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The Story Collider

Author: Erin Barker & Liz Neeley

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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!

402 Episodes
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This week we share two stories from people whose understanding of the use of memory was challenged. Part 1: Padraic Stanley gets a fresh start when his abusive father gets diagnosed with Alzheimer's dementia. Part 2: After meeting a man with a rare memory disorder, Paul Aflalo reconsiders his own memories. Padraic Stanley is a social worker living in Chicago, IL. He currently works as a program coordinator for health promotion programs in the Rush University Medical Center Department of Social Work & Community Health. He is also the chair of Rush’s Immigrant Health Working Group, which oversees Rush’s immigrant health and welcoming healthcare initiatives. Up until recently, Padraic was also a registry inpatient case manager at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center on the weekends. He is a graduate of the Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work, where he completed the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship and completed a clinical practicum at Heartland Human Care Services and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. Currently, he is on the associate board for Erie Neighborhood House, a member of the National Schweitzer Fellowship Alumni Leadership Committee, and is on the executive board of the International Association of Social Work with Groups. Paul Aflalo is a storyteller and documentary producer. He creates narrative-driven pieces for film, radio and podcasts. His work has been featured on CBC Radio, SiriusXM, and presented at film festivals around the world, including the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Paul has shared stories across Canada, in Europe and the UK. Paul is the Artistic Director of Replay Storytelling, an all-true storytelling show in Canada, and is also the Creative Director of the Aphantasia Network. In 2020 in response to the global pandemic, he founded the world’s first 24-hour True Storytelling Festival, bringing people together from all corners of the globe, to share personal true stories from lived experience. His focus is to help others share the stories that need to be told. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who used technology to understand their relationships. Part 1: Digital consultant Phong Tran navigates his relationship through various digital platforms. Part 2: Fed up with feeling lonely, Sufian Zhemukhov embarks on a data driven analysis of his own unlikability. Phong Tran is a Creative Technologist at a digital consultancy. He works on websites and applications in both roles as a designer and a developer. As someone with a preference to dabble and a short attention span, he works on art projects in various mediums. The projects tend to ask questions about our relationship to our digital selves, and overall how that changes how we see each other. Also, at other times it's just about food Phong ate. A collection of his design can be found at phonghtran.com, and a collection of other things will be at his Instagram account, @phonghtran. Sufian Zhemukhov is an award-winning author and performer. He received the 2020 J. J. Reneaux Emerging Artist Award, from the National Storytelling Network, "to a storyteller of major and unique performing talent." He is The 2019 Moth Champion and winner at the 2018 Story Slam at the National Storytelling Festival. Sufian’s recent solo show, Flirting Like an American, received critical acclaim in Washington, DC and Rochester, NY. Sufian's stories are based on his personal experience as a first-generation immigrant and professor of international affairs at George Washington University that might be much funnier than you would expect. His recent book, Mass Religious Ritual and Intergroup Tolerance, won the 2019 Best Book Award at the International Studies Association. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present four of our favorite stories of all time. Part 1: Neuroscientist David Carmel tests his own understanding of the brain when his own father suffers a stroke. Part 2: Ralph Bouquet goes off script during a psychology research study with uncomfortable and revealing consequences. Part 3: Feeling isolated in her new job as a particle accelerator operator at Fermilab, Cindy Joe finds comfort in the friendship of her unconventional pet. Part 4: To discover why some survivors of trauma experience PTSD and some don't, scientist Rachel Yehuda must convince a community of Holocaust survivors to let her study them. David Carmel grew up reading Oliver Sacks and loving the weird stories of what goes wrong in people's brains, so he became a neuroscientist. He spends his days trying to figure out how the brain creates consciousness, and his nights trying to remember why he ever thought he could accomplish this. He is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington. Ralph Bouquet is the Director of Education and Outreach for NOVA, the PBS science documentary series produced by WGBH in Boston. At NOVA, Ralph’s team supports science educators through the creation of free classroom resources and finds creative ways to engage new audiences for NOVA’s broadcast and digital productions through science communication events around the country. Before NOVA, Ralph taught high school biology and chemistry in Philadelphia and then spent some time in ed-tech at a Boston-based startup. Ralph received his B.A. from Harvard University, and studied secondary science methods and urban education while completing his M.Ed. at UPenn. 