This June, join us for 5 true, personal stories that explore what it means to be normal.
Hosted by Zack Stovall and Paula Croxson. Doors at 7:30pm.
Taylor Beck is a teacher and a writer. Once upon a time, he studied memory and the brain. After college, Taylor spent three years in Okayama and Kyoto, Japan, where he found that he loves teaching, learned Japanese, and worked in a sleep lab. He and his lab mates in Kyoto watched people sleep to see how we dream, and why. Taylor is an alum of Princeton, MIT, and NYU, as a student, and of Harvard's mental hospital, as a patient. Ever since he left with lithium, at age 27, he’s wanted to find out how it works: What does the third element do to slow the racing mind? What the poet Alfred Tennyson called "a maze of piercing, trackless, thrilling thoughts,/ Involving and embracing each with each,/ Rapid as fire, inextricably link'd,/ Expanding momently with every sight/ And sound which struck the palpitating sense." Taylor has worked on research published in the journals Science, Neuron, and Cognition. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, the L.A. Review of Books, Scientific American, and other publications. When he is not hanging out with bright 8 to 12 year olds, he likes to read fiction and poetry about strange minds, and scientific papers about genetics and mental disease. Childhood, he finds, is like a fun mental disorder that's universal; one mania we all get to enjoy, until we grow up.
Alyssa D’Amico has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from New York Institute of Technology, is a life time member of Psi Chi Honor Society and has been writing poetry since she was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of six. She performs poetry and storytelling weekly in Red Pipe and Inspired Word, but there are always new places to discover. Fifteen individual poems were published before her book, “Short Circuit an Epileptic Journey,” was published. She has been a feature in many locations, including three years at the Queens Lit Festival LIC, Inspired Word, Tarrytown JCC, Fredrick Douglas Jr. Academy Book Fair at Barns and Noble, Albany Poets, Epilepsy Foundation of Long Island, Queens Book Fair and Literately Festival INC. and Caveat November 2018 for Epilepsy Awareness month. She has been doing speeches and advocating since she was young and continues today. She is looking forward to sharing her experiences with epilepsy.
Pamela Feliciano is the Scientific Director of SPARKforAutism.org, and leads the effort to build the largest autism research cohort in the United States, to speed up research and improve lives. Since launching in April 2016, SPARK has enrolled over 60,000 individuals with autism and over 140,000 of their family members. Feliciano is working closely with a consortium of researchers that are analyzing genomic data from the tens of thousands of SPARK participants. Feliciano also manages a unique aspect of SPARK--returning genetic results related to autism to individual participants and their families. Feliciano is also a senior scientist at SFARI, the largest private funder of autism research in the United States, since 2013. At SFARI, she has been involved in efforts to develop objective and reliable outcome measures for autism clinical trials. Previously, Feliciano was a senior editor at Nature Genetics, where she was responsible for managing the peer review process of research publications in all areas of genetics. Feliciano holds a B.S. from Cornell University, an M.S. from New York University and a Ph.D. in developmental biology from Stanford University. Feliciano also is the mother of a teenage boy with autism spectrum disorder.
Anders Lee is a Brooklyn based comedian, writer and podcaster. He has performed standup at venues and festivals in New York and all around the country, including the Laughing Devil Festival, North Carolina Comedy Arts Fest and Charm City Comedy Festival. Most recently, he traveled to Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with his solo show 'Dummy', an hour long comedy about the Autistic spectrum, where it received two four-star reviews. 'Dummy' will be returning to Edinburgh in August.
Anders co-hosts the comedy/politics podcast Pod Damn America, which releases two episodes a week. He is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America and co-producer of Paid Protest, a monthly comedy fundraiser for NYC-DSA. You can find his writings about what it means to be "autistic" on the website Mad in America.
Stephanie Rogers is a PhD Candidate at the NYU Neuroscience Institute, an Adjunct Instructor at Fordham University, and the Producer of BraiNY’s new outreach series A Lot on the Mind. She attended the University of Pennsylvania for her bachelor’s degree, where she joined a pediatric epilepsy lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and earned the Ernest M. Brown Undergraduate Research Grant for her work. She graduated summa cum laude and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. She is now pursuing her PhD at NYU studying normal and epileptic activity in the brain and designed a course to teach non-science undergraduate students about human health. In her spare time, she has picked up archery as a way to de-stress and refers to herself as “Legolass” (get it?!) at every available opportunity.