-stories-about-radical-change

Storytelling
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Recovery: Stories about responding to crises
The Story Collider

This week, we're p​resenting stories about the ways we respond and recover to dire situations in science, whether it's cancer or sexual assault.​​​​​​ Part 1: Biochemist Melanie McConnell encounters unexpected resistance when she tests an experimental cancer treatment. Part 2: Rape survivor Mo Culberson helps train doctors to treat other rape survivors. Melanie McConnell has a life-long interest in cancer cell biology. She has studied pediatric, brain, breast, and skin cancers, all to better understand the intricate process of gene regulation. After establishing the Cancer Stem Cell programme at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, she joined the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research is aimed at reducing relapse and improving to life-saving cancer therapies by understanding how cancer cells survive chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation treatment. She’s currently focused on the role of mitochondria in therapy resistance. In her real life, she is married to Richard, is mum to two girls, and spends her time with them and the dog, making compost and tending to the weeds in her vege garden. Mauree "Mo" Culberson loved physics and chemistry when she was younger. While helping her physics teacher hang lights for the theater department a spotlight hit her on a dark stage and she's been performing ever since. Mauree is a writer, storyteller, and performer. She earned her degree in Theatrical Design and Technology and English from the University of Mississippi. Mauree has written for The Atlanta Fringe Festival, the Working Title Playwrights 24 Hour Play Festival and Emory University’s Brave New Works. She has shown her skills as a puppeteer, actor, comic, and improviser in Atlanta. The interaction of art and science continues to be her muse.

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Good and Evil: Stories about the science of gray areas
The Story Collider

This week, we bring you two stories about the science of morality. Or morality in science. Either way you want to look at it. Part 1: Political scientist Ethan Hollander interviews a Nazi war criminal. Part 2: As a graduate student, Cather Simpson was excited to present her work -- but then her adviser lies about it. Ethan J. Hollander is a professor of political science at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana. He is also the author of Hegemony and the Holocaust: State Power and Jewish Survival in Occupied Europe. Hollander’s published scholarship also includes research on democratization in Eastern Europe and on the Arab Spring. At Wabash, Dr. Hollander teaches courses on the Politics of the Middle East, Ethnic Conflict and Genocide, European Politics, and Research Methods and Statistics. He is a native of Miami Beach, and received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego in 2006. Note: Ethan's story was produced as part of The Story Collider's partnership with Springer Nature. Find out more at beforetheabstract.com. When Cather Simpson graduated from high-school in the USA, she was certain she was going to become a neurosurgeon. She was very, very wrong. In her first year at uni, she got discovered scientific research and got completely hooked. She is now a Professor of Physics and Chemical Sciences at the University of Auckland, where she runs a super-fun laser lab called the Photon Factory. The Photon Factory uses exotic pulsed lasers to enable all New Zealand scientists accomplish their goals, from improving products for industry to helping school students with science fair projects. Working with the Photon Factory’s 25+ extraordinary physicists, chemists and engineers, Cather gets to study everything from how molecules convert light into more useful forms of energy to how to sort sperm by sex for the dairy industry. When she’s not enjoying the pleasure and satisfaction from using lasers to solve the knotty problems presented by Mother Nature, she’s doing puzzles with her partner Tom and being “Schrodinger’s Mom” – simultaneously the world’s best and worst mother – to two lovely teenage boys. Note: Cather's story was produced as part of our partnership with SCANZ, Science Communicators Assocaition of New Zealand. Find out more at www.scanz.co.nz.

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Bad Days in the Field: Stories about fieldwork frustrations
The Story Collider

