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At the Story Collider, 5 people tell stories about plans gone awry in and out of the laboratory

It’s a fact that as humans, we have to deal with the curveballs life throws at us. For example, Emma Young, a Ph.D biology student at University of Missouri-St. Louis, had imagined a career full of adventures in remote places of the world. But she discovered along the way that fieldwork is lonely, frustrating and sometimes prone to moments of panic involving unknown species of spiders.

As for Michaella Thornton, a writer and English instructor at St. Louis Community College, all she wanted was a child with her husband. But it took longer than she imagined to get pregnant, which led to deep feelings of shame and discouragement from her father as she considered in vitro fertilization. 

At the Story Collider’s “Best Laid Plans” show in early March, five people told stories on stage at The Ready Room about how their health or the pursuit of science have complicated their plans. But each storyteller came away from their experiences learning something about themselves or at least something about what science means to them personally.

Two more Story Collider shows will take place in St. Louis this year, on June 28 and Oct. 4. If you want to tell a story about how science has affected your life, submit a brief, one- to two-paragraph pitch to stories@storycollider.org. For more on the St. Louis Story Collider shows, click here

Emma Young's first visit to Papua New Guinea causes her to question if she's cut out for fieldwork.

Michaella Thornton recounts her four-year-long struggle to get pregnant.

Physician Denise Hooks-Anderson endures a nightmarish hospital stay.

Kyra Krakos learns that doing research near the border is more dangerous than she thought.

Paul Bracher decides to move into his chemistry lab during his last months at Harvard.

Follow The Story Collider and Eli on Twitter: @story_collider@StoriesByEli

Eli is the science and environment reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.