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. Rachel Yehuda is a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of the Mental Health Patient Care Center at the James J. Peters Bronx Veterans Affairs hospital. Her research on PTSD has included both human populations and animal models, neuroendocrinology, neuronal stimulations studies with human stem cells, and genomic and molecular biological studies of trauma. She has recently established a Center for Psychedelic Psychotherapy and Trauma at Mount Sinai. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from two women who struggled to adopt. Part 1: Inspired by her work as a parental behavior researcher, Bianca Jones Marlin and her husband decide to become foster parents. Part 2: Raised by white adoptive parents, Kim Evey seeks out motherhood as a way to connect with her Asian identity. Dr. Bianca Jones Marlin is a neuroscientist and postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University 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. 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, 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’s research has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Scientific American, and Discover Magazine’s “100 Top Stories of 2015.” Dr. Marlin aims to utilize neurobiology and the science of learning to better inform both the scientific and educational community on how positive experiences dictate brain health, academic performance, and social well being. Kim Evey is a Los Angeles-based actress and stand up comedian who has been writing and performing comedy for over three decades. She began her comedy career in Seattle as a founding member of the critically acclaimed long-form improv group Kings' Elephant Theater and as a guest cast member on the Emmy-winning sketch comedy show "Almost Live." In LA, Kim has studied at The Groundlings and Improv Olympic and taught sketch comedy writing at ACME Comedy Theater. She has appeared in numerous commercials and TV shows, written for children's animation, created and starred in the Sony produced web series "Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show" and produced the trailblazing series "The Guild," a web show so successful that it was actually put on display in The Smithsonian American History Museum. She currently performs stand up at venues all over Los Angeles and her online clips have garnered over seven million views. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who needed to decipher themselves. Part 1: After some unfortunate night-time incidents, Keith Mellnick realizes he needs to better understand his sleepwalking before it starts causing even more problems. Part 2: Avneet Johal is excited to start his first year at university, but strange thoughts and behaviors keep getting in the way. 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, Photoshop, and oppressive DC heat indexes. Avneet Johal is an award-winning storyteller based in Vancouver, BC with expertise in communication and leadership. He previously managed housing programs for the Canadian Mental Health Association and has worked on a series of successful political campaigns. A Canadian representative at the United Nations, he follows global affairs and also enjoys sports, languages, and (good) rap music. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Altos Institute and is honoured to work with a team of talented undergraduate students at the University of British Columbia – a team which he thanks for encouraging him to share his stories with a wider audience. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who used to be scientists. Part 1: Despite loving science, Ivan Decker's first exposure to field work doesn't go as planned. Part 2: Nathan Min tries to pursue a 'respectable' scientific career, but finds himself relating to the mice he studies. Originally from Vancouver, Ivan Decker is a stand-up comedian that now makes his home in Los Angeles California. He has been featured on CBC, CTV, TBS and many other media outlets as part of shows such as: The Debaters, Just for Laughs, CONAN and he has a half hour special on NETFLIX. In 2018, Ivan was also the first Canadian to win a JUNO award for comedy album of the year since the award was given to Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas for the soundtrack to the movie strange brew in 1984. Nathan Min is a TV writer, actor, and stand-up based in New York City. He recently wrote for Adult Swim’s “Joe Pera Talks with You.” Previously, “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.” He started performing stand up comedy as a freshman at Johns Hopkins University and went on to win the DC Improv’s Funniest College Stand Up competition at the end of his senior year. After college, he began studying at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York where he has since written for several house sketch teams. In 2014, he was selected as a finalist for the Andy Kaufman Award. