Mayim Bialik: How STEM tutoring helped me
Many may know the actress Mayim Bialik from the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory. What you may not know is that the actress has a Ph.D in neuroscience from UCLA. Her role on the show and her scientific background give her a unique insight to the importance of STEM, tutoring, and role models for women. Here is a quote from a National Geographic article in which Neil deGrasse Tyson follows up after Mayim states how one biology tutor gave her the confidence to advance and become a scientist.
MB: In junior high I had no affinity for math and science - and all the boys in my classes worked so much faster than I did that I just assumed that I must not be good at it. I didn’t really understand the beauty of science and math and that whole world until later in high school when this woman who was my biology tutor gave me the confidence that I could be a scientist. And after that, pursuing it in college, it was a party.
NT: This saddens me. That one single person made a life difference to you—but how many students are missing that one person?
MB: The first answer is: Many girls are. I’m sure we could run the statistics on it. And that’s because of a historical difference in the representation of women in these STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math] fields and probably a cultural bias on the part of teachers and administrators. I think there’s been a shift in education since I was in school in the ’70s and ’80s, but then it was like, Oh, you’re not naturally good at math? Better try English—how’s your Chaucer?
This is why the work QuantWys does is so important. We can give women the one on one experience that doesn’t shy them away from the topics that might seem male dominated. Tutoring in any STEM topic could help pave the way for that Ph.D. However we make no promises that it will help you get on a very successful TV show!
For the rest of the interview, check out the June 2017 issue of National Geographic or see an abridged version of the conversation online here.