In Last Week's Podcast: Man Flees Academia

Note: The blog for this podcast is slightly delayed as I was out of the office last week.

Last week’s podcast came to us from Nathan Boll at the National Academy of Science’s Marian Koshland Science Museum in Washington, D.C. It was our second trip down to the Koshland Museum, where we put on a show with NAS’s Mirzayan Fellows. The Mirzayan Fellowship is the NAS’s twelve-week program for early-career scientists. After NAS policy fellow Christine Mirzayan was tragically murdered by a serial killer in 1998, the National Academy of Sciences established the Christine Mirzayan Memorial Fund “to celebrate Christine's love of life, enthusiasm for science, intelligence and high aspirations for contributing to human welfare.”

The Mirzayan Fellowship holds a special place in Story Collider’s heart for many other reasons, too. We got to know our DC producer, Shane Hanlon, when he was a Mirzayan Fellow and invited us to put on our first show at the Koshland. We also love the stories that come from these passionate young scientists and the close bond they seem to forge over their three months working together. This photo, on the right, of Nathan and co-fellows Kavita Chandra and Rochelle Williams, falling into a group hug after their stories, is one of my favorites ever taken at a Story Collider show.

Nathan spent his fellowship working with the Space Studies Board, helping the steering committee of the Decadal Survey for Earth Science and Applications from Space begin the “eighteen-month-long process of determining the Earth science priorities for the nation's space programs.” (That sounds exhausting! But important!)

Now, Nathan is working with Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress responsible for providing confidential, objective reports to Congress. As you can hear in his story, it’s been a long, winding road to bring him here, full of bongos and odd jobs. But I think his journey is a great example of how unexpected experiences can inform your perspective on science.

-- Erin Barker, Artistic Director