Stories of Science is the scientific narrative institute housed under the Capital Storytelling 501c3 organization. Our mission is to train researchers to commnicate their work through narrative.
The institute was founded by Dr. Lisa Cantrell. She received her PhD from Indiana University in 2013 in Psychology where she conducted research on language and numerical perception in infants, children, and adults. She then went on to complete a postdoctorate fellowship at the University of California, Davis where she used eyetracking methods to study infant attention and memory. At the same time, she became deeply interested in storytelling and how to talk about science with the public in ways that were engaging and understandable. Her love of science communication led her to science journalism. During 2015-2018, she worked as a freelance science journalist, producing stories for NPR as well as her own science podcast, An InExact Science which was featured in Science Magazine. She then began taking some of these same storytelling principles back to her own research and "academic" world, infusing components of story into her own presentations and written work.
Dr. Cantrell began her position as a professor at Sacramento State University in 2017. That same year she founded Capital Storytelling-- a non profit with the mission of training individuals to tell their true stories to empower and drive social change. However, her first love is science storytelling and using narrative components to make research more engaging, compelling, and understandable. She founded Stories of Science in 2022 and offers coaching and customized workshops to scientists, universities, and other research institutions. You can download a copy of her academic CV here or find out more about her storytelling work on her personal website.
In 2023, Stories of Science brought Dr. Tamara Elena Spence on board as a storytelling consultant and workshop instructor. Dr. Spence is a neuroscientist who recieved her PhD from Wake Forest University in 2014. She jokingly likes to tell clients that she has a doctorate in "worry"-- which is not too far from the truth: her expertise is in the neurobiology of anxiety. The path to obtaining her PhD was filled with various “plot twists” that helped her learn the importance of being adaptable and flexible. During the many hours she spent in the basement laboratory at Wake Forest (which is great for collecting clean psychophysiological data and less great for seeing sunlight during winter), she discovered that she had a special talent for breaking equipment... and then fixing it. Her experience troubleshooting technical issues not only made her a die-hard optimist and problem-solver, it also led her to develop a deep compassion for scientists who were stuck when things didn’t go as planned. After earning her degree, she spent nearly a decade working at a cutting edge market-leading neurotech company where she trained researchers across the US and Europe. Currently, Tamara uses her understanding of research and storytelling to help bridge the gap between science and the public. She has helped train hundreds of individuals in narrative at Capital Storytelling and now through the Stories of Science Institute.