Children look up to adults for all sorts of reasons. The flashy basketball players garner a lot of votes, as do the Justin Beibers of the world. Kids (and adults) become smitten by the glitz and the glamour. Making matters a bit worse, try raising kids in Los Angeles. Paparazzi block the streets as film crews block streets to film people running through fake fire. It all looks so cool and it’s so easy to get caught up in it. The newest Jordans and the must have t-shirt represent a lot to a growing and impressionable child. That’s why, when celebrities take their hard-earned fame and use it to promote things like education, I am absolutely smitten. A woman promoting the maths and sciences? Cooler still. Anyone can promote a perfume, but a woman in Hollywood attaching herself to a calculator takes the cake.
Mayim Bialik is my kind of girl. A lot of other people think so too. She was nominated for an Emmy, she has written an award-winning book on parenting and oh yes, lest I forgot to mention, she’s got a Ph.D in neuroscience. She is the real deal. But she doesn’t let this get to her head. She teamed up with Ti Calculators to help them promote STEM in the schools. It’s a match made in heaven. As Mayim says “my husband and I were holding TI calculators when we met.” This is a cause near and dear to her heart.
My oldest son is in love with STEM. He was honored to interview Bobak Ferdowsi when Curiosity Rover landed on Mars. He breathes scientific notations and mathematical equations. When the space shuttle took its last flight through Los Angeles and his entire school came outside to watch, J nearly collapsed of excitement. When he came home I noticed that he hadn’t touched his lunch. I asked him why and his response blew me away. “I was just too excited to eat, Mom.”
Which brings us back to Mayim Bialik. There is a contest running on Facebook right now that will give your child’s school the chance to have Mayim come and teach a math lesson. Yes, my son has already entered, but I’m sharing the love although if he finds out he may kill me for lowering his chances of winning. Ahh, statistics. Read more.
I had the chance to talk with Mayim and to tell her how thankful I am for all of her STEM love, and some other stuff as well:
1. Eva: How do you think that we can encourage more girls to go into STEM fields?
Mayim: It’s important to get kids and girls engaged younger because once there are culture influences it becomes much harder.
2. Eva: Who did you base your character, Amy from The Big Bang Theory, on?
Mayim: I based Amy on a variety of people on things. Jim Carson, neurobiologists, females and males and women in science that look like models. Amy is passionate about her science and her love for it. Women think that they have to be apologetic and I’m trying to change that.
(side note: super bummed that Mayim didn’t take home an Emmy but she is still equally awesome in our book)
3. Eva: What do your children tell you that they want to be when they grow up?
Mayim :Miles wants to be a firemen. I think it has something to do with uniforms. My younger son, Fred, wants to be a superhero.
4. Eva: You really do it all! What’s your secret?
Mayim: I don’t sleep in and I get stuff done when my boys are asleep. I get up early and
I don’t have a popular social life. Having kids forced a shift in my life to get things done. I’m also very public about being an observant Jew. The Sabbath keeps me sane.
5. Eva: It’s pretty awesome that Blossom grew up to earn a PhD in neuroscience, and Winnie from The Wonder Years is a mathematician. What is it about children of the Eighties and STEM? Are you friends with Danica?
Mayim: I knew her when we were younger. We were at UCLA at the same time. Her work is admirable and really neat.
Thank you, Mayim. We can’t wait for you to come to our school. You ARE coming, aren’t you?