The Story Collider

The Story Collider

By Story Collider, Inc.

Whether we wear a lab coat or haven't seen a test tube since grade school, science is shaping all of our lives. And that means we all have science stories to tell. Every year, we host dozens of live shows all over the country, featuring all kinds of storytellers - researchers, doctors, and engineers of course, but also patients, poets, comedians, cops, and more. Some of our stories are heartbreaking, others are hilarious, but they're all true and all very personal. Welcome to The Story Collider!


Mispronunciation: Stories about how we say things

English, with its complex phonetic rules, presents challenges for pronunciation. Seriously, can anyone say Worcester right? In this week's episode, our storytellers delve into the personal and psychological aspects of pronunciation, exploring the nuances and hang-ups associated with the way people say certain words Part 1: As someone who values language, Jerzy Gwiazdowski is thrown into turmoil when his partner says “suposably.” Part 2: No one can ever say Casie Caldwell’s name correctly and it makes her furious. Jerzy Gwiazdowski is a writer/performer who has appeared on Broadway, originated roles in new plays (NYC and regionally) and made numerous film/TV/streaming appearances. His plays have been produced on four continents. Jerzy is co-creator of Vocabaret, a monthly wordplay variety show since 2019. An ten-time champion at the O.Henry Pun-Off World Championships, Jerzy is pretty sure he's the winningest wordplay competitor in the world. His most recent project—THE LIE (a True Story)—is a solo show about the time he gave the greatest performance in history (which was only ever seen by one seven-year-old child). Alum: UNC School of the Arts. Faculty: The New School. Once deep-fried in an almost 20-year-long restaurant career, Casie Caldwell has now simmered down into the world of marketing consulting. While her culinary chronicles remain a proud part of her legacy, it's her newfound passion for pickleball that's spicing up her life. Her friends joke about her undeniable "pickleball problem” now that she’s crafted her work schedule around being on the court five times a week without fail. And her penchant for decorating everything, including her Halloween décor, with everything pickleball-related, truly gives the game away! Beyond the court, Casie cherishes the art of storytelling and life's quieter moments on the lake with her wife and ever-loyal Australian Shepherd, Indigo. Trading the sizzle of restaurant operations for the pop of pickleball shots, she's found a delightful balance between her professional journey and her playful present. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/05/2430m 0s

Incompetence: Stories about lacking skills

It’s important to remember that incompetence is not a permanent state but often a stepping stone on the path to mastery. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share their experiences of navigating moments when they felt completely out of their depth. Part 1: As a student, Emily Pitts was never a fan of science, but now, as a middle school teacher, she’s not feeling confident in her skills to teach the subject. Part 2: Despite his deep desire to study science, Andrew Barnes is constantly told he can’t. Emily Pitts loves telling stories of all shapes and sizes. From 99 seconds to a one-hour Fringe shows. When she's not jotting down notes for stories, she's working on a manuscript about trees, co-producing comedy shows in Iceland, or wandering off in search of other exciting things to do. Recently, she started co-producing and hosting a powerpoint edu-tainment show in Seattle called ‘My Comedian Teacher’. In her spare time, she teaches middle school. It's never too late to follow your dreams, and at 30, Andrew Barnes is doing just that. Back in school to get his degree in biology, Andrew plans to work in Veterinary Medicine or ecological restoration, or both. That story is still being written. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/05/2430m 36s

Mothering: Stories about being a mom

In honor of Mother’s Day this week, both of our storytellers are sharing stories about the good, the bad, and the unexpected parts about being a mom. Part 1: Silvana Clark finds a bat in her newborn’s room and thinks it may have bitten her baby.  Part 2: Leah Moore navigates the challenges of raising a daughter with cri-du-chat syndrome alongside her other children with their own special needs. Silvana Clark’s storytelling career began in high school when she made up creative stories to get out of boring classes. Since then she’s gone on to write 12 books, travel to 63 countries and train her dog to star in TV commercials. Silvana has told stories to groups ranging from the Canadian Llama Association to the American Sunbathing Society. (Yes….nudists.) She’s trying to figure out how to tell a story about when she was a recreation major and had to dissect a cadaver. No gloves provided in those days! Leah Moore has been teaching English and Theater for over sixteen years. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and has a master’s in Educational Theater from New York University. She was the recipient of the prestigious, Teacher of the Year award, presented to ten New York City Teachers annually. She first premiered her writing on her parenting blog,, which has an international audience in over 57 countries. Her family has been featured in a documentary about cri du chat, a rare chromosomal disability. She has been a guest on popular media outlets, such as Forbes and ESPN, working to create more stories centering around individuals with disabilities. She is the author of the memoir, Loving You Big: one family embracing the unexpected. She lives in New York with her husband, three children, and her daughter’s collection of rainbow wigs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/05/2425m 42s

Birds & The Bees: Stories about sex

You and me, baby, ain't nothin' but mammals, and in this week on the podcast, both of our storytellers share some Discovery Channel worthy tales about coitus. Part 1: A new baby and a new job make Edith Gonzalez feel distant from her husband, so she decides to spice things up. Part 2: While working at the zoo, Lee Osorio learns a lot about zoo animal sex and himself. Edith Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of Archaeology and Critical Museum Studies at the University at Buffalo - SUNY. She studies the global flow of ecological knowledge within the context of transatlantic slavery. Edith is a Fulbright Scholar of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, will be a Research Fellow at All Souls College - Oxford University in 2024, and is committed to decolonizing the spaces in which she works. Her current NSF-funded field research takes place on the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda in the Eastern Caribbean, but she is not there on vacation no matter what the photos of pina coladas might indicate. She is a two-time champion of the Smut Slam sex storytelling show because of her creative use of profanity and complete lack of shame. Her dedication to logic and sci-fi fangirldom have earned her the nickname of "the Puerto-Rican Mr. Spock.” Lee Osorio is an actor and playwright based in Atlanta, GA. You can catch him Guest Starring on NBC's Found, or make the trek down to Savannah to catch him in his one person show, Prisontown, premiering at Savannah Rep in May. To learn more visit his website at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/05/2429m 42s

Imposter Syndrome: Stories about not feeling good enough

Almost everyone has at one time or another felt inadequate despite their achievements. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share their struggles with feelings of self-doubt, insecurity and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Part 1: Sarah Demers has this nagging feeling she’s not a real physicist. Part 2: After dropping out of college, Kevin Smiley can’t seem to shake his feelings of inadequacy. Sarah Demers is a particle physicist and professor at Yale University. She studies the Higgs boson and looks for physics beyond the current "standard model" using CERN's Large Hadron Collider. She's also an interdisciplinary enthusiast, having co-written the book "Physics and Dance" with choreographer and dancer Emily Coates, and regularly teaching a "Physics and Music" course at Yale. When she isn't physics'ing she can be found hiking with her kids, foraging for mushrooms, brewing beer, or blissfully watching certifiably terrible science fiction with her husband. Kevin Smiley is a US Army veteran and senior mechanical engineering undergraduate with a minor in applied mathematics and an interest in thermal-fluid science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/04/2427m 48s

Facing Death: Stories about confronting one's mortality

Confronting death can lead to personal growth, newfound appreciation for life, and a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share their experiences of grappling with the fragility of life. Part 1: On a flight to St. Louis, the plane Brad Lawrence is on, needs to make an emergency landing. Part 2: While Keven Griffen is doing field work in Sierra Nevada a wildfire breaks out. Brad Lawrence is a story producer for the RISK! Podcast, a storyteller, and solo show performer who has performed to sold out crowds around the United States and in the UK. He has co-produced and performed in storytelling, solo, and variety shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, South By Southwest Interactive, and in conjunction with WBUR, USA Television Network, Casper Mattress, and Grant’s Whiskey. He has taught Storytelling for Business and Corporate Professionals and lead workshops for Fortune 500 companies in the US and in Europe. He has appeared on the Savage Love and The Moth Podcast and MainStage and many others. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s. Hotsy Totsy Burlesque, the burlesque send up of popular culture that he co-produces with his wife Cyndi Freeman, has been featured in the New York Times twice and makes sold out crowds very happy each month at the legendary Slipper Room. Keven Griffen is a scientist-in-progress who loves to spend time outside, snuggle their little dog, and go to sleep by 9 PM (also known as field scientist midnight). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/04/2426m 14s

Full Circle: Stories about going back to the start

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share tales that illuminate the transformative power of returning to their roots. Part 1: Gregor Posadas joins the army to pursue his dreams of becoming an engineer and fulfill his father’s wish of “fixing” their home country of the Philippines. Part 2: After losing his father as a young child, Nandhu Balakrishnan feels compelled to use his school savings to buy a life saving drug for a patient at the hospital he’s working at. Gregor Posadas is a Civil Engineering student and Undergraduate Research Assistant at Boise State University. He is currently set to graduate from his undergraduate studies by December 2023. Born and raised in the Philippines, he grew up with a strong interest and deep appreciation for science and engineering, thanks largely in part to the influence of his late father Dr. Roger Posadas - a former relativity physicist, professor, and chancellor of the University of the Philippines. Gregor is committed to learning about new technologies in water/wastewater treatment, sustainable infrastructure, and water resource systems in developing countries. He specializes in data analysis and environmental engineering. He is set to begin his masters studies at Boise State University in the Spring semester of 2024, immediately following his undergraduate graduation.Outside of his studies, Gregor also currently serves as a Combat Engineer in the United States Army Reserves. He enlisted in 2019, just eight months after moving from the Philippines to Idaho. Gregor also serves as a Graphic Designer and Marketing Delegate for the Boise State Martin Luther King Living Legacy Committee - Boise State's student agency in charge of organizing the annual MLK Day March in Boise, Idaho.With a unique upbringing and an diverse set of experiences, Gregor is an engineering student with many interesting stories to tell. Nandhu Balakrishnan works for Georgia Public Health Laboratory as Director of Microbiology. His job involves public health and community service. He was born and raised from Southern India. He completed my Master’s and PhD in Medical Microbiology from India. In 2008, he migrated to United States and worked as post-doctoral fellow before he landed into a real stable job. His passion towards laboratory science has stemmed from his childhood and it has been a roller coaster throughout the years to climb to the pinnacle of success. He loves cooking with authentic spices and enjoys feeding people. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/04/2435m 45s

This Is Why We Play: Stories about motivation

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers give us behind the scenes glimpses into why they do what they do. Part 1: While constantly staring at Mercury’s craters for NASA's MESSENGER mission, a picture of the Galapagos Islands captures Paul Byrne’s attention. Part 2: While serving in the navy to get his engineering degree, David Estrada is struck by the level of poverty he witnesses on the tiny island of East Timor. Paul Byrne received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC on NASA's MESSENGER mission, the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. He later joined the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, and then moved to North Carolina State University as an assistant and then associate professor. He became Associate Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis in 2021. His research focuses on comparative planetology—comparing and contrasting the surfaces and interiors of planetary bodies, including Earth, to understand planetary phenomena generally. His research projects span the Solar System from Mercury to Pluto and, increasingly, to the study of extrasolar planets. He uses remotely sensed data, numerical and physical models, and fieldwork on Earth to understand why planets look the way they do. David Estrada is originally from Nampa, Idaho. From 1998 to 2004 he served in the United States Navy as an Electronics Warfare Technician/ Cryptologic Technician – Technical. David achieved the rank of Petty Officer First Class in 2003 before receiving an honorable discharge and returning to Idaho to pursue his undergraduate education at Boise State University (BSU) where he was a Ronald E. McNair scholar. After completing his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from BSU in May of 2007, he began graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) under the direction of Professor Eric Pop. David received his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from UIUC in 2009, and his Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering at UIUC in 2013. David then joined Prof. Rashid Bashir’s Laboratory of Integrated Bio Medical Micro/Nanotechnology Applications as a Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher before moving to the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Boise State University. David is the recipient of the NSF and NDSEG Graduate Fellowships. His work has been recognized with several awards, including the Gregory Stillman, John Bardeen, and SHPE Innovator of the Year awards. His research interests are in the areas of emergent semiconductor nanomaterials and bionanotechnology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/04/2433m 6s

Disgust: Stories about feeling revulsion

Disgust, often seen as a primal and universal emotion, can reveal a lot about our values, boundaries, and cultural norms. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers are confronted with something that grosses them out. Part 1: While on a school trip in Russia, Cassandra Hartblay’s vegetarian dietary restrictions keep getting tested. Part 2: As a meat lover, Jenny Kleeman has high hopes for the world’s first lab-grown chicken nugget. Dr. Cassandra Hartblay is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, where she works with graduate students in Anthropology, European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, Disability Studies and Sexual Diversity Studies, as well as undergraduates in Health Humanities. She is author of the 2020 book "I Was Never Alone or Oporniki" (University of Toronto Press 2020) and numerous articles, a documentary play, and co-curator of the #CripRitual art exhibition. If you can't find her, she's probably our running or swimming with her dog, an Aussie-Retriever mix named Arlo. Jenny Kleeman is a journalist, broadcaster and author. She writes for the Guardian, the Sunday Times and The New Statesman and makes radio and podcasts for the BBC and the Times. Her latest series for BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, The Gift, tells the story of the remarkable truths that emerge when people take at-home DNA tests. On television, Jenny has reported for BBC One's Panorama, Channel 4's Dispatches and VICE News Tonight on HBO, as well as making 13 films from across the globe for Channel 4's Unreported World. Her first book, Sex Robots & Vegan Meat, was published in 2020 and has been translated into ten languages. Her second book The Price of Life, was published in March 2024. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/03/2432m 59s

Taking You With Me: Stories about precious memories

Memories are the threads that weave together the tapestry of our lives, each one a cherished treasure that shapes who we are and where we've been. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share stories about memories that altered their lives. Part 1: After constantly living in the shadow of her older sister, RJ Millena isn’t sure how to carve her own path. Part 2: When Jasmine Anenberg finds out her high school friend overdoses while she’s working in the field, she starts to see the world differently. RJ Millena is an entomologist specializing in the evolution of the twisted-wing insect parasites (Strepsiptera). She is currently a PhD Candidate with the Ware Lab in the Comparative Biology program at the American Museum of Natural History's Richard Gilder Graduate School. Originally from California, RJ grew up in the East Bay with her parents, sister, and large extended Filipino family. She attended UC Davis for her undergraduate degree in Entomology, with double minors in Nematology and Ecology, Evolution, & Biodiversity. In her spare time, she enjoys insect and turtle husbandry, playing drums and trumpet, dancing ballet, and flying trapeze with her sister. Her favorite insect is the one she studies, and her least favorite insect is the bedbug. Jasmine Anenberg is a current PhD student in the School of Forestry at Northern Arizona University. She originally hails from San Jose, California but has lived all over the west and is happy to now call Flagstaff home. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Minor in Botany in 2014 from San Francisco State University, and has worked across many sectors from urban gardening nonprofits to coffee shops to ecological restoration with federal agencies. Her research interests include plant and soil ecology, biological soil crust restoration, and dryland ecosystems. When she is not doing science, Jasmine enjoys rock climbing, hanging with her dog, and volunteer DJing on community radio. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/03/2426m 5s

Checking On You: Stories about concern for others

There are many ways you can ask someone “Are you okay?” In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers navigate the complexities of human connection and how we show concern for those we love. Part 1: Dave Kalema keeps lying to his sick mother about how bad his knee injury is. Part 2: Dionne C. Monsanto doesn’t know how to help her daughter with her mental illness. Dave Kalema is a Ugandan-American documentary filmmaker who tells stories of belonging, identity, and personal transformation. He got his start as the founder of Coin Flyp Media, a video-first media company for the untold, personal stories of change that athletes experience after sports. Dave has filmed NBA, NFL, Olympic, and college athletes as well as artists at various institutions including New York’s famed 92NY and The Moth. In 2021, Dave was chosen for Video Consortium’s Sony Mentorship Program, an initiative for 16 emerging filmmakers to develop projects with professional support. Dave is also a Moth GrandSlam Story Champion and has performed all over the New York City and Philadelphia areas. Dionne C. Monsanto is a bestselling author, speaker and holistic wellness coach that creates the space for her clients to realize their goals and build better versions of themselves. As the Chief Joy Connector and founder of Joyous Ocean, she’s taught thousands of yoga/dance classes. She has appeared on TV, radio, podcasts, print ads and magazines. She leads the way calling us to live life INjoy. Her belief is that we can collectively change the world if we each build a joy-filled body to support the lives we want to live. Dionne has inspired communities and transformed clients all over the world to right-size their bodes and lives. The “Dionne effect” has reshaped lives in 6 of the 7 continents. She is a native New Yorker and global citizen that has appeared on TV, radio and in print, including features on CBS, PBS, NPR, Essence magazine and Time magazine. She sits on the National Chapter Leadership Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and is an active volunteer with her local chapter as well. She is a helper who loves cooking, music and laughter. She sees them all as moving meditations. Dionne C. Monsanto's story does include mentions of suicide, self-harm, and childhood sexual abuse. In case you’d find them helpful, now or at any point in the future, we have some resources available on our website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/03/2430m 22s

Pi vs. Pie: Stories about Pi Day

Happy Pi Day! In honor of upcoming Pi Day on March 14, this week’s episode features two stories about the nerdy celebration. Both of our storytellers will whisk you away on a journey filled with equal parts math and pastry, proving that whether you're calculating circumference or slicing into a sweet treat, there's always a story to be savored. Part 1: After her colleagues make fun of the pie she brings on Pi Day, Desiré Whitmore decides she will never again celebrate Pi Day. Part 2: Math teacher Theodore Chao goes all out for Pi Day at his school. A Blaxican American and Southern California native, Dr. Desiré Whitmore, aka “LASERchick”, began her education in Community College and holds degrees in Physical Sciences, Chemical Engineering, and Chemical and Material Physics. Formerly, she has worked as a scientist in a national lab, a K-8 science curriculum developer, and a community college professor. She now works as the Exploratorium’s Staff Physicist Educator, where she bridges the gap between hands-on science, teacher education, and science communication.  Theodore Chao is an associate professor of mathematics education at The Ohio State University. He loves using video and storytelling to get kids to share about how they really do math, not what someone told them they need to do. He is a former filmmaker, startup founder, and middle school teacher who now spends his time supporting teachers, writing articles, and using research funds to show that kids hold tremendous math power. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/03/2430m 39s

Temperature Rising: Stories about forest fires

Wildfires can impact so many things, from ecosystems to the air quality, to even the economy. But in this week’s episode, both of our storytellers take a look at the more personal impacts of forest fires. Part 1: In college, Nick Link almost burns down the entire neighborhood when he and his friends set some Christmas trees on fire. Part 2: After moving to America from Mumbai, Urvi Talaty feels like she has finally escaped the heavily polluted air that choked her as a kid. Nick Link is a second year PhD student at Northern Arizona University and part of the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society. His research broadly focuses on wildfires - and how we can apply our scientific understanding of the ecosystem to protect communities across Alaska and the Yukon. Urvi Talaty is an environmental consultant and creates life cycle assessments and carbon footprints for clients. She is also a dancer, a poet and a self-proclaimed funny woman who likes to read and travel the world. Urvi holds a Master’s degree from Yale and a Bachelor's degree in chemical engineering and an MBA in technology management from NMIMS University in Mumbai, where she is from. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/03/2425m 0s

Am I The Problem?: Stories from CZI's Rare As One Project

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)'s Rare As One Network brings together rare disease patients and advocates in their quest for cures. Both of this week’s stories are from Rare As One grantees who are sharing their stories and experiences navigating diagnoses and organizing their communities to accelerate research, identify treatments, and change the course of their diseases. Part 1: When Riley Blevins’ son gets diagnosed with a rare disease, it changes his life. Part 2: Heidi Wallis becomes completely obsessed with trying to fix her daughter. After spending years in the corporate world in media relations and corporate branding, a rare disease diagnosis for his first-born son changed -- and very well saved -- Riley Blevins' life. Today, he is the senior director of global community engagement of Cure HHT. Heidi is the Executive Director of the Association for Creatine Deficiencies and parent of four children, two of which have GAMT Deficiency- a rare brain creatine deficiency syndrome. Prior to working for ACD she was as a grant analyst and project manager in the Utah Public Health Newborn Screening program and served as an ACD volunteer board member. Heidi's vision is that one day all creatine deficiencies will be diagnosed at birth, through routine newborn screening, and will be treated with an effective and appropriate treatment before the onset of symptoms. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/02/2430m 18s

Love Story: Stories with a happily ever after

In honor of Valentine’s Day, this week’s episode features two stories where love finds a way. Part 1: Scientist Bruce Hungate yearns to find someone who cares about the tiny details as much as he does. Part 2: Science reporter Ari Daniel and his wife are at odds when it comes to moving their family to Lebanon, but the pandemic changes things. Bruce Hungate conducts research on microbial ecology of global change from the cell to the planet. His research examines the imprint of the diversity of life on the cycling of elements, how ecosystems respond to and shape environmental change, and microbial ecology of the biosphere, from soils to hot springs to humans. Bruce is Director of the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society at Northern Arizona University, where he holds the Frances B McAllister Chair in Community, Culture, and the Environment, and is Regents Professor of Biological Sciences. He is an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, and member of the American Academy of Microbiology. Bruce plays classical piano and writes narrative non-fiction at the intersection of science, the environment, family, and people. He hopes to share ideas about ecology and to find humor, connection, and solutions in the face of global environmental change. Ari Daniel is a freelance contributor to NPR’s Science desk and other outlets. He has always been drawn to science and the natural world. As a graduate student, he trained gray seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) for his Master’s degree in animal behavior at the University of St. Andrews, and helped tag wild Norwegian killer whales (Orcinus orca) for his Ph.D. in biological oceanography at MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. For more than a decade, as a science reporter and multimedia producer, Ari has interviewed a species he’s better equipped to understand — Homo sapiens. Over the years, Ari has reported across six continents on science topics ranging from astronomy to zooxanthellae. His radio pieces have aired on NPR, The World, Radiolab, Here & Now, and Living on Earth. Ari is also a Senior Producer at Story Collider. He formerly worked as a reporter for NPR’s Science desk where he covered global health and development. Before that, he was the Senior Digital Producer at NOVA where he helped oversee the production of the show’s digital video content. He is a co-recipient of the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award for his radio stories on glaciers and climate change in Greenland and Iceland. In the fifth grade, he won the “Most Contagious Smile” award. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/02/2424m 39s

Peer Review: Stories about other people's opinions

In science, peer review plays a critical role in figuring out if research is good enough, robust enough. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers find themselves looking for outside feedback on if they’re good enough. Part 1: At her NASA summer internship, Kirsten Siebach feels completely out of place among the Mars mission scientists. Part 2: Alison Spodek’s need to be seen as smart takes over her life. Kirsten Siebach is an Assistant Professor in the Rice University Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences and calls herself a Martian Geologist. She is currently a member of the Science and Operations Teams for the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance and the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity, and previously worked on the science and engineering teams for the Phoenix Lander and the two Mars Exploration Rovers. She uses the images, chemistry, and other data that the rovers send back from Mars to study ancient environments on the Red Planet and compare them to ancient and modern environments on Earth. She received her bachelor’s degree in Earth and Planetary Science and Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis and her Ph.D. in Geology from Caltech. Kirsten is actively engaged in science education and outreach and loves sharing the stories and images from Mars with students and the public. She has been interviewed in multiple documentaries and TV shows related to Mars exploration and has given over one hundred talks to students and interest groups around the world. Outside of professional interests, she loves travel and photography (on Earth as well as Mars), and enjoys swimming, hiking, and puzzles. Alison Spodek is a flamingo, majestically awkward in some circumstances, moderately graceful in others. A fierce competitor in her extended family’s daily Wordle competition, she is also an associate professor and chair of the chemistry department at Vassar College. There, her research focuses on the behaviors of all the most fun elements in the environment, particularly arsenic, mercury, lead, and uranium, but her real passion is helping people understand the world around them, particularly those who think they are “not good at science.” She lives in Beacon, NY with her husband, two kids, and a crotchety old dog. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/02/2426m 23s

Postpartum: Stories about postpartum depression

CDC research shows about 1 in 8 women with a recent live birth experience symptoms of postpartum depression. In this week’s episode, our storytellers share their experience with postpartum depression. Part 1: With a new kid and her husband moving to Iowa for a job, Angie Chatman’s mental health begins to suffer. Part 2: Anna Agniel’s romantic notions of married life with a child are broken when her husband relapses and her son is born with a cleft palate. Angie Chatman is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer, a voice over artist, and a WEBBY award-winning storyteller. She’s told for The Moth Radio Hour, World Channel/GBH’s Stories from the Stage, Fugitive Stories, and Story Collider. A Chicago native, Angie now lives in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood where she identifies as a married Mom to grown folks and a rescue dog, Lizzie. Anna Agniel, a storyteller since childhood, studied theatre, playwriting, and solo performance at SMU's Meadows School of the Arts. She toured her one-woman show, Slow Children Playing, around the country, and in 2019 founded her own business, Storiespeak, to encourage other people to write and tell their stories. Anna now works as the Senior Associate Director of Class and University Programs at Washington University in St. Louis, and she utilizes storytelling and creative producing skills both at work and at home with her three children. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/02/2429m 51s

Faith: Stories about religion and science

Throughout history, the relationship between faith and science has been complex – a delicate interplay between the spiritual and the empirical, where questions of existence, purpose, and the unknown have often intersected. In this week’s episode, our storytellers examine the delicate balance between religious convictions and the pursuit of empirical truths. Part 1: Comedian John Fugelsang doesn’t want to get married just to appease his Catholic parents. Part 2: When Chris Mustafa Gray’s daughter is born, his wife makes one rule that he must not indoctrinate their daughter with his new-found religious beliefs. John Fugelsang is a New York-based political commentator, comedian, TV and radio personality, performer, and writer. He was the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos and has appeared frequently on news commentary shows on CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and NPR. Recently, Fugelsang was the host of Current TV’s daily show, Viewpoint, where he analyzed the news and facilitated conversations about current affairs. Currently, he hosts a daily program called “Tell Me Everything” on the new SiriusXM Insight Channel. Cris Gray aka Papa Mustafa, is a multifaceted artist who transitions between the realms of humor and heartfelt narrative. With a background in comedy, he harnesses comedic timing and wit to craft tales that elicit both laughter and introspection. With a goal to connect with audiences on an emotional level, he attempts to weave stories that touch the soul, all while leaving a lingering smile on your face. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/01/2439m 48s

Failure: Stories about failing in science

In science, failure is as important as success. In this week’s episode, our storytellers share times when they failed at science or science failed them. Part 1: Samuel Scarpino is convinced that the paper he wrote about how hard it is to predict infectious diseases should win a Nobel Prize. Part 2: It’s grad student Moronke Harris’ turn with the deep-sea robot that no one can find, and she needs to conduct her research.. Samuel V. Scarpino, PhD, is the Director of AI + Life Sciences at Northeastern University and a Professor of the Practice in Health and Computer Sciences. He holds appointments in the Institute for Experiential AI and the Network Science, Global Resilience, and Roux Institutes. In recognition for his contributions to complex systems science, he was named an external Professor at the Santa Fe Institute in 2020. Prior to joining Northeastern, Scarpino was the Vice President of Pathogen Surveillance at The Rockefeller Foundation, Chief Strategy Officer at Dharma Platform (a social impact, technology startup), and co-founded a data science initiative called, which was backed by Google and The Rockefeller Foundation. Scarpino is a regular presence in the news, providing over 500 interviews to outlets such as Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, Vice News, The Atlantic, and NPR. He has authored more than 100 academic publications, which have been cited over 8,000 times. Scarpino’s work has appeared in journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, PNAS, Clinical Infectious Diseases, and Nature Physics. The New York Times, Wired, the Boston Globe, National Geographic, and numerous other venues have covered his research. Moronke Harris ( is a deep-sea explorer and oceanographer with experience in climate engineering, blue economy, and intergovernmental (Canada, USA, Russia, Japan, and the Republic of Korea), multi-vessel research expedition planning in the high seas. Currently completing a PhD in Oceanography at the University of Victoria (BC, Canada), her research focuses on the most unexplored areas of the ocean, containing the most potential for discovery. Moronke specializes in the alien world of seafloor superheated geysers: hydrothermal vent ecosystems 1000-4000 m under the ocean's surface. She has spent over 110 days of her life exploring Earth's final frontier. Beyond academic pursuits, she is the founder of ‘The Imaginative Scientist’ ( a science communication and creative consulting brand blending traditional outreach and artistry to produce an audience-first approach that engages, invites, and inspires curiosity. Brand experience includes 50+ national and international speaking engagements, video production and content creation collaborations garnering 50,000+ views, and consultation for gallery installations, video game development, and film production. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/01/2428m 11s

Hallucinogenics: Stories about tripping

In this week’s episode, our storytellers delve into their personal encounters with psychedelics—moments where reality became a blur, perceptions began to shift, and the boundaries of consciousness expanded. Part 1: While tripping on acid, Michael Czajkowski goes into anaphylaxis. Part 2: Dust Cwaine sees their body differently while experimenting with magical mushrooms. Michael Czajkowski is an origami physicist, fashion redesigner, experimental science communicator and amateur bicycle pilot. Their research concerns materials that have been punctured, folded and otherwise damaged strategically so they will move in dramatic unusual and controllable ways. This research feeds into their greater goals, to connect tangible science with uncommon and underserved audiences. This is the focus of their work with Science for Georgia as Director of Advocacy. In their spare time, they like to maintain their social network: Dust Cwaine (aka David Cutting) is a Singer-Songwriter and Drag Artist. They are a Non-Binary Aromantic, known for their bright and earthy creativity. Dust’s art centers itself in the political nature of queer identity, evoking a sense of belonging and togetherness with their presence in live spaces. Dust Cwaine started Drag in 2016, since their debut They have Produced and Hosted over 250 shows, and They have written 3 Drag musicals. In 2020 Dust began creating music and released a demo album of tracks they created while in quarantine aptly titled AMATUER and on September 23rd 2022 they released Their debut LP Arcana in collaboration with Josh Eastman of Helm Studios. Dust’s music carries inspiration from the alt rock insurgence of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, lyrically weaving earnesty with humor, for an emotional familiarity that is immediately disarming. Their live shows involve a blending of drag and music that intentionally try to break down the walls between the performer and the audience, Dust refers to this as community, where everybody has an equally important part to play. You can listen to Dust Cwaine’s music on any streaming service, visit their website to learn more! You can also find them on Instagram at @unicornriverchild Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/01/2430m 5s

Life and Death: Stories about our relationship with death

Happy New Year! In this week’s episode, our storytellers ponder the big questions about life and death. Part 1: When Shannon Turner’s high school friend passes away from a rare virus from a monkey, she contemplates her sense of purpose. Part 2: After a traumatizing experience with a dead body leaves journalist Erica Buist agoraphobic, she embarks on a journey to understand how other cultures handle death in hopes of healing. Shannon M. Turner is a professional storyteller and story coach, as well as a writer, dreamer, and nerd. She is the Founder/Creative Director of StoryMuse, offers storytelling techniques as a tool for personal discernment, team building, and community development in effort to cultivate a world where all stories are heard and honored. She is the producer of Carapace, Atlanta’s OG monthly true, personal storytelling event and has an MFA from Virginia Tech. Read more at Erica Buist is a writer, journalist, lecturer and author of the book This Party’s Dead. Between writing plays, audio drama and short films for Stockroom Theatre Company and managing the social media for literary nonprofit Tupelo Press, she is slowly writing her first novel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/01/2434m 32s

Fresh Start: Stories about new beginnings

As we say goodbye to 2023 and ring in the New Year, this week’s classic episode is all about the novel. Part 1: Feeling isolated in her new job as a particle accelerator operator at Fermilab, Cindy Joe finds comfort in the friendship of her unconventional pet. This story originally aired on July 27, 2018 in an episode titled “Loneliness: Stories about finding friends”. Part 2: Actor Gail Thomas is invited to take part in a study testing mushrooms as treatment for depression in cancer survivors. This story originally aired on Dec. 1, 2017 in an episode titled “Psychotropic Substances: Stories about altered states”. Cindy Joe is an engineering physicist at Fermilab, America’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory. She got her bachelor’s degree in physics and became a licensed senior nuclear reactor operator at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. After starting at Fermilab, she worked as a particle accelerator operator for seven years before taking her current role with several experiments studying neutrinos, tiny particles that might hold the answers to some of the universe’s biggest mysteries. Cindy is a frequent and deeply passionate contributor to Fermilab’s educational outreach programs and has spoken to audiences from elementary school students to members of Congress. 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/12/2334m 35s