This week, we bring you two stories about frustrations in the field, whether it's a failure to find dinosaur fossils or a struggle with a painful medical condition. Part 1: Paleontologist David Evans and his team start to feel defeated after three days of searching fruitlessly for fossils.  Part 2: When cave geologist Gabriela Marks Serrato develops fibromyalgia, exploring caves becomes a challenge. David C. Evans holds the Temerty Chair in Vertebrate Palaeontology and oversees dinosaur research at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). He is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. David is an Ontario-born researcher who is recognized as an authority on the rich dinosaur fossil record of Canada. As a curator, David helped develop the ROM's dinosaur galleries, and was Lead Curator of the major travelling exhibition Ultimate Dinosaurs. He has been featured on numerous television shows, and most recently, David was co-creator of the HISTORY series Dino Hunt Canada. David’s research focuses on the evolution, ecology and diversity of dinosaurs, and their relationship to environmental changes leading up to the end Cretaceous extinction event. Active in the field, he has participated in expeditions all over the world, including the Africa, Mongolia, and Canada, and has helped discover 10 new dinosaur species in the last five years- including the remarkable horned dinosaur Wendiceratops from southern Alberta, and the wickedly armoured Zuul named after the Ghostbusters movie monster. Gabriela Serrato Marks is a PhD student in the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, where she works with stalagmites from Mexico. She fell in love with rocks and the ocean while getting her B.A. in Earth and Oceanographic Science from Bowdoin College. Her current research focuses on archives of past rainfall and climate change. Outside of research, she is interested in issues of diversity and inclusion in STEM, hanging out with her cat, and growing tiny squash in her parents’ garden. 

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Origin Stories: Stories about paths to becoming a scientist
The Story Collider

This week we present two stories about the inspiration behind scientists' careers. Part 1: Kate Marvel's dream of being a genius takes her to Cambridge to study astrophysics. Part 2: When Joe Normandin begins to question his sexuality as a teenager, he turns to neuroscience for help. Kate Marvel is a scientist at Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space studies. She uses computer models and satellite observations to monitor and explain the changes happening around us. Her work has suggested that human activities are already affecting global rainfall and cloud patterns. Marvel is committed to sharing the joy and beauty of science with wider audiences. She has advised journalists, artists and policymakers, written a popular science blog and given frequent public talks. Her writing has appeared in Nautilus Magazine and On Being.  You can watch her Mainstage TED talk at http://go.ted.com/katemarvel Joe Normandin earned a B.A. in Biology with a Specialization in Neuroscience from Boston University, where he worked as an undergraduate research assistant in labs studying the behavioral genetics of sexual orientation in people and female sexual behavior in a rat model.  He earned a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences - Neurobiology and Behavior from Georgia State University, where he explored how the brain regulates sexual reflexes.  He found evidence of a brain circuit that provides an anatomical/functional basis for the oft-reported side effects of delayed orgasm in those taking antidepressants. He is now a Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Neuroscience Institute at Georgia State University. Dr. Normandin values the wonderful public education and support he received as a young gay man growing up in Massachusetts.  Even with that education and support, he struggled with his identity as a gay person.  In high school, a psychology class introduced him to neuroscience, which led to a search for research that he thought would validate his sexual orientation.  This search set him on a path towards becoming a neuroscientist, and ultimately led to questions he explores in the classroom: Are people born gay?  Does it matter?  Dr. Normandin is also an avid gamer and has saved the universe many times.

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Math Problems: Stories about struggles with math
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories about the struggles "math people" face. Part 1: Lew Lefton tries to succeed as both a math professor and a math comedian. Part 2: Vanessa Vakharia faces her first day as student teacher of a math class. Lew Lefton is a faculty member in the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics and the Assistant Dean of Information Technology for the Georgia Tech College of Sciences.  He also has the role of Assistant Vice President for Research Cyberinfrastructure at Georgia Tech. Lefton co-founded and is the acting executive director of Decatur Makers, a family-friendly makerspace in downtown Decatur.  He is on the board of the Southeast Makers Alliance and has been involved as a co-producer of Maker Faire Atlanta since 2014. Lefton has a bachelor of science degree in math and computer science from New Mexico Tech, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Illinois. He moved to Decatur in 1999.  Lefton is also an accomplished and experienced comedian who has done stand up and improv comedy for more than 30 years. Vanessa Vakharia is the founder and director of The Math Guru, a super cool boutique math & science tutoring studio in Toronto. She has her Bachelor's of Commerce, Teaching Degree, Diploma in Graphic Design and Master's in Math Education. She specializes in teenage engagement in mathematics education, with a focus on encouraging young women to pursue STEM related fields as well as reinventing media representations of females as they intersect with math. She travels globally engaging audiences with her workshop, “Imagining a World Where Kim Kardashian Loves Math,” encouraging teenagers, teachers, and EVERYONE to re-interpret and re-invent traditional stereotypes of what it means to be a “math person.” She is also a founding member of Goodnight, Sunrise, a rock n roll band where she plays the keytar and belts lead vocals. Yes, she totally wants to be a rock star, who wouldn’t?  Mindy Kaling is her idol and Vanessa believes that she should be yours too.

