Shaun Parker moved from Menasha, Wis., to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film nearly 20 years after his initial plans were derailed by an illness in the family, but he never lost the determination to craft his own life story. At the end of his life, Parker says, he wants to be able to say, "I was part of something that moved you." Katie Falkenberg for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Katie Falkenberg for NPR

Natural-Born Storyteller? Shaun Parker moved from Menasha, Wis., to Los Angeles nearly 20 years after an illness in his family put his adolescent dreams on hold. "I liked the idea that I was meant to be something more," Parker says. "I always said that we're kind of the sum total of the decisions we make in life, and I just felt like I could very easily make the decisions that lead me away from that path of being more, whatever it is." Katie Falkenberg for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Katie Falkenberg for NPR

Lisa Daxer is a biomedical engineering major at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She says her autism has made her feel like an outsider but has also helped her become something of an expert on the social behavior of people she calls "neurotypicals." Skip Peterson for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Skip Peterson for NPR

Alex, the famous African gray parrot, learned elements of the English language and shattered the notion that parrots are only capable of mimicking words. Scientists believe human language may have evolved from hand signals and song. NPR hide caption

itoggle caption NPR

The colors in this 3D rendering of a human brain represent different regions of the cortex, the wrinkly outer part of the brain that contains the most evolutionarily advanced regions. Courtesy of the Allen Institute for Brain Science hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the Allen Institute for Brain Science

SOFIA made its first in-flight observations in May. Take a look at the pictures here. Courtesy of NASA hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of NASA

Six years ago, Kevin Sargeant's mother would have described him as "a broken child." Now, Kevin is doing an IT internship, and he plans to attend college this fall. Jon Hamilton/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jon Hamilton/NPR

A BP cleanup crew removes oil from a beach on May 23 at Port Fourchon, La. John Moore/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption John Moore/Getty Images

Tiny metal electrodes are attached to Albert Einstein's head to pick up impulses from his brain and to magnify and record them for study in 1950 in Princeton, N.J. Dr. Alejandro Arellano kneels beside him. AP/NAP hide caption

itoggle caption AP/NAP

Hurricane Rita strengthens in the Gulf of Mexico in September 2005. Forecasters are predicting this hurricane season will have an unusually high number of big storms because of weather conditions in the Atlantic. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio hide caption

itoggle caption NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Hurricane Katrina moved across all or part of 16 states on Aug. 29, 2005. Image courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC hide caption

itoggle caption Image courtesy of Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC