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University of Illinois Urbana Champaign

  • Blackbird 119 West Main Street Urbana, IL, 61801 United States (map)

Get swept up in a hurricane and laugh at some monkey business -- join us for five true, personal stories about the deeply human side of science. 

This special show is made possible by the generous sponsorship of the University of Illinois Office of the Chancellor, 21st Century Scientists Working Group, the Beckman Institute, the Institute for Genomic Biology, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, the Institute for Integrated Biology, and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

Hosted by Liz Neeley and Ari Daniel. Doors open at 6:30pm, come for a chat and a drink and to get the best seats before the show starts at 7:00pm.



Alyssa Kealohi Loving is a third-year Ph.D. student in Mathematics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from the University of Hawaii at Hilo with a degree in math. Her hometown is Honomu, HI, where she spends summers with her eight brothers and three sisters. This summer, Alyssa authored and illustrated her first book, 4 gone conclusions, a collection of poems andpictures that capture the devastating impact fifteen seconds had on her life. She loves math, writing, philosophizing, doodling, ice cream, the color blue, and also eggplant parmesan.


Dr. Deanna Hence is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was previously a postdoc at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Her research interests include tropical meteorology, tropical cyclones, remote sensing, mesoscale convective systems, radar meteorology, satellite meteorology, and hazardous weather. She is passionate about science communication and policy as well as expanding scientific literacy amongst the public.


Dr. Felipe Menanteau is an observational cosmologist who studies clusters of galaxies and works building the largest astronomy surveys. He is a Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and a Research Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his PhD in Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, England and his undergraduate Physics degree from PUC in Chile, where he grew. He cares deeply about the promotion of science and is involved in several local outreach efforts.


Dr. Laura Shackelford is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology and in the Department of Surgery, College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens, as a background to understanding recent human diversity. This includes functional and biomechanical analysis of the skeleton, particularly the limbs, to shed light on the behavior, adaptations and life history of past people. Laura’s research has a geographic focus in Southeast Asia, and she is the co-director of ongoing field research in northern Laos. Her excavations at the cave site Tam Pa Ling, Laos, recovered the oldest modern humans that have been discovered in Southeast Asia, pushing the date of modern human dispersal into eastern Asia back more than 20,000 years and introducing new migration routes for the first humans into eastern Asia. Laura received her undergraduate degree in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy from Duke University and her master’s and doctorate degrees in Biological Anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis, MO.


Dr. Michelle Rodrigues is a postdoctoral fellow working the with the Department of Anthropology and Beckman Institute at University of Illinois. Her research examines the interplay between social relationships and hormones in primates, focusing on the evolution of female friendship. She previously studied a variety of non-human primates including howler monkeys, spider monkeys, rhesus macaques, chimpanzees, and bonobos, and is currently studying female friendship and stress in humans.

Earlier Event: October 17
Brooklyn, NY - Creativity
Later Event: November 21
New York, NY - Consciousness