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Los Angeles, CA - Epiphanies

  • ComedySportz at the historic El Portal Theatre 5269 Lankershim Boulevard Los Angeles, CA, 91601 United States (map)

This August, The Story Collider returns to Los Angeles with five stories about eureka moments in science! Our storytellers this month include a Chernobyl survivor, a star of TV's Criminal Minds, an aerobatic pilot and more.

Hosted by Cassie Soliday and Audrey Kearns. 

Stories by: 

Susan Bell attended U.S. Space Camp in junior high. She now works for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in public engagement following a career as a Hollywood TV/film producer for animated shows such as “Robot Chicken.” Somewhere along the path between potty humor and hard science, Susan decided if she wasn’t going to be an astronaut, she could at least be a pilot. Thus a love affair with the wild blue yonder was born. These days after work she can be found twirling about the skies in her pink Extra 300 aerobatic airplane, competing in Southwest aerobatic contests and working towards her flight instructor certificate.


Marqueeda LaStar is a comic geek, internet enthusiast, and creative technologist.  She is community manager of, a society and lifestyle website and online community exploring the intersections of being Black, woman, and nerdy. A builder of bridges, Marqueeda works to create and support inclusive community and collective exploring culture and art through the lens of emerging technologies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology (B.S.) from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.


Kirsten Vangsness has played the super proudly nerdtastic computer analyst Penelope Garcia for over a decade on the hit CBS crime drama "Criminal Minds". Prior to that she was was a public school teacher who reveled in teaching 4th graders about sciences of all sorts. She is also a critically acclaimed playwright who has been doing a mini tour across the country of her one person show "Mess" which is about Quantum Physics, monsters, and church camp.


Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a scientist, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Her book, “Superhero Therapy” released on December 1, 2016 in the U.K. and on August 1, 2017 in the U.S.


Jean Ansolabehere is a cartoon writer with past lives as a research technician at Stanford University and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. She has loved biology since the first time she got stitches and, in her research and her writing, she strives to understand the human condition through the human body. She also strives to live by the philosophy of her four-year-old half-brother, who is pretty brave when it comes to anything, except his T-Rex toy. He's terrified of that thing.

Earlier Event: August 9
Portland, OR - Ecology
Later Event: September 1
San Francisco, CA - Political Science