From self-analysis, to self-help, self-discovery is a continuously running experiment. Both for better and worse. This month, we bring you stories of how our selves are formed and reformed because of the science inside and outside of us. From race and identity to self-help explorations, to forced medical experiments, these are stories that ask that eternal question: Who am I?
Ada Cheng is a professor-turned storyteller, improviser, and stand-up comic. She was a tenured professor in sociology at DePaul University for 15 years. She resigned from her position to pursue theater and performance full time in 2016. She is a one-time Moth storyslam winner, a presenter at the National Storytelling Conference, and a runner-up at Chicago’s Bughouse Square Debates. She has been featured at storytelling shows in Chicago and Atlanta. She has also told stories at The Moth in Chicago, New York, Denver, and Detroit. Her book, Standing Up: From Renegade Professor to Middle-Aged Comic, published in December 2016 by Difference Press, aims at encouraging people, particularly mid-lifers, to embrace fear about uncertainty and to pursue their passion and dream. Her motto: Make your life the best story you tell. Check out her website www.renegadeadacheng.com for more information.
Raymond Christian is a storyteller, and part time farmer. He escaped the urban slums of Richmond, VA by joining the United States Army at 17. There he served in a number of capacities and assignments at home, abroad during peace time and in combat, primarily as an Infantryman and Paratrooper, where he retired after 20 years of service. Following retirement the combat-decorated veteran went back to school and earned a BS in History, MA in Public History, and an EdS in Education Leadership. He is currentlyin the final phase of his dissertation for a doctorate in Education, where his research explores the relationship between parental behavior and academic success among African American students. Ray also teaches part time at Appalachian State University, the courses “The Souls of Black Folks”, an examination of African American social culture, and “Storytelling Life in the Narrative” a course that explores the historic and contemporary use of storytelling and oral history in America. Ray has shared his stories on the Moth Main Stage in the US and Canada. His stories have appeared in Readers Digest (One of the Best Stories in America Edition) and have been featured on the Moth Radio Hour and Snap Judgment. In addition, as a competitive storyteller Ray is a 8 time Moth story Slam Champion, and the winner of the 2016 National Storytelling Festival Story Slam. Ray also has his own podcast “What’s Ray Saying”. Ray hopes to continue crafting stories that can serve the cause of cultural enlightenment and social justice by using oral expression to present the human experience in a compelling and memorable way. Ray currently resides in Boone, North Carolina.
Julian Goldhagen is a performance artist and educator based in Brooklyn. His storytelling work has been featured at the NY International Fringe Festival, United Nations Palais de Nacion, and on the Moth Radio Hour. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Social Work with a focus on Community Organizing at the Silberman School of Social Work, Hunter College.
Casey Lardner is a graduate student in neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she studies the molecular mechanisms underlying depression and addiction. She also co-leads Mentoring in Neuroscience Discovery at Sinai, or MiNDS, a community outreach initiative focused on making neuroscience education accessible and fun. Before moving to New York in 2015, she earned a B.S. in Biology at the College of William and Mary. She used to run competitively, and sometimes still does with the November Project NYC.
Larry Rosen is a senior storytelling instructor with The Moth’s Community and Global Community Programs, as well as a Community Program manager. Larry has been teaching, directing, and producing storytelling, theater, improvisation, and sketch comedy performance for more than 20 years, through institutions including Second City and The New York International Fringe Festival.