A Child Is Born: Stories about labor and delivery

Happy Holidays! In this week’s classic episode, both stories explore the miracle of life. Part 1: An expert in oxytocin, the hormone released during birth, Bianca Jones Marlin is determined to have a natural birth — even as the hours of labor add up… This story originally aired on Nov. 9, 2018, in an episode titled “Pregnancy”. Part 2: Ed Pritchard inadvertently becomes a leatherback turtle midwife during his first field job. This story originally aired on Mar. 4, 2022, in an episode titled “Miracle of Life”. Bianca Jones Marlin is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University. She holds a PhD in neuroscience from New York University, and dual bachelor degrees from St. John’s University, in biology and adolescent education. As a graduate student, with Dr. Robert Froemke, Dr. Marlin examined how the brain adapts to care for a newborn and how a baby’s cry can control adult behavior. Her research focused on the vital bond between parent and child, and studied the use of neurochemicals, such as the “love drug” oxytocin, as a treatment to strengthen fragile and broken parent-child relationships. Dr. Marlin is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Richard Axel, where she investigates transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, or how traumatic experiences in parents affect the brain structure of their offspring. Her research has been featured in Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Scientific America and Discover Magazine’s “100 Top Stories of 2015.” She is the recipient of the 2016 Society for Neuroscience Donald B. Lindsley Award, which recognizes the most outstanding PhD thesis in the general area of behavioral neuroscience and was named a STAT Wunderkind in 2017. She is currently a Junior Fellow in the prestigious Simons Society of Fellows. A native New Yorker, Dr. Marlin lives in Manhattan with her scientist husband, Joseph, their daughter, Sage, and their cat Santiago Ramon y Cajal, who is named after the famed neuroanatomist. Her website is A native of South Florida, Ed Pritchard has fostered a love for the marine environment since an early age. Ed holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in Marine Conservation from the University of Miami. As an Interpretive Programs Lead at Miami-Dade County’s Eco Division, Ed develops and leads immersive citizen engagement programs that promote awareness and foster stewardship of our local environment, with an emphasis placed on our marine and coastal resources. Ed’s ultimate goal is to use effective science communication and education initiatives to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/12/2333m 57s

DIY: Stories about doing science oneself

Science doesn’t always have to be in fancy labs with million dollar equipment and shiny beakers. Sometimes, science can be a bit more DIY. In this week’s episode, our storytellers take a hands-on approach to scientific discovery. Part 1: Brittany Ross gets inspired when her high school physics teacher assigns a physics video project where she has to demonstrate a law of physics out in the real world. Part 2: Nothing will get in the way of Greg Pandelis’s dreams to be a zoologist, except maybe a giant cliff. Brittany Ross grew up in Alaska, Scotland, South America, Texas, Chicago, and Hawaii. As a result, she is very normal...Brittany is an actress, writer, stand up, and producer. She performs stand up all over town, and is a well-known storyteller, having won The Moth several times. Aside from the Choco Krispies commercial that not only starred a 5-year-old Brittany, but probably changed ALL of your lives, Brittany is best known for playing Courtney in ABC’s, THE MIDDLE. She can also be seen in Huge in France, Like Father, The Rookie, and more. Greg Pandelis is the curator of the Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Research Center of UT Arlington, where he manages the largest scientific collection of preserved reptiles and amphibians in Texas, while also conducting his own research. Despite thoroughly enjoying studying dead things, Greg’s other passion lies in studying animals in the field; he has been on several field expeditions to Central America, South America, Europe, and Asia in pursuit of creepy crawly things of all sorts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/12/2328m 9s

Bringing My Whole Self: Stories about being yourself in science

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers strive to be their authentic selves in academia. Part 1: Raul Fernandez dreamed of going to university to study engineering. When he gets to Boston University, he feels unwelcome. Part 2: Cynthia Chapple was continually underestimated by her teachers and struggled with minimizing aspects of herself to be accepted. Dr. Raul Fernandez is a scholar-activist. As a Senior Lecturer at Boston University, he studies, writes, and teaches about inequities in education. As the Board Chair of Brookline for Racial Justice & Equity, he rallies his neighbors in the relentless pursuit of racial and economic justice. In the last few years alone, he researched and wrote a piece that helped topple a monument to white supremacy, created a film series that engaged thousands of participants in challenging dialogues, and trained thousands more in equitable policymaking at institutions in the US and abroad. Dr. Fernandez also served as a member of Brookline Select Board – the first Latinx person elected to that position. During his time there he created a working group to support public housing residents, a Racial Equity Advancement Fund, and a task force to reimagine public safety. He lives with his formidable partner Christina and their three kids in Brookline, and enjoys trips to "big park" and "tiny park" with his adorable toddler Maya. Cynthia Chapple is an innovative scientist, an advocate for black girls and women, and champion of equity. In keeping with this work, she is founder of Black Girls Do STEM, an organization offering exploration of STEM career pathways through hands-on engaging curriculum in the areas of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to middle and high school black girls to expose them to career pathways and empower them to become STEM professionals. Cynthia looks for more ways in which she can act as a conduit exposing young black girls to STEM industries and a diversity, equity and inclusion voice within the STEM workforce space to create welcoming policies, practices and cultures for Black people and women to thrive. As a Black woman in STEM this work is deeply personal and Cynthia draws upon her lived experiences as a result of her intersectional identities to offer ideas and solutions that truly foster belonging and give the opportunity for people to show up as their authentic selves. As a founder she sets strategic focus, foundational policies, practices and culture around the program design and student experience for Black Girls Do STEM. Subsequently she has launched CC Black Lab a research and manufacturing company of cosmetic products with the first brand being produced being Black Velvet SPA. Cynthia received her Bachelor of Chemistry Degree from Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) and her Master of Science in Chemistry from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). She subsequently spent five and a half years as a Research and Development Chemist in the manufacturing industry. She has been a member of both the American Chemical Society and the Society of Cosmetic Chemist for over 5 years combined. Cynthia’s superpower is leveraging her expertise and power to dream on behalf of Black liberation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/12/2327m 6s

Active Participant: Stories about being a research subject

Research participants are sometimes the most important part of science. Without participants there is no data, and without data there are no findings. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers become an active part of scientific research. Part 1: Therapist Susan Fee signs up herself and her daughter for a stress management research study. Part 2: While suffering from a panic attack, comedian Kenice Mobley reflects on a psychology experiment about the impact of race on comfort that she took part in. Susan Fee is a mental health therapist, living and working in Seattle. She is completing her certification as a Financial Therapist to help clients develop healthy stories around money. Susan is also the director of Brainpower Chronicles: Stories of Mental Health in support of the Washington Chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness. Learn more at Kenice Mobley is a standup comedian and filmmaker who lives in Brooklyn, New York. Kenice performs stand up comedy around the world and recently made her late night debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. In 2021, she was listed as one of Vulture’s Comedians You Should and Will Know. In 2022, she performed at the Netflix is A Joke Festival as part of the taped show “Introducing….”. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/12/2326m 36s

Reality: Stories about one's perception of real life

Everyone thinks they know the difference between fantasy and reality. But do we? In this week’s episode, our storytellers struggle to keep a firm grasp on the real world. Part 1: Shawn Musgrave's seizures make him feel like he's experiencing deja vu. Part 2: Shane Mauss’ bipolar disorder causes him to lose his sense of reality. Shawn Musgrave is a lawyer, journalist, lawyer-who-represents-journalists, and recent transplant to New York. His work has appeared in POLITICO, The Verge, VICE, The Intercept, and the Boston Globe, among other publications, as well as in the Netflix docuseries "How to Fix a Drug Scandal." Shane Mauss is an award-winning comedian recognized for his appearances on late-night shows and popular comedy podcasts. He is also a science communicator who has interviewed over 400 scientists as the host of the "Here We Are" podcast. Shane is also a psychedelic adventurer whose psychedelic-themed comedy tours inspired Comedy Central's animated series "Tales From The Trip" and the Amazon Prime documentary "Psychonautics: A Comic's Exploration of Psychedelics." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/11/2331m 20s

Career Path: Stories about career journeys

While some people have straight forward career paths, in this week’s episode, both of our storyteller’s career paths are a little more complex. Part 1: Witnessing mistakes health care professionals made after her dad has a stroke, Jenn Kamara vows never to work in medicine. Part 2: For Theresa Ball, it seems like everything in life is keeping her from her dream of becoming a nurse. Originally hailing from Long Island, Jenn Kamara struggles with pronouncing words like “coffee” and “water.” Jenn has told stories on the stages of Story District, Risk!, Perfect Liars Club, Better Said Than Done and more to come. So far she has the great distinction of having both the Worst Job and Worst Date. Theresa Ball is a registered nurse, who works in the ER, of a very busy, level 1 trauma hospital. She has a total of 21 years of healthcare experience. She’s a mom of 3, an avid hiker, a yogi and an amateur chef. She is also a success and wellness coach for nurses, who lives to inspire others to be better, even in the smallest moments. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/11/2325m 5s

Shame: Stories about things we hide

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers confront their secret shames and learn to accept themselves, warts and all. Part 1: Comedian Amy Veltman doesn’t want to acknowledge her embarrassing gastrointestinal issues. Part 2: Mike Lambert seeks a friend’s help to pick out new glasses, but his secret body dysmorphia threatens to undo him. Amy Veltman is a New York City comic who’s performed across the country. She was the producer and co-host of podcast, 2 Moms on The Couch, which, like her comedy, features her edgy take on motherhood, marriage, and being an outsider in an insider’s world. Amy's in the process of transforming the story she shared with The Story Collider into a one-woman show PSA: PELVIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT, which premieres in December, 2023. She hopes the show, featuring music, characters, and multimedia, will raise awareness of options available for women and men to address pelvic floor health issues. Visit to see when PSA: PELVIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT is appearing near you or to inquire about bringing the show to your organization or theater. Mike Lambert is a writer and storyteller based in Studio City, California. He holds a BA in Theater from UCLA and, in an earlier incarnation, appeared in musicals and cabaret in New York and on tour. He has appeared as a stand-up comedian at the Original Improvisation in New York City and also worked as a joke writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Original story collections include Homo on the Range: Adventures at Oil Can Harry’s and Dear Mrs. Eddy: Letters from a Bad Christian Scientist. Mike currently works as the graduate advisor for the UCLA PhD Program in English. His credo: "If you don't like to read, for God's sake, surround yourself with people who do. It makes such a difference.". Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/11/2339m 33s

Politics: Stories about the political side of science

While many people believe science and politics should be kept separate, politics is deeply ingrained in science. Be it through funding agendas, cultural lobbies or personal bias – politics can shape the science in many ways. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share tales about when politics and science meet. Part 1: Scientist Gretchen Goldman struggles to protect the data and integrity of science under the new Trump administration. Part 2: Journalist Liz Landau feels the wrath of the internet when she covers a study about women and their voting preferences. Dr. Gretchen Goldman is the Climate Change Research and Technology Director at the US Department of Transportation. Previously, Dr. Goldman served at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy as the Assistant Director for Environmental Science, Engineering, Policy, and Justice, where she led Federal efforts on scientific integrity, Indigenous Knowledge, climate and equity, air quality, and environmental justice. Dr. Goldman spent a decade as the Research Director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, where she led research and policy efforts on climate, environmental, and science policy decision-making. She has testified before Congress, sat on the board of 500 Women Scientists, and chaired the Air and Climate Public Advisory Committee for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. In 2022, Dr. Goldman made the Georgia Tech alumni 40 Under 40 List and was named in Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year in 2020. Dr. Goldman holds a PhD and MS in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in atmospheric science from Cornell University. Elizabeth "Liz" Landau is an award-winning journalist and science communicator. She has contributed articles to the New York Times, Washington Post, WIRED, Smithsonian, Scientific American, Quanta, and other publications. In her work with NASA, she produces and edits podcasts, videos, and website stories about space. Liz holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Princeton University (magna cum laude) and a master’s in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, Liz enjoys songwriting and playing keyboard. Currently, she lives in Washington, D.C. Her favorite number is pi. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/11/2331m 32s

Paradoxical: Stories about thoughts we shouldn't have

We all have thoughts that can be seemingly absurd or self-contradictory. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers reckon with their conflicting thoughts. Part 1: After surviving breast cancer, comedian Ophira Eisenberg hates the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon. Part 2: After the sudden death of his mom, Richard Kemeny feels numb to the world and his feelings. Ophira Eisenberg is a standup comic and host of NPR’s nationally syndicated comedy, trivia show Ask Me Another where she interviews and plays silly games with Sir Patrick Stewart, Taye Diggs, Awkwafina, Roxane Gay, Terry Crews, Jessica Walter, Josh Groban, Nick Kroll, Tony Hawk, George Takei, Sasha Velour, Ethan Hawke, Julia Stiles, Lewis Black, Uzo Aduba, Michael C. Hall and more. She also is a regular host and teller with The Moth and her stories have been featured on The Moth Radio Hour and in their best-selling books, including the most recent: Occasional Magic: True Stories About Defying the Impossible. Ophira’s own comedic memoir, Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy was optioned for a feature film. She has appeared on Comedy Central, This Week At The Comedy Cellar, The New Yorker Festival, Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, HBO’s Girls, Gotham Live, The Late Late Show, The Today Show, and VH-1. Her comedy special Inside Joke is available on Amazon and iTunes. Richard Kemeny is a freelance science and travel writer based in London. His work has appeared in New Scientist, The Atlantic, Science, Hakai, the BBC and National Geographic. He used to produce The Economist's science and tech podcast, Babbage, and has reported from several countries for PRI's The World. He has received fellowships to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Marine Biological Laboratory, and used to work for a coral reef restoration foundation on the northern coast of Colombia. In his spare time he goes bouldering or thinks about cold water swimming. He is @rakemeny Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/10/2333m 42s

Anxious Mind: Stories about troublesome worries

Anyone can feel anxious, but when anxiety starts impacting your life, it can be problematic. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers confront their worries. Part 1: Devon Kodzis thought they had their anxiety under control until a routine doctor appointment. Part 2: Naturally anxious neuroscientist Tammy Spence becomes preoccupied with her dog’s health. Devon Kodzis has been called a joyful bumblebee. They have had job titles including animal trainer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, educator, and currently serve as the Dean of the Academic Incubator at Dallas College. They always have goggle-marks from swimming. Their passions include reading horror novels, hiking, and shouting at the television with their cats. Devon began storytelling at Dallas Comedy House in 2016 and have since produced and been featured in shows such as Gettin It', Truth in Comedy, Story Collider, Talking Dirty After Dark and Backyard Story Night. They have taught storytelling since 2017 and have had students living on every continent except for Antarctica. Tamara “Tammy” Spence is a neuroscientist and professional worrywart, earning a PhD in worry – for real. She would do almost anything in the name of science and education – including authorizing an entire class of medical students to observe an invasive procedure on herself that she could not bear to witness. Known as the “Brain Lady” for bringing buckets of preserved human brains to elementary schools as part of a Brain Awareness Campaign, she loves illuminating minds…one brain at a time. A proud aunt, she relishes the fact that her nephew considers Mr. Axon – his plush neuron – to be worthy of show and tell at his preschool. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/10/2334m 15s

Helping Hand: Stories about the kindness of strangers

Whether it’s a completing a lab, writing up a grant proposal, or just getting through everyday life, everyone needs a little help. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share moments where they lent or received support. Part 1: One moment Keith Mellnick is cycling home, the next he’s in the emergency room of the hospital with no idea what happened to him. Part 2: Medical student Fabiola Plaza feels compelled to help a woman on the New York subway get a doctor’s appointment. Keith Mellnick is a freelance photographer whose past work in the Middle East, Central Asia, and East Africa has been highlighted by National Geographic Books, the Atlantic, and his brother's refrigerator. Based in Washington, DC, he currently works primarily with organized labor and progressive causes throughout the US. In addition to photography and storytelling, he enjoys any opportunity to escape into the woods--far from politics, screens, and oppressive DC heat indexes. Fabiola Plaza is a fourth-year medical student at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Native to Venezuela, she grew up as one of seven children in South Florida. She began playing the viola at a young age and attended a middle and high school for the performing arts. She then attended Columbia University, majoring in Neuroscience and Music. While at Columbia, Fabiola discovered her love for medicine and giving back to the community. Her current research interests involve language differences leading to healthcare disparities, health provider bias against those who are justice-involved, and the effects of gun violence in healthcare. When she is not busy studying, you can find Fabiola playing viola in the New York Repertory Orchestra, being very competitive at Bananagrams and any other board game, or completing another 1000+ piece puzzle. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/10/2323m 9s

New Normal: Stories about finding a new way of being

In science, we’re constantly learning, adapting and evolving. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers need to reckon with a new normal. Part 1: After a neurological disorder leaves Tracey Starin visually impaired, she struggles to fill the void of her love for reading. Part 2: At first comedian Ayanna Dookie doesn’t take her Lupus diagnosis seriously. Tracey Starin is a writer and storyteller from Queens, NY. She has performed on actual and virtual stages in Boston, San Diego, Chicago, Toronto, and all over New York City. Tracey has appeared on numerous podcasts, including RISK!, Love Hurts, and The Volume Knob, as well as Stories from the Stage for World Channel. Tracey is the co-producer of the storytelling series Food for Thought for the National Storytelling Network. She also co-hosts a monthly storytelling show at Pine Box Rock Shop in Brooklyn called Just One More Thing.  Ayanna Dookie is a stand-up comedian based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the 2014 winner of The She Devil Comedy Festival. She also earned a spot in the semi-finals of NBC’s Stand-Up for Diversity and a finalist in the New York Underground Comedy Festival Emerging Comics Competition. She has appeared on Comcast-on-Demand, is currently a cast member on Fox's Laughs, and has been featured in the New York Post, Health Magazine, and the Lifetime Network. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/10/2330m 53s

Reclamation: Stories about setting something right

We all know life isn’t perfect, but sometimes we get a do-over. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers get a chance to redeem a part of their past. Part 1: When Barbara Todd isn’t with her dad when he passes, she searches for forgiveness. Part 2: Grad student Nina Christie’s preconceived notions of the Skid Row needle exchange get turned on their head when she begins volunteering there. Barbara Todd started her American journey after relocating from British Columbia, Canada to California as a young RN over 30 years ago. The move was meant to be a one or two year adventure but after finding the love of her life, having two amazing children and continuing with an extremely rewarding career in healthcare - the adventure continues! Barb began her storytelling journey through listening to the many amazing podcasts celebrating true storytelling. She found a local live event hosted by Capital Storytelling in Sacramento and was hooked! After participating in in-person and virtual classes as well as open mic and curated events, Barb applied and was accepted to the Capital Storytelling Ambassadors program. Through this amazing opportunity, Barb has been bringing the power of true storytelling to her colleagues in healthcare ever since! Dr. Nina Christie is a newly-minted Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and is currently postdoctoral fellow at the University of New Mexico at the Center for Alcohol, Substance Use, and Addictions. Her research focuses on the intersection of social connection and substance use, with an emphasis on harm reduction and drug policy. She is passionate about positively impacting human health and wellbeing through the lens of psychology, public health, and policy. She is also a ~lover~ of all things Taylor Swift, and she enjoys baking new recipes for her friends and family. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/09/2330m 45s

Mortified: Stories about embarrassing situations

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers experience the most humbling of human experiences: being embarrassed. Part 1: Emma Yarbrough feels in control of her future after undergoing an egg retrieval operation until a burning sensation sends her for a loop. Part 2: When the doctor finds blood in Carlos Kotkin’s urine, he ends up having to undergo some deeply humiliating procedures. Emma Yarbrough is a storyteller, actor, playwright, arts administrator and silly billy from beautiful (and tiny) Eufaula, Alabama. Fans of Story Collider in Atlanta may recognize her as one of our producers and hosts. During the day, she’s the assistant director of Emory Arts at Emory University. At night, she’s a handmaiden to her cats Christopher Robin and Christopher Lloyd. Carlos Kotkin is an author, screenwriter and humorist. His dating memoir "Please God Let It Be Herpes: A Heartfelt Quest For Love And Companionship" was published in 2012 and he has also written a number of animated features, including Rio 2, Open Season: Scared Silly, The Star and the soon-to-be released Giants of La Mancha. His stories have been featured in The New York Times’ Modern Love, Reader's Digest and Sunset Magazine, even though the Sunset Magazine was whittled down from five pages to one paragraph. (They still paid him.) His stories have also been aired on The Moth, Risk and KRCW’s Unfictional podcasts. He was valedictorian of his high school, then promptly dropped out of the University of Southern California, so he never thought he’d be in a show about science, but here we are. He's not a fan of writing about himself in the third person. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/09/2330m 40s

Searching: Stories about trying to find something

If you think about it, science is one big act of searching. There's always something to look for, whether it's the answer to a hypothesis or the next Goldilocks planet. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers find themselves looking high and low. Part 1: Comedian Sam Lyons is determined to not get involved with his partner’s feral cats, until one goes missing. Part 2: In an act of desperation, Bhaskar Sompalli goes on a hunt to find free lab equipment to make his graduate school experiment work. Sam Lyons is a comedian, musician, actor, and Gilmore girls enthusiast - and not always in that order! He joined our Story Collider staff with an aversion to science, but the practice of sharing his own stories and helping other tellers with them as opened his eyes to how science is all around us, ready to embrace without strangling. You can likely catch Sam and his partner Emma feeding feral cats in an alley near you. Bhaskar Sompalli is an engineer and storyteller living in the bay area. After graduate studies in Tulsa and Chicago, he's worked on several technologies over the years; from fuel cells and batteries to semiconductors, and founded a battery startup. An optimist who is passionate about clean tech, he now works full-time on using hydrogen fuel cells and batteries to tackle climate change. He has narrated several of his personal essays on San Francisco's KQED NPR station. He is a writer whose first fiction novella Utopia Revisited 2050 is now out on Amazon as a paperback, and is currently working on his second novel. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/09/2334m 21s

Food Science: Stories about things we eat

As famed Iron Chef Alton Brown once said: “Everything in food is science”. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers discover something about themselves through the science of food. Part 1: Corn researcher Katie Murphy is scared becoming a TikToker will ruin her credibility as a serious scientist. Part 2: As a kid, Scottie Rowell gets an unpleasant surprise when they don’t wait to eat their grandmother’s pickles. Katie Murphy is a plant biologist who loves studying the inner workings of corn. She is the Director of Phenotyping and Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, a non-profit research institute in St. Louis, Missouri. Her research group studies phenotyping, which means measuring the physical traits of plants. She holds a PhD in Plant Biology from UC Davis, and a Bachelor's in Chemistry from Stanford University. Katie's goal is to make a secure, sustainable food supply that can withstand future climates. She shares her research on TikTok @Real_Time_Science. Scottie Rowell is a Queer, Agender, Autistic artist based in Atlanta, GA. As a storyteller and puppeteer, Scottie’s career is focused on performances and experiments in play in non-traditional theater spaces. As owner of Teller Productions, Scottie creates tactile, immersive experiences for families using sustainable materials (all repurposed, discarded, or easily recycled). Scottie’s show Super Cello! premiered with the National Symphony Orchestra and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in April 2022. Other clients include the Georgia Aquarium, the Alliance Theater, the Center for Puppetry Arts, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Visuals and fun at and (Yes, Scottie made that pickle shirt for the story.) Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/09/2328m 45s

Break Ups: Stories about the end of a relationship

Matters of the heart aren’t usually associated with science, but in this week’s episode, both of our storytellers turn to science to cope with heartbreak. Part 1: When Anna Peterson gets dumped she takes a job with two national wildlife refuges in remote Alaska to prove to her ex he made a mistake. Part 2: When Moiya McTier’s fiancé breaks up with her weeks before their wedding, she turns to the Milky Way to heal. Anna Peterson is originally from Colorado, but has called Atlanta home for nearly 2.5 years. She obtained her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 2019 from the University of Tennessee, and has studied parasites and pathogens in everything from salamanders to rats to humans. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with her dog Hank, running long distances very slowly, and discovering the city of Atlanta by bicycle. Dr. Moiya McTier is an astrophysicist, folklorist, and science communicator. After graduating as Harvard’s first student to double major in astrophysics and mythology, Moiya earned her PhD in astronomy at Columbia University. Moiya’s mission is to help people better understand the world around them through science and facts. She does that through her podcasts Exolore and Pale Blue Pod, a mythology show for PBS called Fate & Fabled, and her hit book THE MILKY WAY: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/09/2332m 39s

Uncharted: Stories about disability in STEM

People with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM fields, and all too often, they face isolation and ableism in academia. In this week’s episode, two stories from the recently published book Uncharted: How Scientists Navigate Their Own Health, Research, and Experiences of Bias, have been adapted for the podcast. Both of our storytellers showcase how they, as scientists with disabilities, navigate their careers. Part 1: When Skylar Bayer’s heart condition sidelines her from doing her dive research, she struggles with not feeling worthy enough as a scientist. This story was originally produced by SoundBites and aired on Maine Public Radio in 2019. Part 2: When Mpho Kgoadi loses feelings in his legs as a child, he worries he won’t be able to achieve his dreams. Skylar Bayer is a marine biologist, a storyteller, and a science communicator. She completed her Ph.D. in the secret sex lives of scallops, a subject that landed her on The Colbert Report in 2013. Since then she has dabbled in a diversity of science communication activities, all of which you can read about on her website ( She’s an alum of the D.C.-based Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship program. She is the co-editor with fellow MIT alum, Gabi Serrato Marks, of the book Uncharted: how scientists navigate health, research, and bias. When there isn’t a pandemic going on, she also enjoys Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the gentle art. Follow her on Twitter @drsrbayer. Mpho Kgoadi is a PhD student at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He has a rare auto-immune disease called Transverse Myelitis and has been using a wheelchair for the past 15 years. He has always been fascinated by the mysteries of the cosmos, and his research focuses on the effect of dark matter in the early universe. Outside of his research, he is passionate about science outreach and making scientific knowledge accessible to people from diverse backgrounds, he loves coding and have a deep passion for tech. In his free time, he enjoys stargazing, reading science fiction novels, and playing video games. Purchase a copy of Uncharted and read more powerful first-person stories by current and former scientists with disabilities or chronic conditions. Books can be purchased here: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/08/2329m 41s

Job Search: Stories about finding employment

Searching for a job in science or in another field is often a daunting task with plenty of challenges, both expected and unexpected. In this week’s episode, each of our storytellers embark on a job hunt that is anything but straightforward. Part 1: To get funding for grad school, Hakim Walker needs to pass a lie detector test. Part 2: In order to keep up the facade of living the American Dream, Xavier Bettencourt applies for a job as a science educator. Hakim Walker was born in Brooklyn, New York to a large family of Jamaican immigrants. A graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School, he studied Mathematics and Philosophy at Boston University, and was among the first in his family to attend college. He worked as an admissions officer and research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before earning his Ph.D in Mathematics from the George Washington University in 2017. Currently, Hakim is an instructor and residential advisor at Harvard University, where he teaches courses in the Department of Mathematics. He is also a faculty mentor for the Emerging Scholars Program, which supports disadvantaged Harvard students who wish to pursue careers in STEM. Among other things, Hakim enjoys traveling (especially road trips), card and board games (especially chess), and educational science channels on YouTube (especially Vsauce). He also loves writing puzzles, poetry, short stories, and dialogues. He is a two-time TEDx speaker, and he has performed and lectured at various venues and campuses around the country. For over two decades Xavier Bettencourt has been bringing laughter to the Sacramento and Bay Areas. An improviser, comedian, drag artist, storyteller and fashionista, Xavier’s true passions are bringing joy and love to others, and building and growing the queer performance spaces that are truly needed today. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/08/2334m 26s

Burn Out: Stories about mental exhaustion

According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, burnout is defined as “physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, accompanied by decreased motivation, lowered performance and negative attitudes towards oneself and others.” This is what our storytellers are experiencing in this week's episode. Part 1: During her pediatric residency, Erica Martinez finds herself struggling to feel empathy for some of her patients. Part 2: While working as a doctor in South Bronx, Karinn Glover feels overwhelmed and powerless when trying to help a patient with substance use issues. Erica Martinez is a physician finishing her last year of a three year residency training in pediatric medicine. Originally from Minnesota, she moved east for college and earned her MD from New York Medical College. She is passionate about both children’s health and physician wellness, and she enjoys knitting tiny baby hats in her spare time. After graduating from Howard University with a BA in History, Dr. Glover worked at Essence Magazine and as an Account Executive for Verizon. She followed her curiosity about medicine and ultimately attended SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and obtained an MPH from Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Currently Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Glover teaches psychopharmacology and psychotherapy to Psychiatry and Family Medicine residents. Her career as a consultant and educator have informed her expertise in the fields of health equity, workplace mental health, and organizational success. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/08/2329m 50s

Overthinking: Stories about repetitive thoughts

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking about a problem or a situation over and over again, you might be an over-thinker like our storytellers. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers think about something too much and for too long. Part 1: Clinical psychologist Saren Seeley can’t stop obsessing about her research. Part 2: In therapy, comedian Nat Towsen realizes he’s always thinking too much. Saren H. Seeley is a postdoctoral fellow in the Psychiatry Department at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her neuroimaging research investigates mechanisms of adaptation (or difficulty in adapting) after life-changing events – such as the death of a loved one or trauma exposure. Originally from New York, Saren completed a PhD in clinical psychology at the University of Arizona where she received an NIH F31 fellowship for her dissertation work on dynamic brain network functioning in partner-bereaved older adults. Nat Towsen is a comedian and nonfiction writer from Manhattan, New York. He has written for Esquire, Vice, CollegeHumor, and The Onion. He also works at Botnik Studios, using AI to write comedy. In pre-pandemic times, he toured the country and abroad to perform standup and work with cultural programs, teaching about comedy as a tool in activism and for addressing mental health. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/08/2333m 5s

Fish Out of Water: Stories about feeling out of one's element

When life throws you into unusual or unfamiliar situations, it’s hard to feel comfortable or confident in your skills. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers grapple with feeling like a fish out of water. Part 1: When Neeti Jain dissects her first fish in the lab, she feels like she’s not cut out to be a scientist in marine ecology. Part 2: As the new chief public health officer, Harold Cox feels out of his depth when their office receives a package with what appears to be anthrax. Neeti Jain is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the Yale School of the Environment. Her research focuses on justice-centered storytelling in environmental education spaces, and she works with natural history museums to evaluate object labels and gallery content to make them more diverse, inclusive, and accessible for audiences of all backgrounds. A Los Angeles native, Neeti has been making her way across the three coasts and now spends her weekends lurking around the underwater dioramas at the American Museum. Harold Cox likes to tell stories about tiny, goofy things that have happened to him. It seems that his whole life is filled with many tiny, goofy things. He has told stories on many stages, Including Moth, Risk, Riot and Massmouth. Harold is a professor of public health at Boston University school of public health. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/07/2328m 32s

Standing Your Ground: Stories about sticking up for yourself

Confrontation can be scary and speaking up for yourself takes courage. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers find their confidence to fight for themselves. Part 1: When Luis Melo doesn’t see his name on a report that he spent nine months working on, he decides to confront his boss. Part 2: When another professor at a conference makes an inappropriate comment toward Sara Maloni, she decides to speak up. Luis Melo has been providing professional Data Science consulting services in various industries since 2003. For the past 4 years Luis has been working for the Mount Sinai Hospital System in the Psychiatry Department as a Health and Safety Quality Analyst. Luis’ experience ranges from working in research for mental health care and criminal justice to Data Analytics in nutrition, sports, entertainment and fashion. Luis earned a Master’s Degree from John Jay University of Criminal Justice in Criminal Justice and a B.A in Psychology from Mount Saint Mary College. Luis is a married father of 2 with a wonderful wife and kids that have helped yo become the person yo is today. Luis was born in Dominican Republic but grew up on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Luis enjoys calisthenics outdoor workouts and basketball as well as quality time with his family. Luis recently started yos own data science consulting and multiservice business where yo helps clients achieve their goals by applying yos skills in research, fitness, and nutrition. The focus is always on building an efficient and results-driven relationship. Luis works with yos clients to create a customized plan of action for themselves or business in order to streamline and optimize their growth. Sara Maloni is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Virginia. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Warwick in 2013. Before coming to UVa, she was a Tamarkin Assistant Professor at Brown University. She works at the intersection of geometry and low-dimensional topology. More precisely, she studies deformation spaces of geometric structures on manifolds through their geometric, topological and dynamical properties. Sara is originally from Italy and lived in the UK and France, before arriving in the US. In her free time, she loves hiking, scuba diving, travelling, reading, crafting (felting, pottery, woodworking). To listen to more stories from our UVA show check out the latest episode of HOOS in STEM. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/07/2331m 48s

