Recently, I’ve had an incredible obsession with Emily Graslie and her YouTube series, The Brain Scoop. Graslie is a fantastic science communicator and you can tell that she is passionate and that she really knows her stuff, and when she doesn’t, her curiosity for the topic shines through.
So I’ve featured a few fantastic females in the world of science and science communication before (Dr. Bondar, Dr. Mayor, & Dr. Galdikas) and since then I’ve actually met both Dr. Bondar and Dr. Mayor and, while I have not met Dr. Galdikas, I did get to write the entry about her for an encyclopaedia, which is basically just as cool.
I like to share badass women every so often to remind myself, err… I mean all the other girls out there… That they are capable of being just as successful in STEM fields.
Stories like Graslie’s especially stick out to me because she did not take the traditional path to get to where she is, and I LOVE that. I think it shows an incredible amount of courage to follow something you love no matter where you started.
Graslie started as a studio artist at the University of Montana and during her time in undergrad she interned at her university’s museum, the Philip L. Wright Zoological Museum. From the moment she first prepared a mouse for the museum collection, she was in love.
Graslie helped to organise the museum’s collection, first as a way to make room to draw the specimens, but she slowly morphed into museum educator. Graslie would bring other art students in and show them the wonderful pieces in the collection. She even continued to volunteer there after her graduation.
To try to get more funding for her beloved museum, Graslie started a Tumblr page where she would post behind the scenes goings on. This gained enough momentum to be featured on Tumblr’s spotlight page.
That was when she began her distance learning masters degree with Johns Hopkins studying Museum Studies and when she met Hank Green. Hank Green is one half of the VlogBrothers (the other being author John Green), a duo which has education channels on YouTube like “Sci Show“.
After filming together once, it turned into twice, and Emily Graslie’s first appearance on YouTube gained her enough popularity to launch her own show. With the help of the VlogBrothers, The Brain Scoop, was born.
Now, her channel has been picked up by the Chicago Field Museum where Graslie works as Chief Curiosity Correspondent making videos about the research happening at the museums, some of the more unusual specimens in their collection, and of course, dissections.
The museum preparation videos start with a “Grossometer” to let viewers know just how much blood, guts, brains, and other cool things to expect.
Emily Graslie took a chance on a museum in Montana and big opportunities followed. She has since become one of my all time favourite science communicators because she is factual, honest, excited, and doesn’t falsely exaggerate to make things seem ‘cool’.
Guys! Science is really cool as it is! It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when I see science and wildlife communicators who can’t just use the honesty and brilliance of the world around them to make something exciting.
Emily Graslie always brings out the best in science, and why all of you should look to her as a role model in the science communications field.
I can’t wait to see what she does next.