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The Story Collider

Everyone has a personal connection to science.

Maybe you were reaching for a Nobel Prize with your high school science fair project until an unforeseeable error caused it to go down in flames. Or, perhaps you’ve been a researcher on an expedition thousands of miles from home, surrounded by people who don’t understand what you’re doing there. Or, you’ve listened to your doctor diagnose you with a condition that you’ve never heard of before. Whatever your science story is, we want to hear about it.

In 2017, St. Louis Public Radio partnered up with The Story Collider, a podcast that produces shows where personal stories about science are told live on stage. The Story Collider was founded by two physicists in 2010 and regularly puts on shows in New York City, Boston, Atlanta and various other cities around the world. The Story Collider in St. Louis is produced by St. Louis Public Radio’s science reporter Eli Chen and local comedian Zack Stovall.


Eli Chen

Eli Chen is the science and environment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, WHYY’s The Pulse and won Edward R. Murrow and National Federation of Press Women awards. Her favorite stories to cover often involve animals or robots. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, where she concentrated in science and radio reporting. She is @StoriesByEli and

Zack Stovall

Zack Stovall is a writer, producer, cartoonist, and comedian. He currently produces STL Sketchpad and has performed stand up comedy across the South, Midwest, and New York. Zack has written for St. Louis Magazine and Splitsider, and is the author of 'Fancy Things.' He currently lives in St. Louis with his wife, Rebekah, and their goldendoodle, Newman. Zack tweets as @zstovall and lost most of his hair sometime in 2009.

Upcoming Shows

Story Collider
The Story Collider: Homing Signals

This June, The Story Collider in St. Louis will present five stories about what home means to us. We'll have stories from scientists and non-scientists about how their experiences in the field and with family members have challenged their notions of what they thought home was supposed to be. Some will be heartbreaking; some are hilarious. They are all true, and all, in one way or another, are about science. The show will be presented by St. Louis Public Radio’s science reporter Eli Chen and local comedian Zack Stovall.

Our lineup includes:

  • Samuel Achilefu, a cancer researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine
  • Samoa Asigau, a biologist and graduate of University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • Jader Taline Foster, sexual health and healing coach
  • Sheyna Gifford, a doctor at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the health and safety officer on HI-SEAS, a NASA-funded 1-year mission to simulated Mars
  • Shula Neuman, executive editor at St. Louis Public Radio

Thursday, June 28th at 7 p.m.

The Ready Room
4195 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110

Tickets are $10
A limited number of walkup standing room tickets will be available at the door.

Sponsored by Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Oct 4

at The Ready Room

More information will be announced.

Homing Signals Speaker Info

Originally from Nigeria, Samuel Achilefu is the Michel M. Ter-Pogossian Professor of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine. He also holds joint appointments as a Professor in Medicine, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, and Biomedical Engineering and serves as the Chief of the Optical Radiology Laboratory (ORL), Director of the Molecular Imaging Center, Director of the Center for Multiple Myeloma Nanotherapy, and a co-leader of the Oncologic Imaging Program of the Siteman Cancer Center. His lab harnesses the power of light to develop methods for understanding, diagnosing and treating human diseases and is made up of biologists, chemists, engineers, medical scientists and physicists. He enjoys biking, playing tennis, and travelling. Samuel lives with his wife and they have two college-aged children.

Samoa Asigau is a biologist who has multiple degrees from the University of Papua New Guinea and the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Her doctoral research includes investigating the role of mosquitoes in transmitting avian malaria in Galapagos, Ecuador. Avian malaria affects the red blood cells of birds and has caused extinctions of native birds in Hawaii in the 1800s. Samoa plans to extend her doctoral research to her home country of Papua New Guinea.

Jada Taline Foster is a Sexual Health and Healing Coach who holds a BA in Media and Communications and is currently pursuing a BS in Human Sexuality and Women's Studies. She was born into a family of healthcare practitioners—in fact, she would have been the fifth generation of nurses in her family had she not chosen an alternate route by certifying as a personal trainer and yoga instructor while earning her degrees. Jada now coaches women who have experienced sexual trauma of all forms. She works tirelessly to impart the message that no matter what is said about a woman’s physical form or how she chooses to use it, a woman’s body is her only true home, and innately worthy of self-appreciation. Through her work, Jada hopes to inspire women to reclaim their bodies and develop a sense of sexual agency.

Originally from Los Angeles, California, Sheyna Gifford is a resident alien in St. Louis, Missouri where she specializes in rehabilitation medicine. Since 1996, Shey’s career has spanned journalism, satellite engineering, neuroscience, astrophysics, medicine, science education and space science. She was a simulated astronaut on missions to Mars and a Mars-crossing asteroid and has spent 380 days in simulated space. You can find her blog at and her 2017 TEDx talk by searching the phrase, “Space Needs You - Do You Need Space?”

Shula Neuman is the executive editor at St. Louis Public Radio. She also previously worked as a reporter for the Waterdown Daily Times, a reporter/evening newscaster at St. Louis Public Radio and as an editor for NPR in Washington, D.C. Shula has a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University; an Executive M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis; and a bachelor’s from Reed College in Portland, OR. She claims she has no intention of going back to school again.

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Episodes for The Story Collider podcast can be found here or you can subscribe on iTunes.