POV: Stories about others' point of view

July is Disability Pride month, which is all about empowerment and visibility for those with disabilities. In honor of Disability Pride month, this week’s episode features two stories from the point of view of people with disabilities. Part 1: When Julie Baker is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and told her vision might get worse, she struggles to accept she’s going blind. Part 2: Javier Torres becomes frustrated with others' responses to his neurosensorial hearing loss. Julie Baker is a Boston-based writer and producer. After competing in and winning her first Story Slam in 2017, she quickly became a storytelling addict and evangelist. She’s performed on PBS Stories From the Stage, The Moth, Now Listen Here, YouTube (@bluechakrastories), Instagram (@lazyjulie), and anywhere else where people will let her tell stories. She considers it her mission to expand the storytelling community and spread the word about how true, personal stories can change the teller and the world. Javier Torres is a jack of all trades from Puerto Rico, figuring it all out, one day at a time. Learning about what it means to express himself through improv, comedy, creative outlets and DIY sewing projects. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/07/2332m 11s

Resurfacing: Stories about coming back to oneself

Whether you’re in the lab or the field, not feeling like yourself sucks. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers find a way to feel like themselves again. Part 1: Some harsh words from Sarah Kucenas’ high school swim coach shake her confidence and she gives up her dream of being a pediatric neurosurgeon. Part 2: When Michael Herrera’s COVID turns into long COVID, he struggles to feel like himself until he starts birding. Sarah Kucenas is fascinated by the developing brain. Specifically, she and her research group study how glia act as engineers of neural development. Her long-term goal is to understand the mechanisms that mediate cellular interactions between neurons and glia and use this information to better understand how the human nervous system is initially sculpted, maintained, and behaves during disease. Sarah earned a B.Sc. in Biology from Valparaiso University in 2000 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Pharmacological & Physiological Science from Saint Louis University with Dr. Mark Voigt in 2005. After Dr. Kucenas’ postdoctoral work with Dr. Bruce Appel at Vanderbilt University, she joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 2009. Sarah has a 11-year-old daughter, Madelyn, 3 (VERY big) dogs, and is a life-long swimmer. Michael Herrera, PhD, is an atmospheric scientist, avid birder, and photographer. His work involves developing and implementing new methods for weather forecasting models, extending forecasts from the surface of earth all the way up to the international space station. He loves spending time outdoors, through birding, kayaking, or helping clean up the local marshes. After a prolonged battle with long COVID, he is rediscovering his curiosity and passion for everything the world has to offer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/07/2330m 17s

Extracurricular Activities: Stories about life outside of science

Extracurricular activities aren’t just to look good on college applications. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers explore their passions outside of science. Part 1: When Kaze Wong chooses the path of physics over high jumping, he feels like he betrayed a part of himself. Part 2: Even though Micaela Martinez spent most of her life working towards becoming a professor, she still doesn’t feel comfortable in the academic world, so she secretly starts rapping. Kaze Wong is a postdoctoral research fellow studying black holes through gravitational waves with machine learning at the Flatiron Institute. He is also (trying to be) a competitive high jumper. Dr. Micaela Martinez, also known as Aela Hopeful Monster, is a Chicana scientist, songwriter, and rapper from Harlem. Her research focuses on infectious disease ecology, the study of biological rhythms, and the ecology of structural racism. She has worked as an advocate for police reform and holistic approaches to social justice in NYC. She has been a professor since 2017 and has mentored many students of color in their journey through science. Her latest endeavor includes using art, science, and imagination to teach social justice, in an effort she termed Imagine a Just City. For more on this initiative, please visit this news article and/or her website Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/06/2331m 6s

Rich Tackenberg: A psychic in West Hollywood

In this week’s episode, we take a look at the mysterious and deceptive world of psychics. Part 1: Rich Tackenberg is skeptical when a psychic tells him there’s something wrong with his car. Part 2: Science journalist Katherine J. Wu interviews neuroscientists Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik to get a better idea of how psychics, like the one from Rich Tackenberg’s story, operate. Rich Tackenberg is: a happily married gadget geek, a new homeowner, an SNL apologist, an Apple fanboy, a recent convert to tea, a dog owner, a recovering people-pleaser, a comedy nerd, an LA resident, a New York native, a snob about disposable pens, and (most importantly) a big fan of lists.  Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik are award-winning neuroscientists and professors at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. They are best known for their studies on perception, illusions, and attentional misdirection in stage magic. They produce the annual Best Illusion of the Year Contest, now in its 13th edition, and are the authors of the international bestseller Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals About Our Everyday Deceptions and Champions of Illusion: The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/06/2333m 16s

Fatherhood: Stories about dads

In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s episode is an ode to all the dads out there who are doing their best. Part 1: Pediatrician Ken Haller goes off script when a father comes into the exam room with his young son. Part 2: After years of Mikala Jamison’s dad helping her with her mental health struggles, the roles are reversed when her father is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers. Ken is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He serves on the boards of the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Saint Louis University Library Associates, and the Gateway Media Literacy Project. He has also served on the board of the Missouri Foundation for Health and as President of the St. Louis Pediatric Society; the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization; the Gateway Men’s Chorus, St. Louis’s gay men’s chorus: and GLMA, the national organization of LGBT health care professionals. He is a frequent spokesperson in local and national media on the health care needs of children and adolescents. Ken is also an accomplished actor, produced playwright, and acclaimed cabaret performer. In 2015 he was named Best St. Louis Cabaret Performer by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and he has taken his one-person shows to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. His special interests include cultural competency, health literacy, the relationship of medicine to the arts, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBT youth. His personal mission is Healing. Mikala Jamison is the creator and producer of The Body Show, a live storytelling show that debuted at the Capital Fringe Festival in July 2022 and was a "Best of Fringe" pick by DC Theater Arts. She also publishes the blog/newsletter Body Type [] about navigating body image in today's world. Talk to her about weight lifting, cats, and the recent finale of "Better Call Saul." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/06/2330m 11s

Unpleasant Sensations: Stories about being uncomfortable

Science and the natural world offer us opportunities to experience a range of sensations -- some of them deeply unpleasant. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share stories about some less than pleasant moments. Part 1: While staying with host family in an unfamiliar city for a conference, Andrew Spink wakes up to find he can’t swallow. Part 2: Distracted by thoughts of his career, entomologist Ralph Washington, Jr. gets swarmed by mosquitos. Andrew Spink is a storyteller. Through his work as an author, solo-show performer, comedian, and public speaker, he curates journeys through the human experience that examine our beliefs, tickle our sense of wonder, and spur us on toward meaningful living. He lives in Seattle with his wife and two daughters, where he feels guilty for not being outdoorsy, avoids coffee while frequenting cafes, and walks his dog to fit in with the crowd. Ralph Washington, Jr. has been a devoted student of insects since his early childhood. Insects have taught him that the smallest creatures can often help answer the biggest questions. One of his favorite lessons is the reminder that although life can often be hard, at least he isn’t a termite getting paralyzed by a toxic fart. You can learn more about his work at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/06/2328m 54s

Systematic Errors: Stories about failed experiments

Many factors can lead to a failed experiment -- human errors, errors in measurement, and sometimes just random errors. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share tales of when their experiments didn’t go as planned. Part 1: As a new science teacher, Zeke Kossover is determined to capture the attention of his students. Part 2: While on a field expedition in Kenya, Evan Wilson is tasked with the seemingly impossible job of figuring out the role of dust in wearing down herbivore teeth. Marc “Zeke” Kossover has been presenting stories as part of his physics circus shows all over the country in venues from coffee shops and music halls to the National Science Foundation and Capitol Hill. He thinks of them as magic shows, but in reverse—the secret to a magic trick is to make something simple intentionally confusing, while Zeke tries to make confusing things easy to understand. Zeke was a physics and environmental science teacher before dying and going to teacher heaven and getting a job at the Exploratorium. His main work is helping science teachers have the resources they need to be the best teachers they can be, like designing novel hands-on activities for teachers to use in their classrooms and helping new teachers find their voices in their classrooms. He believes that science education starts when students construct their own understanding of the world. Evan Wilson is an archaeologist and paleoanthropologist focused on the dawn of technology and emergence of human culture. They study the interplay between technology/culture and biology via the Stone Age archaeological record of Eastern Africa. They have done fieldwork spanning the last 3.5 million years in Kenya and Ethiopia discovering both fossils and artifacts to better understand the deep human past and our evolutionary history. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/06/2331m 38s

Initiations: Stories about proving oneself

Whether it’s a new school or new job, there’s often some sort of “try out” to see if you cut the mustard. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share stories about their own inductions. Part 1: When Colleen McDermott signs up to be a forestry conservationist for the summer, they soon notice that none of their colleagues look like them. Part 2: On Pete McCorvey’s first deployment in the United States Navy, he is dreading the part of training where he gets pepper sprayed. Colleen McDermott, originally from Philadelphia, is a current undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis. Studying environmental analysis and writing, Colleen loves both conservation and communications. In their spare time, they enjoy hiking, reading, and playing whatever percussion instrument is nearby.  A native of Moss Point, MS, Pete McCorvey has travel around the world as both a comedian and as a U.S. Navy Sailor. He has met many people and experience many things that has shaped and challenged his outlook on the world we live in. In his spare time, Pete enjoys reading, writing, podcasting and discovering new and historical locales in his immediate area. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/05/2334m 15s

Learning: Stories from our workshops

In this week’s episode, we are highlighting two storytellers from The Story Collider's Education Program and the stories they crafted as a result of the lessons they learned throughout their workshops. Part 1: As a teenager growing up in Iran Yasamin Jodat hears about a robotics competition at the local boys' school, and she is determined to do whatever it takes to be part of it. Part 2: A third cancer diagnosis threatens to ruin JulieAnn Villa's love of running. Yasamin Jodat is currently a Senior Automation Engineer at Ginkgo Bioworks where she designs robotic systems that can run biological laboratory operations at high scales. JulieAnn Villa is a health and science communicator. She honed her skills over 20-years as a public high school teacher. Her first Story Collider workshop in 2017, sparked a new, unknown artistic side, and she has been hooked ever since. She is a Chicago Moth Story slam regular and uses her storytelling skills for good in health care, giving voice to patient experience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/05/2333m 9s

Motherhood: Stories about becoming a mom

In honor of Mother’s Day, this week we’re sharing stories about the journey to becoming a mom. Part 1: Discouraged by the medical approach to pregnancy, Julia Whitehouse decides to have a home birth. Part 2: When Nessa Goldman splits with her husband, her dream of having children by age 35 is in jeopardy. Julia Whitehouse is a writer and comedian and mother and daughter. She has written for New Yorker Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s, Splitsider, Mutha Magazine, and POPSUGAR. She hosts Manhattan’s longest running weekly storytelling open mic at The Duplex every Monday at 7 pm. She enjoys figuring out how to build things without looking up tutorials but will always look up a recipe before deciding whether or not to follow it. Nessa Goldman is a middle school math and science teacher in Sequim, Washington. She grew up in Toronto, Canada, but prefers small towns closer to the ocean and mountains. She relocated to the Pacific Northwest as soon as she graduated college and now lives at the doorstep of the Olympic National Park. The wilderness is her church and she often spends the weekends hiking and surfing. When the sun goes down, she is the host of a bi-monthly local storytelling event, the Out Loud Story Slam. Her stories have been shared on the Risk! Podcast and Story Night. You can find her online at  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/05/2332m 29s

Expertise: Stories about knowledge

Experts are a dime a dozen, but true expertise is hard to come by. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers – who shared their stories at our annual Proton Prom fundraiser this week – struggle with finding the knowledge they seek. We’re especially grateful to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for supporting the event and making this all possible. Part 1: When Zach Weinersmith agrees to create a trivia game, he doesn’t realize how hard it is to come up with facts that are both interesting and actually true. Part 2: Concerned about his eyesight, comedian Josh Johnson desperately searches for a good doctor. Zach Weinersmith is a cartoonist, best known for making the comic strip SMBC. He co-authored the NYT bestselling pop science book Soonish, illustrated the NYT bestselling Open Borders. His work has been featured in too many places and society is the worse for it. Josh Johnson is a stand-up, Emmy-nominated writer, performer, and NAACP award-winner from Louisiana by way of Chicago. He is currently a writer on The Daily Show, and is a former writer and performer on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where he made his late-night debut. Johnson is Comedy Central’s ‘most watched comedian ever’ with 40M+ views to date across their platforms. As a stand-up, Johnson performs at clubs, colleges, and festivals around the world. Johnson was named Comedy Central’s “Comic to Watch” in 2015, a “New Face” at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in 2016, and “New York's Funniest” in 2018. Comedy Central released Johnson’s first hour-long special #(Hashtag) in June 2021, and he taped his second hour-long special at The Bourbon Room in Los Angeles in May 2022, which is set to debut early 2023. Johnson’s self-released comedy and music mixtape album Elusive, was described by Vanyaland as “live stand-up observational humor with musical compositions. Both elements wade in and out of political and social waters between the two “arcs” of the multi-genre epic". Johnson also co-hosts two podcasts, The Josh Johnson Show (with fellow stand-up Logan Nielsen) and Hold Up (with The Daily Show colleague Dulcé Sloan). Johnson’s other credits include, CONAN (TBS), @Midnight, Kevin Hart's Hart of The City, The New Negroes, and This Week at The Comedy Cellar on Comedy Central. Johnson lives in New York and can be seen performing regularly at The Comedy Cellar. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/05/2333m 17s

Skin Deep: Stories about racial disparities

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share stories about the problems of finding representation of diverse skin tones in science and medicine. Part 1: While preparing for a lecture, Stacy Vasquez finds a racist term on a skin slide. Part 2: While learning about Lyme disease in medical school, LaShyra Nolen isn’t satisfied when the professor can’t tell her what the rash would look like on dark skin. As a first-generation Chicano in STEM, Stacy Vasquez recognizes the importance of addressing the STEM achievement gap and creating an inclusive space that will inspire students from marginalized groups. His dissertation researched and examined the impacts of a multicultural curriculum in a traditional microbiology course. With an academic background in microbiology, he was always interested in learning how the discrete, scientific information was related to issues impacting society. Traditional microbiology courses often place heavy emphasis on rote memorization of discrete facts and focus very little on how the content relates to societal issues. The multicultural curriculum aimed to teach students about various social issues while still managing to teach the objective, scientific content. The relevant topics were intended to spark student interest in efforts to strengthen their academic performance. He has continued implementing culturally responsive teaching practices in my other sciences courses, such as Human Anatomy & Physiology. Born and raised in Southern California, LaShyra “Lash” Nolen is a writer, activist, and third-year MD/MPP dual-degree student at Harvard Medical School and Kennedy School of Government, where she is serving as student council president of her medical school class, the first black woman documented to hold this leadership position. Her work has been featured in the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, and Teen Vogue, among others. She is the Founding Executive Director of “We Got Us,” a grassroots community empowerment project with the goal of bringing vaccine education and access to marginalized communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is a co-host of the Clinical Problem Solvers Anti-Racism in Medicine Podcast. Her work has earned her the honor of being named a Boston Celtics “Hero Among Us” and named on the Forbes “30 Under 30” in healthcare list. She is a fervent advocate for social justice and enjoys storytelling through spoken word poetry, rap, and writing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/04/2332m 16s

Against the Odds: Stories from CZI's Rare As One Project

In this week’s episode, both of our stories are from CZI's Rare As One Project. CZI’s Rare As One Project brings together rare disease patients and advocates in their quest for cures. Both of this week’s stories are from Rare As One grantees who are sharing their stories and experiences navigating diagnosis and organizing their communities to accelerate research, identify treatments, and change the course of their diseases. Part 1: After ending up in the ER for the third time, Rachel Alvarez struggles to understand what’s going on with her health. Part 2: As a young adult with muscular dystrophy, Monkol Lek refuses to give up on his ambitions. Rachel Alvarez was diagnosed at birth with an unspecified neuromuscular condition, finally confirmed in 2009 as congenital muscular dystrophy. After graduating from California Polytechnic University, she spent her early career working in healthcare finance and operations. She joined Cure CMD as a volunteer when it was founded in 2008, and then as its first employee in 2012. Rachel continues to work for and on behalf of families living with congenital muscular dystrophy, to not only support their current needs, but to help ensure treatments in the foreseeable future for this group of ultra-rare conditions. Monkol Lek is an Assistant Professor at Yale University and runs a research lab that is dedicated to the genetics of muscle diseases. He grew up in Sydney and in his 20s received a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy, which motivated him to re-train and receive a PhD at the University of Sydney. He then migrated to Boston to train in human genetics and genomic technologies before starting his own lab at Yale. During his free time he likes to randomly complain on twitter, play computer games and hang out with his three rescue dogs! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/04/2335m 10s

Fear in the Lab: Stories about confronting danger

You can tell a lot about a person by how they react in the face of danger. In this week’s classic episode, both of our storytellers must find the courage to brave the perils of life and the lab. Part 1: Neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman is working late one night alone in the lab when she accidentally sticks herself with a needle full of deadly toxin. This story originally aired on December 16, 2016 in an episode titled “Deadly Mistake.” Part 2: Ali Mustafa finds that the scars of war stay with him even at his new job in the lab. This story originally aired on February 1, 2019 in an episode titled “Danger: Stories about life-threatening situations”. Rebecca Brachman is a neuroscientist, playwright, and screenwriter. She obtained her PhD at Columbia University, where she recently discovered the first drug that might prevent psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Prior to that, she was a fellow at the National Institutes of Health, where she did pioneering work on how the immune system influences cognition by showing that white blood cells can act as antidepressants. She has also served as the director of NeuWrite, a national network of science-writing groups that fosters ongoing collaboration between scientists, writers, and artists. Ali Mustafa is an undergrad student for a second degree at Boise State University, in the Material Science and Engineering program, expected graduation is spring 2020. He had earned honors from the dean in Materials Science & Engineering program for the spring 2018 semester. Ali’s first bachelor degree was in chemical engineering with emphasis in chemical industries from the technological university – Baghdad, Iraq. Ali has joined the magnetic shape memory alloys research team at Boise State University, in February 2018, and he had been assigned for the crystal growth research team using Bridgman method to grow Ni Mn Ga single crystal. Ali worked in technical business development, sales, management and engineering professional with 10+ years of experience with multinational companies like HITACHI heavy machinery, and he worked in the technical engineering support office for BASF chemicals in Dubai - UAE. Ali is also a volunteer at Community Trust Partnership Program - Boise Police Department, Boise, ID (2017). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/04/2334m 16s

Observations: Stories about noticing the details

Making insightful observations is a key component of being a good scientist, or journalist, or filmmaker. Come to think of it, many careers rely on the ability to notice the details. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers are keen observers of human and animal nature. Part 1: Documentary filmmaker Caitlin Starowicz is so focused on making her movie about endangered Mountain Gorillas a success that she fails to see what’s in front of her. Part 2: For a story on escape rooms, journalist Danny Wicentowski studies the trials, triumphs, and strategies of the players. Caitlin Starowicz is a director/producer for film and television. Her work focuses on the climate crisis, animal rights, women in STEM, and intersectional feminism. Her films have twice nominated for Best Documentary in Canada at the Canadian Screen Awards, and once for Best Documentary Director in Canada. Danny Wicentowski is a journalist and storyteller in St. Louis. Now a producer at St. Louis Public Radio, Danny worked for more than eight years as a staff writer and investigative reporter for St. Louis’ alt-weekly the Riverfront Times. In 2020, he co-produced and hosted the podcast American Skyjacker, chronicling the life and crimes of plane hijacker Martin McNally. Danny lives in Bevo Mill with a black cat and many notebooks. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/04/2340m 15s

Mariah Wilson: Anything To See A Forest Elephant

In this week’s episode, we get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to film a wildlife conservation documentary. Part 1: Documentary producer Mariah Wilson is days into making her film about the endangered Forest Elephant and still hasn’t seen one. Part 2: Science Journalist Katherine J. Wu interviews Mariah Wilson to learn more about the stars of her documentary Silent Forests. Mariah Wilson is a documentary producer and director with a focus on wildlife conservation whose work has taken her to six continents. She has worked on series for PBS, Amazon, Netflix, National Geographic, Vice, A&E, Al Jazeera, History, Mongabay, Discovery, Animal Planet, and more. Her 2019 feature documentary SILENT FORESTS is about the fight to save forest elephants from ivory trafficking in Africa’s Congo Basin. It screened at Santa Barbara, Big Sky (Finalist – Feature Competition), Brooklyn Film Festival (Spirit Award), Jackson Wild WWD (Winner – Stories of Hope) and is a One World Media Award Winner. Mariah’s other producing credits include MADINA’S DREAM (SXSW, Telluride Mountainfilm), MARY JANES (Woodstock, Mill Valley), END OF THE LINE (DOC NYC), and most recently the Amazon Studios film WILDCAT (Sundance Doc Fund, Telluride, AFI, IDFA, National Board of Review Top 5 Documentaries of 2022) Mariah is passionate about illuminating the myriad intersections between humans and animals, and celebrating those dedicated to protecting wildlife. She is a proud Jackson Wild Summit Fellow (2021) and Explorer’s Club Fellow. More at: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
31/03/2330m 19s

Road Not Taken: Stories about what could have been

In science it’s completely normal to wonder what would happen if you altered one variable or another – that’s what you do when you test a hypothesis – but when it comes to the choices we make in our lives, there will always be unanswered questions. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share stories about their lives' fork-in-the-road moments. Part 1: As a child who loves biology and has Caribbean immigrant parents, Calvin Cato feels pressure to become a doctor. Part 2: Shane Hanlon can’t help but compare his life choices to those of his hometown best friend. Calvin S. Cato got his comedic start with the Wesleyan University stand-up comedy troupe Punchline and then transferred his unique brand of humor to New York City in 2006. He has performed all across the United States and has even crossed the border into Canada. His television appearances include the Game Show Network, Oxygen’s My Crazy Love, National Geographic’s Brain Games, and an unaired pilot for Vice Media called Emergency Black Meeting. In 2017, Calvin was named one of Time Out New York’s Queer Comics of Color to Watch Out For. His comedy has been featured in numerous festivals including San Francisco Sketchfest, Austin’s Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Brooklyn Pride, Gotham Storytelling Festival, FlameCon, and the Women in Comedy Festival. In addition, you may have heard him overshare on popular podcasts including Keith and The Girl, The Beige Philip Show, RISK!, Guys We F*cked, Las Culturistas, Tinder Tales or the video game themed podcast he co-produced called the Playable Characters Podcast (featured in AV Club and Splitsider). Most recently, Calvin was published in Kweendom, an anthology of essays by queer comedians and entertainers. Published in early 2021, the book is available on Amazon and other online book retailers. Shane M Hanlon, PhD, Executive Producer and co-host of the American Geophysical Union’s podcast Third Pod from the Sun. A conservation biologist turned science communicator, he is also Manager of AGU’s Sharing Science program where he teaches fellow scientists how to communicate effectively. He is also a Senior Producer with the The Story Collider. He is also a Senior Producer with the science storytelling organization The Story Collider and instructor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology and he takes a few weeks each summer to get back out in the field and catch frogs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/03/2330m 15s

Lies: Stories about playing along

There’s a ton of reasons to lie, but experts have found that lies are most beneficial when they’re not selfish. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers do their best to play along for the sake of others. Part 1: While working as a camp counsellor at a camp for children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, Gabe Mollica is determined to keep his promise to one of the campers. Part 2: Collette Micks finds herself going along with her mom’s absurd plan to act like her father isn’t dying of cancer. Gabe Mollica is a comedian and writer living in Astoria, Queens. He’s performed his critically acclaimed hour “Solo,” a show about friendship, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, Manhattan’s prestigious 59east59th street theatre, and cities across the globe including New York, Dallas, and Dublin, Ireland. His Off-Broadway show "Solo: a show about friendship" reopens for a 3rd extension on March 23rd at 9pm at the Soho Playhouse. He has appeared on The Moth Radio Hour on NPR, BBC Radio 4, and wrote for the 2020 and 2019 New York Video Game Awards with the writers of the Daily Show with Trevor Noah. He performs nightly in New York City. Collette Micks is an actor, storyteller and corporate trainer. She studied theatre in Paris at Ecole Jacques Lecog and performed in theatre, film and television (Naturally Sadie, The Kennedy's, Murdoch Mysteries). Collette has been offering an extremely successful Storytelling Course at The Second City Training Center in Toronto for several years. Collette continues to tell True Stories Live on stage for several Storytelling Shows in Toronto such as The Story Collider, Confabulation, But That's Another Story and Raw Storytelling among others. Check out her storytelling blog Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/03/2335m 8s

Community: Stories about finding a place to belong

Finding community within science can be a challenge. In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers struggle with feeling out of place in science. Part 1: After his mentor and chemistry teacher uncle is murdered, André Isaacs feels adrift. Part 2: Engineer Joey Jefferson doesn’t feel like he belongs in science as a black bisexual man. A native of Jamaica, André Isaacs moved to the US to attend the College of the Holy Cross where he received his B.A. in Chemistry in 2005. He received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011 and then worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2012, Andre accepted a tenure-track position at the College of the Holy Cross. In 2018, Andre was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. In addition to teaching courses in Organic Chemistry, Andre conducts research utilizing copper-mediated organic transformations. He is one of the members of Outfront - the college's LGBTQ faculty and staff alliance and serves as faculty advisor to a number of campus student groups. Joey Jefferson is a flight systems engineer at JPL operating the Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) and NEOWISE spacecrafts. Prior to his current position, he worked with NASA and foreign space agencies conceptualizing, negotiating, implementing and monitoring their antenna strategies over the Deep Space Network. An international award winning pianist, as well as singer and clarinetist, music will always be near and dear to his heart. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/03/2327m 13s

Dogs: Stories about our furry friends

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share tales of man’s best friend, more scientifically known as canines. Part 1: Dog trainer Chris Brown needs to up his skills when he adopts a former bait dog named Terror. Part 2: David Crabb has to make some tough decisions when his dog, Charlie, starts having seizures. Chris Brown was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He's always had an affinity for animals, but especially for dogs. Chris spent most of his early childhood sneaking into neighbors' yard to play with their dogs, and gravitated toward the dogs that all the adults and other children were afraid of. In turn, those same dogs became Chris' protectors. Chris' grandfather nurtured the growing passion and began teaching him how to groom desired behaviors even in tiny puppies, and Chris' uncle introduced him to his first protection dog, a Rottweiler/Dobermann mix that showed just how well trained a dog could be. It was invigorating. Dog training became a hobby that persisted into adulthood, and eventually grew into a successful business. Chris' dog training business is now based in Dallas, and he has partnered with a local rescue where he educates both fosters and adopters. Chris and his wife Kay share their home with three lively (former) street dogs, Ellie, Rogue, and Terror. David Crabb is a writer, actor and storyteller in Los Angeles. He’s a member of The Groundlings Sunday Company and author of the memoir Bad Kid, based on his New York Times Critics’ Pick solo show of the same name. David is a host of The Moth and RISK! LA. He's a professor of autobiographical storytelling at Occidental College and has directed & taught storytelling in the US, Australia, Ireland and Canada. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/03/2335m 2s

Katie Moriarty: The Mystical Wolverine

In this week’s episode, we learn all about the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae, the wolverine, and why they’re so special. Part 1: During her first research project in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Katie Moriarty thinks she might have spotted the impossible: a wolverine. Part 2: Science Journalist Katherine J. Wu interviews wildlife ecologist Katie Moriarty to find out more about these mystical wolverines. Dr. Katie Moriarty is a forest wildlife ecologist. Throughout her career, Katie has studied elusive, forest dependent species such as pollinators, mammals, and birds. She is considered a leading expert on the Pacific marten, a small mammal in the weasel family. She currently works as a senior research scientist with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI) where her research focuses on balancing the needs of sensitive wildlife species and biodiversity, with the goal of conservation within managed forest landscapes. Moriarty received Associate degrees from Sierra Community College, a bachelors from Humboldt State University, and her master’s and PhD from Oregon State University. Dr. Moriarty is active within The Wildlife Society, International Martes Working Group, and the IUCN Small Carnivore Group, working towards small carnivore conservation. Katie currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon with her family. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/02/2329m 46s

Discovery: Stories about uncovering something new

In this week’s classic Story Collider episode, both our stories are about the thrill of exploration and discovering something new. Part 1: Ecologist Cylita Guy finds unexpected adventure when she studies bats in the field. Part 2: Maija Niemisto is a director of education on the Clearwater, America’s environmental flagship. But when a stranger comes to the side of the ship, it heralds a discovery about her city and herself. 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. Cylita's story originally aired on The Story Collider's podcast on November 24, 2017, in an episode titled "The Bats and the Bees: Stories about winged wildlife." Maija was born to a family of musicians in the heartland, far from the sea. Minnesota was her first hailing port. School, university and adventures took her to Finland, Wisconsin and Lebanon. After receiving her B.A. in International Relations and Environmental studies, she followed the smell of sweet salt air and ran away to see the sea aboard her 28-foot sloop. In 2008, the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater appeared on the horizon and she jumped at the chance to combine her interests in music, sailing, teaching, science, water ecology, environmental advocacy and pumping the bilge. Maija's story originally aired on The Story Collider's podcast on January 29, 2012, in an episode titled "A Step Off the Boat." Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/02/2332m 15s

In the Name of Love: Stories about the romantic side of science

While it might not have been until the 1940s that social scientists came up with tools to measure love, it is a lot more scientific than you might think. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers look at their relationships through a scientific lens. Part 1: Lauren Silverman finds herself drawing parallels between her relationship and steelhead trout. Part 2: During the pandemic, Grant Bowen is torn between his ailing grandmother and his immunocompromised girlfriend. Lauren Silverman is Head of Programming at Gimlet Media. She’s helped manage teams and run shows such as StartUp, Conviction and How to Save a Planet. Before joining Gimlet, Lauren covered health, science and technology for NPR, Marketplace, and KERA in Dallas. You can find her writing in outlets such as The Atlantic, The Cut and National Geographic. You can see her art, including a painting of steelhead trout, at As a storyteller, Grant has been seen at The Moth, Nights of Our Lives, The Adam Wade from NH Show, Happy Hour Story Hour, Gems (Cluster Ring Edition), Comedy Hub Live, and How Was It? He co-produces Awkward Teenage Years, an award-winning monthly storytelling show focused on stories from middle school and high school years. His solo show, A Public Private Prayer, has played in multiple theatre festivals across NYC and is seeking opportunities nationwide. Select acting credits include Angelina Ballerina (Vital Theatre Company, NY); Godspell (Infinity Theatre Company, MD); Yearning for Peace (Articulate Theatre Company); Miss Nelson is Missing! (Two Beans/Theatreworks USA); & Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre, NC). Grant has also written a full-length play, Late Night Odyssey, which received a staged reading at the 2018 Broadway Bound Theatre Festival. His one act play, Lay Down My Sword and Shield, received a full production from Articulate Theatre Company. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/02/2327m 37s

Extra Mile: Stories about going over and above

If you've thought that you've ever gone above what is expected in your life, you haven't heard this week's stories. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers give new meaning to going the extra mile. Part 1: Jack Walsh exaggerates the severity of his brain tumor to get out of buying a timeshare. Part 2: Laura Fukumoto goes above and beyond trying to make a special mushroom dish from her grandmother’s childhood. Jack Walsh is an award-winning educational television producer as well as a writer, performer, storyteller, and synthesizer mess-around-with-er. He lives in Decatur, GA, with his wife, two daughters, and his pandemic puppy, Trish. Laura Fukumoto graduated with a BFA from the University of British Columbia and has worked in so-called Vancouver for more than a decade, wearing many hats to survive. More recent hats include fabric wizard, poet, costume designer, playwright, and graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Writer’s Studio. Recent poetry performances include Diasporic Dynasty, Queer Arts Festival, and Powell Street Festival, as well as a small tour of her co-written play “Mending Circle”. She writes about her Japanese-Canadian heritage, queer joy, and hopes to more fully explore her love of mycology. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/02/2335m 48s

Volunteered: Stories about unwanted jobs

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers share times where they got stuck with jobs they never signed up for. Part 1: Ted Olds finds himself an unwilling participant in his son’s school assignment to look after an electronic baby doll. Part 2: Cadré Francis is less than thrilled when finds out he’s been volunteered to do demonstrations at a STEM camp. Ted Olds is a mechanical engineer and patent lawyer. He has worked on protecting technologies as wide ranging as Pratt and Whitney's geared aircraft engine to the Rainbow Loom. He also tells stories around the country. He has appeared on Story Collider and its podcast before. Ted has won the Moth Story Slams 20 across eight cities. Cadré Francis is a Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) at Boise State University. He has earned degrees in the biological and chemical sciences and enjoys studying MSE due to its interdisciplinary nature. Outside of work, he enjoys learning about history and playing sports. He hopes to pursue a career in research and development where he can contribute to more sustainable science while driving innovation.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/01/2327m 23s

