Actress and neuroscientist, Mayim Bialik, is using her incredible platform as the quirky but lovable Big Bang Theory Amy Farrah Fowler to encourage and empower young women and girls to enter the STEM field, an area typically dominated by men.
Partnering with HerWorld Initiative and DeVry University, Bialik’s new role as the campaign spokesperson aims at exposing young women to STEM career paths and opening new doorways for future generations of scientists.
Experts surmise that career opportunities in science, engineering, math, and technology fields will grow approximately 7 percent faster than any other fields within the next five years. However, the percentage of women pursuing careers in these fields is startlingly low. Within the US alone, women hold only 25 percent of all jobs in STEM fields.
While the reasons behind the large gender disparity remain ambiguous – professionals often cite “gender-conscious circles” and other societal standards as the culprit – efforts are being taken to break these stereotypes and attract young women and girls to careers in areas related to STEM.
A seasoned pro since her stint as the titular character in Blossom, Bialik has taken stage and screen by storm, including a cameo appearance on the blockbusting tear-jerker Beaches and serving as The Big Bang Theory’s “adorkable” neurobiologist, Amy Farrah Fowler. As one of the series’ starring female scientist characters, as well as being a real-life Ph.D. of neuroscience, Bialik works to inspire young women and girls to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology both on and off camera.
Bialik serves as the face and representative of HerWorld’s initiative to educate and encourage high school-aged girls towards opportunities in STEM. The actress and neuroscientist has gone on a cross-country tour speaking at high schools throughout the nation in hopes to spark interest in STEM fields as well as serve as a role model to young women and girls looking to break into the primarily-male fields. Knowing that role models can make a world of difference, Bialik cited her own experience of becoming interested in neuroscience.
“When I was about 15 years old, and at that time I was on Blossom, I had a tutor who was the first female role model I ever had who showed me that someone could be as passionate about biology as I thought you could only be about art or poetry,” Bialik told Forbes. “She was young and hip and made the sciences come alive, and it was she that inspired me and really gave me the confidence and the skill-set to go on to a bachelor’s degree and eventually a Ph.D. in neuroscience.”
In addition to being a HerWorld spokesperson and role model, Bialik is now a science tutor for home-schooled children, a role she values even more than her successful career as an actress and continues to use her platform as a celebrity to inspire and educate.
“So as far as my own passion, it’s nice to play a scientist on TV and that, I suppose, makes me a role model,” explains Bialik. “But I also think it’s wonderful to be able to use that platform to be able to influence—hopefully positively—young girls and to show that science is cool.”
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