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Home: Stories about science and community
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories about finding community with science. Part 1: Keoni Mahelona leaves his home in Hawaii in pursuit of science. Part 2: After growing up wealthy, Chuck Collins' thinking is transformed by his work with mobile home park tenants. Aloha. O Keoni koʻu inoa. No Hawaiʻi au. I tēnei wā, noho au i Taipā. Keoni Mahelona is a melting pot of diversity in so many ways -- ethnicity, education, hobbies, sexuality, and possibly personality hahahahaha. He's had a seemingly random journey through engineering, business, and science that's somehow thrown him into media. Today he works at a Māori social enterprise whose mission is to promote and preserve te reo Māori o Muriwhenua, and they use science and innovation to create the tools they need to achieve their mission. He hopes his story will encourage other Māori and Pacific Islanders to pursue a future in STEM.   Chuck Collins is an organizer, agitator, researcher and storyteller based at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits Inequality.org, a global web site focused on the income and wealth divide. He is author of Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good. In his late twenties he worked with residents of mobile home parks around New England to buy their parks as cooperatives. 

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The Science of Growing Up: Stories about coming of age
The Story Collider

This week, we present two science stories about becoming the people we're meant to be.  Part 1: Research technician Jean Ansolabehere is surprised to find herself falling in love with one of the women in her lab. Part 2: As a child, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman is told by a school psychologist that he's doomed by his low IQ score. (This story comes from an event produced in partnership with Scientific American and Springer Nature. Watch the full show here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/video/the-mad-science-of-creativity/) Jean Ansolabehere is a cartoon writer with past lives as a research technician at Stanford University and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She has loved biology since the first time she got stitches and, in her research and her writing, she strives to understand the human condition through the human body. She also strives to live by the philosophy of her four-year-old half-brother, who is pretty brave when it comes to anything, except his T-Rex toy. He's terrified of that thing. Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD, is an author, researcher, speaker, and public science communicator who is interested in using psychological science to help all kinds of minds live a creative, fulfilling, and meaningful life. He is a professor of positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of 7 other books, including Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined and Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind (with Carolyn Gregoire). His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Scientific American, Psychology Today, and Harvard Business Review, and he writes a blog at Scientific American called Beautiful Minds. Kaufman is also host of The Psychology Podcast.  

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Life and Death: Stories of loss and resilience
The Story Collider

This week, we're presenting two stories about loss and resilience in science. Please note: Our first story this week contains graphic depictions of violence. Part 1: Anthropologist Andrew Oberle barely survives an attack by the chimpanzees he was studying. Part 2: Cosmologist Renee Hlozek leans on science to survive the death of her father. While conducting his Anthropology Master's research in South Africa in June 2012, Andrew Oberle was mauled by two adult male chimpanzees and nearly lost his life.  His remarkable recovery has led him to help other traumatically injured patients, serving as the Director of Development for the Oberle Institute, a holistic trauma program being developed at Saint Louis University that aims to give other trauma patients the resources necessary to have an equally successful recovery.  Andrew shares his story of survival hoping to inspire others as they experience tough times and create a national dialogue about the effects of resilience and community on a thriving recovery. Renee Hlozek is an assistant professor at the Dunlap Institute within the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UofT. She was born in Pretoria, South Africa, where she also did her undergrad degree. She did her masters at the University of Cape Town before moving to the UK in 2008 as a South African Rhodes Scholar. After four years as the Lyman Spitzer Fellow at Princeton University, she moved to Toronto in 2016. Her work uses data from telescopes around the world to test the predictions of novel cosmological theories about our universe, how it started, what it contains and how it will end. She was elected as a 2013 TED Fellow and a Senior Fellow for the years 2014-2015.

