Interview with Big Bang Theory's Mayim Bialik

Todd talks to Mayim Bialik about how she became a PhD in Neuroscience and Amy Farrah Fowler on the Big Bang Theory.

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Transcript For This Video

Todd: Hello this Todd Sierer, from ENGINEERING.com. I'm here at the USA science and engineering festival in Washington DC and I have the pleasure to sit down with Miss Mayim Bialik. Mayim, thanks for joining us today.

Mayim: My pleasure

Todd: Now you are a star on the hit show "The Big Bang Theory" I think more and more people are finding out is that you are an honest to goodness professionally trained and educated neuroscientist.

Mayim: Yes I am a Doctor Mayim Bialik Yes.

Todd: That is fantastic. I don't know anybody else in the world that has gone from actress to neuroscientist; to actress, educator, mother, and spokesperson. What was the motivation to get into neuroscience?

Mayim: I was on a TV show when I was a teenager called "Blossom" and it was on for 5 years, I was 14 v 19 when I filmed it and just like every other 14 v 19 year old I had to go through whatever schooling occurred in those years and I had an amazing woman tutor. She was a dental student at UCLA at the time and she answered a want-ad for a Hollywood actress who needed a biology tutor and she was an amazing, amazing teacher and I think having that one-on-one experience and having a female role model really gave me the confidence to fall in love with science and when "Blossom" ended I was two years out of high school and I went to college and studied what I was interested in; and that was science.

Todd: A lot of times students, I know I did as a student; I know students complain about their being too much work. You balanced a full-time job, shooting a television show and your school work.

Mayim: And I also complained that there was too much work. You know I think teenagers are teenagers.

Todd: No absolutely but if you could speak to students now looking back to those really important years in high school what advise do you have or what encouragement might you have to help them stick to it?

Mayim: That's a great question you know I was a person for whom and that's what I'm going to be talking about at the festival today. Science didn't come easily to me what did come easy for me was trying to be organized so it didn't feel out-of-control and I think a lot of parents don't understand that to a teenage mind it really feels like it's a full-time job and it's often really really overwhelming and I think that is where a lot of young people say like I can't do this so I think for me it was so worth it to try and find a way that worked for me even if I wasn't top of the class. To be organized and know what needed to be done for each of my classes that really took away a lot of that stress so that I focus and do the best that I could. And that is pretty much what I did through college as well. I was never top of my class, I wasn't a straight-A student, but it was really about being organized and framing things reasonably that really helped me keep going and it's worth it. It is worth it because the entire rest of your life absolutely depends on what you do in school. Like it or not, that's the way our system works. And it is absolutely worth it so much more is open to you and in particular if you embrace the STEM subject v Science, Technology, Engineering and Math so much more can be open to you for choices when you grow up.

Todd: So somewhere watching this video is a 13-year old, a 14-year old that is thinking about science and education and probably sees that daunting task; the overcoming understanding all these things that seem hard. Do you have any advice? Things that they can do? Think of the adversity that you went through having a full-time job through high school.

Mayim: Sure well I think it varies, it varies by student.