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Mental Health: Stories about having crises of the mind – Part 2


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: Mental Health: Stories about having crises of the mind – Part 2
Episode pub date: 2019-05-24


This week we present two more stories about people who need help to deal with mental health.

Part 1: Comedian Zack Stovall reevaluates his past battles with his mother in light of a new diagnosis.

Part 2: Audrey Kearns’ big opportunity to appear as a panelist at a “nerd-convention” turns disastrous when she has an unexpected reaction to a new antidepressant.

Zack Stovall is a writer, producer, cartoonist, and  comedian. He currently produces the Story Collider and has performed  stand-up and sketch comedy across the South, Midwest, and New York. Zack  has written for St. Louis Magazine and Vulture, and is the author of a  collection of cartoons, ‘Fancy Things.’ He currently lives in New York  City with his wife, Rebekah, and their goldendoodle, Newman. Zack tweets as @zstovall and lost most of his hair sometime in 2009.

Audrey Kearns is a writer, actor and producer. She majored in both  theatre and political science at the University of Florida. The  political science degree was to make her mother happy because her mother  thought that living as an actor would be god-awful. She was right.  Audrey is the founder and editor-in-chief of the influential pop culture  website, Geek Girl Authority. She hosts and produces the podcasts Geeky  Fun Time, Kneel Before Aud and 5 Truths and a Lie. She is a Los Angeles  producer and host of The Story Collider. She also wrote, produced and  performed in the successful one-person comedy Obsessively Okay which  somehow managed to combine her battles with Obsessive Compulsive  Disorder with her love for Star Trek cosplay. If that’s not nerdy enough  for you, then just ask her to show you the two separate inhalers she  carries with her at all times 

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Older and Wiser: Stories about growing up


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: Older and Wiser: Stories about growing up
Episode pub date: 2019-04-19


This week we present two stories of the children we used to be and how they grew up.

Part 1: As a sixth grader, Anna Neu decides she’s going to fall in love at science camp.

Part 2: At age nine, Anicca Harriot plans to study both the heart and space, but as she gets older, that plan becomes more challenging than she expected.

Anna Neu has several interests including improv, sketch  comedy and voiceover work. She is a trained dancer and Michael Howard  Studio Conservatory taught actor. She performs at the Magnet Theater on  weekends in shows such as The Armando Diaz Experience and has been on  several house teams there. Her voice can be heard on a handful of  episodes of The Truth Podcast. Also a Moth Story Slam winner.  

Anicca Harriot is currently working on her PhD in  Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Maryland  School of Medicine. Her research focuses on mechanotransduction – the  science of how mechanical stresses and physical forces, like gravity,  affect cell signaling and function. Anicca plans to use her degree to  explore the effects of long duration space missions on the human body  and hopes to someday venture out into the final frontier for herself.  Anicca is also the Social Media Coordinator & LGBTQ+ Engagement  Specialist for #VanguardSTEM: Conversations for Women of Color in STEM, a  non-profit dedicated to lifting the voices of women and non-binary  people of color in STEM. In her free time Anicca volunteers with  #Popscope, “popping up” with a telescope around Baltimore to promote  public astronomy and encourage curiosity. 

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Adventures with Dads: Stories about chasing down our fathers


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: Adventures with Dads: Stories about chasing down our fathers
Episode pub date: 2019-06-14


This week we share two stories from people who have go on wild goose chases to find their dads.

Part 1: In his last year of medical school in Colombia, Gabriel Duran Rehbein finds out his father has been kidnapped.

Part 2: After seeing her dad lose control of his mind, art student Minerva Contreras decides to study the brain, in hopes of understanding him.

Gabriel Duran Rehbein, MD describes himself as a huge nerd and a pathological optimist. He is currently making full use of both those characteristics as a Research Fellow in the Viviane Tabar Lab at MSKCC, where his work focuses on the development of a novel real-time drug screening platform for primary brain tumors using patient-derived three-dimensional explant cultures. He obtained his MD from Universidad de los Andes in his native city of Bogotá, Colombia. When he is not in the lab, Gabriel enjoys reading, attending concerts and spending time with friends. He is always on the lookout for places to go salsa dancing.” 