Evolution: Stories about our changing relationship with science

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers explore their ever changing relationships with science over the course of their lives. Part 1: All throughout his life, Chris Wade has a love-hate relationship with science, with very little love. Part 2: After Caroline Hu’s parents make her choose between art and science at age 17, she struggles with her choice. Chris Wade is a native Washingtonian and a retired police officer. He is married to his best friend and adores his children. Chris enjoys storytelling, laughter, traveling and good food. He is a Johns Hopkins University graduate and currently works in community outreach. One of his favorite quotes is, "Tell me the facts and I'll learn. Tell me the truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in heart forever." Caroline Hu studied the evolution of animal behavior at Harvard University. She has lived in the Midwest, California, and China, but like the salmon, is now back in the Boston area where she was born. She also draws comics inspired by other living things–from pitcher plants to those toads that carry their eggs in their back. Her dream project is to create a graphic novel inspired by her scientific training. A copy of its first chapter, which she self-published, is in the Library of Congress. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/01/2323m 47s

Misinterpretation: Stories about misreading the situation

To err is human, even if you’re a scientist. In this week’s episode, both storytellers share moments about a time when they got things a bit wrong. Part 1: As a newly minted postdoc, Eric Jankowski has the perfect solution for helping his mentees. Part 2: Science journalist Eric Boodman gets in a little too deep on an assignment about a senior care home. Eric Jankowski is an associate professor in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University, where he helps students use computers to engineer new materials. He loves bicycles and hates leaf blowers. Eric Boodman is a reporter for STAT whose work has also appeared in The Atlantic, Undark, and The New York Times Magazine. He's written about entomologists who specialize in fictional infestations, unscientific infant death investigations, and mysterious appearances of exotic arachnids in a Nazi air-raid shelter, and his features have won a number of awards, including the Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for young science journalists, the American Society of Magazine Editors "Next" Award for journalists under 30, and the New America Award for public service coverage of immigrant communities. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/01/2326m 44s

Trial and Error: Stories about problem solving

The new year is the time to try something new and in this week’s episode, both our storytellers approach their scientific problems in the most science-y way possible – through trial and error. It’s also how Story Collider is going to approach this year as we make a few small changes to the podcast. We can only hope to be as successful as our storytellers in our experiments. Happy New Year! Part 1: Computational biologist Francis Windram is determined to figure out how to make spider webs glow in the dark. Part 2: Avian ecologist Emily Williams refuses to be outwitted by a bird. Francis Windram is a PhD student and Imperial College London, working on computational approaches to extracting spider web traits. He is also a musician, poet, climber, and ex-chef, and generally spends his time being a little too enthusiastic about the minutia of life. His passion for education and outreach has led him to teach sciencey things both in the UK and USA, and he believes strongly that in sharing knowledge through humour and candid cautionary tales we can learn to treat ourselves with more kindness, love, and respect than we otherwise would. Emily Williams is a scientist and PhD student at Georgetown University, where she is studying the migration of a common but overlooked bird, the American Robin. Emily is passionate about outreach and the accessibility of science, and is a fierce defender of the small, underestimated, and undervalued. While she is a Florida native, Emily has done her best to dissociate herself from all Florida man tropes foremost by loving cold and dark places that have topography. Before moving to DC she lived the last five years in Alaska, where she worked as an avian ecologist for the National Park Service at Denali National Park and Preserve. When she isn’t dreaming of a winter wonderland, Emily can be found reading, baking, hiking, and finding new donut places to try.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/01/2330m 19s

Sport Science: Stories about the athletic side of science

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share stories about the science-y side of sports and physical recreation. Part 1: Daniel Engber risks derailing his PhD by constant daydreaming, until his neuroscience research gives him an idea that will revolutionize the NBA. Part 2: Doomed to be the waterboy after tearing his ACL, engineering student Baratunde Cola is determined to make it back to his college's football team. Daniel Engber is a columnist for and Popular Science, and a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine. He has appeared on Radiolab, All Things Considered and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and received the National Academies of Science Communication Award in 2012 and the Sex-Positive Journalism Award in 2008. His work has been anthologized in The Best of Technology Writing and The Best of Slate. Bara Cola is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Georgia Tech, and founder and president of Carbice Nanotechnologies, Inc. He researches thermal transport and energy conversion in nanostructured materials, and is actively involved in the commercialization of his work, currently to cool electronics better. His work in nanotechnology, energy, and outreach to high school art and science teachers and students has been recognized with awards from President Obama and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He played college football when he was younger. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/12/2235m 18s

The Road to Science: Stories about winding paths to science

The journey to science is rarely straightforward and clear cut. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share their tales of how they came to science. Part 1: With her truck stuck in the mud in the Serengeti, Aerin Jacob learns three important lessons. Part 2: At four years old, Daniel Miller became one of the youngest people in the state of Texas ever to testify in court -- against his own mother, for sexual assault. As an adult, he struggles for stability, but finds hope in physics. (Warning: this story contains disturbing and potentially triggering events.) Aerin Jacob is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Victoria and a Wilburforce Fellow in Conservation Science Fellow. Trained as an ecologist, she works to develop management strategies that incorporate local, Indigenous, and scientific knowledge to achieve conservation objectives while maintaining human well-being. She works with First Nations communities in British Columbia to study the environmental and socioeconomic outcomes of marine management in the Great Bear Rainforest. Aerin is also a member of the Sustainable Canada Dialogues, a network of scholars developing viable, science-based policy options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and guide sustainable development in Canada. Her previous work includes studies of land-use change, restoration ecology, and animal behaviour in East Africa and western North America. Aerin earned her PhD at McGill University and her BSc at the University of British Columbia. Daniel R. Miller is a Ph.D. student and research assistant at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. Using large telescopes in the Chilean Andes to observe our Universe as it was 12 billion years ago along with state-of-the-art high performance computer simulations, he works at the intersection of observational and theoretical astrophysics on subjects including cosmology, cosmic structure, and reionization. He also spent several years doing research in plasma physics and controlled nuclear fusion on the MIT Alcator C-Mod experimental tokamak reactor. When not thinking strictly about physics, he may be found in the Future of Life Institute working on potential existential risks including climate change, nuclear proliferation, and artificial intelligence. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/12/2237m 55s

Flora: Stories from the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Without plants, we wouldn’t have air to breathe, and we also wouldn’t have these great stories inspired by the leafy green vegetation. This week’s episode, produced in partnership with The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, features two stories from scientists of the cutting-edge research institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who had plants impact their life and science. Part 1: While everyone around Anthony Digrado is impressed with his plant PhD research, he isn’t sure if he actually knows what he’s doing. Part 2: Scientist Jessica Brinkworth turns to gardening in the midst of a burnout. Anthony Digrado got his Ph.D. in Belgium where he studied the impact of the environment (such as high temperature and dry spells) on the vegetation in a grassland. He now works as a postdoc at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Jessica Brinkworth is an assistant professor and evolutionary immunologist in the Department of Anthropology. She directs the Evolutionary Immunology and Genomics laboratory at UIUC. Her research program revolves around a basic question “why do we get sick?” Her work demonstrates profound differences between humans and closely related primates often used as medical models in power and specificity of immune responses to severe infections, and as well as how chronic social stress alters immune function. Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 her lab has worked with Illinois agricultural workers, focusing on the effects of labour environment on immune function and disease susceptibility. Prior to and during part of her academic career, Brinkworth was a policy analyst in health risk management and later biologic drug regulations for Health Canada. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/12/2233m 3s

Body Image: Stories about physical appearance

In this week’s episode, both our stories are about how we see our bodies and the often complex relationship we have with them. Part 1: With the looming possibility of a double mastectomy, Connie Henderson considers her options for reconstruction. Part 2: Growing up Dhruti Shah struggles to accept her dark body hair. Connie Henderson lives in Vancouver, Washington where she practices law with her husband Paul and son Jordan. Her practice focuses on representing people who have been injured as a result of medical negligence, which is probably the only reason she is alive today. Dhruti Shah is an award-winning journalist and freelance wordsmith. She's been a local newspaper chief reporter, a BBC journalist, a social storytelling specialist and a lot more. She's worked and studied across the UK, in the US and in Thailand. Her debut book Bear Markets and Beyond: A Bestiary of Business Terms won Short Business Book of the Year at the 2021 Business Book Awards. She's had her poetry and short stories published in various collections. She is also an independent consultant, an accredited relational dynamics coach and has a background in OSINT investigations. She has four global fellowships, including an Ochberg Fellowship with the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma. She's a Trustee for the charity The John Schofield Trust and an Advisor to the Museum of Colour. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/12/2231m 54s

All-Star: Stories from our All-Star Slam challengers

In the lead up to our special Story Collider All-Star Slam on December 6, 2022, we’re featuring two past stories from our challengers on this week’s episode. If their old stories are this good, we can only imagine how awesome they’re gonna be competing for the title of Ultimate Science Storyteller. You won’t want to miss this online event! Register for free here. Part 1: A college course forces John Rennie to confront a furious rat, and himself. Part 2: As a kid, comedian Gastor Almonte seeks answers about some of the scientific terms he hears around school. John has worked as a science editor, writer and lecturer for more than 30 years. Currently, he is deputy editor at Quanta Magazine. During his time as editor in chief at Scientific American, between 1994 and 2009, the magazine received two National Magazine Awards. He co-created and hosted the 2013 series Hacking the Planet on The Weather Channel. Since 2009, he has been on the faculty of the Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program in New York University’s graduate journalism school. John is @tvjrennie Gastor Almonte is a stand-up comedian and storyteller from Brooklyn, NY. He's appeared on Comedy Central's This Is Not Happening, Risk! podcast and the Story Collider Podcast. Timeout magazine named him one of your "New Comedy Obsessions." He's been featured on the New York Comedy Festival, The People's Impov Theater's SoloCom and Cinderblock Comedy Festival. His new album, Immigrant Made, was released in March 2019. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/12/2238m 59s

Unlikely Paths: Stories from the Institute for Genomic Biology

There’s rarely an expected path in science. This week’s episode, produced in partnership with The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, features two stories from scientists of their cutting-edge research institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who took unexpected journeys to get where they are today. Part 1: After a troubling personal experience with the health care system, Heng Ji decides to try to fix it. Part 2: When Brendan Harley is diagnosed with leukaemia in high school, it changes everything. Heng Ji is a professor at Computer Science Department, and an affiliated faculty member at Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also an Amazon Scholar. She received her B.A. and M. A. in Computational Linguistics from Tsinghua University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from New York University. Her research interests focus on Natural Language Processing, especially on Multimedia Multilingual Information Extraction, Knowledge Base Population and Knowledge-driven Generation. She was selected as "Young Scientist" and a member of the Global Future Council on the Future of Computing by the World Economic Forum in 2016 and 2017. She was named as part of Women Leaders of Conversational AI (Class of 2023) by Project Voice. The awards she received include "AI's 10 to Watch" Award by IEEE Intelligent Systems in 2013, NSF CAREER award in 2009, PACLIC2012 Best paper runner-up, "Best of ICDM2013" paper award, "Best of SDM2013" paper award, ACL2018 Best Demo paper nomination, ACL2020 Best Demo Paper Award, NAACL2021 Best Demo Paper Award, Google Research Award in 2009 and 2014, IBM Watson Faculty Award in 2012 and 2014 and Bosch Research Award in 2014-2018. She was invited by the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force and AFRL to join Air Force Data Analytics Expert Panel to inform the Air Force Strategy 2030. She is the lead of many multi-institution projects and tasks, including the U.S. ARL projects on information fusion and knowledge networks construction, DARPA DEFT Tinker Bell team and DARPA KAIROS RESIN team. She has coordinated the NIST TAC Knowledge Base Population task since 2010. She was the associate editor for IEEE/ACM Transaction on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, and served as the Program Committee Co-Chair of many conferences including NAACL-HLT2018 and AACL-IJCNLP2022. She is elected as the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL) secretary 2020-2023. Her research has been widely supported by the U.S. government agencies (DARPA, ARL, IARPA, NSF, AFRL, DHS) and industry (Amazon, Google, Facebook, Bosch, IBM, Disney). Heng Ji is supported by NSF AI Institute on Molecule Synthesis, and collaborating with Prof. Marty Burke at Chemistry Department at UIUC and Prof. Kyunghyun Cho at New York University and Genetech on using AI for drug discovery. Dr. Brendan Harley is a Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research group develops biomaterial that can be implanted in the body to regenerate musculoskeletal tissues or that can be used outside the body as tissue models to study biological events linked to endometrium, brain cancer, and stem cell behavior. He’s a distance runner who dreams of (eventually) running ultramarathons. Follow him @Prof_Harley and Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/11/2226m 59s

Borders: Stories about divisions

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers explore the divisions and limits that influence how we understand and operate in the world and in science. Part 1: César Nufio's childhood experience as a Guatamalan immigrant shapes his life in science. Part 2: Seeking acceptance as a child of Kurdish immigrants in Denmark, Cansu Karabiyik decides to become a scientist. César Nufio is a scientist and educator who is passionate about understanding the natural world and working to increase diversity and inclusion in the sciences. He is currently a multimedia content developer at HHMI’s BioInteractive where he works with artists, educators, filmmakers, and scientists to help engage and inspire students. Previously, he taught tropical biology courses for the Organization for Tropical Studies and explored the effect of climate change on insects in the Rocky Mountains while working at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. Coming to this country as an undocumented child and experiencing the generosity given by so many during his journey has impacted his commitment to giving back and his Latin American identity. Cansu Karabiyik is a neuroscientist at Columbia University. She was born in Denmark to Kurdish immigrants. In 2013, she moved to California for her studies in Biomedical Science and decided to never go back. She moved instead to Portugal to conduct the research for her Master thesis focusing on neuroprotection during stroke. In 2021, she completed her PhD at University of Cambridge in the UK focusing on neurodegeneration and has since been in NYC, where she spends her days in the lab researching molecular mechanisms of neuropsychiatric diseases and her evenings doing comedy across the city. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/11/2232m 29s

Pain: Stories about unpleasant physical sensations

Pain is really weird, scientifically speaking. It’s not just a message from injured tissues to be accepted at face value, but a complex experience that can be influenced by your brain. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers explore the aches, pains, and discomfort that come with life. Part 1: While Renee Joshua-Porter is in labor, she starts feeling a horrible stabbing pain in her back. Part 2: Despite being in excruciating pain, Gretchen Douma worries getting a knee replacement will ruin her blossoming acting career. Renee Joshua-Porter is a multi faceted performing artist, Counselor and Chaplain. She is the Founder of The Burning Bush Family Foundation Inc., whose mission is to provide educational and recreational programs through the arts. A first generation American born to Panamanian parents, she grew up listening to and sharing stories. Renee is grateful for meeting Tracey Segarra who first showcased her storytelling on New York stages. Renee is married with three adult children and a dog named Beau. Gretchen Douma is a stage, screen, and voice actor who has been working in theater for more years than she’ll usually admit to. She has performed in Seattle, the Twin Cities, NYC, England, and, on Zoom (thank you, COVID). Also a playwright, Gretchen has several short works and two full-length plays under her belt. The most recent, Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down, is a dark comedy about the ghosts and memories that just won’t leave us alone. Her most terrifying out-of-body experience was doing stand-up at Seattle's Comedy Underground. For years a huge fan of storytelling, Gretchen has only recently jumped into this world as a storyteller herself. It has been thrilling so far. She loves dark chocolate, murder mysteries, and escaping to her backyard garden in North Seattle (where she lives with her wife, Nina, and their two miniature Australian Labradoodles). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/11/2231m 0s

Gross Science: Stories about the yucky parts of science

Science isn’t always pretty. In fact, more often than not it’s kinda disgusting. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share stories of the less glamorous side of science. Part 1: In order to score extra credit in her high school anatomy class, Amy Segal embarks on a journey to build a cat skeleton. Part 2: Dave Coyle goes on a smelly mission to find the endangered American burying beetle for his undergraduate project. Amy Segal works in finance by day but by night finds herself drawn to storytelling shows on the Lower East Side. She is a Moth Story Slam winner, has been featured on The Story Collider podcast and is the proud recipient of 200 one-dollar bills from a One Up! storytelling competition. She is developing a one-person show, the beginnings of which she performed at the MarshStream International SoloFest in 2020 and 2022. Dr. Dave Coyle is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University. His Extension Forestry program focuses on forest and tree health and invasive species management in natural and managed landscapes across the Southeast. Dave’s research program focuses on the biology and management invasive plants and insects. Dave completed his B.A. in Biology at Luther College, a M.S. in Entomology and Forestry at Iowa State University, and a PhD in Entomology at the University of Wisconsin. Dave is Past-President of the North American Invasive Species Management Association, is on the South Carolina Invasive Species Advisory Committee, and the Advisory Committee for the South Carolina Exotic Plant Pest Council. Dave lives near Athens, GA. He is married to an amazing woman and they have two young boys. He grew up on a farm in Harmony, MN, and spent most of his time in the woods. He was an active member of the Carimona Cruisers 4-H club and once had a pet cow named Kari. Together, then won a trophy at the 1986 Fillmore County Fair. He still loves cows but thinks horses are shifty. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/11/2228m 58s

Expect the Unexpected: Stories about unforeseen circumstances

Often, the hypotheses scientists make at the start of an experiment turn out to be correct. But sometimes, the results end up as something completely unpredictable. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share stories about a time where they didn’t see it coming. Part 1: While shooting a TV show about the brain, producer Esther Stone gets the opportunity to interview a notorious serial killer. Part 2: As someone who’s seen every single episode of Mayday, Sara Mazrouei considers herself an expert in all the ways you can die on a plane until she takes a flight to Australia. Esther Stone is a London transplant who fell in love with New York. Switching continents sparked a career change from IT to TV. Now, she is a producer with a wide range of credits including a documentary, The Brain, Mysteries at the Museum, and the ever-popular wedding staple – Say Yes to the Dress. Her work has brought her into contact with royalty, neuroscientists, psychopaths, and lots of white dresses. Sara Mazrouei is a planetary scientist, an educational developer, and a science communicator with a passion for sharing the wonders of the universe with the public. Her PhD research focused on the recent bombardment history of the Moon and links to future sample-return missions. Her work has been featured in many media such as the New York Times and National Geographic. Sara is also passionate about increasing the status of women in STEM as well as equity, diversity and meaningful inclusion. Sara uses storytelling, examples including the Story Collider and TEDx Downsview Women, as a method for sharing her authentic experiences and making science more accessible. She is currently an Educational Developer at Toronto Metropolitan University's Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/10/2229m 16s

Childhood Dreams: Stories about youthful aspirations

When you’re a kid, anything seems possible, whether it’s becoming an astronaut or a princess, or even convincing your parents to get you that puppy. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers set themselves some lofty goals when they were young. Part 1: On the top bunk in her childhood bedroom, Kayla Hernandez makes plans to escape her home life and become a scientist. Part 2: As a teenager, Marc Abbott dreams of finding a wife and having kids, but a case of testicular torsion could ruin it all. Kayla Hernandez is an electrical engineer at Brookhaven National Laboratory's Collider Accelerator department. You can find her mentoring students, advocating for women's issues in STEM, and on Habitat for Humanity build sites across Long Island. Marc L Abbott is a Brooklyn based author, actor and storyteller. His horror short stories are featured in numerous anthologies including the Bram Stoker Nominated horror anthology New York State of Fright, Hell’s Heart and Hell’s Mall and most recently Even in the Grave. He is the co-author of Hell at Brooklyn Tea and Hell at the Way Station, the two-time African American Literary Award-winning horror anthology. He is a Moth Story Slam and Grand Slam Storyteller winner and one of the hosts for the podcast Beef, Wine and Shenanigans. Find out more about him at  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/10/2236m 10s

Calling: Stories about one's vocation

Sometimes a job is just a way to make a living, but for our storytellers it is much more than that. In this week’s episode, our stories are about the undeniable draw to a career. Part 1: When pediatric oncologist Sam Blackman gets called for a consult by the obstetrics department, he’s convinced they have the wrong number. Part 2: After 25 years of teaching, Matthew Dicks questions whether or not he should still be a teacher. Sam Blackman is a physician-scientist and pediatric oncologist. He's the founder and chief medical officer of Day One Biopharmaceuticals, a company focused on drug development for childhood cancers. He's an avid storyteller, baker of bread, and recently returned from a trek to Everest Base Camp. Sam lives on Orcas Island with his wife and daughter. Matthew Dicks is the internationally bestselling author of the novels Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, Something Missing and Unexpectedly, Milo, The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs, Twenty-one Truths About Love, The Other Mother, and the nonfiction title Storyworthy: Engage, Teach, Persuade, and Change Your Life Through the Art of Storytelling. His novels have been translated into more than 25 languages worldwide. He is an advice columnist for Slate magazine and the humor columnist for Seasons magazine. When not hunched over a computer screen, he fills his days as an elementary school teacher, storyteller, blogger, wedding DJ, minister, and storytelling and speaking consultant. He has been teaching for 21 years and is a former West Hartford Teacher of the Year and a finalist for Connecticut Teacher of the Year. Matthew is a record 56-time Moth StorySLAM champion and 9-time GrandSLAM champion whose stories have been featured on their nationally syndicated Moth Radio Hour and their weekly podcast. He has performed for audiences around the globe. Matthew is also the founder and creative director of Speak Up, a Hartford-based storytelling organization that produces shows throughout New England. He teaches storytelling and public speaking throughout the world to individuals, corporations, school districts, hospitals, universities, and more. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/10/2235m 3s

Blending In: Stories about trying to belong

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers are scientists struggling to feel like they belong -- in and out of science. Part 1: Neuroscientist Pardeep Singh feels more than out of place when he ends up as a contestant on The Bachelorette. Part 2: When Thiago Arzua comes to the United States from Brazil to study science he doesn’t know how to fit in. Pardeep Singh is a neuroscientist, podcaster, Brooklynite and the first Indian-American to ever get a rose on The Bachelorette. Born and raised in Curitiba, Brazil, Thiago Arzua is now a postdoc at Columbia University. There, he studies how trauma can pass through multiple generations. Outside the lab, he helped create Black In Neuro, a non-profit organization aiming to diversify the neurosciences by celebrating and empowering Black scholars. He's also a triathlete and in the small amount of time remaining he paints. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/10/2229m 35s

Healing Power of Nature: Stories about finding peace outside

Being in nature can have a powerful effect on our body and mind. It’s like a tonic for our well-being. Research has found that it reduces blood pressure, stabilizes our heart rate, and decreases the production of stress hormones. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers discover just how therapeutic nature can be. Part 1: Geography and Environmental Sciences Professor John Aubert is having a hard time connecting to his now teenage daughter. Part 2: Sarah Luchini may be in over her head, literally, as she tries to cross a river while hiking on the Appalachian Trail. John Aubert is a Professor of Geography and Environmental Sciences at American River College in Sacramento, CA. After realizing that his family and friends were finally getting tired of hearing his stories, he was ecstatic to discover that he could tell them to strangers! He has taken the stage at numerous Moth Story Slams and has been a featured storyteller for Capital Storytelling, Story Collider, Six Feet Apart Productions, and Artists Standing Strong Together. In addition to storytelling, John’s other interests include movies, hiking, fly fishing, and volunteering in his community. Sarah Luchini is Marketing Specialist at Schoodic Institute at Acadia National Park. She is responsible for coordinating the Institute's internal and external marketing efforts to grow awareness and engagement, as well as developing and implementing marketing plans in support of the organization’s mission to inspire science, learning, and community for a changing world. Prior to joining Schoodic Institute, Luchini worked as Lead Graphic Designer at Downeast Graphics & Printing, a print and graphics studio where she worked seamlessly in print and web-based design. Luchini holds a Bachelors of Fine Art degree from Lesley University College of Art & Design, with a background in fine art and art history. Her work has been shown in exhibitions throughout Maine, Boston, and Florence, Italy, and she has worked in art galleries in Massachusetts and along the Maine coast. Born and raised in Ellsworth, Maine, Sarah has a passion for outdoor recreation and exploring her local landscapes. In her free time, Sarah enjoys being out on the trails hiking and biking, or paddleboarding at home with her cat, Murray (yes, Murray always wears a life vest!). Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/09/2226m 23s

Overachieving: Stories about going above and beyond

This week we’re being the opposite of overachievers and re-running some classic Story Collider stories. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers are dedicated to going the extra mile for science. Part 1: As a new, super competitive, graduate student Aditi Nadkarni thinks she has the perfect way to impress her advisor and labmates ... until one night it spirals a tiny bit out of control. This story originally aired on July 28, 2013. Part 2: While completing a community service requirement in high school, comedian Wyatt Cenac puts a drunk driving simulation to the test. This story originally aired on September 10, 2016. Dr Aditi Nadkarni is a biomedical scientist, market research and business strategy consultant, artist and storyteller who is passionate about science awareness, human and civil rights, access to education and bridging disparities in healthcare. Wyatt Cenac is a comedian and a former correspondent on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” He has also released multiple standup specials, most recently on Netflix, and appeared on film and TV. He regularly hosts a standup evening in Brooklyn called “Night Train with Wyatt Cenac.” Follow him on Twitter @wyattcenac. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/09/2235m 29s

Unconventional Friendships: Stories about unlikely pairs

Science is filled with weird and wonderful bonds, like Bubbles the African Elephant and Bella the Black Labrador or potassium and argon. In this week’s classic episode, both our storytellers share stories of times when they made an unexpected connection. Part 1: Journalist Jon Ronson is excited when he hears about some 'sentient' robots, but when he goes to interview them he finds both less and more than he ever expected. This story originally aired on March 10, 2013. Part 2: When The Colbert Report calls about her research, marine biologist Skylar Bayer finds an unexpected collaborator and friend in the fisherman helping her get scallops. Skylar Bayer (she/her/hers) is a marine ecologist, storyteller, and science communicator who lives in Alaska. Her scientific research focuses on marine ecology, bivalves, aquaculture, and extension. She completed her Ph.D. in the secret sex lives of scallops, a subject that landed her on The Colbert Report in 2013. She is an alum of the Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship and has been a producer for The Story Collider since 2014. She is a co-editor of the upcoming anthology of personal stories from scientists with disabilities and medical conditions, Uncharted: how scientists navigate, health, research, and bis, soon to be published by Columbia University Press. This story originally aired on April 12, 2019 in an episode titled “Limelight.” Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/09/2233m 59s

Strength in Numbers: Stories from Latasha Wright

In this week’s episode, we have not one, but two stories from Story Collider’s board member Latasha Wright. This is her fourth story featured on our podcast and her fifth story she’s told for The Story Collider! Part 1: Biologist Latasha Wright is at work one day when she suddenly begins to experience intense pain. Part 2: Just before she leaves for her dream opportunity to teach marine science on the Red Sea, Latasha Wright gets a call that puts her plans in jeopardy. This story originally aired on February 22, 2019 in an episode titled “Inspiration.” Latasha Wright received her Ph.D. from NYU Langone Medical Center in Cell and Molecular Biology. After her studies, she went on to continue her scientific training at Johns Hopkins University and Weill Cornell Medical Center. She has co­authored numerous publications and presented her work at international and national conferences. In 2011, she joined the crew of the BioBus, a mobile science lab dedicated to bringing hands­ on science and inspiration to students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. The BioBus creates a setting that fosters innovation and creativity. Students are encouraged to ask questions, formulate hypotheses, and design experiments. Through the BioBus, Latasha was able to share her love of science with a new generation of potential scientists. Everyday that she spends teaching students about science in this transformative environment helps her remember that science is fun. She loves sharing the journey of discovery with students of all ages. In 2014, the BioBus team launched an immersive, un­intimidating laboratory space called the BioBase, a community laboratory model. At the BioBase students are encouraged to explore their scientific potential through in­-depth programming and hands­-on experimentation. Latasha has lead the efforts in establishing this community laboratory model, and hopes to build on its success in other communities. The efforts of the BioBus’ team to promote science education to all communities in New York City has been recognized by numerous news outlets, including the WNYC science radio program Hypothesis. Additionally, Latasha has been featured as NY1’s New Yorker of the Week. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/09/2239m 32s

Phobias: Stories about fears

If someone tells you they’re not afraid of anything, they’re a liar. As the wise Nelson Mandela once said: "The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." In this week’s episode, both our storytellers face their fears, no matter how irrational. Part 1: Steve Whyte decides to try exposure therapy to overcome his fear of germs. Steve Whyte thought he had it all figured out until he left the womb. He was Elf #2 in the Old Greenwich Elementary School production of Twas The Night Before Christmas. Later, lured by the prospect of big money, Steve joined the improv world, and can be seen at the Magnet Theater in Chelsea. For money he edits video, and for fun he plays the drums. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/09/2221m 45s

Out of Place: Stories about feeling like an outsider

Not to get too emo and Simple Plan lyrics on you, but have you ever felt out of place? Like somehow you just don't belong and no one understands you? Well, you’re not alone. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share stories of a time when they felt like the odd person out in science and in life. Part 1: Kevin Allison’s ADHD diagnosis sheds new light on why he always feels like he’s left out of the loop. Part 2: Diana Li feels isolated while studying squid in Mexico. For photos, transcripts, and more information on our storytellers, see our website here. We want to hear from you! Share your thoughts in our Podcast Audience Survey 2022. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/08/2232m 51s

Anomaly: Stories about rare diseases

It's almost unbelievable that a change in something as small as a cell or a gene can lead to such big consequences. In this week’s episode, our stories are about rare childhood illnesses from different perspectives. Part 1: As a kid, Lauren Soares can’t understand why her parents are making such a big deal out her brain tumour. Part 2: Gerry Downes sees his research in a new light when his daughter is diagnosed with a rare genetic disease. Lauren Soares is an artist and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. Lauren creates ethereal dark pop music under her artist name, laur. She recently directed and produced a music video for her new single 'hades' and is gearing up to release her debut album in the fall of 2022. While not working on art, Lauren directs her energy toward helping artists and organizations achieve their business goals through digital media, storytelling, and strategic planning. She has a BFA in Fine Arts and Writing. Gerry Downes is an Associate Professor in Biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received a BS in Biology from Johnson C Smith University, a PhD in Neuroscience from Washington University, and postdoctoral training from the University of Pennsylvania. His laboratory studies tiny fish to investigate how genes and brains control movement. He is passionate about science teaching and outreach, as well as shifting perceptions on who can be a scientist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/08/2229m 59s

Taken Seriously: Stories about wanting respect

While some people can fake it 'til they make it, others find that being taken seriously is a challenge, no matter what they do. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share stories about trying to get the respect they deserve. Part 1: Adam Ruben desperately wants to be seen as more than a junior scientist in his lab. Part 2: When Larissa Zhou says she wants to make better food for outer space, no one takes her seriously. Adam Ruben is a writer, comedian, and molecular biologist. He has appeared on the Food Network, Netflix, the Travel Channel, the Weather Channel, and currently hosts "What on Earth?" and "Ancient Unexplained Files" on the Science Channel and "Inventions that Changed History" on Discovery Plus, as well as writing for the Emmy-nominated PBS Kids show "Elinor Wonders Why." Adam writes the monthly humor column "Experimental Error" in the AAAS journal Science Careers and is the author of two books: Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School (Random House, 2010) and Pinball Wizards: Jackpots, Drains, and the Cult of the Silver Ball (Chicago Review Press, 2017). Learn more at Larissa Zhou is a PhD student at Harvard University, where she develops food technologies for low-resource environments. She loves to rock climb and cook. She's invested in building communities and transforming mentees into leaders, both in academia and on the mountain. Learn more at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/08/2232m 31s

Story Collider En Español: Historias científicas en español

En el episodio de esta semana, nuestros dos narradores comparten historias reales y personales sobre la ciencia en español. Parte 1: Ro Moran nos cuenta de un tiempo cuando él se hizo cargo de la vida de un animal y los corazones de sus compañeros de clase. Parte 2: En su primer semestre de ser profesora, Ana Maria Porras les enseña has sus estudiantes que es ser realmente poderosa y humilde. Ro is an award-winning chicken wing eater with a penchant for storytelling. His credits include Prose of Pie, Tiny Tales, and other open mic shows. He is most celebrated for his groundbreaking guitar/comedy duo with his daughter. They’ve since broken up due to ‘creative differences’ . Billboard Magazine has referred to Ro Moran as “Who?!” When Ro isn’t telling tall tales, he is a social justice warrior for a national human rights non profit. Dr. Ana Maria Porras is a biomedical engineer who studies the human gut microbiome. She uses biomaterials to study how both good and bad microbes in our intestines affect our health. And she also crochets them! She currently works as a Cornell Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow and is always finding new ways to engage with the public in the U.S. and Latin America using her crocheted microbes. She got her BS at the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD at the University of Wisconsin. She loves to bake, dance, read, watch tv, and, above all, eat ice cream. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/08/2235m 19s