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Doubt: Stories about moments of uncertainty in science
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories of doubt in science, from a mysterious illness to imposter syndrome.  Part 1: A sudden illness casts doubt on whether Maia Pujara will be able to finish her neuroscience PhD. Maia Pujara received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she developed a passion for science outreach, science communication, and promoting women and underrepresented minorities in STEM. She's a postdoc at the National Institutes of Health to study the brain regions that are critical for helping us regulate our emotions, learn about rewards, and make flexible, adaptive choices. Though focused when it comes to academic matters, Maia has always had a “breadth-over-depth” philosophy with hobbies and has so far taken up playing the guitar, playing the ukulele, radio DJ-ing, baking, mixology, palmistry, watercoloring, knitting, crocheting, ice-skating, ultimate frisbee, improv, acting, and screenwriting. Follow her on Twitter @neuro_sigh Part 2: After growing up under humble circumstances in St. Lucia, Whitney Henry feels like an imposter in her PhD program at Harvard. Whitney Henry is originally from the beautiful Caribbean Island of St Lucia. She relocated to the US after receiving a full presidential academic scholarship from Grambling State University where she completed her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. She earned a PhD in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from Harvard University and is currently a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Dr. Robert Weinberg at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research. Her research focuses on identifying biological processes that drive tumor relapse following chemotherapy in ovarian cancer. When she is not engaged in lab, Whitney enjoys mentoring and traditional Caribbean dancing.

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Psychotropic Substances: Stories about altered states
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories about psychotropic substances, from a study on the impacts of magic mushrooms on cancer surivors to a comedian's spiritual epiphany. Part 1: Actor Gail Thomas is invited to take part in a study testing mushrooms as treatment for depression in cancer survivors. Part 2: Comedian Myq Kaplan has a spiritual epiphany while experimenting with ayahuasca. Gail Thomas has several resumes: writer/actor/teacher/filmmaker/lawyer. She is a Moth StorySLAM winner and has performed with RISK!, Sideshow Goshko, the Liar Show. She teaches for the Story Studio. Voiceover credits include David Letterman, Beavis and Butthead and Angelo Rules. Her short comedy, My BFF, rated 95% funny on Funny or Die and audience favorite at New Filmmakers. As a speechwriter for the Tribeca Film Festival and the Gotham Awards, her words were uttered by Oscar winners and fancy people with great clothes. Gail is currently working on her fashion sense. Myq Kaplan is a comedian named Mike Kaplan. He has been seen on the Tonight Show, Conan, the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Seth Meyers,the Late Late Show with James Corden, in his own half-hour Comedy Central Presents special, and in his own one-hour special on Amazon, "Small, Dork, and Handsome." He has been a finalist on Last Comic Standing and recently appeared on America's Got Talent. His album "Vegan Mind Meld" was one of iTunes' top 10 comedy albums of the year, and his latest available now is called "No Kidding." And that's only the past! Even more to come in the future! Check out myqkaplan.com for more information, and/or live your life however you choose. Thanks!

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The Bats and the Bees: Stories about winged wildlife
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories about the challenges of studying winged wildlife, from bats to honey bees. Part 1: Cylita Guy finds unexpected adventure when she studies bats in the field. Part 2: Rachael Bonoan discovers she may be dangerously allergic to the honey bees she studies. Cylita Guy is a PhD candidate and ACM SIGHPC/Intel Computational and Data Science Fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. Broadly interested in zoonotic diseases and their wildlife reservoirs, Cylita’s research focuses on bats and their pathogens. Using both field surveys and computational methods she is investigating why bats seem to be good at carrying viruses that they sometimes share with humans, but rarely get sick from themselves. When not in the field catching bats or at her computer analyzing data, Cylita looks to help others foster their own sense of curiosity and discovery about the natural world. In conjunction with the High Park Nature Centre Cylita has started a Junior Bat Biologist program to engage young, future scientists. She also works as a Host at the Ontario Science Centre, educating the public about diverse scientific topics. Finally, Cylita’s hilarious field exploits are featured in a general audience book titled Fieldwork Fail: The Messy Side of Science! In her down time, you can find your friendly neighborhood batgirl chasing her next big outdoor adventure.  Rachael Bonoan is a Ph.D. Candidate studying honey bee nutritional ecology in the Starks Lab at Tufts University. She is interested in how seasonal changes in the distribution and abundance of flowers (i.e. honey bee food!) affect honey bee health and behavior. Rachael is also the President of the Boston Area Beekeepers Association and enjoys communicating her research and the importance of pollinator health to scientists, beekeepers, garden clubs, and the general public. 