Minerva Contreras is a senior at Universidad Autonoma  de Queretaro, where she is majoring in Biotechnology Engineering with a  focus in Biomedical Sciences. Her undergrad research has lead her to  explore different areas within neurobiology such as the molecular  biology of glioblastoma at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, and  neurodegenerative diseases at UCSD Sanford Consortium for Regenerative  Medicine. Before discovering her passion for science, Minerva completed  an AA in Filmmaking; she believes this was an important contribution to  her appreciation for diversity and humanities. Her future goals include  pursuing a doctoral degree in Neurosciences, as well as creatively  communicating science to the general public, especially future  generations, in a relatable fashion. As of next fall, she will be a grad student in the Neurosciences PhD program at UCSD.  In her spare time, she enjoys going  on hikes with her dogs, strength training, and spending time with her  family and friends.   

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Moms of Science: Stories about being mothers and scientists


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: Moms of Science: Stories about being mothers and scientists
Episode pub date: 2019-05-10


his week we present two stories of scientists becoming mothers.

Part 1: Heather Williams trades in her physicist labcoat for motherhood, and wonders if she can return.

Part 2: Mary Garcia-Cazarin discovers she’s pregnant just as she is offered a prestigious science policy fellowship, and worries about she can’t cope with both.

Heather Williams is a principal medical physicist at The Christie  hospital in Manchester, UK, where she oversees imaging and therapy in  the Nuclear Medicine Department and specialises in Positron Emission  Tomography. Heather is an advocate for science communication to  non-expert audiences and is passionate about supporting Women in STEM.  The latter lead her to set up ScienceGrrl back in 2012, a grassroots  national network with 10 local chapters throughout the UK that help  match scientists with speaking opportunities close to them. Williams is a  current member of the IOP’s Women in Physics group committee and  represents the Institute of Physics within the European Platform for  Women Scientists (EPWS). In 2017 she was awarded the IOP Phillips Award  for distinguished service to the IOP through the Women in Physics Group.  When she’s not working, Heather enjoys running, cycling, hiking and  spending time with her sons.   

Mary Garcia-Cazarin, Ph.D., M.S. is a Scientific Advisor for the Tobacco  Regulatory Science Program (TRSP) in the Office of Disease Prevention  at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where she helps to stimulate  and coordinate collaborative tobacco regulatory science research; and  implementation of initiatives related to disease prevention, tobacco and  public health. Previously, Dr. Garcia-Cazarin was an American  Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology  Policy Fellow in the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). She is an  alumna of the Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute (2011) and the  Advanced Leadership Institute (2017). Dr. Garcia-Cazarin is a former  SACNAS Board Member. She received her Bachelor of Science in  pharmaceutical chemistry from Universidad Veracruzana, Mexico, her  Master of Science in biology from James Madison University, in  Harrisonburg, Virginia, and her Ph.D. in pharmacology from the  University of Kentucky in Lexington. She is a passionate about training  and mentoring and an advocate of outreach programs to increase  participation of underrepresented groups in science-related fields. 

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Inspiration: Stories about what inspires us


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: Inspiration: Stories about what inspires us
Episode pub date: 2019-02-22


This week, we’re presenting two stories from scientists about the people and places that inspired them.

Part 1: 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.

Part 2:  Growing up, Sheena Cruickshank’s teenage older brother inspires her love of science, but then one summer he returns from university with a lump on his arm.

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 hands­on 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.  

Sheena Cruickshank graduated in Biochemistry and Immunology from the  University of Strathclyde and did a PhD in Immunology with Cancer  Research UK at the University of Leeds. She is now an immunology  Professor  in the University of Manchester and also is their University Academic  Lead for Public Engagement. Her research aims to understand how the  immune response distinguishes harm from benefit e.g. parasitic  infections versus the friendly bacteria that live in and  on our bodies. She has a focus on using her research to help develop  tools to improve patient diagnosis and management. Sheena is passionate  about communicating her research with the public and her public  engagement work is very closely linked to her research.  She co-developed resources to help educate about parasite infections  and their impact with a set of resources called “the Worm Wagon” and  focuses on enabling access to science for non-native English speakers.  She also co-developed a UK nationwide citizen science  project to understand allergies and the impacts of pollution  (@BritainBreathing). She was a AAAS Leshner Fellow and has received  awards and commendations for her outreach from organisations such as the  Royal Society of Biology, BBSRC and NCCPE and has presented  her work in the media including the radio and television.   

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New Places: Stories about being somewhere new


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: New Places: Stories about being somewhere new
Episode pub date: 2019-03-29


This week we present two stories about being the new one in a new place.