Anxiety: Stories about feelings of worry

As the great Greek philosopher Epictetus said: “Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems”. It’s comforting to know that even in ancient Greece anxiety was a thing. In this week’s episode, both storytellers share stories of a time where their fears got the better of them. Part 1: When biologist Melina Giakoumis can’t find a single sea star she starts to worry she’s not cut out to be a scientist. Part 2: One question from a conference attendee sends math teacher Nancy Buck into panic spiral. Melina Giakoumis is a PhD candidate in Biology at the City University of New York. She uses genomics, field surveys and ecological modeling to study marine invertebrates in the Atlantic Ocean. In particular, Melina is interested in the population dynamics of sea stars in the North Atlantic and their impact on the coastal community. Before starting her PhD, Melina was a research technician in the genomics lab of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where she sequenced the DNA of a huge variety of species, from bacteria to whales. Melina has spent lots of time poking around in the tide pools of New England, and hopes her research can be used for the conservation of these ecosystems. Melina currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two dachshunds. Nancy Buck currently teaches in a 6 - 12 school in Brooklyn. She is also a Master Teacher in the Math for America program. She believes that math is a beautiful and creative subject that allows people to understand the world around them. She works hard to create safe spaces so that all educators can see that both they and their students are mathematicians. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/07/2226m 52s

Good Intentions: Stories about meaning well

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers set out to do the right thing, but you know what they say about good intentions. Part 1: During the pandemic, science journalist Maddie Bender signs up to be a contact tracer. Part 2: Veterinarian Leslie Brooks decides to make an exception to the rules for one pet owner. Maddie Bender is an innovation reporter at The Daily Beast and a science journalist whose work has appeared in STAT, Scientific American, VICE, Smithsonian Magazine, and other outlets. She holds an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health in microbial disease epidemiology and lives in Boston with her cat, Maisy. Leslie Brooks is a veterinarian by formal training. She is a writer, humanitarian, and advocate by informal experience. Her goals as a veterinarian are to contribute to improving human relationships through enhancing the human-animal bond and promoting the concept of One Health. She worked as a “cat and dog doctor” for a decade, including volunteering much of her time working with individuals experiencing homelessness or crisis who have pets. She is currently a Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the US Agency for International Development, where she is using her transferable skills as a veterinarian in the policy realm and a humanitarian context. A goal of hers is to talk more openly about mistakes and failures to change the narrative of how we view success. She lives in the DC-metro area with her husband and 5-year-old son, Mehdi. She loves to paint abstractly, bike around the city, being an amateur photographer, and dancing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/07/2227m 22s

Anticipation: Stories about expectations

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers will have you on the edge of your seat, shivering with anti…….ci……….PATION as they share stories of high stakes scientific events. Part 1: Science journalist Nicholas St. Fleur spends two years preparing for what is to be an epic solar eclipse. Part 2: Chemical engineer Jason Raines finds himself leading the underdog team in a high school underwater robotics competition. Nicholas St. Fleur is a science reporter at STAT covering racial health disparities and host of the podcast Color Code. He is also an associate editorial director of events creating virtual and in-person live journalism events. He joined STAT through a Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship in 2020 to cover the intersection of race, health, and the life sciences during the Covid-19 pandemic. He won the 2021 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for Young Science Journalists. Before joining STAT he wrote for The New York Times about archaeology, paleontology, space and other curiosities of the cosmos. Jason Raines is a staunch chemical engineer turned accidental STEM innovator. For nearly two decades, he has brought a hands-on, experiential approach to STEM education as a teacher, administrator, mentor and coach to students and educators across the country. As a passionate advocate of the school-to-STEM pipeline, his goals are to raise the awareness students, particularly those from underrepresented areas, have to the vast potential STEM fields have to offer, while helping to remove the barriers that prevent students from experiencing STEM. He currently is the Director of STEM Innovation, & Partnerships at Graham Moore Education Design Consultants. He lives in Atlanta, GA and loves his wife, Anji, three daughters, Cami, Evi and Dele, and son Ryan. He loves sandwiches and hates mosquitoes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/07/2236m 10s

Healing: Stories about getting better

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share tales of getting back on their feet, both literally and figuratively. Part 1: After Natalia Reagan gives up on her dreams of being a scientist, a devastating accident changes everything. Part 2: As Jaclyn Siegel researches eating disorders she struggles with her own. Natalia Reagan is an anthropologist, primatologist, comedian, science communicator, host, actress, producer, podcaster, professor, writer, and monkey chasing weirdo. She was a comedy writer and correspondent on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s StarTalk, regular host of the StarTalk All-Stars podcast, a science correspondent on Thrillist’s Daily Hit, a skeptic on Travel Channel’s Paranormal Caught on Camera, and she was the co-host on Spike TV’s 10 Million Dollar Bigfoot Bounty. Natalia was also a writer and host for Discovery’s DNews, Seeker, and TestTube as well as an animal expert on Nat Geo Wild’s Everything You Didn’t Know about Animals. For her master’s fieldwork, she conducted a survey of the Azuero spider monkey in rural Panama. She has also published chapters in the Wiley Encyclopedia of Primatology (including “The Copulatory Postures of Nonhuman Primates”), ACS’s Hollywood Chemistry, and Congreso de Antropología Panameña. After grad school, Natalia began producing science comedy videos covering such titillating topics as the evolution of boobs, butts, balls, and Bigfoot. Her passion includes combining science and comedy to spread science literacy while inducing spit takes. She currently lives a pants-optional lifestyle in LA and teaches biological anthropology at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Jaclyn Siegel, PhD, is a postdoctoral research scholar at San Diego State University, where she works as the project director of the PRIDE Body Project, an NIH-funded eating disorders prevention program for sexual minority men. Jaclyn holds a PhD in social psychology from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focuses on body image, gender, and sexuality, primarily as they relate to everyday life, including the workplace and romantic relationships. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/07/2239m 5s

Bodies: Stories about anatomy

The human body is fascinating and sometimes kinda gross. In this week’s episode both our storytellers are sharing tales of their blood, flesh, and bones. Part 1: When Rachel Gross winds up with a chronic vaginal infection she refuses to believe her new favorite IUD is the culprit. Part 2: Bryan Berlin discovers a mysterious bump on his butt but is too self-conscious to get it checked out. Rachel E. Gross is a science and health reporter who writes for The New York Times, Scientific American, and the BBC. She is the author of the 2022 book Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage, a New York Times' editors choice that Kirkus Reviews called "an eye-opening biological journey." Before that, she was a 2018-19 Knight Science Journalism fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the digital science editor of Smithsonian Magazine, where she launched a column about unsung women in the history of science. When not expounding on the mindblowing science of vaginas and vulvas, you can find her vegan baking, roller skating, or punning onstage. Follow her at @rachelegross. Bryan Berlin is a comedian and storyteller living in Brooklyn. He's a Moth StorySLAM winner and the creator and host of Love Hurts, a podcast where guests share stories of the tough relationships in their lives. When he's not telling stories, he's teaching video and photography to high school students. Follow him everywhere @berlination and find more info at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/07/2233m 9s

Tenacity: Stories about perseverance

As the great Rocky Balboa once said about life: “it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.” But in this week’s episode, both our storytellers share stories of their strength of will and persistence to keep going despite the scientific challenges. Part 1: Coral reef conservationist Emily Darling is at loss when a journalist asks her if she still has hope for coral reefs. Part 2: James Gordon readies himself for another one of his daughter’s heart surgeries. Dr Emily Darling is a coral reef scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto. Her research has won international awards and been featured on National Geographic, Forbes International, CNN, and PBS Nature. She is passionate about the importance of underwater science and works closely with scientists around the world to measure the impact of coral reef conservation. In her spare time, she is (still) learning to sail. James Gordon is an international award winning author and poet, champion storyteller, and acclaimed actor. James can be seen on Chicago Med as Kent Taylor, Detective Smiley on Amazon's The G, and PA Flanders in Background Extras. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/06/2237m 34s

Father's Day: Stories about dads

In honor of Father’s Day, this week’s episode features stories about dads. Also in honor of Father’s Day, here’s one of our favorite science Dad jokes : What did the biologist wear to impress his date? Designer genes. Part 1: While Nadia Osman is growing up, her father is determined to get her to pursue a career in STEM. Part 2: Josh Silberg finds a new appreciation for his dad’s embarrassing antics when he’s forced to be an aquarium mascot. Nadia Osman is a comedy writer, performer, and daughter of an Egyptian Muslim immigrant. She's written for Million Volt studios, BET, the UCB theatre, Reductress, CollegeHumor, and more. Nadia created Depressed, a web series about anxiety and depression that was a Staff Pick on Vimeo and Vulture. She also co-hosts the podcast Why Do You Know That? with Steve Szlaga. Josh Silberg is a scientist, science communicator, Ogden Nash fan, and easily distracted by odd animals. For his day job, he helps researchers at the Hakai Institute share their coastal science. He moonlights as a producer for The Story Collider in Vancouver. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/06/2231m 12s

Prom Night: Stories from Proton Prom

In this week’s episode we’re sharing some of the stories from our second annual fundraiser Proton Prom. Part 1: Comedian Josh Gondelman is terrified when he gets a call that his father doesn’t remember there’s an ongoing pandemic. Part 2: Growing up Ken Ono dreams of being anything but a mathematician. Part 3: As a teenager, Eric Jankowski is inspired when he meets his science heroes. Josh Gondelman is a writer and comedian who incubated in Boston before moving to New York City, where he currently lives and works as the head writer and an executive producer for Desus & Mero on Showtime. Previously, he spent five years at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, first as a web producer and then as a staff writer where he earned four Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and three WGA Awards. In 2016, Josh made his late night standup debut on Conan (TBS), and he has also performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers (NBC) and The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS). Gondelman is also the author of the essay collection Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results published September 2019 by Harper Perennial. And as of 2019, he has become a regular panelist on NPR mainstay Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. In Spring 2020, Gondelman launched his own podcast Make My Day, a comedy game show. And he was the co-creator of the popular Modern Seinfeld Twitter account. Josh’s most recent album Dancing On a Weeknight came out in 2019 on Blonde Medicine Records. (His prior album Physical Whisper debuted in March of 2016 at #1 on the iTunes comedy charts (as well as #4 on the Billboard comedy chart). Offstage, Gondelman is also the co-author (along with Joe Berkowitz) of the book You Blew It, published October 2015 by Plume. In the past, Josh has written for Fuse TV’s Billy On The Street. His writing has also appeared in prestigious publications such as McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, New York Magazine, and The New Yorker. Additionally, Josh has performed at the Rooftop Comedy Festival in Aspen, CO, and headlined at the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival in Asheville, NC. More recently he has appeared in the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and SF Sketchfest. His debut standup comedy CD, Everything’s The Best was released in November of 2011 by Rooftop Comedy Productions. Ken Ono is the Thomas Jefferson Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia and the Chair of Mathematics at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published over 200 research articles in number theory. Professor Ono has received many awards for his research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship. He was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) by Bill Clinton in 2000, and he was named the National Science Foundation's Distinguished Teaching Scholar in 2005. He was an associate producer of the 2016 Hollywood film The Man Who Knew Infinity, which starred Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel. Earlier this year he put his math skills to work in a Super Bowl week commercial for Miller Lite beer. Eric Jankowski is an associate professor in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University as well as Story Collider’s Board President. He earned a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan where he also got pretty into bicycles, storytelling, and playing go. Eric's research leverages high performance computing to engineer new materials for sustainable energy production. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/06/2248m 13s

Mysteries: Stories about enigmas

Usually mysteries are reserved for true crime podcasts and cop shows, but in this week’s episode, both our storytellers delve deep into a scientific puzzle in search of answers. Part 1: Sabrina Imbler encounters strange blobs in the ocean and becomes obsessed with figuring out what they are. Part 2: While visiting a new eye doctor, Derek Traub wonders if his Duane Syndrome and uneven vision are somehow connected. Sabrina Imbler is a writer based in Brooklyn. They are currently a staff writer at Defector Media on the creature beat. Their work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Catapult, among others. Their chapbook Dyke (geology) came out with Black Lawrence Press, and their first book, an essay collection about sea creatures called How Far the Light Reaches, will be published on December 6, 2022 with Little, Brown. Derek Traub is a writer and storyteller currently living in—and frequently writing about—Los Angeles. For the last decade, he has worked as a writer for the LA Phil, where he recently wrote a book and recorded a podcast series about the Hollywood Bowl’s first century. Both can be found at Follow him on IG @froznla. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/06/2229m 28s

Becoming: Stories about growing into yourself

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers strive to realize their full, authentic selves in science. Part 1: After being bullied for his sexuality as a kid, Scott Taylor hesitates to bring his full self to his identity as a scientist. Part 2: Kamryn Parker’s high school history teacher unwittingly influences her scientific journey. Scott Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder where he leads the Taylor Lab on hybridization, speciation, and natural history ( He joined the faculty after completing a Ph.D. in ecological genetics from Queen’s University and pursuing postdoctoral training at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Research in his group is focused on using natural hybrid zones and recent radiations to understand the genetic bases of traits involved in reproductive isolation, population divergence, and speciation, and the impacts of anthropogenic change, including climate change, on species distributions, interactions, and evolution. His lab primarily studies birds. Scott grew up on the shore of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada. He is fascinated by natural history and the intersections between art and science, and is committed to inclusion and diversity initiatives. Kamryn Parker is currently a graduate student at Boise State University pursuing her Master's in Computer Science with a Data Science concentration. She graduated from Boise State in 2021 with a Bachelor's Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with emphases in Data Science, Computer Science, and Applied Math. She currently works as a graduate research assistant focusing on both election and privacy research. Kamryn is passionate about data science and how you can use data to solve the complex problems of today's world. In her free time, Kamryn enjoys being a trivia night enthusiast, cheering on her favorite sports teams, and watching Marvel movies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/05/2231m 14s

Obsession: Stories about scientific fixations

Science has a way of inspiring obsession. In this week’s episode, both our storytellers spiral deep into a personal all-consuming preoccupation. Part 1: Curtis Chou becomes dogmatic in his quest to correct a person’s incorrect fact on the internet. Part 2: Richard Cardillo is determined to uncover a priest’s secret to keeping a thriving cactus collection. Curtis Chou is a science communicator, puzzle enthusiast, and all-around adventure seeker. Curtis’s preferred bubble tea order is half-sweet strawberry milk tea with pearls and less ice. Richard Cardillo is a six-time Moth StorySLAM winner who's appeared on The Moth Radio Hour and the Moth podcast. He is featured on The Best of RISK! #12 podcast. He’s performed at Story Collider, RISK!, Yum's the Word, PBS Stories From The Stage, and Big Irv’s Storytelling Show. Rich is a passionate bread baker and, yes, has gone to that quirky (scary?) place of naming his 16-year-old sourdough starter.  Rich is also a 25-year resident of NYC's Lower East Side and has been an educator for over three decades on two continents and in three 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! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/05/2231m 20s

Proton Prom: Stories from our Proton Prom storytellers

In anticipation of our upcoming Proton Prom, this week we’re re-airing the first Story Collider stories from two of the storytellers who will be performing at the event. Part 1: When Aparna Nancherla's science fair project goes awry, she and her fellow students make some unethical choices. Part 2: After a reluctant start, mathematician Ken Ono makes an unexpected discovery. Aparna Nancherla is a comedian and general silly billy. Her sense of humor is dry, existential, and absurd, with notes of uncalled-for whimsy. Think a wine you didn’t order. You can watch Aparna as Grace the belabored HR rep on the Comedy Central show, Corporate or hear her as the voice of Hollyhock on Bojack Horseman. She also has a half-hour special on the second season of The Standups on Netflix, as well as appearances on Late Night with Stephen Colbert on CBS and Two Dope Queens on HBO. Other acting credits include A Simple Favor, Crashing, High Maintenance, Master of None, and Inside Amy Schumer. Aparna was also named one of “The 50 Funniest People Right Now” by Rolling Stone. She also co-hosted the 2018 Women’s March Rally in NYC. In 2019, she was in a Super Bowl commercial with Michael Bublé for sparkling water neé seltzer. In 2016, she released her debut album, Just Putting It Out There, on Tig Notaro’s label, Bentzen Ball Records, and recorded a half hour special for Comedy Central. On Monday nights, she co-hosts Butterboy at Littlefield in Park Slope, Brooklyn at 8 p.m. with genius treasures Jo Firestone and Maeve Higgins. Ken Ono is the Thomas Jefferson Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia and the Chair of Mathematics at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published over 200 research articles in number theory. Professor Ono has received many awards for his research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship. He was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) by Bill Clinton in 2000, and he was named the National Science Foundation's Distinguished Teaching Scholar in 2005. He was an associate producer of the 2016 Hollywood film The Man Who Knew Infinity, which starred Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel. Earlier this year he put his math skills to work in a Super Bowl week commercial for Miller Lite beer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/05/2235m 35s

DNA: Stories about genetics

It’s almost magical how a combination of just A, C, T, and G entirely determine who we are. In this week’s episode both our storytellers look at how their genes impact their lives. Part 1: Kristen Williams unexpectedly finds herself attending a family reunion after taking a DNA test. Part 2: After several miscarriages, Joanne O’Meara turns to genetic testing for answers. Kristen Williams is a Navy veteran and a Senior Business Manager. She loves storytelling because it allows her to relive the most impactful moments in her life, from her deep south upbringing, military life, and professional experience. She lives in Seattle with her cat, Cami. Joanne O’Meara grew up in Toronto but moved away at the age of 19 to go to McMaster University. After traveling around for a few years, she and her husband put down roots in Fergus, Ontario. They both work in the Physics Department at the University of Guelph, while raising two amazing young women. When she’s not teaching or learning about teaching, she’s outside enjoying nature, on snowshoes, in a kayak, or just sitting in the sunshine with a good book. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/05/2229m 41s

Fitting In: Stories about belonging

In this week’s episode both our storytellers struggle to find their place. Part 1: Heather Galindo studies her lab mates in hopes of understanding what it means to be a scientist. Part 2: When Rob Ulrich leaves their small town to study science, they keep waiting to feel like they belong somewhere. Heather Galindo has long combined her loves for marine science and storytelling by earning college degrees in both Oceanography and English Literature, plus working at a science communication non-profit organization for five years. While earning her PhD at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, she also spent a lot of time alone in the field talking to barnacles. As an Associate Teaching Professor in STEM at the University of Washington Bothell, she currently teaches courses in marine biology, evolution, environmental science, and scientific writing. Other than marine science, her passions include social justice, environmental sustainability, and baked goods. Rob is a scientist at UCLA who studies how living things make their hard parts: cystoliths, coral, shells, etc. Rob is also the Associate Director of the Reclaiming STEM Institute, Co-Founder of Queer & Trans in STEM (fka Queers in STEM), a writing consultant, and a writer. For their research and advocacy, Rob currently holds fellowships with the National Science Foundation and the Center for Diverse Leadership in Science, and they have been invited to speak on the popular podcasts, including Ologies, Talk Nerdy, ExoLore, and at meetings for the American Geophysical Union, the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, the Geologic Society of America, the California Academy of Sciences, and the New York Academy of Sciences. To avoid answering the question “What do you want to do after your Ph.D.?”, they hide in their apartment and cook and bake, or outside by hiking and going to the beach. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/04/2230m 16s

Near Death Experiences: Stories about close calls

It’s not often people have a brush with death, but in this week’s episode both our storytellers are sharing stories about their near misses. Part 1: When Abraham Norfleet’s dad asks him to clean an underwater pump on their family farm, he tries to do it one breath. Part 2: Hana Schank wakes up in a hospital and has no idea how she got there. Abraham Norfleet is a writer, multi-disciplinary artist, and comedian. Back when he was still trying to be respectable he worked as a commercial artist in advertising, often working triple shifts putting the sparkle on a diamond or the steam on a steak under looming deadlines and immense pressure, just to earn a “high salary.” Now he performs internationally* and is a regular on the award-winning web series Goodstein. *did an open mic in Canada once. Hana Schank is an author, designer, and technologist. She is a Senior Advisor for Public Interest Technology at New America, a think tank in Washington DC, where she works to improve how government serves the American people via technology and human centered design. In addition to her research and design work, Schank is the author of three nonfiction books and a Kindle Single. Her most recent book, POWER TO THE PUBLIC, received praise from Pres. Obama, who called it "worth a read for anyone who cares about making change happen." Hana lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. with her husband and two children, where she hopes to write more books that Pres. Obama enjoys. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/04/2236m 44s

Passing the Test: Stories about making the grade

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers are assessed and evaluated in ways they never expected. Part 1: During a visit to her doctor, comedian Angel Yau finds herself answering “always” to every question on the mental health evaluation. Part 2: Scientist Valerie Bentivegna doesn’t know what to do when her PhD supervisors tell her that her thesis isn’t good enough. Angel Yau is a comedian, storyteller, actor, and filmmaker from Queens, New York. She started her comedy career (unintentionally) in high school when she ran for school council. From then she knew how to laugh at herself. She founded "Asian American Film Thing", and "Shoes off, Mouth off." Both events showcases AAPI storytellers and creators. She is also proudly in the musical comedy group, AzN PoP! Angel's festival-winning stop-motion animations are where she explores her childhood in comedic but heartfelt ways dealing with solitude, rejection, and alienation. Angel was recently featured in a BBC short documentary on being a comedian dealing with mental health. If you ask Valerie Bentivegna to describe herself in three words, she would say: tall, nerdy, and clumsy (not in that order). She has a Ph.D. in Life Sciences from the University of Dundee and currently works as a Science and Medical Writer at Cognition Studio in Seattle. She enjoys diving deep into the science, translating the complex into the engaging, and bringing in authenticity and the occasional bit of humor. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/04/2228m 58s

Grief: Stories about dealing with loss

In this week's episode, our storytellers' lives and careers in science are shaped by a great loss in their lives. Part 1: When neuroscientist Macayla Donegan's partner is diagnosed with brain cancer, she's forced to make some tough decisions. Part 2: When Anant Paravatsu struggles in school, his mother comes to his rescue. Macayla Donegan is a recovering academic neuroscientist who just lost their spouse to brain cancer, and lost a career she had worked a long time for at the same time. She has a really cute dog if you need a pick me up after that bummer of a sentence. Anant Paravastu holds bachelor's (MIT, 1998) and Ph.D. degrees (UC Berkeley, 2004) in chemical engineering. His Ph.D. research with Jeffrey Reimer focused on using lasers to control nuclear spin polarization in the semiconductor GaAs. From 2004 to 2007, he worked as a postdoc at the Laboratory of Chemical Physics at NIH with Robert Tycko, where he learned to apply nuclear magnetic resonance to structural biology. Paravastu's early structural biology work focused on amyloid fibrils of the Alzheimer's β-amyloid peptide. He was part of the team and community that showed that amyloid fibril formation is a complex phenomenon: individual peptides exhibit multiple aggregation pathways capable of producing distinct aggregated structures. Between 2008 and 2015, Paravastu worked as an assistant professor at Florida State University and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. Presently, his laboratory at Georgia Tech pursues three general lines of inquiry: 1) structural analysis of rationally designed peptides and peptide analogs that assemble into nanostructured materials, 2) nonfibrillar aggregates of the Alzheimer's amyloid-β peptide, and 3) aggregation due to misfolding of proteins driven away from their natural folds. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/04/2242m 7s

On the Spectrum: Stories about being neurodivergent

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers share their experience with the autism spectrum. This episode is in honor of World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, which hopes to further people’s understanding and acceptance of autistic people. Part 1: Neuroscientist B. Blair Braden is confused as to why her neighbour doesn’t pick up on any of her social cues. Part 2: For her entire life Behavioral Neuroscientist Susan Rapley doesn’t understand why she can’t fit in. B. Blair Braden received her doctorate in Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychology from Arizona State University (ASU). She completed her Neuroimaging/Neuropsychologoy Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. She is an Assistant Professor of Speech and Hearing Science and Director of the Autism and Brain Aging Laboratory at ASU. Susan has a PhD in Psychological Neuroscience, then applied it to community science education and engagement. Throw in a healthy interest in leadership for social change, mix over maternity leave, then pour into disability equity for the NZ public service. Susan is currently advising in the establishment of NZ's new Ministry of Disabled People. Storytelling turns out to be at the heart of it all. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/04/2228m 17s

Science of Gender: Stories outside the binary

In honor of International Transgender Visibility Day on March 31 this week’s episode celebrates storytellers who are transgender and gender nonconforming. Part 1: Comedian Riley Silverman attempts to use science to change the course of puberty. Part 2: Comedian Ang Buxton explores the differences in gender expectations from the football field to the middle school cafeteria. Riley Silverman is a writer, comedian, and professional geek. An author of Star Wars books, Riley is also a contributing writer for Nerdist and Fandom, the award-winning sci-fi podcast, Bubble, and SYFY's Forgotten Women of Genre limited podcast series. As an actress she appeared in the STARZ series Take My Wife as Regan, in the comedy horror film Too Late, and as the voice of Zelda in the vampire series Port Saga. She has rolled dice on numerous actual-play Dungeons and Dragons and roleplaying shows, including in the role of Braga for the official tabletop adaptation of Rat Queens. Her comedy album Intimate Apparel was a #1 bestseller. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and she is certain that her lightsaber would have a white kyber crystal. Ang Buxton (they/them) is a nonbinary comedian, DJ and teacher from Springfield, MA. Ang has headlined comedy shows all around New England and beyond, and has DJ'd for events like Northampton Pride. Ang is a Teach for America alum and is dedicated to educational equity, and views their work as a comedian as queer activism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/03/2233m 7s

Diabetes Awareness: Stories about dealing with diabetes

In this week’s episode both our storytellers are sharing their experience with diabetes. More than 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, however, many people don’t know about the disease or that they even have it. This episode is to raise awareness for American Diabetes Association Alert Day, which is on March 22 this year. Part 1: Diabetes runs in Michele Carlo’s family and she’s determined not wind up like them. Part 2: Comedian Gastor Almonte comes to terms with his new diabetes diagnosis. Michele Carlo is a native New Yorker, a Nuyorican, a natural redhead, and remembers when a slice of pizza (and the NYC subway) cost 50 cents. As a storyteller, she has performed across the U.S., including Joe’s Pub, RISK! live shows and podcast, and the MOTH’s Mainstage in NYC; and has appeared on NPR (“Latino USA”) and PBS (“Latino Americans of NY & NJ,” “Stories from the Stage”). She is also the author of the NYC-set memoir “Fish Out of Agua: My life on neither side of the (subway) tracks” and a sometime actor. For more on Michele: Gastor Almonte is a stand-up comedian and storyteller from Brooklyn, NY. He's appeared on Comedy Central's This Is Not Happening, Risk! podcast and the Story Collider Podcast. Timeout magazine named him one of your "New Comedy Obsessions." He's been featured on the New York Comedy Festival, The People's Impov Theater's SoloCom and Cinderblock Comedy Festival. His new album, Immigrant Made, was released in March 2019. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/03/2234m 7s

Pi Day: Stories about a very specific number

In honor of Pi Day on March 14, this week’s episode features two stories about how a particular number has impacted the live’s of the storytellers. Part 1: Math teacher Theodore Chao goes all out for Pi Day at his school. Part 2: Debbie Char learns what a flash point is while cooking a meal for her date. Theodore Chao is an associate professor of mathematics education at The Ohio State University. He who loves using video and storytelling to get kids to share about how they really do math, not what someone told them they need to do. He is a former filmmaker, startup founder, and middle school teacher who now spends his time supporting teachers, writing articles, and using research funds to show that kids hold tremendous math power. Debbie Char is grateful that along with silver hair, aging has offered opportunities to do what she loves. She gets to teach math at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, sing with an LGBTQ chorus called CHARIS, share her love of books with preschoolers as a Ready Reader, cook suet for birds and meals for people in homeless shelters, bike in Forest Park, tend a tiny garden, explore the city with her husband and rescue mutt, play with her two grandbabies, and go to bed early. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/03/2225m 47s

The Miracle of Life: Stories about birth

In this week’s episode both our storytellers share their experience of that beautiful and magical moment when new life is brought into this world. Part 1: Ed Pritchard inadvertently becomes a leatherback turtle midwife during his first field job. Part 2: Science reporter Ari Daniel's life is influenced by his remarkable grandmother. A native of South Florida, Ed Pritchard has fostered a love for the marine environment since an early age. Ed holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in Marine Conservation from the University of Miami. As an Interpretive Programs Lead at Miami-Dade County’s Eco Division, Ed develops and leads immersive citizen engagement programs that promote awareness and foster stewardship of our local environment, with an emphasis placed on our marine and coastal resources. Ed’s ultimate goal is to use effective science communication and education initiatives to inspire the next generation of ocean stewards. Ari Daniel has always been enchanted by the natural world. As a kid, he packed his Wildlife Treasury box full of species cards. As a graduate student, Ari trained gray seal pups (Halichoerus grypus) and helped tag wild killer whales (Orcinus orca). These days, as a science reporter and producer for National Public Radio, NOVA and other outlets, he works with a species he’s better equipped to understand — Homo sapiens. Ari has reported on science topics across five continents and is a co-recipient of the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award for audio. In the fifth grade, Ari won the “Most Contagious Smile” award. Find him on Instagram at @mesoplodon_ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/03/2231m 45s

Work: Stories about science as a job

In this week’s episode both our storytellers give us a glimpse into how they make a living in science. Part 1: After a gruelling residency shift, Natalia Khosla starts questioning how medical students are trained. Part 2: Mateus F. Carneiro doesn’t know what to do when his paycheck still hasn’t show up three months into his new research job. Natalia Khosla, who also goes by Neha, is an artist, dancer, medical student, and radical intersectional feminist whose activism, research, and art is focused on the legacies of colonialism-capitalism and the mental and physical effects of chronic discrimination. In her effort to break down the silos between scientific research and art-entertainment, storyteller feels like the best umbrella unifier. She is passionate about art for radical change telling the stories of the groups whose experiences have been historically portrayed as monolithic and unworthy of exploration. She is interested in stories as spaces and moments that welcome validated rage, platonic intimacy, community building, and radical joy. Dr Mateus F. Carneiro is a particle physicist and science communicator. Currently working as a Postdoctoral Researcher with neutrino experimental detection, at the Brookhaven National laboratory. Neutrinos are the tiniest and most elusive of fundamental particles, around 500 trillion neutrinos from the Sun just passed through your body while you read this sentence. They are everywhere but almost impossible to catch, the work is worth as neutrinos may hold some of the most well kept secrets of nature. When not using neutrinos to understand atomic nuclear structures, Mateus have a passion for science education and communication. Their work is heavily focused on inclusion of underrepresented communities and the use of unorthodox methods of communication. As a queer immigrant scientist in the US, Mateus fights to shed light in the structural problems of academia and to question the stereotypes around who is and who get to be a scientist. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/02/2234m 14s

Unconventional Methods: Stories about finding a different way

Wasn’t it Einstein who said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”? In this week’s episode both our storytellers aren’t in danger of falling prey to Einstein’s version of insanity; they definitely try something new. Part 1: A neurological condition makes Adam Selbst a prime target for muggers but things get weird when he tries to stop one. Part 2: Cassandra Quave learns there’s more than one way into medicine. Adam Selbst is a writer and graphic designer from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He hosts the monthly Big Irv’s Storytelling Roadshow and has been performing around NYC for the last 10 years. Adam lives in a bodega art collective with 64 other people and in his spare time he enjoys being slowly poisoned by an ancient, weird mold in his shower and throwing elaborate dinner parties. Cassandra Quave, PhD, is the herbarium curator and an associate professor of dermatology and human health at Emory University. Dr. Quave is a fellow of The Explorers Club, a former president of the Society for Economic Botany, and a recipient of the Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award and Charles B. Heiser, Jr. Mentor Award. She is the cocreator and host of Foodie Pharmacology, a podcast dedicated to exploring the links between food and medicine. A leader in the field of medical botany, she has authored more than 100 scientific publications and has been featured in The New York Times Magazine and BBC Science Focus, as well as on PBS, NPR, and National Geographic TV. Dr. Quave is author of a science memoir The Plant Hunter: A Scientist’s Quest for Nature’s Next Medicines. She lives in Atlanta in a full and energetic house with her husband, four children, dog, mini-pig and many houseplants. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/02/2229m 54s

In & Out of Love With Science: Stories about relationships with STEM

When you’re in love with science, it can be as messy and complex as any type of romantic relationship. In this week’s episode both our storytellers grapple with their complicated feelings for their discipline. Oh also, Happy Valentine’s Day! Part 1: Gregory Gedman wonders if he made the right choice in pursuing a career in research. Part 2: After selling all of her old math books, Gioia De Cari vows to never look back. Gregory Gedman studies the genetics of vocal imitation in songbirds and humans to provide insights on the evolution of spoken language. He received his Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University last year, and is continuing his research as a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA, where he strives to be an inclusive mentor and educator. Greg hopes that by sharing his story he can help empower students to rise above their feelings of imposter syndrome and be successful in academia and beyond.  The multifaceted Gioia De Cari is a transformative artist and "recovering mathematician" who has made significant contributions in theater and classical music through her focus on the synergy between science and the arts. She is creator of the critically-acclaimed award-winning play "Truth Values," which has been embraced as a conversation catalyst on important issues of unconscious bias in science, technology, engineering and mathematics throughout the United States. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/02/2231m 9s