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who found themselves without the tools they needed. Part 1: When Jack Walsh finds out his first child will be born in just a few days, he panics. Part 2: After experiencing hearing loss, Jeannie Gaffigan receives the startling news that she has a brain tumor. Jack Walsh is an Emmy-winning television producer, a generally engaging storyteller, a halfway-decent writer, and the world’s worst guitar player. He has performed at the Moth, the Atlanta Science Festival, DragonCon, and, strangely, a Yom Kippur service. A native of Canton, NC, he now lives in Decatur, GA, with his wife and two daughters. Jeannie Gaffigan is a director, producer and comedy writer. She co-wrote seven comedy specials with her husband Jim Gaffigan, the last 5 of which received Grammy nominations. Jeannie was the head writer and executive producer of the critically acclaimed THE JIM GAFFIGAN SHOW, and collaborated with Jim on the two New York Times Bestsellers, DAD IS FAT and FOOD A LOVE STORY. Jeannie’s own book, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU PEARS, debuted on the New York Times Bestsellers List. Jeannie, with the help of her two eldest children and some other crazy moms, created THE IMAGINE SOCIETY, INC., a not for profit organization that connects youth-led service groups. Most impressively, she grew a tumor on her brain stem roughly the size of pear. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who learned something about their childhood later in life. Part 1: Growing up in the fifties and sixties, Jenice Matias senses there's more to her mother's occupation than she understands. Part 2: D.B. Firstman has always known their body is different, but at the age of thirty, they make a discovery that changes everything. Jenice Matias is a dancer, singer, actress, comedy writer, and storyteller. Her story on the Guys We Fucked podcast has been listened to over a quarter of a million times, and she performs storytelling all over New York City. She is currently revamping her solo show “Pussinomics: a comedy” a political satire on the selling and marketing of the female persona. You can learn more about Jenice Matias on her website Jenicematias.biz D.B. Firstman is a lifelong New Yorker born and raised in Queens. A career-long civil servant, they are a data analyst for the City of New York, crunching numbers in Excel and SPSS. A lifelong baseball fan, they have had their work published on ESPN.COM and BaseballProspectus.com, as well as in the SABR Baseball Research Journal. Their first book: “Hall of Name: Baseball’s Most Magnificent Monikers from ‘The Only Nolan’ to ‘Van Lingle Mungo’ and More” is available on Amazon and local indy bookstores. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who deal with emergencies. Part 1: As a first-generation pre-med student with no financial aid, Brooke Dolecheck takes a job as a 911 operator to support herself. Part 2: Flight paramedic Marc Doll must transport a child to St. Louis for his last chance at a heart transplant. Brooke Dolecheck graduated from Boise State University in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies with an emphasis in Leadership and Human Relations. She's now an undergraduate academic advisor at Boise State University in the program which she graduated from. She works with students who, like herself, have found alternative pathways to pursuing a degree when the traditional route didn't work. She's an advocate for her students - creating unique degree plans that meet the needs of students' goals and the demands of the workforce. Marc Doll is the EMS Bureau Chief of the City of St. Charles Fire Department and a 26-year veteran of Emergency Medical Services. Marc has flown world wide to transport those in dire medical need from remote Russia to Carbondale, IL. He’s spent a total of 15 years in the high adrenaline atmosphere as a flight paramedic for both repatriation and children. For a change of pace, he has spent 22 years as a firefighter. While working two full time jobs, he finished his bachelor's degree in EMS Management from Missouri Southern State University with honors and is planning on continuing at Maryville University to acquire his nursing degree starting in the fall of 2020. His hobbies include beer making, practicing his banjo, and spending time with his wife, daughter (who is a nurse), two sons, and two dogs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who didn’t ask for help until it was too late. Part 1: Determined to fit in as a PhD student, Aparna Agarwal decides she'll never ask