Part 1: After moving to a brand-new school in the seventh grade, Edith Gonzalez struggles to maintain her straight-A status with a new, scary biology teacher.

Part 2: When social scientist Meltem Alemdar leaves her home in Turkey to pursue her education in the US, she struggles to find her identity.

Edith Gonzalez is a native Nuyorican with four graduate degrees in various sub-disciplines of anthropology. By day, she is an historical  archaeologist studying bio-prospecting in the 18th-century English-speaking Caribbean. By night, she has a “slight” obsession with Lord of the Rings, and the dance intersection of late 70’s disco and early 80’s punk.  She is a veteran of MOTH and Take Two Storytelling  (among others). As a two-time Smut Slam champion, she also enjoys telling dirty stories to a room full of strangers. 

Meltem Alemdar is a social scientist and native of Ankara, Turkey. She came to Atlanta in 2000 to attend Georgia Tech’s Language Institute,  then decided to pursue a Master’s, and then a doctoral degree.  Dr. Alemdar earned her PhD in Education Policy, with a concentration in  Research, Measurement, and Statistics, at Georgia State University in 2009. She is Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist at Georgia  Institute of Technology’s Center for Education Integrating Science,  Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC). Her research focuses on improving  K-12 STEM education through research on curriculum development, teacher  education, and student learning in integrated STEM environments. Dr. Alemdar has led numerous NSF-funded research projects that spans on project-based learning, STEM integration, engineering education, and  social network analysis. She is passionate about improving K-12 public  education system through her research. 

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Teamwork: Stories about working together


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: Teamwork: Stories about working together
Episode pub date: 2019-03-15


Part 1: A power outage on campus leads physics student Zoya Vallari to take a stand against her university’s female-only curfew.

Part 2: Firefighter Nick Baskerville is eager to prove himself when he arrives on the scene of his first fire.

Zoya Vallari is a postdoctoral scholar at Caltech where she studies  fundamental particles called neutrinos. She received a PhD in particle  physics from Stony Brook University in December 2018. She’s the  winner of Three Minute Thesis competition at her graduate school and was  awarded the International fellowship by American Association of  University Women. Physics and dance are the two most important ways  in which she relates to the world, though books come a close third. She  loves mangoes, wine and sunshine. She is proud of her ability to lucid  dream. 

Nick has had the honor of serving in the United States Air Force for a  total of 14 years. He has 19 years of fire service time, with 16 years  of that being in a career department in Northern Virginia. Nick is a  state certified instructor for the fire service in Virginia where he  teaches classes ranging from basic fire fighter skills to Cancer  awareness for the Firefighter Cancer Support Network (FCSN). Nick is  also a member of Better Said Than Done, a storytelling organization in  Northern VA. His stories have been featured there, The Moth, Storyfest  Short Slam, Secretly, Ya’ll and Perfect Liars Club. Nick has started a  blog, Story Telling On Purpose (www.stop365.blog), as a way to connect the storytelling community with the rest of the DC, MD, VA area.  

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Heredity: Stories about where we come from


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Podcast: The Story Collider
Episode: Heredity: Stories about where we come from
Episode pub date: 2019-02-15


This week, we present two stories about people understanding their links to their past.

Part 1: A question that Laura Spink asked her parents as a kid comes up again when her own child begins to ask similar questions.

Part 2: After Denise Coberley brings up her doubt in the Bible to her adoptive religious parents, she finds herself on a journey of self-discovery.

Laura Spinkis a  vocalist/percussionist in the Toronto-based duo, The Young Novelists.  She has toured Canada, the United States, and Europe, and the band has  won a Canadian Folk Music Award for New/Emerging Artist of the Year.  Besides working full-time in music, Laura graduated with a Geochemistry  degree from the University of Waterloo and works part-time at the  Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. She is also  the proud mom of an amazing 7-year old son. 

Denise Coberley has been a science educator for  twenty-three years. She is now pursuing a Master’s in Science  Communication with a minor in Linguistics and Neuroscience. Her  acceptance to the graduate program at Greenlee School of Journalism at  Iowa State University allowed her to reconnect with her academic roots.  Coberley’s goal is to understand how people react and develop science  identities and opinions based on their interactions with media,  including social, print, and news. Her husband, who works at ISU, and  her children, who attend ISU, are her biggest cheerleaders.  

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