Representation: Stories about diversity in STEM

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers examine the importance of diversity and representation in science – and not just in their research sample. Part 1: While serving on diversity panel, biologist Latasha Wright is asked if representation in STEM matters, prompting her to reflect on her experiences. Part 2: Leah Clyburn's childhood experiences with nature – and with bigotry – come together to inform her career in environmentalism. Latasha Wright, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, received her Ph.D. from NYU Langone Medical Center in cell and molecular biology. She continued her scientific training at Johns Hopkins University and Weill Cornell Medical Center. She has co-authored numerous publications, presented her work at international and national conferences. BioBus enables Latasha to share her love of science with a new generation of scientists. Latasha spearheaded the creation of the first BioBase community lab, the BioBus internship program, and our Harlem expansion. Everyday that Latasha spends teaching students about science in this transformative environment helps her remember that science is fun. She loves sharing the journey of discovery with students of all ages. Leah Clyburn has been organizing in Missouri for almost 10 years now. Starting in Reproductive Justice through a faithful lens, to School to Prison Pipeline and Statewide Policy initiatives, to now Environmental Justice/ Climate Change. She believes that a call out is an invitation to be called into authentic and transformational relationships in order to obtain Environmental Justice for All. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/02/2246m 39s

Validity: Stories about finding validation

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers are seeking what all scientists are looking for: validity. If you want to check the reliability of this episode though, we suggest listening to it more than once. Part 1: Adrian Demeritte struggles to find a reason to stay in science after he loses his biggest inspiration. Part 2: After years of a chronic disorder make Becky Feldman feel like she’ll be single forever, she finds acceptance from an unusual source. Adrian Demeritte is a fourth year PhD graduate student at Emory University from Nassau, Bahamas. His research focuses on combatting fungal and antibiotic resistance, and he hopes to continue his work to help bolster the chemical industry in the Caribbean one day. In his free time he enjoys writing, hiking and experiencing whatever hidden gems Atlanta's melting pot of cultures has to offer. Becky Feldman is a writer, performer, and podcast host. Originally from New Jersey, she is an alum of the UCB Theatre and the Ruby LA. In addition to being a staff writer on children's animated shows, her TV appearances include "Community", "Broad City", and "Brooklyn 99". This story is an excerpt from her solo storytelling show "Tight: Sexy Stories About Pelvic Pain", which debuted in January 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/01/2230m 21s

Paradigm Shift: Stories about the moment when everything changes

In this week’s episode, both our storytellers experience something that irrevocably alters their lives. Part 1: Carl Zimmer learns he has a lot in common with bats hibernating in an abandoned mine. Part 2: In the midst of a big move, a global pandemic, and social unrest, neuroscientist Aya Osman finds her purpose. Carl Zimmer is a columnist for the New York Times, where he has been covering Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. He is also the author of 14 books about science, including Life's Edge: The Search For What It Means To Be Alive. Aya Osman is a UK trained neuroscientist currently studying the connection between the gut and the brain (the gut-brain axis) in a range of neuropsychiatric conditions including addiction and autism at Icahn School of Medicine in New York. Before embarking on her PhD and subsequent postdoctoral research Journey, she completed an MSc in Toxicology and worked for the governmental body Public Health England. Dr. Osman is also an international fashion model who harnesses her unique skill set gained from a public facing role as a model as well as extensive scientific training to communicate important scientific findings to the public in a manageable and understandable format across multiple media platforms, with a particular focus on scientific topics relevant to the Black community. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/01/2235m 28s

BUGS: Stories about creepy crawlies

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers had to deal with some minibeasts, AKA insects, and surprisingly neither of them moved or burned the whole house down to vanquish them. (Sorry, spoilers!) Part 1: While doing field work in the Belize jungle, Rachel Mann Smith learns how to handle an Alien-style bug. Part 2: A case of lice makes Rachel Mans McKenny question her competence as a mother. Rachel Mann Smith is a doctor, epidemiologist, poet and parent trying to make it all work in the middle of the chaos. A Californian by nature and birth, she thinks Atlanta is both too hot and too cold, but she has learned to love the fall foliage. Rachel Mans McKenny is a writer and mom from the Midwest. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and other outlets, and her debut novel, The Butterfly Effect, is the 2022 All- Iowa Reads selection (and is very buggy). You can find her on twitter @rmmckenny. A version of her story appeared in the Washington Post in 2020: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/01/2228m 58s

Going Out: Stories about what makes the world scary

This week, both of our storytellers are sharing stories about something that is pretty relatable at the moment — the challenges of leaving the house. Part 1: As she goes blind due to a progressive eye disease, M. Leona Godin must learn how to navigate the world with a cane. Part 2: A frightening encounter with police that leaves teenage Roque Rodriguez traumatized. M. Leona Godin is a writer, performer, educator, and the author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural history of Blindness (Pantheon, 2021). Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Electric Literature, Playboy, O Magazine, Catapult, and other print and online publications. She produced two plays: “The Star of Happiness” about Helen Keller’s time performing in vaudeville, and “The Spectator and the Blind Man,” about the invention of braille. Godin holds a PhD in English, and besides her many years teaching literature and humanities courses at NYU, she has lectured on art, accessibility, technology, and disability at such places as Tandon School of Engineering, Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, and the American Printing House for the Blind. Her online magazine exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste, Aromatica Poetica, publishes writing and art from around the world. Roque (Pronounced: ROW-Keh), the son of Dominican-American immigrants is a 500-hour trained Yoga teacher. Roque is a proud co-founder of Suryaside Yoga in Queens, NY. When he’s not teaching the Suryaside community and mentoring his new teacher trainees, he is dedicated to spreading love and yoga to underserved and under-resourced communities through programs and partnerships such as, Liberation Prison Yoga which provides yoga and meditation to incarcerated people and his I Can Breathe Yoga program which offers teacher training scholarships to BIPOCs who want to bring yoga to their community. He is an advocate for prison abolition and community organizing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/01/2234m 54s

A Magical Night: Stories about moments when science was magic

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers experience a magical night that changes everything. Here’s hoping that we all have a similarly magical night tonight, on New Year’s Eve! Part 1: Growing up in Pakistan, Salman Hameed falls in love with the mysteries of the universe when he stumbles upon Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. Part 2: As Zuri Sullivan pursues her dream of becoming an immunologist at Harvard, she begins to worry that she’s being “weeded out.” Salman Hameed is Charles Taylor Chair and Associate Professor of Integrated Science and Humanities at Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. He holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from New Mexico State University at Las Cruces and a B.S. in physics and astronomy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. His research interests have now moved in a sociological direction, and today his primary research focuses on understanding the reception of science in Muslim societies and how Muslims view the relationship between science & religion. He is also actively engaged in science communication and is the founder and CEO of Kainaat Studios that produces astronomy content in Urdu for audience in Pakistan. He has a YouTube channel for Urdu videos and a weekly astronomy segment in English for a radio station in Western Massachusetts. His classes focus on issues related to science, religion & society, and his favorite class is titled, “Aliens: Close Encounters of a Multidisciplinary Kind”. Zuri Sullivan is an immunologist and a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University, where she studies how the immune system influences animal behavior. She hails from the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) and is fascinated by how the immune system helps animals adapt to different environments. Outside the lab, Zuri is passionate about increasing access to STEM careers for folks of all genders and ethnic backgrounds and sharing her science with the public. She loves spin class, sparkling rosé, and bragging about the fact that she shares a birthday with Beyoncé. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
31/12/2133m 37s

A Little Help: Stories about needing support

In this week’s episode, both of our storytellers are looking for a little help. Part 1: Jitesh Jaggi keeps his struggle with trichotillomania a secret, until one day his wife catches him in the act. Part 2: When Devan Sandiford finally decides to seek therapy, he finds it more difficult than expected. Jitesh Jaggi is a recent immigrant from India, currently living in Chicago. He ended his career in Finance one day when he lost all his data that he forgot to save on an Excel sheet, and realized that he just didn't care. That tipping point led to him becoming a writer and he is currently working on a book of essays. He is a two-time Moth StorySlam winner and a producer for the Story Collider. He loves writing bios because he can refer to himself in the third person. Jitesh can be easily bribed with books and chocolates. Devan Sandiford is the Program Manager of Community Engagement at The Moth. Born and raised in a small town in Southern California, Devan spent his childhood and young adult years keeping his personal stories hidden from almost everyone. Then feeling a voice within him longing to be heard, he moved to Brooklyn, New York to push himself out of his comfort zone and find his voice. Devan is now a published writer and award-winning storyteller. His stories have been featured in the Washington Post, The Moth Podcast, Writing Class Radio, Speak Up Storytelling, The Womanity Project, and many other outlets. Devan is also the founder of Unreeling Storytelling—a Brooklyn-based organization dedicated to finding people who are quietly waiting to speak and yet urgently needing to be heard. To experience more of Devan’s unfolding collection of stories visit his website at and keep an eye out for his upcoming memoir—currently titled—Human, Like You. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/12/2128m 29s

Respect: Stories about demanding to be seen

This week, we present two stories about respect in science — how we get it and how we keep it. Part 1: Meisa Salaita’s brand-new PhD in chemistry isn’t much help as she prepares to teach ninth-grade physics. Part 2: Early in her career, astronomer Jackie Faherty’s work is stunned when a senior researcher eviscerates her work at a conference. Meisa Salaita has made it her mission to help others see and appreciate the beauty of science by making it a part of everyday cultural experiences. Through her work founding and directing the non-profit Science ATL, she spends her days bringing people together through the wonder of science by creating public science events like the Atlanta Science Festival. Meisa also writes, has produced radio stories, and hosted TV shows — all in the name of science. In addition to her work with Science ATL, Meisa is a producer for The Story Collider, a science storytelling podcast. Meisa has a Ph.D. in chemistry from Northwestern, and has been named by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of their "Women Who Mean Business" and by Atlanta Magazine as one of their "Women Making a Mark". Jackie Faherty is a senior scientist and senior education manager at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Her research group entitled “Brown Dwarfs in New York City (BDNYC)” is at the forefront of low mass star, brown dwarf and giant exoplanet characterization studies. She is also co-founder of the successful citizen science project called “Backyard Worlds: Planet 9” which has involved over 150,000 volunteers in searches for previously missed cold components of the nearby solar neighborhood. Dr. Faherty has over 100 peer-reviewed papers in Astrophysical journals and has won numerous awards or grants from private and national foundations such as NASA and the NSF. She is also a regular science communicator having consulted on stories that ran in the NY Times, the Wall Street journal, NPR, and on national television. In her position at AMNH, Faherty strives to create more opportunities for underrepresented minorities to enter STEM through unique outreach endeavors.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/12/2131m 9s

Human Reproduction: Stories about how we learn about sex

In this week’s episode, we share two stories about adventures in sex education. Part 1: Kate Willet is frustrated by the gaps of information in her abstinence-based sex ed class. Part 2: Sex ed instructor Charlie Blake fields an unexpected question from a student. Kate Willett is a comedian, actress, and writer whose raunchy feminist storytelling is both smart and relatable. Her 15 minute special premiered on Netflix’s “Comedy Lineup” in August 2018. She was recently a correspondent for the JIM JEFFERIES SHOW at Politicon 2017. She’s been featured on Viceland’s FLOPHOUSE and her appearance on Comedy Central’s THIS IS NOT HAPPENING was on Splitsider’s list of “2016’s Best Late Night Standup Sets.” In the past, she toured with Margaret Cho nationally and internationally and has featured with comedians like Kyle Kinane, Jen Kirkman, Ali Wong, Dana Gould, and Greg Behrendt. She has appeared in the Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival, Limestone Comedy Festival, High Plains, Big Sky Festival, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, San Francisco Sketchfest (5 years in a row), and most recently Laughing Skull. Earlier this year she was a “Comic to Watch” at the LA RIOT festival. Dr. Charlie Blake is an interdisciplinary scientist currently teaching at Webster University and Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Their research has focused on a variety of topics from the behavioral ecology of fish, to environmental justice and community-based research through citizen science. They are also an artist, a singer and banjolele player, and founder of a nonprofit working on transgender housing instability. Charlie is also a producer of Story Collider St. Louis. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/12/2130m 0s

Looking the Part: Stories about what a scientist looks like

This week we present two stories of people who struggled fitting in. Part 1: After switching majors to anthropology, Edith Gonzalez struggles to dress like an archaeologist. Part 2: At seven years old, Brianna A. Baker gets confronted with some uncomfortable realities of being the only Black girl in her class. Edith Gonzalez is an Assistant Professor of Archaeology at University of Buffalo, studying bio-prospecting and experimental agriculture in the 18th-century, English-speaking Caribbean. She, like many archaeologists, has a slight obsession with LotR, loves 70's disco-dancing, is committed to seeing LeVar Burton become the permanent host of Jeopardy! Brianna A. Baker (she/her/hers) is a second-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at Columbia University. Born and raised in North Carolina, she graduated from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with an undergraduate degree in Psychology and African American Community Health and Resilience. Currently, she is a Health Equity Strategist at Takeda Pharmaceuticals where she uses her expertise to promote community engagement and diversify clinical research. Her research interests include sociopolitical determinants of mental health, positive Black youth development, and ameliorating sociohistorical racial trauma through community-focused program development.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/12/2138m 36s

Becoming a Scientist: Stories about what it means to be a scientist

This week, we present two stories about the path to becoming a scientist and what makes a scientist a scientist. Part 1: Andrea Jones-Rooy quits her job as a scientist in order to become a scientist. Part 2: While studying flying foxes in Indonesia, Susan Tsang gets caught in a rainstorm that changes her relationship to field work. Andrea Jones-Rooy is a scientist, comedian, and circus performer. She's a professor of data science at NYU, where she also directs their undergraduate program in data science. When she's not doing that, she's regaling audiences around NYC, the world, and the Internet with her Opinions in the form of standup comedy. When she's not doing either of those things, she's hanging from some kind of aerial apparatus (usually, but not exclusively, a trapeze) and/or holding something that is on fire. When she's not doing ANY of those things, she's either hosting her podcast Majoring in Everything, losing to her mother on Words with Friends, or eating Dr. Cow's raw vegan nut cheese. Dr. Susan Tsang works as a private consultant through her company Biodiversitas Global LLC, and continues to conduct research through her Research Associate affiliations with the American Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the Philippines. She provides subject matter expertise on and creates programs and activities to address illegal wildlife trade, disease ecology, and other global sustainable development challenges. As a researcher, her primary interest is in the evolution and biogeography of Southeast Asian flying foxes, the world's largest bats, which has led her to working with some of the most threatened yet poorly known bat species in the world. Along with her Southeast Asian colleagues, she has carried out conservation work both at the community and transnational levels, with some of her ongoing projects in Indonesia focused on local empowerment for reducing bat hunting. She also serves on the steering committee of the Southeast Asian Bat Conservation Research Unit and the Global Union of Bat Diversity Networks to address larger capacity building and assessment/policy needs and has been appointed as a member of the IUCN Bat Specialist Group and the Global Bat Taxonomy Working Group. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/11/2129m 0s

Not Alone: Stories from CZI's Rare As One Project

This week, both of our storytellers are navigating rare disease diagnoses and the feelings of fear, uncertainty, and loneliness that can often come along with them. This episode was produced in partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Rare As One Project, which brings together rare disease patient advocates from all over the world, uniting them in their quest for cures and working to lift up their efforts by offering new tools, grants programs, and capacity-building support and training. (For more stories like these, you can also check out the previous episode The Story Collider produced with Rare As One in 2019, as well as our Rare Disease playlist.) Part 1: After her child is finally diagnosed with Hermansky-Pudlak Syndome, Donna Appell set off on a mission to make sure other parents have the information she didn’t. Part 2: Feeling unmoored after she’s diagnosed with LFS, Jenn Perry attends a patient conference that changes her life. Donna Appell is the mother of two children and her oldest child has Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS). Feeling desperate in her attempts to find help, she founded The HPS Network in 1992. Ms. Appell was appointed to the American Thoracic Society’s (ATS) Public Advisory Roundtable and has received The ATS Public Service Award and the “Presidential Commendation”. For her work in Puerto Rico, she received the inaugural recognition from the ATS, “Innovations in Health Equality Award”. She was employed for 22 years as a RN in a Critical Care Open Heart ICU. In 2013, Appell and her daughter were chosen as one of 30 Heroes to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Orphan Drug Act by the Office of Orphan Product Development at the FDA and the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). In 2019, Appell was honored to be awarded a Rare Impact Award from NORD. Jenn Perry is the President of the Li-Fraumeni Syndrome Association. She is a wife and mom of 2 girls ages 28 and 18. As a LFS patient myself Jenn is relentless in the supporting the LFS community in multiple ways. Jenn loves her horse, and competition partner, Maximus. In addition to riding, she has worked as a business consultant in the QSR industry, and she currently co-owns a Gymnastic & sports facility. Gymnastic was her first love, and she enjoy judging competitive gym at all levels. It is her honor to have the opportunity to speak in front of everyone today, as bringing awareness to this syndrome is so needed, in order to find the cure. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/11/2136m 57s

Inspiring: Stories about telling #MyScienceStory

Please note: this episode’s stories contain discussion of suicide and mental illness. This week, we present two stories about the people in our lives who inspired us not only to love science, but to find our place and reach our full potential within it. With this episode, we also kick off our end-of-year fundraising campaign! Find out more here. If there’s someone who inspired your science story, you can honor them with a donation to The Story Collider in their name. Part 1: On her first day as a music therapist, Jude Treder-Wolff realizes the job isn’t what she expected. Part 2: After witnessing tragedy as a child, Mani-Jade Garcia stops speaking. Jude Treder-Wolff has been featured on PBS Stories From The Stage, RISK! live show and podcast, Mortified, Generation Women, Mistakes Were Made, Now You’re Talking, The Armando Diaz Experience at The Magnet Theater, StoryFest at The Peoples Improv Theater, The Liar Show, Story Exchange, and many others in the New York City area, Story District in Washington, DC, and Ex Fabula in Milwaukee, WI. She believes in the power of story to build community and is host/creator of (mostly) TRUE THINGS, a game wrapped in a storytelling show, which was the first Long Island-based storytelling show. It was performed monthly at The Performing Arts Studio in Port Jefferson from 2014 until the shutdown – including a teen edition - and expanded to include shows at Industry in Huntington, NY and The Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington. From 2016-2018 co-facilitated a teen storytelling program for rural teens in southeast Iowa, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Music Therapist, and improviser. Mani-Jade Garcia, or MJ (they/them) is a Black-Indigenous-Latinx two-spirit abolitionist, science communicator, artist, and certified holistic yoga teacher exploring the relationship between indigenous healing practices and mental health. Mani-Jade works as an educator for the Racial Trauma Center at Genesee Valley Psychology and as a community-based researcher/evaluator with Social Insights Research). Mani-Jade is currently completing their doctorate in Clinical Psychology. They are co-founder of Black In Mental Health (Twitter/IG: @BlackInMH), Black In Data (Twitter: @BlkInData) and founder/director of Refuge Workgroup (Twitter: @RefugeWorkgroup) a movement dedicated to bringing safety, accountability, and healing to academic and professional spaces. Contact Mani-Jade at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/11/2135m 1s

Apprentices: Stories about mentors who shaped us

In this week's stories, both of our storytellers are apprentices to mentors who have profound impacts on how they see the world, though in very different ways. Part 1: Fresh out of college, Stephanie Keep is hired to be the assistant to legendary evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould. Part 2: At age fourteen, Fabrizzio Subia begins assisting a local dentist in treating undocumented patients. Stephanie Keep was trained as a paleobiologist at Wellesley College and Harvard University. Opting to leave research behind, she now resides comfortably in the center of a Venn diagram that includes science education, academia, and communication. She is a co-founder of a BiteScis, a spin-off organization of ComSciCon that brings together educators and researchers to develop misconception-focused lesson plans for high school students that are rooted in current research. Outside of BiteScis, Stephanie works on state-level science assessments and does work for nonprofit groups that produce free high-quality stuff for teachers. This year, she also finally crossed off the last item on her science education to-do list and started teaching science as part of the Science for Scientists program. Stephanie loves farm animals, hates olives, can’t spell the word “resources,” and will do pretty much anything to get references to whales, cephalopods, and xenarthrans into the stuff she writes. Fabrizzio Subia is a Chicago based multidisciplinary artist. An Ecuadorian immigrant, his work touches on themes of migration, family, and identity through the mediums of storytelling, poetry, collaborative and individual performance, and visual art. He earned his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2020, and has exhibited work across Chicago, including 6018 North Gallery and SAIC's SITE Galleries. He is a member of Chicago's P.O. Box Collective, and co-founder of Tortas y Talento Open Mic. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
05/11/2129m 59s

What Now?: Stories about coping after loss

This week we present two stories of people who had to figure out how to continue life after loss. Part 1: Lawrence Green wakes up in a hospital room to find that he’s sustained devastating injuries in a motorcycle accident. Part 2: After tragedy strikes her family, Camille Adams Jones must find a way to confront her own trauma. Lawrence Green joined the United States Army as a Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic in 2008. During his time served, he was stationed in South Korea, then Fort Hood, TX and eventually deployed to Iraq for about a year before being honorably discharged in 2012. Post-service, Lawrence used his mechanic experience to work as a Heavy Equipment Technician before his life changed forever on March 29, 2015. Determined to find a renewed purpose after his injuries, he connected with Adaptive Training Foundation while still very atrophied and with a wound vac on his left limb. He began participating in a few classes over a 2-year period of time and enjoyed it so much he eventually became a volunteer trainer at ATF. Lawrence is now pursuing his personal training certification to continue his love of fitness. Through ATF, he fell in love with Para Ice Hockey and joined the Dallas Stars Sled Hockey Team. He has big goals set for himself and hopes to make the Paralympic team in 2022. Dr. Camille Adams Jones, LMSW, CEAP, PMP, is a recognized psychotherapist in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Dr. Jones earned her doctoral degree from the University of Southern California where she focused on family dynamics and trends with a special emphasis on Divorce Trauma in school aged youth. This author and organizational behavior scientist oversees a flagship Federal Occupational Health and Work/life balance program where she has become a standout corporate cultural transformation advisor and advocate for wellness in the workplace via Employee Assistance Programming. Dr. Jones is also a celebrated private practitioner for couples, hosting relationship restoration retreats and family rebuilding symposiums. Lastly, she works as a Parent Coordinator and Custody Evaluator in partnership with Washington, DC and the state of Maryland court systems. In her free time she is a mother of three of the best modes of inspiration a person can ask for. Together with her husband Jerome, the two launched a real estate investment firm that has flourished since its inception in 2017. Most recently Dr. Jones has added the title of farmer to her credentials, purchasing over 88 acres of farmland to build a wellness retreat with specific intent of exposing health, care, and restoration to all.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/10/2141m 35s

Hazards: Stories about encountering danger in the field

Part 1: In his early twenties, Jonathan Feakins goes above and beyond for his job as a West Nile virus mosquito technician Part 2: While working as a coral reef biologist in Panama in 1989, Nancy Knowlton and her young daughter are taken into the custody of the Panamanian military when the U.S. invades. Jonathan Feakins is just some nerd who has tried to spend his life wandering strange places, reading obscure books, doing weird science, petting adorable animals, fighting the good fight, and having wonderful friends. He somehow has a species of earthworm named after him, and once got kicked out of an all-you-can-eat restaurant (for eating all he could eat). He first learned the power of a good story from his grandmother, as she regaled him with tales about her childhood pet crocodile (whose name was Baby), or about the time she (accidentally) cleared out a biker bar with a Swazi bible student named Enoch. You can learn more about his questionable life choices at Nancy Knowlton has been a scientist with the Smithsonian since 1984 and is now a scientist emerita, first in Panama and most recently at the National Museum of Natural History in DC. She’s also been a professor at Yale and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where she founded the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. Her work on coral reefs has taken her literally around the world, and she has spent so much time underwater that she long ago lost count of the hours. She has been a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the author of Citizens of the Sea, and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Ocean Portal website. Despite the glut of bad news these days, you can find her @seacitizens talking about #OceanOptimism and #EarthOptimism. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/10/2128m 25s

Beauty of Science: Stories from Grow by Ginkgo

Beauty is often considered a superficial quality, but it has tremendous power over us. This week’s episode, produced in partnership with Grow by Ginkgo, features two stories adapted from Grow's 2020 print issue on Beauty. To read more, head over to Part 1: When Sudeep Agarwala becomes a synthetic biologist, he rediscovers a tradition from his childhood. Part 2: Jasmina Aganovic’s passion for science leads her to an unexpected place. Sudeep Agarwala is a yeast geneticist and synthetic biologist at Ginkgo Bioworks. His writing about biology has appeared in the Washington Post and Grow Magazine. Jasmina Aganovic is a cosmetics industry professional passionate about translating innovation into meaningful brands that have an opportunity to connect with a broader audience. Her previous company, Mother Dirt, included a line of products focused on the skin microbiome. Now, Jasmina is working with the powerful Ginkgo Foundry to see what we can learn from biology and can harness through microbes for use in the personal care industry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/10/2128m 44s

Stories of COVID-19: Uncertain Future

This week, we conclude our final Stories of COVID-19 series with two stories about the lasting impacts of the pandemic. Both of these stories ask: Where do we go from here? Part 1: Months after Howard Lieberman contracts COVID-19 on a business trip in March 2020, he continues to suffer from symptoms of the virus. Part 2: When Monica Hickson drops off her fiancé, who has been suffering from shortness of breath, at the hospital, she doesn’t know it’s the last time she’ll see him alive. Nationally known storyteller Howard Lieberman moved from Brooklyn to bucolic but shockingly Republican Stillwater MN in 1990. His jaded yet surprisingly tender performance style has made him a favorite on the national and, thanks to Zoom, global storytelling scene. Howard is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Storytelling Network. Monica Hickson is a trainer, higher education educator, an instructional designer, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion facilitator with more than 20 years experience. She works for the University of Michigan as an instructional designer and DEI educator. She is a proud graduate of both Wayne State University as well as Central Michigan University where she obtained both a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Education. Monica loved to dance, listen to music, travel the Caribbean, and watch television until, that is, her fiancé died of Covid-19 in is her story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/10/2130m 54s

Stories of COVID-19: Balance

This week, we bring you two stories about the struggle to find balance during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether it’s as a scientist, a mother, or all of the above. Part 1: Psychiatrist Xiaosi Gu studies COVID-19’s impact on mental health, just as her own begins to deteriorate. Part 2: Stacey Bader Curry’s family and career are thriving — until the pandemic throws it all into chaos. Dr. Xiaosi Gu is one of the foremost researchers in the area of computational psychiatry. Her research examines the neural and computational mechanisms underlying human beliefs, decision making, and social interaction in both health and disease, through a synthesis of neuroscience, cognitive science, and behavioral economics approaches. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Economics from Peking University in Beijing, Dr. Gu moved to New York City to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Gu then completed her postdoctoral training in computational psychiatry at Virginia Tech and the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London (UCL). During her time in London, she founded the world’s first computational psychiatry course at UCL. Before re-joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Gu held faculty positions at the University of Texas, Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Neuroscience, and a Principal Investigator at the Friedman Brain Institute and the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai. Stacey Bader Curry is a writer and storyteller who lives in Maine. She is an 8-time Moth Slam winner, including a Grand Slam, and has performed on PBS' Stories From the Stage, and many podcasts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/10/2132m 46s

Stories of COVID-19: Pandemic Love Stories

In our fourth installment of this series, love conquers all, even the obstacles presented by COVID-19. Part 1: Having planned to tie the knot in April 2020, Jared Waters finds himself separated from his fiancée by COVID lockdown instead. Part 2: The pandemic prompts Jamie Brickhouse and his partner of thirty years to consider getting married for the first time. Jared Waters is Stand-up Comedian residing in New York City. He hails from Brunssum, The Netherlands. Jared gained his stand up legs in Tampa, Florida. His hard work and consistency with the ability to work clean and edgy has led him to be one of the most impressive Up and Coming comedians in the New York. When Jared is in between jokes, the future of this great nation is residing on his shoulders as Kindergarten teacher and host of the Podcast “One Man, One Tree, and a Hill” Called “a natural raconteur” by the Washington Post, Jamie Brickhouse is the New York Times published author of Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother, and he’s appeared on PBS-TV’s Stories from the Stage, The Moth Podcast, Risk! Podcast, Story Collider Podcast, and recorded voice-overs for the legendary cartoon Beavis and Butthead. He is a four-time Moth StorySLAM champion, National Storytelling Network Grand Slam winner, and his daily #storiesinheels TikTok videos have over two million views. Jamie tours two award-winning solo shows, Dangerous When Wet, and I Favor My Daddy. His new show, Stories in Heels: Tall Tales of the Women Who Changed My Life debuts at the Gotham Storytelling Festival in New York City, November, 2021. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/09/2130m 39s

Stories of COVID-19: Under the Same Roof

This week, we bring you two stories about negotiating life under the same roof during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Part 1: When Gail Thomas moves in with her family during the pandemic, tensions brew between sisters. Part 2: The pandemic brings Wendy Bredhold and her ex-husband back together under the same roof for Thanksgiving. Gail is a writer/actor/storytelling coach and lawyer living in NYC. Her voiceover credits include John Cameron Mitchell’s Anthem: Homunculus, Angelo Rules, David Letterman, and Beavis and Butthead. Her short comedy, My BFF won audience favorite at New Filmmakers. As a speechwriter for over 30-world class events including the Tribeca Film Festival, her words have been uttered by Oscar winners and fancy people with great clothes. But none of that matters now, we’re in a pandemic. Gail is out walking her dog. Wendy Bredhold works for climate and environmental justice representing the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Indiana and Kentucky. She lives in Evansville, Indiana with her daughter Beatrice Rose and cats, Pearl and Pinky. She loves dancing to live music, reading, writing and rabble-rousing. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/09/2130m 9s

Stories of COVID-19: Fear

This week, in our final Stories of COVID-19 series, we bring you stories about managing the fear the pandemic introduced into our lives. Part 1: A disagreement about COVID-19 precautions drives a wedge between Archy Jamjun and his partner. Part 2: Julie Grace Immink tries to hide her fear from her young son when her husband is hospitalized for COVID-19. Archy Jamjun is the curator of Outspoken LGBTQ Stories at Sidetrack. He is a two time winner of The Moth Grand Slam, a guncle, and has been published by BarrelHouse and The Coachella Review. Julie Grace Immink is a photojournalist based in Milwaukee. She works on documentary projects about the human condition. Her working-class upbringing has inspired her work to focus on the socio-economic landscape of subcultures and communities. You can also find her kayaking the wilds of the Midwest or talking to strangers (the stranger the better). See her work at: or on Instagram @FORMandGROOVE Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/09/2128m 7s

Stories of COVID-19: Before and After

This week, we introduce our third and final Stories of COVID-19 series, which will be airing for six weeks. We’ve decided to begin this series in the same way that we started our original Stories of COVID-19 series back in November 2020 — with New York City nurse Harvey Katz. Part 1: Harvey, a brand-new nurse, is thrust into the hectic environment of a Brooklyn ICU at the onset of the pandemic. Part 2: In spring 2021, New York City nurse Harvey Katz begins to reckon with the trauma he’s experienced in the past year. This story originally aired in November 2020, in the debut episode of our first Stories of COVID-19 series. Harvey Katz is a nurse living and working in Brooklyn, NY and one of the hosts and creators of Take Two Storytelling - a monthly storytelling show and podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/09/2133m 37s

Human Nature: Roots

For the final episode of our Human Nature series, we, appropriately, go back to our roots. Part 1: After a dangerous incident, Kalā Holiday begins to question his work as a tour guide in his ancestral land of Hawai’i. Part 2: Jeremy Richardson must reconcile his roots in coal country with his identity as a climate scientist. Kalā Holiday is a lineal descendant of the original native inhabitants and caretakers of Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, a temple that was (and still is) a place of refuge. He actively participates in ceremonies and rituals involving the ancient religious sites of his ancestors in hopes of maintaining and preserving the practice for future generations. As a guide, Kalā has shared his home and heritage with hundreds of visitors from around the world using tourism as a platform to demonstrate to outsiders that his home is far more than just pineapples, Elvis Presley, and coconut bras. Hailing from a third-generation coal mining family in West Virginia, and with more than ten years of experience in climate and energy issues, Jeremy Richardson focuses on federal climate and energy policy development, specializing in the economics of energy—particularly coal and nuclear power—and writes and speaks passionately about the need for a just transition for the coalfields. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/08/2130m 30s