for help -- even if it means fitting in to much smaller gloves. Part 2: On a snorkeling trip of his dreams, Jesse Hildebrand doesn’t want to admit he has no idea what he’s doing. Aparna Agarwal is a graduate student in Dr. Deepa Agashe’s lab at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, by day, and a random thoughts compiler whenever inspiration strikes her. Currently, she is trying to understand adaptation and the role of microbes in that process using the red flour beetle. She is, on an average day, clueless but curious and trying to find answers. In that quest, she loves to travel in person, as well as through the magic of books, articles, blogs, conversations and in general, stories. She enjoys using these stories to help her share and build her science. Jesse Hildebrand is the VP of Education for Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants, a digital education non-profit that connects scientists and explorers with kids (http://www.exploringbytheseat.com/). He's also the founder of Canada's Science Literacy Week (http://www.scienceliteracy.ca/) and a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (http://www.rcgs.org/). Jesse suffers from an excess of personality, watches too many Blue Jays games for his own good, and can enter into a spirited debate on the merits of the Marvel films. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who were at the end of their rope. Part 1: After donating her kidney to a friend, Leah Waters struggles to get back to normal. Part 2: When the coral colonies of her childhood experience a bleaching event, Native Hawaiian coral biologist Narrissa Spies must face her greatest fear to protect them. Leah Waters is a multiplatform editor at The Dallas Morning News and also advises journalism programs at Frisco Heritage High School. Waters received her M.A. in Journalism from University of North Texas’ Mayborn School of Journalism in 2017. She also majored in journalism at Angelo State University in 2010, where she was the campus newspaper’s editor-in-chief. Waters currently serves as the Texas Association of Journalism Educators’ State Director and as a vice president of the Association of Texas Photography Instructors. She is a first amendment advocate and testified this session in support of a bill that would restore student press rights in Texas. Narrissa Spies is a Native Hawaiian scientist who was born and raised on the island of Hawaii. She received her bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and is in the process of completing her PhD this semester at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has previously worked as a researcher, curriculum developer, and educator, and has a passion for marine conservation. In her current position she is on a team that manages ecological services on Oahu, Kauai, American Samoa, and Papahanaumokuakea. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from the math classroom. Part 1: High school math whiz Tori Ball has always hoped a boy would fall in love with her mind, but when it finally happens, she's not sure how she feels. Part 2: High achieving, but superstitious college student Maryam Zaringhalam’s entire system collapses when she misses a calculus test. Tori Ball is a high school math teacher in Rockville, Maryland. She spends her days taking derivatives, graphing parabolas, and making young people giggle when she says the word "asymptote." Back when she was a high school student in Rockville, Maryland, Tori's antics on the morning announcements earned her the nickname "Tori with the Story" - a moniker that remains appropriate to this day. Tori has shared stories on stage in DC with Story District, the Moth, and Perfect Liar's Club - and is excited for her Story Collider debut! Maryam is a molecular biologist who traded in her pipettes for the world of science policy and advocacy. She comes to D.C. from the concrete jungles of New York, where she received her PhD from The Rockefeller University. She co-hosts the science policy podcast Science Soapbox, and her words have appeared in Slate, Scientific American, and Quartz. Her cat is named Tesla, after Nikola and not Elon Musk's car. For insights like this and more, follow her on Twitter @webmz_ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from people who were faced with barriers to their education. Part 1: Eager to succeed in her Physical Chemistry class, Shaniece Mosley is thrown off by a professor's attempt at a compliment. Part 2: Lelemia Irvine struggles to get through his PhD program as he's constantly told that his identity as a Native Hawaiian is incompatible with academia. Shaniece Mosley has been a teacher for eight years, and currently teaches chemistry, AP Chemistry, and science research at Midwood High School in Brooklyn. After attending Northeastern University and SUNYAlbany, where she received a B.S. in Chemistry, she attended Pace University where she earned an M.S. in Secondary Science Education. A former New York City Teaching Fellow, Shaniece is now an MƒA Master Teacher. She enjoys spending free time with her husband Dan and their 2 