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Reflection: Stories about our sense of self
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories about the things that make up our sense of self, from our appearance to our memories. Part 1: On the verge of losing her teeth, Jean Le Bec travels abroad to find a solution. Part 2: Science writer Michael Lemonick interviews an old friend who lost the ability to form memories after an injury. Born and bred in Brooklyn New York, Jean Le Bec is a Moth StorySlam champion who has been featured on Risk, Yum's The Word, Surprise Stories, Take Two, NY Story Exchange, Two Truths And A Lie, Tell It Brooklyn, City Stories, Word Up, Look Who's Talking, and City Stories, as well as podcasts Risk, Singleling, Unhireable, and Tall Tales In The Big City and a week-long artist residency on Governor's Island 2016. She's presently working on a Solo Show. Michael D. Lemonick is chief opinion editor at Scientific American; previously, he was a senior science writer at Time magazine. He is also the author of seven books, including, most recently, “The Perpetual Now: A Story of Amnesia, Memory, and Love.” He also teaches at Princeton University, and lives in Princeton, New Jersey, where he grew up.

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DNA: Stories about family
The Story Collider

This week, we bring you two stories about science and family, from a biochemist and a neuroscientist. Part 1: Biochemist Katie Wu is lactose intolerant, but her mother won't believe her. Part 2: Neuroscientist Oliver Vikbladh and his family look for answers about his sister's mysterious disability.  Katherine (Katie) Wu is a graduate student at Harvard University. Currently, she is studying how bacteria handle stressful situations so that she can someday learn to do the same. Outside of the lab, she is Co-Director of Harvard Science in the News, a graduate student organization that trains aspiring scientists to better communicate with the general public through free public lectures, online blogs, podcasts, outreach programming, and more. Additionally, she designs and teaches health science and leadership curriculum for HPREP, an outreach program for underserved and minority high school students from the Greater Boston area. Oliver Vikbladh, originally from Sweden, is currently a 5th year PhD candidate at New York University’s Center for Neural Science. His thesis work explores how the human brain uses memories from the past to make decisions about the future. Outside of his research, Oliver is interested in communicating science to a wider public. He has written book and theatre reviews for Science Magazine and been part of creating a virtual reality experience about how the brain represents space.

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Maternal Bond: Stories about moms and their kids
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories about the mother-child relationship intersecting with science, from a daughter and a mother.  Part 1: Actor and writer Erica Silberman tries to find a place for her mother with Alzheimer’s. Erica Silberman showed promise in science for one brief semester in high school when she got an A+ in chemistry. Since then, she has become a playwright, director, producer, and in home color consultant. She’s published in The Best Monologues from the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Playscripts, Teachers & Writers, and the Sunday Salon. She has been a mentor and a workshop leader, and served on various boards at Girls Write Now, a presidential award winning after school mentoring program for high school girls from underserved city schools. In the spring of 2018 her play, In the Night Everyone is Equal, will be produced by The Dramatic Question Theatre at Art NY. Part 2: When Pat Furlong’s sons are diagnosed with a severe type of muscular dystophy, she’s determined to find answers. Pat Furlong is the Founding President and CEO of Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), the largest nonprofit organization in the United States solely focused on Duchenne muscular dystrophy (Duchenne). Their mission is to end Duchenne. They accelerate research, raise their voices in Washington, demand optimal care for all young men, and educate the global community. Duchenne is the most common fatal, genetic childhood disorder.   It affects 1:4,600 boys worldwide and has no cure. When doctors diagnosed her two sons, Christopher and Patrick, with Duchenne in 1984,  Pat immersed herself in research, working to understand the pathology of the disorder, the extent of research investment and the mechanisms for optimal care. In 1994, Pat, together with other parents of young men with Duchenne, founded PPMD to change the course of Duchenne and, ultimately, to find a cure. Today, Pat is considered one of the foremost authorities on Duchenne in the world.