Human Nature: Stories about Humility

In this week’s installment of Human Nature, our storytellers find humility in the natural world. Part 1: After working in the Everglades, ecologist Stephen Smith expects his new gig in Cape Cod to be a piece of cake until one winter day in the sand dunes. Part 2: Henrique Bravo plans to travel the world in search of 30 endangered species, but after he departs on his journey, he begins to wonder if he has bit off more than he can chew. Stephen Smith is a Plant Ecologist at the Cape Cod National Seashore, with expertise in plant physiology and plant community ecology. Stephen received a B.S. degree from Florida State University and a M.S and Ph.D. from the University of Miami. After spending 5 years working on the restoration of the Florida Everglades, he assumed his current position with the National Park Service in 2002. Stephen's current activities are focused on understanding the dynamics of spatial and temporal variability within plant communities in all the different ecosystems within the Seashore. Henrique Bravo is a PhD student from Portugal based in the Netherlands, studying the symbiotic relationship between tiny Caribbean (gall) crabs and corals. In his spare time he likes to be in the water, on a squash/tennis court, reading a good book that might change his life, looking for endangered species, or traveling a bit. He is currently collating the adventures from his Pan-American trip into a book. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/08/2131m 9s

Human Nature: Stories of Resilience

In this week’s installment of our Human Nature series, two storytellers find resilience on the high seas. Part 1: Tragedy strikes suddenly while Lindsay Cooper is in the field studying right whales. Part 2: Rachel Cassandra dreams of a life on the sea, but her captain makes unwelcome advances. Lindsay Cooper is an operations professional who started out as a whale biologist. She spent years following endangered North Atlantic right whales up and down the U.S. east coast. Now she takes her three kids to visit the Smithsonian’s Sant Ocean Hall in DC, where they can view one of her photographs in the right whale exhibit. She will always have a deep passion for conservation science and science outreach. Lindsay loves working behind the scenes to help Story Collider manage day -to-day operations. Besides hanging out with her kids, Lindsay takes time to volunteer for the local swim team and elementary school PTA. She loves coffee, pajamas, and dancing, and once a year you can find her performing with the famous Olney, MD Hip Hop Mamas. Rachel Cassandra is a journalist and essayist, working in print and radio. She lives with her snake, Squeeze, in Oakland, California. You can find her work at This story was adapted from a piece that Rachel wrote for Narratively, here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/08/2136m 6s

Human Nature: Stories about Hope

This week, our Human Nature series continues with stories of hope — something that can sometimes be hard to find when it comes to our relationship with the planet. Part 1: A U.S. customs agent asks Canadian climate scientist Simon Donner an unexpected question. Part 2: As a child, Victoria Gee becomes determined to rescue the wildlife in her neighborhood. Simon Donner is an interdisciplinary climate scientist and professor in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches and conducts research at the intersection of climate change science and policy. He is also the director of the UBC Ocean Leaders program, and holds appointments in UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and UBC's Atmospheric Sciences Program. He is currently a lead author on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report and a member of Canadian government's Net-Zero Advisory Body. As a nature enthusiast, Victoria studied Environmental Biology for her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. For the past 7 years Victoria has worked at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto where she fosters curiosity within visitors and develops her science communication skills. As a digital education producer, Victoria recently worked for The Land Between charity creating online curriculum for students about Ontario turtles and the importance of their habitats. Victoria will be going back to school this year to complete a post-graduate program in Environmental Visual Communication to continue her passion for sharing nature through media with others. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/08/2132m 36s

Human Nature: Stories about Perspective

This week, as our Human Nature series continues, we’re sharing two stories from scientists whose experiences in the field changed their perspectives. Part 1: As a young ecologist in Brazil's Mata Atlantica rainforest, Lauren Eckert struggles to find the monkeys she’s looking for. Part 2: As a marine biologist, Dyhia Belhabib was trained to view fishers as predators, but then she makes an unexpected connection at the port of Bejaia. Lauren Eckert is a settler and Conservation Scientist currently based in Powell River, BC (Tla'amin and Coast Salish territory). She is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Victoria, a Raincoast Conservation Fellow, Vanier Scholar, National Geographic Explorer, peanut butter aficionada, and adventure enthusiast. Dr. Dyhia Belhabib is a Principal Investigator of Fisheries at Ecotrust Canada, Vancouver, and the Founder of Her work integrates notions of adjacency, fairness, and accountability relating to the global oceans and fisheries, databases on sea crimes and their impacts on small-scale communities in the world, and engagement with stakeholders to implement research findings in policy. She is a two times TEDxer, and is the Chief Scientific Officer at Shackleton Research Trusts meant to empower under-represented students of Science. Mobilizing interdisciplinary research, she combines a complexion of expertise and disciplines, and ‘hard data’ with nuanced understanding of the economic and political landscapes of the countries she works on. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/07/2131m 43s

Human Nature: Courage

In this week’s installation of our Human Nature series, we’re sharing stories about times the natural world forces us to draw on our courage. Part 1: Dorothy Tovar faces her fear of nature when she embarks on a month-long safari trip in Botswana's Okavango Delta. Part 2: Caving with her research team in South Africa's Cradle of Humankind, Nompumelelo Hlophe finds herself in a tight spot. Dorothy Tovar is a Ph.D. Candidate studying Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford University. Her research investigates antiviral immune responses in bats to understand their remarkable ability to host viruses that are deadly to humans, like Ebola, without getting sick themselves. Dorothy is also an Ambassador for the American Association for the Advancement of Science IF/THEN Initiative. This role has given her a national platform to inspire girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM. Through IF/THEN Dorothy has worked with CBS, The United Nations Foundation, Seventeen Magazine, Girl Scouts of the USA, and Reddit. Nompumelelo Hlophe is a third-year biological anthropology PhD student at Texas A&M University. She was born in South Africa and moved to the U.S. in August 2016 to pursue her master’s at Georgia Southern University. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Information Science degree in 2015 and also became an exploration technician/caver, looking for new fossil sites in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa. After completing her PhD studies, Nompumelelo plans to go into academia or research and hopefully have an opportunity to recruit young South Africans to get into the field of anthropology. As always, find photos and transcripts from our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/07/2129m 6s

Human Nature: Stories About Confidence

This week, we present two more stories in our Human Nature series, this time about the nature of earning our stripes. Part 1: An opportunity to chase a snake in Borneo gives Kasia Majewski a chance to find one in the most unexpected place. Part 2: Burying bones in her backyard for her archeology studies puts Edith Gonzalez becomes an eccentric neighbor. Kasia Majewski is a science communicator, environmental biologist, herpetologist, entomologist and general lover of "ologies". Originally from Saskatoon, she has spent the last 6 years working and undertaking research in Vancouver, Japan, Wales, Malaysia, and most recently England, before returning to be with her family in Ottawa mid-pandemic. While she has many animal related stories from her time at Vancouver Aquarium, Science World, the JET Programme, and Manchester Museum, some of the ones that she recalls most fondly are from her masters research in Malaysian Borneo, where she studied the prey associated with Asian water monitor lizards. Dr. Edith Gonzalez is an historical anthropologist studying bioprospecting in the 18th-century, English-speaking, Caribbean. With four graduate degrees, she struggles to write anything shorter than the average peer-reviewed journal article. She has a deep love of LotR and finds logic so comforting, she is often referred to as "The Puerto-Rican Mr. Spock." As always, find photos and transcripts from our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/07/2133m 37s

Human Nature: Coming of Age Stories

Our new series, “Human Nature,” begins today! Over the next seven weeks, we’ll share stories centered around our relationship with the natural world. In today’s episode, we’ll explore how our storytellers’ experiences with nature — for good or for bad — helped them grow into the adults they are now.  Part 1: Longing to explore nature, a tumultuous trip to her grandparents’ farm sets Johana Goyes Vallejos on a path looking for the biologist inside her. Part 2: Under pressure to fit in at summer camp, Misha Gajewski signs up for a canoe trip that she’s not ready for. Johana Goyes Vallejos is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Missouri. She graduated with a B.Sc. in Biology in Colombia and received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut. Her research has taken her to many tropical forests across the world, including Panama, Costa Rica, Guyana, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. At the University of Missouri, Dr. Goyes Vallejos continues her research on mating behavior and parental care strategies using frogs with elaborate parental behaviors as study systems. Misha Gajewski is a freelance journalist, educator, and a senior producer for the Story Collider podcast. Her work has appeared on Vice, Forbes, CTV news, and BBC, among others. As always, find photos and transcripts from our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/07/2127m 41s

Incarceration: Stories about science and prison

This week, we’re presenting two stories about incarceration, and its intersections with science. Part 1: Looking to make an impact with science, Beverly Naigles and her fellow graduate students decide to teach a science class for incarcerated men at a nearby jail. Part 2: Incarcerated for robbery at the age of 21, Khalil Cumberbatch learns about the neuroscience of brain development after his release and begins to question how the system handles younger offenders. Beverly Naigles is a PhD student in quantitative biology at UC San Diego, originally from rural Connecticut. Her research focuses on how seemingly-identical cells can respond differently to external signals. In addition to her research, she enjoys doing science-related art and making science accessible to the general public. For fun, she likes to hike, run, swim, and bake. Khalil Cumberbatch is a nationally recognized formerly incarcerated advocate for criminal justice and deportation policy reform. Currently, he is the director of strategic partnerships for the Council on Criminal Justice. Previously, he served as Chief Strategist at New Yorkers United for Justice and as Associate Vice President of Policy at Fortune Society. Pardoned by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2014, Khalil earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from CUNY Lehman College, where he was awarded the Urban Justice Award for his work with underserved and marginalized communities. Khalil is also a lecturer at Columbia University. See also: Sean Bearden’s story, which appeared on our podcast in 2020: Sean Bearden has never been interested in education, but when he's incarcerated at the age of 19, he finds a passion for physics. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/07/2135m 28s

Women in Science: Stories from women's scientific careers

This week, we’re sharing two stories that were recorded before the pandemic, but that we’ve actually never shared on the podcast before. Both are from women in science, as our title suggests, and each one will bring us in to a different career journey in science. Part 1: While working at a whale research station in northern Maine, Brenna Sowder receives an unexpected visit from a celebrity. Part 2: Raised in a very traditional Cuban family with very little money, Catalina Martinez has to fight for her place in science. Brenna Sowder is a writer and nonprofit communications professional. She has spent much of her life on boats looking for whales, first as the daughter of a marine biologist, later as a research assistant in the Bay of Fundy, and now with her family on their sailing adventures. In addition to telling mission-driven stories for nonprofits, she has worked as an environmental educator and freelance journalist. These days, she divides her time between writing and raising two small humans. She is currently working on a memoir, and she also writes essays about how to be an observer of nature and her evolving definition of an adventurous life. She lives in mid-coast Maine with her family. Catalina Martinez is Regional Program Manager for NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) at the University of Rhode Island. She spent many years sailing on research vessels as Expedition Coordinator for OER, and currently spends most of her time managing partnerships at URI, and working as regional liaison for the program. She also consistently seeks to increase representation of underrepresented scholars and women in STEM, and helps to increase potential for life success for individuals born to challenging circumstances. In recognition of this work, she was honored by the YWCA as one of their 2015 Women of Achievement in Rhode Island for promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity. She also received the 2016 NOAA Oceanic and Atmospheric Research EEO/Diversity Award for Exemplary Service for dedication to improving the representation of women and minorities in STEM. Most recently, Catalina was awarded the 2019 Women of Color in STEM Diversity Leadership in Government Award for leading the way for a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Federal workforce. Help us plan our return to live events by participating in our survey! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/06/2133m 32s

Trapped: Stories about being stuck

Today, we’re bring you two stories about feeling trapped -- whether it’s at the border, or in the aftermath of an acid spill. Both of these stories were recorded live at our recent Proton Prom event on June 3. Part 1: When Kimberly Chao begins her internship, she doesn’t expect to end up covered in acid! Part 2: When Saad Sarwana is detained at the airport after Sept. 11, he tries to prove that he’s a physicist. Kimberly Chao is a walrus. Or rather, she is known to play with her food and make a walrus face. Professionally, she manages investment portfolios and teaches financial literacy. Kimberly was also the champion of Story Collider’s first Super Collider science storytelling competition, and you can find her original story here. Saad Sarwana is a physicist and stand-up comedian. As a physicist he works in superconductor and microwave electronics and is the author of over 40 peer reviewed publications and the inventor behind two US patents. As a comedian he has been doing standup and Improvisational comedy for over 20 years, and even won a Moth StorySlam. For 6 years and over 100 episodes Saad was on the Science Channel TV show “Outrageous Acts of Science”. He is also the creator and host of the 'Science Fiction and Fantasy Spelling Bee'. He has told several stories previously for Story Collider. Please take our short reopening survey here: We appreciate your input! Your feedback will help us plan our gradual return to in-person shows. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/06/2126m 5s

Celebrating 11 Years: Our Founder's Favorites

Story Collider co-founder Ben Lillie joins us on the podcast today to discuss some of his favorite stories from the past 11 years, and also share one of his own. Part 1: Immunologist Sarah Schlesinger must try to save her mentor's life with his own work in cellular immunity. Other stories that Ben highlighted in this episode: Saad Sarwana, Anna Rothschild, Rachel Yehuda. Part 2: A teacher’s social experiment lands fifth-grade Ben Lillie in an ethical dilemma. Find out more about Caveat, Ben's theater in New York City, here: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/06/2151m 29s

Celebrating 11 Years: The Proton Prom

This week, in anticipation of our first annual Proton Prom on Thursday, June 3, we’re sharing stories from two of our featured storytellers! Champion storyteller Steve Zimmer and physicist and comedian Saad Sarwana have both appeared on our podcast in years past. Part 1: Against the odds, animal-loving kid Steve Zimmer attempts to rescue tadpoles in jeopardy. Steve Zimmer is a member of The Story Collider board. He has a PhD in Economics/Applied Math, is ABD in Biochemistry, spent 6 years working in an immunology lab, and has severe ADD. Steve quit storytelling in 2016 after winning a then-record 26 Moth story slams, and a still-record 7 GrandSLAMs. This is his first time back. Steve has just finished the manuscript of a black-comedy mystery called Murder at the Moth. This story originally aired on our podcast in 2014. Part 2: Saad Sarwana tries to juggle careers in physics and comedy. Saad Sarwana is a Physicist and Stand-up Comedian. As a physicist he works in superconductor electronics and is the author of over 40 peer reviewed publications and the inventor behind two US patents. As a comedian he has been doing standup and Improvisational comedy for over 20 years, and even won a Moth StorySlam. For 6 years and over 100 episodes Saad was on the Science Channel TV show “Outrageous Acts of Science”. He is also the creator and host of the 'Science Fiction and Fantasy Spelling Bee'. Previously he has told Physics and Math inspired stories for The Story Collider. He lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife and kids. This story originally aired on our podcast in 2018. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/05/2128m 23s

Celebrating 11 Years: Highlights from Our Online Shows

This week, our host, Erin Barker, is joined on the podcast by the hosts of our online live shows, Gastor Almonte and Paula Croxson, to introduce two fan-favorite stories from the past year of Story Collider’s online live shows. Part 1: Just as she’s doubting her identity as a scientist, Johana Goyes Vallejos is asked to give a presentation about her work to high school students. Part 2: Growing up, Sam loves learning about biology from his scientist mother until one day, when he asks her, “Can you change if you're a boy or a girl?” Dr. Johana Goyes Vallejos is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Missouri. She graduated with a B.Sc. in Biology in Colombia and received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut. Her research has taken her to many tropical forests across the world, including Panama, Costa Rica, Guyana, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. At the University of Missouri, Dr. Goyes Vallejos continues her research on mating behavior and parental care strategies using frogs with elaborate parental behaviors as study systems. Sam Long is a Chinese-American-Canadian trans man and a high school science teacher. He is a co-founder of and the Colorado Transgender/Non-binary Educators Network. As always, find photos and transcripts of our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/05/2133m 16s

Celebrating 11 Years: Our Favorite Stories from Years Past

In celebration of The Story Collider's 11th birthday, we’re sharing two of our most loved stories from years past. Next week, tune in for two more stories that were highlights from this past year of online shows! Part 1: Lou Serico’s childhood dream of being a scientist is tested by working in a herpes lab for his PhD. Lou’s story originally aired in 2011. Part 2: When Guizella Rocabado leaves her home in Bolivia to pursue her education in the United States, her plan hits an unexpected snag. Guizella’s story originally aired in 2019. An update to her bio: Guizella earned her PhD in chemistry this year, and will be starting a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Chemistry position at Southern Utah University in fall 2021! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/05/2137m 55s

Stories of COVID-19: Neighbors

In the final installment of this new five-part series of Stories of COVID-19, we present two stories that explore what it means to be a neighbor, or part of a community, during the pandemic. Part 1: Feeling more and more isolated as the pandemic continues, Brooklynite Adam Selbst finds purpose in a mutual aid project. Part 2: Separated from her own beloved Persian grandmother during the pandemic, Sarvin Esmaelli stumbles on an opportunity to help someone else’s. Adam Selbst is a writer and graphic designer from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Prior to the lockdown he hosted the monthly Big Irv’s Storytelling Roadshow and has been performing around NYC for the last 10 years. Adam lives in a bodega art collective with 64 other people and in his spare time enjoys being slowly poisoned by an ancient, weird mold in his shower and playing charades with his roommates. Sarvin Esmaeili is a theatre artist, writer, activist, and storyteller. She is a recipient of the 2019 BC Arts Council Scholarship. Sarvin is a co-creator/performer of Can We Fix It? (Studio 58) and One of a Kind (Vancouver International Children's Festival). She recently created her one woman show: The Songs of Silent Singers. In 2020, she directed a virtual play, Papa Records Everything for The National Theatre School's Art Apart festival. In May, Sarvin will be part of the Arts Club’s LEAP Playwriting Intensive. Sarvin is a recent graduate of Studio 58. As always, find transcripts and photos of all of our stories on our website at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/05/2130m 42s

Stories of COVID-19: Masks

This week’s episode is all about masks -- the many varied reasons we have for wearing them, the uncertainty many of us felt around them in the early days of the pandemic, and most of all, the very real and intense emotion that often surrounds them. Part 1: In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sean Wellington is reluctant to wear a mask at first — until he discovers an unconventional reason to. Part 2: Dealing with mask-resistant patients prompts pediatrician Ken Haller to reflect on his experience with a past pandemic, and how it has shaped his approach. Sean Wellington lives in Chapel Hill, NC but is at heart a New Yorker, where he grew up. He has been teaching in classrooms and performing on stages for more than two decades (on five different continents!) Last year he founded GRIT: True Stories that Matter, which produces weekly events, ongoing workshops and a weekly podcast by the same name. When he is not immersed in story, he enjoys Cuban salsa dancing and tries to finally learn the damned piano. Ken Haller, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center. He is Past President of the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and he has served on the board of the Missouri Foundation for Health. He currently serves on the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis where he helped to create the new Arts and Healing Initiative to fund arts and medical organizations that utilize the arts to promote health and healing. He is also a writer, actor, and cabaret artist who has performed in cities including New York, San Francisco, Denver, and Chicago, and Ken has twice been named Best St. Louis Cabaret Artist by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He appears regularly in local and national media to advocate for child health, LGBTQ health issues, and the arts, and his special interests include expanding health care for marginalized communities, ameliorating toxic stress in children, and educating the medical community and the general public about cultural competency, health literacy, vaccine hesitancy, the relationship of medicine to the arts, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBTQ youth. As always, find transcripts and photos from our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/04/2127m 13s

Stories of COVID-19: Separation

During the past year, we’ve all been separated from our normal lives, from our workplaces and colleagues, and worst of all, from the people we love. In this week’s episode, we’re sharing two stories on the theme of separation. Part 1: When Nestor Gomez is separated from his mother during the pandemic, it brings back painful memories of a different kind of separation. Part 2: Sharon Chandar feels helpless when she find out there’s been a COVID-19 outbreak at her elderly mother’s nursing home. Nestor “the Boss” Gomez was born in Guatemala and came to Chicago undocumented in the mid 80’. He told his first story at a Moth story slam to get over the stuttering that plagued his childhood, and since then he has won 57 Moth Slams and 3 Grand slams. Nestor also created, hosts, produces and curates his own storytelling show 80 Minutes Around the World, which features the stories of immigrants and refugees from different parts of the world, as well as their descendants and allies, in hopes of providing a better understanding of the realities, struggles and dreams related to the Immigrant experience. 80 Minutes Around the World is also available as a Podcast. Nestor also published a collection of stories detailing his experiences driving for ride sharing title “Your Driver Has Arrived.” To listen and subscribe to the podcast, to buy his book and to learn more about Nestor, visit his website Sharon Chandar proudly works for a Canadian Aerospace company in Ontario. She spent many years advocating for changes to policies and procedures in the healthcare industry for Alzheimer’s Disease. She is a Reiki certified healer who practices yoga and meditation and spends her time in nature. Sharon has two grown girls that live with their partners, a 7-month-old grand-baby and a 4-year-old Morkie puppy named Kitty. As always, find photos and transcripts of our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/04/2128m 52s

Stories of COVID-19: Teachers

Few professions outside of medicine and research have played as pivotal of a role in the events of the past year as teachers have. In today’s episode, we’ll hear two stories — one from a Chicago Public Schools teacher and another from a New York Public Schools teacher — about how the challenges and triumphs they’ve experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Part 1: Jenny DeLessio-Parson has always prided herself on being a super teacher — until the challenges of remote teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic begin to add up. Part 2: As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, Amanda Geduld begins to feel that she and her fellow teachers aren’t receiving the support and respect they need to do their jobs. Jenny DeLessio-Parson was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After studying Public Policy in college, she worked in various roles serving Chicago students and families before returning to school to become a teacher. Jenny has been an educator with Chicago Public Schools for 8 years and currently serves as a middle school Social Studies teacher and staff delegate to the Chicago Teachers Union. She was introduced to storytelling through Lily Be, which later led her to become co-host of The Stoop, a Chicago-based storytelling show. Amanda Geduld received her B.A. from Dartmouth College in English Literature and Women's and Gender Studies. She went on to study English education at Boston University where she received her M.Ed. Now serving as an 11th and 12th grade ELA teacher in the Bronx, she is deeply passionate about approaching education reform through a social justice lens. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post and CNN. As always, find photos and transcripts at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/04/2135m 59s

Stories of COVID-19: On the Job

This week, we begin sharing Stories of COVID-19 once again, starting with stories about the ways COVID-19 has impacted our working lives. Part 1: When a bug gets stuck in her ear while she’s in the field tagging alligators, Laura Kojima isn’t sure how to get it out without putting herself and her work at risk due to COVID-19. Part 2: When she finds herself unemployed at the start of the pandemic, Shashi Mostafa takes a job working in a factory that produces medical equipment. Laura Kojima is a graduate student with the University of Georgia looking at the consumption risk associated with alligator movement off of the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site, a former nuclear reactor plant that has reservoirs that are occupied by alligators that is connected to a river where public hunting occurs. Shashi Mostafa is a conceptual artist who makes fictional narratives that humanize the overlooked. As a director, screenwriter and photographer, her goal is to instigate social change with her films and photo series. Exploring the dark parts of humanity, she creates pieces that brew empathy, challenge oppression, and project power. In addition, she is a social media content creator and host for Waste-Ed, a sustainability channel, and In the Now, a kindness and social justice channel. Both exist across various online platforms, but she mainly makes videos for TikTok and Instagram. As always, find photos and transcripts of our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/04/2136m 7s

Two Sides Mini-Series, Part 3: On Time

In this last installment of our “Two Sides” series, we’ll hear stories from a brother and sister, Susan Kay Maller and Dan Boyd. Despite being born 18 years apart, Susan and Dan have similar memories of growing up with their mother — though how they dealt with these situations couldn’t be more different. Part 1: Looking back on her childhood, Susan Kay Maller tries to understand her mother’s behavior. Part 2: Forced to walk home from school after his mother forgets to pick him up again, Dan Boyd struggles with feelings of frustration. Dan Boyd is the founder of Story Luck, a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate people on the art of storytelling. He invites you to attend his latest creative endeavor, Workshop Workshop, an interactive online show that teaches 5L1K storytelling strategies. His older sister, Susan Kay Maller, is a permanent cast member, in addition to being a mother and accountant. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/03/2125m 57s

Two Sides Mini-Series, Part 2: My Heroes

This week's episode is part two of a special three-part mini-series centered around stories about mental health, told from two different perspectives. This mini-series is guest hosted and produced by Story Collider senior producer Misha Gajewski. In this episode, both stories are from the same storyteller, EMT and special service teacher Jenice Matias, and they show just how life altering one diagnosis can be. Part 1: Jenice Matias wakes up in a psychiatric ward with no recollection of how she got there. Part 2: While coming to terms with her diagnosis, Jenice Matias finds a new appreciation for her life. As always, find photos and transcripts for all of our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/03/2128m 28s

Two Sides Mini-Series, Part 1: Two Apartments

This week is the start of a very special three-part mini-series centered around stories about mental health, told from two different perspectives. This mini-series is guest hosted and produced by Story Collider senior producer Misha Gajewski. The first episode of this series features a story told by a couple, chemist Xavier Jordan Retana and editor Brittany Lundberg. After moving into separate apartments during the pandemic, Xavier and Brittany each find themselves navigating their mental health and coping with a new sense of independence. As always, find photos and transcripts for all of our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/03/2126m 33s

BONUS: Migration

In today’s bonus episode, we bring you two stories on the theme of migration. Part 1: Ornithologist Dai Shizuka finds himself relating to an unusual bird that sings in more than one dialect. Part 2: When Nestor Gomez takes his child to be vaccinated, it brings up fearful memories from his own childhood. As always, find transcripts, photos, and more information about our storytellers at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/02/2121m 16s

BONUS: Champions

This week, we’re sharing a very special bonus episode while we’re between series! This episode is titled “Champions,” because our storytellers today are just that. Our first storyteller, Kimberly Chao, was the winner of our Super Collider science story slam in December, and our second storyteller, marine biologist Catherine Macdonald, told our most popular story of 2020. Part 1: Kimberly Chao’s blind date suddenly and inexplicably loses his vision. Part 2: As a 21-year-old, Catherine Macdonald is hired as a “shark expert” at an aquarium, and soon becomes concerned about one of her charges. As always, find transcripts and photos from our stories at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/02/2121m 27s

Stories of COVID-19: Love, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode, we’re sharing two more stories about the powerful love that has sustained us throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, find transcripts and photos from these stories on our website. First, we’ll hear from journalist and Story Collider senior producer Misha Gajewski. In her story, Misha takes her father to his chemo appointment early in the pandemic, and reckons with their shifting roles. And then, the final story of this Stories of COVID-19 series, from infectious disease researcher Youssef Saklawi! When Youssef’s research team launches a COVID-19 study, he becomes immersed in his work — and begins to feel attached to the patients he sees only through glass. We hope you enjoyed our first Stories of COVID-19 series! Over the next few months, we’ll be airing biweekly bonus episodes featuring stories on other topics, but we’re hard at work on our next Stories of COVID-19 series. If you would like to pitch a story for inclusion, see our Submissions page. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
01/02/2122m 20s

Stories of COVID-19: Love, Part 1

Throughout the tragic events of the past few months -- and despite the tragic events still to come -- love still perseveres and flourishes. From an unlikely pandemic wedding to the bond formed between researcher and patient, this episode will examine the powerful love that sustains us during this time. Our first story is from Melanie Hamlett, a Moth-slam-winning storyteller and writer currently based in France. After a life of proud singlehood, Melanie considers settling down during the pandemic. (Just a warning -- this story is a bit "R-rated"!) As always, find photos and transcripts of all of our stories on our website. After Melanie’s story, our host speaks with Joanne Davila, professor of psychology at Stony Brook University, about how the pandemic is affecting relationships. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
29/01/2137m 12s

Stories of COVID-19: Clarity, Part 2

In part 2 of Clarity, we’re sharing two more stories about the ways the pandemic has brought our lives into sharper focus. In our first story, comedian Freddy G realizes just how much he relies on his wife’s support when she gets stuck in another state due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our second story is from Trey Kay, host and producer of the Us & Them podcast. In his story, Trey navigates the contrasting pandemic responses in his home of New York and his home state of West Virginia. As always, find photos and transcripts of all of our stories on our website. Stay tuned for our final episode of the Stories of COVID-19 series, airing on Friday and Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/01/2130m 39s

Stories of COVID-19: Clarity, Part 1

The starkness and suddenness of the pandemic has forced many of us to stop and reconsider our lifestyles. In this episode, our storytellers will share tales of how their priorities and values have come into focus since lockdown began. Our first story is from award-winning standup comedian and Story Collider senior producer Gastor Almonte. In his story, Gastor is forced to confront his health issues when he almost dies from undiagnosed diabetes at the start of the pandemic. Find photos and transcripts from all of our stories on our website. After Gastor’s story, our host speaks with Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, who told a story in our Decisions episode. As you may remember, Mati is an infectious disease doctor who researches the impact of COVID-19 on marginalized communities. In this interview, Mati discusses the ways the pandemic has brought clarity to conversations about structural racism in medicine. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
22/01/2139m 3s

Stories of COVID-19: Community, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode, we have THREE more stories about how our storytellers are finding community during the pandemic. Don't forget, you can find transcripts and photos from all of our stories on our website. Our first story is from Adam Wade, author of the bestselling Audible Original You Ought to Know Adam Wade. In his story, Adam prepares to celebrate his birthday alone during the pandemic. Our second story comes to us from one of our online story slams! In this story, Amy Segal forms an attachment to a crow she sees on her daily walks during lockdown. Our final story of “Community,” is from Eve Alvarez, a doula, mom, and social entrepreneur. Overwhelmed with responsibilities during the pandemic, Eve Alvarez seizes the opportunity to march for black lives with her teenage son. Stay tuned for our next episode, “Clarity,” on Friday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/01/2136m 8s

Stories of COVID-19: Community, Part 1

Right now, while we can’t safely gather together, it can be difficult to feel part of a community. When most of our interactions are through a computer screen, it’s tough to support and inspire each other, celebrate special occasions, and discover new experiences together. But our stories in this episode will explore the ways in which our storytellers managed to do just that. Our first story is from Emily Levesque, an award-winning astrophysicist and a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. As telescopes around the world shut down due to the pandemic, Emily longs for the shared experience of gazing up at the sky with others. (Find images and transcripts of all of our stories on our website.) After Emily’s story, our host speaks with clinical psychologist and affective neuroscientist Aaron Heller about how new and diverse experiences (or a lack there of!) affect our mental health. Stay tuned for THREE more stories about Community in Part 2 on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
15/01/2140m 33s

Stories of COVID-19: Home, Part 2

In Part 2 of “Home,” we’ll share two more stories about how storytellers are adapting their home lives during social distancing. Our first story is from Chicago-based storyteller and Story Collider producer Lily Be. In her story, Lily Be decides she needs company during the pandemic -- in the form of a bearded dragon. In our second story, Tazmin Uddin develops a new appreciation for having her big family all under one roof during the pandemic. As always, find photos and transcripts on our website: Stay tuned for our next episode, "Community," on Friday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/01/2123m 54s

Stories of COVID-19: Home, Part 1

Over the past few months, our homes have become workplaces, schools, and the backdrop for the majority of our lives. In this episode, our storytellers consider how to adjust to being stuck at home. Our first story is from psychologist (and Story Collider board member!) Ali Mattu. Cooped up with his young outdoor-kid daughter, indoor-kid Ali decides they should venture out into the wild together. Find transcripts and photos from all of our stories on our website. After Ali’s story, our host speaks with Yi-Ling Liu, a journalist based in China, about how families in China have changed post-COVID-19. Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Home” on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
08/01/2135m 24s

BONUS: "Except Me" by Sam Long

We’re taking a break from our Stories of COVID-19 series until Jan. 8. But in the meantime, we have a fan-favorite story from one of our online live shows to share with you! Today’s story is from Sam Long, a high school science teacher in Colorado and the co-founder of and the Colorado Transgender/Nonbinary Educators Network. Growing up, Sam loves learning about biology from his scientist mother. But their relationship starts to change after he asks her, “Can you change if you're a boy or a girl?” Sam’s story was originally told at one of our online live shows in November (“The Real Me”). To access recordings of all of our past online live shows, become one of our Patreon subscribers. Find out more about future online live shows here. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/12/2014m 9s

Stories of COVID-19: Generations, Part 2

In Part 2 of this episode, we’ll share two more stories about the impact of COVID-19 across generations. Our first story is from two storytellers — science communicator Ian Haydon and his mother, retired writer and editor Judy Stokes. Their story begins when Ian calls his mother in March and reveals that he will be participating in a Phase 1 COVID-19 vaccine trial. Our second story is from Krishna Pakala, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Boise State University. In his story, Krishna also receives a fateful phone call — from his family back home in India, telling him that his father has been diagnosed with COVID-19. Find transcripts and photos from all of our stories here: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/12/2030m 21s