year old son Greyson. Lelemia Irvine, PhD, EIT, is kupukaaina, a lineal descendant from the aboriginal families that sprouted out of the land of Waiʻanae, Oʻahu. Dr. Irvine is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu. He is now at his dream job as a professor but the road to get there was not a breeze. Dr. Irvine is the first Kāne Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian male) to earn a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2019. In his doctoral research, he studied the physics of stormwater within a bioswale using predictive and computational approaches. As far as we know, presently there are less than 10 Native Hawaiians with a PhD in any engineering discipline in the world. Dr. Irvine is a self-described Rain Farmer, a term he coined, when his father, who has dementia, ask him “boy, what you studying in school?”. As a rain farmer, he seeks to connect sky to aquifer thru the physics of fluids and indigenous engineering ways of knowing. Dr. Irvine shares his personal journey as an empowerment tool for others to co-navigate and constellate the village of higher education systems. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we share two stories from people who were confronted with their faith. Part 1: Feeling like a loser after he fails to graduate on time with his degree in materials science, Len Kruger accepts a dinner invitation from a cult. Part 2: After young Jehovah's Witness Emmanuel Garcia loses his faith, he finds a new purpose at a neuroscience conference. Len Kruger is a writer and storyteller. He recently retired from the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress, where he was a Specialist in Science and Technology Policy. Len has performed stories on stage with local storytelling groups such as Story District, the Moth, and Better Said Than Done. His short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Zoetrope All-Story, The Barcelona Review, and Gargoyle. He has Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Emmanuel (Mani) Garcia is an Indigenous-Black-Latino psychological scientist-practitioner; passionate science communicator; sign language interpreter; group fitness instructor; certified holistic yoga teacher; statistics educator; filmmaker; artist; writer; musician; and cult survivor living in Queens NYC. While completing his PhD in Clinical Psychology at CUNY-John Jay, Mani is focused on developing his recently launched wellness capacity-building movement #Joy4L. His mission with #Joy4L is to increase joy in the lives of all minoritized people by increasing their access to high quality wellness resources. You can follow Mani at: manigarcia.com; Instagram: @bodyweightfun; Twitter: @manigarcianyc. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories of people having to navigate a new world. Part 1: Sean Bearden has never been interested in education, but when he's incarcerated at the age of 19, he finds a passion for physics. Part 2: When Victoria Manning decides to get a cochlear implant, she fears losing her identity as a deaf person. Sean Bearden is a Ph. D. candidate in Physics at UC San Diego, researching the application and development of memcomputing systems, a novel computing paradigm. Identifying as a nontraditional student, Sean went from dropping out of high school to receiving the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship. To alleviate the stress that is inevitably coupled with graduate research, he enjoys training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the P5 Academy in San Diego. Visit seanbearden.com to learn more. Raised in Lower Hutt and Deaf since age four, Victoria Manning’s first career was in psychology but her strong sense of social justice and experience in the USA saw her gravitate towards advocacy roles. Victoria led a 5 year long human rights complaint that resulted in the establishment of a telephone relay service enabling deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech impaired people to access the telephone. She co-chaired the Government’s Disability Strategy review reference group and was the inaugural chairperson of the Government’s New Zealand Sign Language Board. One of Victoria’s career highlights was being chosen to represent disabled New Zealanders at the United Nations for New Zealand’s first reporting on its progress on implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. She was given a Queen’s Service Award for her services to the deaf and disabled communities in 2015. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Vote for your favorite Story Collider story of all time here: https://airtable.com/shreBxfsM5XYktIT5 This week we present two stories from people who navigated the joys of sex in surprising ways. Part 1: When Eva Bloom struggles to have an orgasm, she turns to research. Part 2: Dasha Kelly Hamilton thinks of a creative way to teach her daughters about sex. Eva Bloom (she/her) is a sexuality educator and researcher. She is the creator of the inclusive, anti-oppressive, and evidence-based sex-ed web series for youth “What’s My Body Doing”, which has garnered over 1 million views. She holds a Masters of Science with her thesis focusing on sexuality and technology, with interests in self-compassion and bisexuality. She has spoken at the Guelph Sexuality Conference among others and is a winner of a Planned Parenthood Toronto’s Choice Award (2017) for excellence in sexuality education. Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist and creative change agent. Through responsive and respectful intentionality, Dasha leverages the creative process to facilitate critical dialogues around human and social wellness. Dasha delivers her engagement sessions to campuses, classrooms, correctional institutions, association conferences, social service agencies, municipal departments and team retreats. Her nonprofit, Still Waters Collective, has curated poetry programming and spoken word events in the region for almost 20 years. The work has impacting more than 13,000 youth, provided professional development to more than 100 young people and created platforms for thousands of voices to be honored and heard. Dasha has written for national, regional and local magazines; produced three collections of poetry; recorded four spoken word CDs; and published two novels. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has taught writing courses at Mount Mary University, Alverno College and UW-Milwaukee. Dasha served as an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy to teach, perform and facilitate community building initiatives in Botswana and the island of Mauritius. A former Artist of the Year for the City of Milwaukee, Dasha was recently named the city’s 11th Poet Laureate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Vote for your favorite Story Collider story of all time here: https://airtable.com/shreBxfsM5XYktIT5 This week we present stories from people who navigated our changing relationship to technology. Part 1: As a kid, Samy Kamkar discovers his superpower -- hacking. Part 2: When Jordan Bush's father-in-law-to-be is diagnosed with cancer shortly before her wedding, she finds a creative way to help him attend. Samy Kamkar is a cofounder of Openpath, security researcher, and huge nerd. His open source hardware and software highlight the insecurities in everyday technologies, such as weaponizing a children's toy to unlock cars, designing clandestine wireless keyboard sniffers hidden into mobile phone chargers, and building drones that wirelessly hijack and control swarms of other drones. His work has been cited by the NSA, triggered hearings on Capitol Hill, and has been the basis for security advancements across vehicles, smartphones, and other technologies. Jordan is finishing up her dissertation in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her research focuses on when and where lizards fight over territories. She asks that you not confuse her obsession with lizards as a general interest in all reptiles - she does not like snakes, keep your snakes to yourself. After graduating, she has a real goal of becoming a professor at a liberal arts college, and a secret goal of becoming a science journalist and children's book author. She currently lives in Knoxville, TN with her wonderful husband, two babies, and two dogs. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories from mothers who learned valuable lessons from the sons they birthed. Part 1: Avi Caspe and his mother, Ariel Detzer, reckon with what the label of "autism" means for their family. Part 2: When Paulette Steeves' son is given 2 years to live, she searches for a way to keep him alive. Dr. Ariel Detzer is a psychologist in Seattle, Washington, with a practice focused on neurodiversity. She believes that creating a better world for neurodiverse people comes about both through therapeutic support for clients themselves, and through educating clients, families, and surrounding educational and institutional stakeholders. Don't just help the client, change the whole system--this is the social model of disability. To challenge the complex pattern-loving part of her brain, she sings with the Seattle Early Music Guild a capella choir, Sine Nomine. Avi Caspe was a high school senior when he recorded this story. He began his autistic activism in sixth grade with a school social justice project on the lack of educator preparation for teaching autistic inclusion students. He made his first academic presentation to the national Association for Autistic Community Conference in 2014, sharing a presentation on how autistic middle schoolers process information in unique ways when under stress, which may in turn impact the way they process bullying experiences, as well as school discipline. Avi is now a freshman at Bellevue College in Washington, where he plans to major in Computer Science. He enjoys improving his standing on Rubik's Cube scores at World Cubing Association events. Paulette Steeves was born in Whitehorse Yukon Territories and grew up in Lillooet, British Columbia, Canada. She is an Indigenous archaeologist with a focus on the Pleistocene history of the Western Hemisphere. In her research Steeves argues