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Pressure: Stories about stressful situations
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories of scientists under professional and academic pressure, both in the field and in the lab. Part 1: In China, ornithologist Sam Snow and his colleague gather as much data about a species of bird as possible -- but it comes at a cost. Part 2: Biologist Megan Hatlen worries that she’ll never make a breakthrough in her research. Sam Snow is an evolutionary biologist and ornithologist, currently a Ph.D. candidate at Yale University. He looks at birds to explore the evolutionary consequences of mate choice for sexual ornamentation, mate-system evolution, and social behavior. His research seeks to understand how females evolve new traits that overcome sexual coercion, reshaping mating systems and male social behavior. In search of answers, he creates theoretical computer models of behavioral evolution and attempts to test these theories by documenting the behavior of birds in the wild. Megan Hatlen is a biologist at Blueprint Medicines, a fantastic biotech located in Cambridge, MA.  Recently transplanted from NYC, she earned her PhD from Cornell University and performed research in oncology at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center prior to making the Boston/Cambridge life-science pilgrimage.  Though nearly a decade has been spent on the East Coast, the West Coast will always have her heart.  Megan is a California native; she was raised in Bakersfield and earned her bachelors in Bioengineering at the University of California – San Diego.  When not running experiments, Megan can be found with her wife, Jess, holding their chubby Pomeranian back as he strives to attack anything and everything on the Minuteman Bikeway.

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Adaptation: Stories about survival
The Story Collider

This week, we present two stories of adapting to survive, from a cancer survivor's creative solution to the after-effects of his treatment to an Iraqi who becomes a computer scientist to survive the war. Part 1: Ben Rubenstein survived cancer, but now there are new challenges to contend with. Part 2: A young Iraqi computer scientist must adapt to survive war and its aftermath. Benjamin Rubenstein is the author of the "Cancer-Slaying Super Man" books and other personal essays. He speaks about personal health, feeling superhuman, and the urge when he's intoxicated to eat jelly beans--all of them. The two items he brings with him everywhere are a flask and gum, particularly Juicy Fruit or Big Red because those have sugar instead of sorbitol. Benjamin doesn't fuck around with weird chemicals (excluding whatever is in cheap whiskey). Benjamin loves inspiring others through a combination of insane stories of survival and attempted humor. Abbas Mousa is an Economist at the Bureau of Economic Analysis. growing up in Baghdad Iraq he always wanted to be an artist but ended up with a Computer Science and Economic degrees, he's been featured on the Moth Radio Hour on NPR,  and with his passion for art and storytelling he became a regular storyteller with the Moth StorySlam. Mousa immigrated to America in 2009 through a special immigrant visa for Iraqi translators and currently working on his memoir, he has been featured in multiple articles and a guest speaker sharing some of his stories and experiences. Follow him on twitter @atmousa.

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Invisibility: Stories about hiding in plain sight
The Story Collider

This week, we bring you two stories of invisibility, from a man looking to escape his identity to a marine biologist who feels invisible to her colleagues. Part 1: Richard Cardillo escapes his problems by joining a Catholic mission in Peru, where he becomes a community health organizer. Part 2: Marine biologist Liz Neeley is excited to be a part of a coral conservation project in Fiji, but her colleagues keep forgetting her. Richard Cardillo is a 25 year resident of the Lower East Side been an educator for over three decades on two continents and in two languages. He's instructed on all levels from preschool to graduate programs, considering himself still more of a learner than a teacher....but always a storyteller! Rich is a three-time Moth StorySLAM winner and has also participated in three Moth GrandSLAMS . Rich is a passionate bread baker and, yes, has gone to that quirky (scary?) place of naming his 16-year-old sourdough starter. He tries to bake up a new story with every loaf that emerges from his tiny apartment oven. Liz Neeley is the executive director of The Story Collider. She's a marine biologist by training, and an optimistic worrier by nature. As the oldest of five children, she specializes in keeping the peace and not telling Mom. After grad school, Liz stumbled into ocean conservation. She focused on coral reef management and restoration in Fiji and Papua New Guinea, and dabbled in international trade policy on deep sea corals. Next, she spent almost a decade at COMPASS helping scientists understand journalism,  policymaking, and social media. Follow her at @lizneeley

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