Stories of COVID-19: Generations, Part 1

Each generation is experiencing the pandemic differently. For some, the trauma of the 1918 pandemic still echoes. Others worry about how to balance their own health and responsibilities with concerns about the health of their parents or children. In this episode, we’ll share stories about the impact of COVID-19 across generations. Our first story is from Mary Sue Kitchen, who was director of the Fairfax County Health Department Laboratory in Virginia for seventeen years from 1995-2012. In Mary Sue’s story, her grandmother's experience of the 1918 pandemic inspires and informs her career in public health. (Find transcripts and photos for each of our stories here: After Mary Sue’s story, our host speaks with Marta Hanson, associate professor of the history of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, about how we’ve responded to pandemics of the past. Stay tuned for two more stories on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/12/2034m 21s

Stories of COVID-19: Connection, Part 2

In Part 2 of Connections, we share two more stories about finding new ways to connect during the pandemic. Our first story is from psychologist Shreya Varma, who is based in New Delhi, India. In her story, Shreya struggles to connect with her patients in the same way when she's treating them over web video. Our second story is from storyteller and comedian Ivy Eisenberg. When Ivy's father enters hospice during the pandemic, her family must find a new way to come together to say goodbye. Transcripts and photos are available at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/12/2027m 34s

Stories of COVID-19: Connections, Part 1

Note: Apologies for the glitch yesterday! This is an updated version. By necessity, the pandemic is changing the way that we communicate with each other, and the way we care for each other. In these stories, our storytellers find unexpected ways to connect, despite social distancing. Our first story is from computational biologist and Story Collider board member C. Brandon Ogbunu. In his story, Brandon begins to see his friends in a new light after communicating with them through a screen. Find transcripts and photos at After Brandon’s story, our host interviews neuroscientist Daniela Schiller about her research into social interaction during COVID-19. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/12/2034m 41s

Stories of COVID-19: Decisions, Part 2

In Part 2 of Decisions, we’re sharing two more stories of difficult choices, one from a physician and another from the director of a public health laboratory. In our first story, medical doctor Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis must make a difficult decision about whether to work home while pregnant during the pandemic. In our final story of this episode, Myra Kunas takes on the significant task of directing the Minnesota Public Health Lab in May -- a task that becomes even more complicated after the tragic murder of George Floyd, when protests and riots take over the streets surrounding her lab. Find transcripts and photos for these stories on our website: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/12/2031m 53s

Stories of COVID-19: Decisions, Part 1

In the midst of a pandemic, almost every decision feels high stakes, and impossibly complicated. This episode will explore the difficult decisions our storytellers have made, to care for each other and themselves. Our first story is from labor and delivery nurse Amelia Reeves. When tragedy strikes in the maternity ward, Amelia has to decide whether or not to bend the rules. (Find transcripts and photos on our website.) After Amelia’s story, our host interviews University of Pennsylvania Professor of Law and Psychology Tess Wilkinson-Ryan, to explore the psychology behind making decisions in a pandemic. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode on Monday! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/12/2034m 19s

Stories of COVID-19: Adaptation, Part 2

In part two of this episode, we’ll hear two more stories about adapting to a new normal. Our first story is from bestselling author and champion storyteller Matthew Dicks. When life becomes monotonous during quarantine, Matthew searches for a new experience. In our second story, veterinarian Lauren Adelman struggles to connect with her patients' families due to her clinic’s COVID-19 restrictions. Find transcripts and photos at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/11/2026m 25s

Stories of COVID-19: Adaptation, Part 1

The pandemic has forced us all to adapt in various ways, for the sake of our physical or mental health. The stories in this week’s episode will focus on the ways in which our storytellers have forged new lives and routines for themselves. Our first story is from Fiona Calvert, Story Collider UK producer and science communication officer at Alzheimer's Research UK. Fiona has worked hard to manage her obsessive compulsive disorder, but when the pandemic begins, suddenly triggers are everywhere. After Fiona’s story, our host interviews psychologist Dr. Kevin Chapman about how we can adapt to protect our mental health during this time. Stay tuned for two more stories on Monday, from bestselling author Matthew Dicks and veterinarian Lauren Adelman! And see our website for transcripts and photos for all of our stories! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
27/11/2032m 48s

Stories of COVID-19: Cooperation, Part 2

In part 2 of this episode, we’ll explore the theme of cooperation further with two more stories, from a volunteer and an organizer. Our first story is from neuroscientist (and Story Collider senior producer!) Paula Croxson. Longing for connection, Paula decides to volunteer at a local hospital, despite her anxiety about the risks. In our second story, organizer Kiani Conley-Wilson struggles to figure out how she can effect change during the pandemic. Find transcripts and photos on our website. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/11/2032m 12s

Stories of COVID-19: Cooperation, Part 1

In this episode, we explore the ways in which we’re working together to help one another and get things done, despite the significant obstacles and social-distancing restrictions presented by COVID-19. Today, in part one of this episode, we’ll hear a story from Brazilian biologist Diana Bertuol Garcia. In this story, Diana and her research group are alone in the Patagonian fjords when they receive word of the pandemic and must find their way home. After Diana’s story, our host interviews Athena Aktipis, professor of psychology at Arizona State University, and co-Director of The Human Generosity Project, about her research into how we’re cooperating during the pandemic. Find transcripts and photos at And stay tuned for part 2 of “Cooperation” on Monday, Nov. 23! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
20/11/2031m 24s

Stories of COVID-19: Contact, Part 2

In part 2 of our first episode, we share two more stories on the theme of Contact. In our first story, Tracey Segarra is laid off from her corporate job during the pandemic, but finds a new calling as a contact tracer. In our second story, writer and performer Jennifer Joy begins developing symptoms of COVID-19 in early March. See for transcripts and photos! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/11/2033m 28s

Stories of COVID-19: Contact, Part 1

Our series begins in New York City, the center of the early days of the pandemic, with a story from Harvey Katz, one of the hosts and creators of Take Two Storytelling. In this story, Harvey, a brand-new nurse, is thrust into the hectic environment of a Brooklyn ICU at the onset of the pandemic. (Find a transcript and photos at Harvey’s story is followed by an interview with social scientist Kasley Killam, on the impact of the loss of physical contact due to the pandemic. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this episode on Monday, Nov. 16! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
13/11/2031m 33s

TRAILER: Stories of COVID-19

Introducing our brand-new upcoming series, Stories of COVID-19! Stay tuned for our first episode on Nov. 13, and find out more here: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
06/11/203m 26s

A Special Announcement

A quick announcement from the Story Collider team about changes coming to our podcast! On Friday, November 13th, we will launch our new series, The Stories of COVID-19, featuring stories from doctors, nurses, researchers, volunteers, activists, comedians, journalists, and more! Find out more: Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
30/10/206m 16s

Epidemic Response Part 2: Stories about past epidemics

This week we present two more stories from our back catalog about people who experienced epidemics of the past. Part 1: Journalist Erika Check Hayden travels to Sierra Leone and sees Ebola up close and personal for the first time. Part 2: Richard Cardillo escapes his problems by joining a Catholic mission in Peru, where he becomes a community health organizer. Erika Check Hayden is an award-winning San Francisco-based science, health, and technology reporter. She writes for the science journal Nature, and on a freelance basis for a variety of publications. She is the incoming director of the University of California, Santa Cruz, Science Communication Program. Find her at or on Twitter @Erika_Check. 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. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
23/10/2029m 37s

Epidemic Response Part 1: Stories about past epidemics

This week we present two stories from our back catalog of people having to handle previous epidemics. Part 1: As a pediatrician in the 1980s, Ken Haller comes across a disturbing X-ray. Part 2: On her first day working in the White House under President Obama, microbiologist Jo Handelsman receives some bad news. Ken is a Professor of Pediatrics at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. He serves on the boards of the Arts & Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Saint Louis University Library Associates, and the Gateway Media Literacy Project. He has also served on the board of the Missouri Foundation for Health and as President of the St. Louis Pediatric Society; the Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics; PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization; the Gateway Men’s Chorus, St. Louis’s gay men’s chorus: and GLMA, the national organization of LGBT health care professionals. He is a frequent spokesperson in local and national media on the health care needs of children and adolescents. Ken is also an accomplished actor, produced playwright, and acclaimed cabaret performer. In 2015 he was named Best St. Louis Cabaret Performer by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and he has taken his one-person shows to New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. His special interests include cultural competency, health literacy, the relationship of medicine to the arts, the effects of media on children, and the special health needs of LGBT youth. His personal mission is Healing. Dr. Jo Handelsman is currently the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Vilas Research Professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. Previously, she served President Obama for three years as the Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She received her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Molecular Biology and has served on the faculties of UW-Madison and Yale University. Dr. Handelsman has authored over 200 papers, 30 editorials and 5 books. She is responsible for groundbreaking studies in microbiology and gender in science. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
16/10/2037m 40s

Spiraling: Stories of losing control

This week we present two stories of people who spiraled out of control in their minds. Part 1: Computer vision researcher Virginie Uhlmann struggles to send an important email. Part 2: After a panic attack, Shane Saunderson questions the role of technology in his life. Virginie Uhlmann is fascinated by life sciences but feels more comfortable surrounded by equations and code than by pipettes. With her research group at the EMBL-EBI, she thus develops mathematical tools and algorithms to analyse biological images. Besides science, her true loves are mountains and birds. Shane Saunderson received a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering from McGill University in 2005 and a M.B.A. in technology and innovation from Ryerson University in 2011. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate studying social Human-Robot Interaction under Prof. Goldie Nejat within the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Laboratory (ASBLab) in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. Shane holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and is a Junior Fellow with Massey College. His research focuses on psychological influence caused by robots during social interactions with particular interest in topics such as persuasion, trust, and leadership. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
09/10/2030m 31s

Ocean Discovery: Stories about what we discover at sea

This week we present two stories from people who had encounters with ocean animals. Part 1: Stuck in the lab with buckets of jellyfish, Shreya Yadav must rethink why she's studying what she's studying in the first place. Part 2: Underwater photographer Keith Ellenbogen comes face to face with an animal he wasn't expecting. Shreya Yadav is a PhD candidate at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, at the University of Hawaii. She studies how corals recover from major climatic disturbances. She is also interested in marine historical ecology and the socio-cultural aspects of fishing. Keith Ellenbogen is a celebrated photographer working with conservation-based organizations to showcase the visual complexity of underwater environments. He is an Assistant Professor of Photography at SUNY/FIT; Visiting Artist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Sr. Fellow, International League of Conservation; Fellow, The Explorers Club; Affiliate Partner, Mission Blue - A Sylvia Earle Alliance; the recipient of Hollings Ocean Awareness Award and a TED Residency. See Keith’s work at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
02/10/2027m 21s

Strangers: Stories about the people we don't know

This week we present two stories from people who had experiences with strangers. Part 1: Even though he's an excellent student, and later a doctor, Dale Okorodudu finds that strangers perceive him differently. Part 2: Laura Bulk, who has been partially blind since she was a baby, struggles with strangers' attempts to "help." Dr. Dale Okorodudu was raised in League City, Texas just outside of Houston. He completed both his undergraduate and medical training at the University of Missouri then relocated to Durham, North Carolina were he did his Internal Medicine residency training at Duke University Medical Center. Following his time at Duke, Dr. Okorodudu returned to Texas and completed his Pulmonary & Critical Care Fellowship here at UT Southwestern Medical Center. His clinical practice is at the Dallas VA Medical Center. Dr. Okorodudu has a passion addressing healthcare disparities which he has done via promoting diversity in the medical workforce. He is the founder of DiverseMedicine Inc. and Black Men In White Coats. Dr. Okorodudu is also the author of multiple books including How to Raise a Doctor and the Doc 2 Doc children series. What he enjoys most is spending time with his wife, 3 children, and church family. Laura Yvonne Bulk (@LYBOT) is a friend, learner, woman, teacher, disabled person, occupational therapist, Christian, artist, scholar, advocate, and activist. Her work focuses on enhancing understanding across and within diversity, and promoting human flourishing. As a public scholar, Laura aims to benefit the wider community and the academic and clinical communities, making purposeful social contributions and employing innovative forms of collaborative scholarship. She works in the areas of quality of life in palliative care; belonging in academia; being blind; inclusion of disabled people in healthcare professions; and the use of creative methods (including research-based theatre and audio theatre) and cross-sectoral partnerships to do research for the public good. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
25/09/2027m 13s

A Little Luck: Stories about needing luck to get by

This week we present two stories from people who needed a little luck to get by. Part 1: Studying Marine Biology in Florida, Philadelphian Kory Evans feels like a fish out of water... while fishing. Part 2: Carla Katz finds out she has a brain aneurysm while getting screened for a kidney transplant. Kory Evans is an evolutionary biologist broadly interested in the development, evolution and ecology of phenotypic diversity. His research integrates developmental biology, biomechanics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and ecology to understand how phenotypes develop, evolve, and interact with their respective environments across multiple time scales and how intrinsic (development) and extrinsic (environment) mechanisms influence patterns of phenotypic diversity. Carla Katz is a Jersey born and bred storyteller, comic, and actor living in Hoboken. Her solo show, ANGELINA, debuted at the SOLOCOM 2019 Comedy Festival at the Peoples Improv Theater. Her earlier solo show, BODY PARTS, sold out at the SOLOCOM 2017. She is a Moth StorySLAM Champion and has performed widely in New York, including at the Comedy Cellar, the Fat Black Pussycat, Story Collider, The Liar Show, The AWFNH Show at the Kraine Theatre, NYC's Secrets and Lies, Generation Women, and Funny Over Fifty at Caveat-NYC, The Barrow Group Restorative Stories, Sideshow Goshko and a wide a variety of shows at the Magnet Theater and the Tank. She has also performed across New Jersey, including in Hoboken's On The Waterfront Storytelling Series, Word of Mouth Storytelling by the Bucks Country Playhouse in Lambertville, and This Really Happened at the Hopewell Theatre. Carla is co-producer with Adam Wade of the Hoboken-based On the Waterfront Storytelling Series. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
18/09/2024m 36s

Childhood Experiments: Stories about being scientists before we were ready

This week we present two stories from people who decided to experiment with science when they were still teenagers. Part 1: In high school, Saad Sarwana decides to go from nerd to bad boy with a prank that he learned in chemistry class. Part 2: As a college student, Andrew Akira Hansen loves chemistry so much that he takes his experiments out of the lab and into the parking lot... and the shower... and anywhere else he could. Saad Sarwana is a Physicist and Stand-up Comedian. As a physicist he works in superconductor electronics and is the author of over 40 peer reviewed publications and the inventor behind two US patents. As a comedian he has been doing standup and Improvisational comedy for over 20 years, and even won a Moth StorySlam. For 6 years and over 100 episodes Saad was on the Science Channel TV show “Outrageous Acts of Science”. He is also the creator and host of the 'Science Fiction and Fantasy Spelling Bee'. Previously he has told Physics and Math inspired stories for the StoryCollider. This chemistry inspired story completes the Trilogy! He lives in Westchester County, NY with his wife and kids. Andrew Akira Hansen is an external chemist and a boy who finds himself falling more and more deeply in love with the natural world as he survives each day. Chemistry is the language he’s learned to love it with. After finishing his bachelor's degree at Knox College he messed around in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's master's program for chemistry. From there, he’s worked a variety of chemistry-adjacent jobs he never imagined he’d find himself in, including space camp instructor, beer scientist and slime master (not all official titles). His path in chemistry has been winding, and he can't wait to see where it takes him. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/09/2029m 52s

Family: Stories about the people we hold dearest

This week we present two stories from people who were confronted with what it means to lose family. Part 1: After leaving class early, Sonia Zárate gets a startling phone call about her daughter. Part 2: An indoor kid at heart, Sam Dingman goes on a hike anyways and ends up making a shocking discovery. Sonia Zárate is a proud Chicanx from SoCal. She is a mother and grandmother, Dodger-fan, trained plant molecular biologist and champion for diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM. As President for the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and a Program Officer for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute she is living the dream at the intersection of STEM and Culture. When she is not working to make the scientific enterprise excellent by making it more inclusive, she enjoys traveling, running, facetime calls with her family and playing crazy 8’s. You can reach her on Twitter @sonia__zarate. Sam Dingman is the creator and host of Family Ghosts, a storytelling podcast about familial myths and legends which has been hailed as a critic's choice by The New York Times, The LA Times, and NPR. Sam is a winner of the Moth Grand Slam, and his stories have been featured on The Moth Radio Hour, Benjamen Walker's Theory of Everything, and Risk!. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
04/09/2029m 20s

Research: Stories about becoming a part of the process

This week we present stories from people who found themselves in sticky situations in the midst of doing research. Part 1: Erik Vance's first job reporting on scientific research doesn't smell as much like success as it smells like manure. Part 2: Liz Neeley observes hypnosis from the inside when she becomes the subject of the experiment. Erik Vance is an award-winning science journalist based in Boulder, CO who works as an editor for the NY Times. Before becoming a writer he was, at turns, a biologist, a rock climbing guide, an environmental consultant, and an environmental educator. He graduated in 2006 from UC Santa Cruz science writing program and became a freelancer as soon as possible. His work focuses on the human element of science — the people who do it, those who benefit from it, and those who do not. He has written for The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, National Geographic, and a number of other local and national outlets. His first book, Suggestible You, is about how the mind and body continually twist and shape our realities. While researching the book he was poked, prodded, burned, electrocuted, hypnotized and even cursed by a witchdoctor, all in the name of science. Liz Neeley is the Executive Director of The Story Collider, and the cohost of our weekly podcast. She is not a naturally gifted storyteller, but came into the field the hard way: reading research papers on narrative and science communication. She started her career as a marine biologist, and her first job was to support community-based projects in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. Learning first-hand that science belongs to everyone changed everything. She misses the ocean these days, but loves getting to think about all different kinds of science now. Her biggest challenge is turning down new projects. Find her on twitter at @LizNeeley. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
28/08/2028m 53s

Coincidences: Stories about looking for a chance encounter

This week we present two stories from people who found the improbable. Part 1: Part 2: As a national park ranger, native South Floridian Gary Bremen has spent the past 33 years telling the stories of the places and people that have shaped this nation. He has visited 254 of the 419 national parks, and now recognizes how much his encounters with lightning storms, bears, drag queens and grieving parents in these magnificent places have helped shape the person he is. He lives in an urban oasis filled with native plants in the little town of Wilton Manors with his best friend, traveling buddy and husband Roger and their cats Oliver, Elliott, and Amelia. Dawn J. Fraser is a storyteller, public speaker and a nationally acclaimed communications coach based out of San Jose, California. She is the Creator/ Host of ‘Barbershop Stories’, which features storytellers performing true tales in barbershops and salons around NYC, and the Founder/ CEO of Fraser’s Edge, LLC, which offers programs for businesses, nonprofits, and college students the opportunity to develop their leadership potential through storytelling. Dawn currently serves as a Lead Instructor with The Moth and was featured amongst some of the nation’s top change makers at TED@NYC. She loves being a twin, a Trinidadian, and tweetable @dawnjfraser. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
21/08/2028m 8s

Animal Rescue: Stories about animals who need our help

This week we present two stories from people who got called into action to save an animal they didn’t know they’d be called to save. Part 1: While running an errand, Andrea Azarian happens upon a lost horse that needs her help. Part 2: Left in charge of the farm for the first time, Gwynne Hogan panics when a goat goes into labor. Andrea Azarian has an undergraduate degree in Public Administration and Political Science from UW-LaCrosse. She completed her teacher certification and Master’s degree in Education at Alverno College. Andrea taught English, Math, Reading, and Family and Consumer Education in grades 5-8 in Milwaukee Public Schools before coming to UWM. She has been at UWM as an Academic Advisor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for twelve years. Her time outside of work is spent traveling with her friends and family laughing and being present in the moment. Gwynne Hogan is a reporter and producer in the WNYC newsroom who seems to keep ending up covering disease and communities from measles to COVID-19. She's also a proud assistant on Story Collider podcast production team and is excited to make her virtual storytelling debut with the show. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
14/08/2033m 35s

Challenges: Stories about challenges we didn't know we needed to face

This week we present two stories from people who experienced challenges in their travels. Part 1: Transporting virginal fruit flies from Houston to Honolulu proves to be no easy task for Patricia Savant. Part 2: When a storm rocks the cruise ship where he works, Mike Funergy worries about how the elderly passengers will handle it. Dr. Patricia Shaw Savant has a Ph.D. In Counseling Psychology and Behavioral Medicine from North Texas State University (1986) and a Masters of Arts in psychophysiology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She currently has a private practice in psychotherapy in Clayton, MO. She practices under the name Patricia Shaw, Ph.D. With Phoenix Psychological Group, Inc. Dr. Shaw also provides counseling and support at music festivals as part of Harm reduction and Medical services. At the time of her story she was an undergraduate at the University of Houston in biology and chemistry. Mike Funergy first discovered his love for storytelling while wandering the markets of Morocco and watching old storytellers captivate the crowd. Upon returning to Canada he discovered the Toronto Storytelling Festival and found a new appreciation for folklore and mythology, and especially loves tales from the Jewish tradition. He now tells stories at the Vancouver Story Slam, and has made it to the finals for the past 2 years. Mike has studied Expressive Arts Therapy, and currently works for a non-profit organization helping adults with developmental disabilities discover what they want to do in their lives. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
07/08/2035m 25s

Scientists in Love: Stories about the fantasies

This week we present two stories from people for whom science and love were interconnected. Part 1: When Saurin Choksi starts dating a neuroscientist, it challenges his assumptions about gender roles. Part 2: Wendy Suzuki's trajectory as a neuroscientist is forever altered by a passionate love affair in Paris. A proud member of the Writers Guild of America, he wrote on staff for the Facebook / Refinery 29 talk show, “After After Party.” He’s also worked with the good people at Comedy Central on a number of their digital sketches. Choksi won The Boston Comedy Fest and his stand up has been featured on Laughs on Fox TV and Sirius/XM radio. He's performed at numerous comedy festivals--Limestone, Bridgetown, and SF Sketch are among his favorites. Choksi also hosted a television show on Fuse called "White Guy Talk Show" where he talked about pop culture and wore suits he couldn't afford. He created internet videos for and is a proud alumni of Chicago's Lincoln Lodge. Choksi produces and hosts two acclaimed live stand up showcases in Brooklyn: Comedians You Should Know NYC and Brown Privilege Comedy. He is a 2020 Sesame Workshop Writer's Room fellow. Choksi relaxes by sewing, crafting, and making stuff. He loves his wife, his family, and 4 of his friends. He thinks you should be nice to yourself and is impressed by your power. Dr. Wendy A. Suzuki is a Professor of Neural Science and Psychology in the Center for Neural Science at New York University. She received her undergraduate degree in physiology and human anatomy at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987 studying with Prof. Marion C. Diamond, a leader in the field of brain plasticity. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from U.C. San Diego in 1993 and completed apost-doctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health before accepting her faculty position at New York University in 1998. Her major research interest continues to be brain plasticity. She is best known for her extensive work studying areas in the brain critical for our ability to form and retain new long-term memories. More recently her work has focused on understanding how aerobic exercise can be used to improve learning, memory and higher cognitive abilities in humans. Wendy is passionate about teaching (see her courses), about exercise (intenSati), and about supporting and mentoring up and coming scientists. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
31/07/2034m 29s

Shame: Stories about the judgment of others

This week we present two stories from people who felt shamed by a diagnosis. Part 1: Jamie Brickhouse's HIV-positive status becomes a point of tension at the dentist's office. Part 2: Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as a child, Anders Lee struggles with this identity as an adult preparing to donate sperm. Called “a natural raconteur” by the Washington Post, Jamie Brickhouse is the New York Times published author of Dangerous When Wet: A Memoir of Booze, Sex, and My Mother, and he’s appeared on PBS-TV’s Stories from the Stage, The Moth Podcast, Risk! Podcast, Story Collider Podcast, and recorded voice-overs for the legendary cartoon Beavis and Butthead. He is a four-time Moth StorySLAM champion, National Storytelling Network Grand Slam winner, and Literary Death Match champ. Jamie tours two award-winning solo shows, Dangerous When Wet, based on his critically-acclaimed memoir, and I Favor My Daddy, based on his forthcoming memoir. A fixture on the New York storytelling circuit, he has appeared on stages across the country and in Mexico and Canada. Jamie’s personal essays have been published in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Washington Post, Daily Beast, Salon, Out, Huffington Post, and POZ. Friend him on Facebook, follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube @jamiebrickhouse, and visit Anders Lee is a DC based comedian and writer featured on TV's Redacted Tonight and the podcast Pod Damn America. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
24/07/2030m 4s

Help from Family Part 2: Stories about taking care of relatives

This week we present two stories from people for whom science and their family crossed paths. Part 1: After her mom's version of the sex talk confuses her, Khadija Aweis is determined to make sure her little brother has clarity. Part 2: When Leesha Maliakal takes on an ambitious research project designing an app for marathon spectators, her supportive dad tries to help. Khadija Aweis is a Health Administration graduate student at the University of Washington. Indecisive by nature, Khadija has had the pleasure of bouncing around in several healthcare settings before landing on supporting the business needs of healthcare organizations with a desire to push forth strategic needs through an equitable lens. Khadija hails from the DMV metro area and is a Cancer through and through. She loves spending time with her makeshift Seattle family and going on internet research spirals inspired by late-night anxieties. Leesha is a Ph.D. student in the Technology and Social Behavior program at Northwestern. Inspired by the family and communities that raised her, she now explores systems that improve the ways in which we reflect, practice, learn, grow, and support one another in our communities. Read more about her work at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
17/07/2034m 26s

Help from Family Part 1: Stories about complicated relationships

This week we present stories about two people who had to navigate the complicated process of helping their family when they were needed most. Part 1: When his mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Ian Anthony has to take care of her, even though she didn't always do the best job of taking care of him. Ian Anthony works as a public defender in Howard county, Maryland where he represents indigent defendants. With a background in theater and a passion for storytelling, he fights to make sure the truth of his clients’ stories gets told. Ian is a proud graduate of Columbia University (B.A.), Maryland Carey Law (J.D.), and the Trial Lawyer's College. Part 2: Determined to make it on her own, Yaihara Fortis Santiago leaves her home in Puerto Rico for grad school, but her father still wants to protect her. Yaihara Fortis Santiago grew up in the mountains of Puerto Rico where she felt in love with science. After completing her bachelors in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, she moved to New England to pursue her PhD in Neuroscience at Brandeis University. Her time at Brandeis made her realized that she wanted to use her science training to have an impact on Higher Education. In 2012, as part of her AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship, she worked at the Nationals Science Foundation (NSF). Her work at the NSF gave her the foundation to launch a career training scientists at the intersection of policy, communication, diversity, inclusion and equity. Currently, she is the Associate Director for Postdoctoral Affairs and Trainee Diversity Initiatives at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Furthermore, in 2020 she was selected as a fellow for the Women inPower network. She loves big city living, but she is the happiest at her family’s farm, traveling with friends, telling stories and dancing salsa. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
10/07/2032m 30s

Out on my Own: Stories about going away from home

This week we present two stories from people who found adventure when on their own. Part 1: Shawn Hercules is a successful gospel radio deejay in Barbados, but he dreams of a different kind of life in science. Part 2: Emma Young feels ready for her first real job in science, surveying northern spotted owls, until she encounters some unexpected fears. Shawn Hercules is currently a Biology Ph.D. candidate at McMaster University. He investigates the epidemiology and genetics of an aggressive form of breast cancer disproportionately affecting women of African ancestry. After moving to Canada from the island of Barbados, Shawn quickly got involved with Let’s Talk Science and communicating science via social media (@shawnhercules) and most recently co-produced and participated in the first ever "Science is a Drag” show presenting science in drag! Emma Young is a Knauss Marine Policy Fellow with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Washington, DC. She moonlights as a PhD candidate and science communicator at the University of Missouri - Saint Louis, where she studies avian malaria. She enjoys hoarding plants and shouting about how much she loves science, and she is the founder of Science Distilled, a bi-monthly science happy hour in St. Louis. She tweets @emyoung90. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
03/07/2036m 0s

Navigating Whiteness: Stories from Black educators

This week we present two stories from Black people who were dealing with the ramifications of our racist systems. Part 1: As a science teacher, Mamoudou N'Diaye was supposed to have all the answers, but he struggles to explain being Black in the USA. Part 2: Rhonda Key fights to be taken seriously by her white co-workers and students when she gets a job at a middle school. Mamoudou N'Diaye is a Mauritanian American comic, writer, filmmaker, activist, DJ, and former teacher. N'Diaye has been a correspondent for digital media companies Mic and Seeker, a creative comedy consultant for social justice nonprofits Color of Change, Hip Hop Caucus, The Center for Cultural Power, and The Center for Media and Social Impact, and a winner of 2019's Yes And Laughter Lab for his pilot, Franklin. He has written and appeared in the Comedy Central Original They Follow, written for Refinery29's After After Party, and is in post-production for the webseries Bodegaverse with Karen Sepulveda. N'Diaye is developing By Us, For Us, a late-night sketch/talk show centering Black voices, for Color for Change and Flyovers, a half-hour dramedy about being Black in the rural Midwest. N’Diaye holds a degree in cognitive behavioral neuroscience from the College of Wooster. Rhonda M. Key has served as a teacher and administrator in suburban, rural, and urban school districts throughout her career. Currently, she serves as Assistant Superintendent of Jennings School District. Under her purview as the former Principal/Director of Secondary Education-Community Partnerships, Jennings Senior High School achieved 100% graduation and job placements for the past three years. In 2014, Dr. Key was named one of Five Women to Make a Difference in the Decatur/Macon County area of Illinois. In March 2019 she was named Principal of the Year by the St. Louis Association of Secondary School Principals. Dr. Key is also the co-owner and founder of Key/Ming Educational Design LLC, educational consultant and co-author of articles regarding Urban Education. Dr. Key earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Lincoln University, and she completed her educational specialist and doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
26/06/2030m 53s

Saving Dad: Stories about fathers who needed a helping hand

This week we present two stories about people who sprung to action to help a dad. Part 1: To cheer up her ailing father, Victoria Ruiz decides to smuggle a turtle into his hospital room. Part 2: Stacey Bader Curry finally meets a nice guy -- the only catch is, he needs a liver. Dr. Victoria Ruiz is an Assistant Professor in Biology at St. Francis College and Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU Langone medical center. She obtained her PhD in Pathobiology from Brown University, and she completed her postdoctoral work at New York University Langone Medical Center. Her primary research focuses on the effects of environmental perturbations of microbial communities on host immunity. In addition to research, she is passionate about increasing equity and inclusion in STEM and developing new and innovative pedagogical strategies to improve learning outcomes for undergraduate students interested in pursuing STEM fields. Stacey Bader Curry has a BA in art history and political science from Rutgers University. Naturally, she began her career by selling laboratory equipment at Weill Cornell Medical College. She now sells apartments but can still get you a good deal on a centrifuge. Stacey is also a writer and storyteller and has appeared on PBS’ Stories From the Stage, Yum’s the Word with Mo Rocca, and has won several Moth slams, including a Grand Slam. Stacey lives in Manhattan with her four children, husband, a dog named Pip, and cases of powder-free nitrile gloves. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
19/06/2033m 0s

Rebirth: Stories about recovering from pain

This week we present two stories from people who lost loved ones and had to rebuild themselves. Part 1: Massih Moayedi survives cancer, but the recovery throws his life off track. Part 2: After his 20-year-old daughter dies suddenly, Paul Battista has to relearn what his role in life is. Neuroscientist Massih Moayedi studies pain, a job that raises eyebrows at parties and sometimes prompts the confused response: "What kind of paint?" His research actually focuses on understanding how pain is processed in healthy individuals, and where the differences lie for those with chronic pain. He is now an assistant professor at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Dentistry, and Co-Director of the Centre for Multimodal Sensorimotor and Pain Research, but his path to pain research was a personal one. Paul Battista holds Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Waterloo and leads the financial services practice for EY Canada. In the wake of the tragic loss of his daughter in 2017 as a result of a flawed diagnostic protocol, he founded the Leah Battista Foundation ( dedicated to carrying out work that was destined to become Leah’s life legacy had she lived. To that end, her Foundation is dedicated to improving, enriching and empowering the lives of youth and the disadvantaged through health and education, the arts and social entrepreneurship. To learn more about Leah’s kind and generous spirit and to consider supporting the Foundation that has been created in order to continue to help carry on her work, please visit and follow the Foundation on Instagram at and on Facebook at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/06/2032m 1s

BONUS EPISODE: Bias: A story about institutional racism

This week we present a story from our back-catalogue that speaks to this current momen