that Indigenous peoples were present in the Western Hemisphere as early as 60,000 years ago, and possibly much earlier. She has created a data base of hundreds of archaeology sites in both North and South America that date from 250,000 to 12,000 years before present, which challenges the Clovis First dogma of a post 12,000 year before present initial migrations to the Americas. Dr. Steeves received her BA in Anthropology, Honors Cum Laude from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and completed a two-year internship with the Quapaw Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) program during her undergraduate studies. In 2008 Dr. Steeves was awarded the Clifford D. Clark fellowship to attend graduate studies at Binghamton University in New York State. Dr. Steeves dissertation Decolonizing Indigenous Histories: Pleistocene Archaeology Sites of the Western Hemisphere is the first dissertation framed in Indigenous Method and Theory in Anthropology within the United States. In 2011 and 2012 she worked with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to carry out studies in the Great Plains on mammoth sites which contained evidence of human technology on the mammoth bone, thus showing that humans were present in Nebraska over 18,000 years ago. In 2019 she started a new research project focused on creating sacred Indigenous regenerative soils to address food insecurity in the North. Dr. Steeves has taught Anthropology courses with a focus on Native American and First Nations histories and studies, and decolonization of academia and knowledge production at many universities. She is currently an Assistant Professor in History at Algoma University and is a nominee for a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous History Healing and Reconciliation. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories of people struggling with what the “right” thing to do is. Part 1: Catherine Macdonald always wanted to study sharks, but her first time tagging them in the field doesn't go as planned. Part 2: When Michelle Tong visits home after her first semester of medical school, a stranger presents an ethical dilemma. Dr. Catherine Macdonald is co-founder and Director of Field School (www.getintothefield.com), a marine science training and education company dedicated to constantly improving field research practices while teaching students to perform hands-on research with sharks. She is also a part-time Lecturer in Marine Conservation Biology at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Company website: www.getintothefield.com Personal website: www.drcatherinemacdonald.com Michelle Tong is a second-year medical student from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has been published in the Margins and Glass, among other literary journals, and reads for the Bellevue Literary Review. This past summer, she won first prize in the Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Awards and received a fellowship from Brooklyn Poets. She teaches poetry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and lives in East Harlem. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This week we present two stories about people struggling with their identity. Part 1: When science journalist Katherine Wu interviews a scientist about a new facial recognition algorithm, the conversation turns more personal than she expected. Part 2: Hurricane Katrina gives Mary Annaise Heglar a new perspective on both her grandfather and home state. Katherine J. Wu is a Boston-based science journalist and storyteller whose writing has appeared in Smithsonian magazine, Scientific American, NOVA Next, and more. She's also a senior producer for The Story Collider. In 2018, she earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunobiology from Harvard University, where she studied how bacteria deal with stress so she could one day learn to do the same. She can spell "tacocat" backwards. Mary Annaise Heglar is a climate justice essayist and communications professional based in New York City. Her writing has been published in Vox, Dame Magazine, Zora, and Inverse. She writes regularly on Medium and rants almost daily on Twitter. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (4)

Muhammad Ahmad

she said "Science" where's Science?

Oct 12th
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Agil Wijaya

i feel bad. i want to hug both of you

Jun 11th
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Derek William Miltimore

Shame that someone like this who is given a platform to spread the word about archaeology, a field that is misunderstood 9 times out of 10 and either thought to be dealing with dinosaurs or Indiana Jones, and she opens by stating that archaeology is Colonial racism... way to go..

May 16th
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crispy

Wonderful episode. As someone whose family has dealt w/ misdiagnoses and close calls, hearing other people stand up for themselves and work through their fears got me choked up and inspired.

Oct 15th
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