'The Big Bang Theory' star Mayim Bialik visited a Sarasota school to promote STEM careers on Tuesday, June 4, 2013.
SARASOTA, Florida -- For years, the STEM careers of science, technology, engineering, and math have been seen as a path for boys, but one TV sitcom shows girls can do it too, and one of its stars has the degree to prove it.
What you see on CBS Thursday evenings in the Big Bang Theory is pretty much what you get in real life with Mayim Bialik. "I'm a neuroscientist like my character and I'm socially awkward, I promise," says Bialik.
The 37-year-old actress has a doctorate in neuroscience, as does her character, Amy Farrah Fowler.
"Once you have that kind of knowledge and training, it really colors the way you see the whole world," Bialik tells several dozen students, mostly girls, at Sarasota Middle School. Bialik is sharing her love for science and encouraging girls to consider a science career. She wants them to forget the social and cultural bias that science is for boys.
Bialik says, "Our brains are equally able to learn, have this information presented. I think the earlier we present it equally, the more we make it hands-on and make it accessible, the clearer it will be it's something for boys and girls equally."
The sitcom star never considered a science career until high school. She says at first it seemed too hard.
Bialik tells students, "If there is one thing I can say today is if something is hard for you it doesn't mean you are not good at it. It means you need to learn it in a different way."
Bialik took 12 years off from acting to go to school, to teach, and to have a family before returning to television five years ago. Girls learning her story are inspired.
"I want to be a lawyer, but I'm pretty good at math and science. I can do both. She can do both. Why can't I?" says Kersehana Taylor, 14.
Aliyah Cunningham, 13, is a fan of Bialik's show The Big Bang Theory. "When I first heard she was going to be here, I nearly fell out of my chair," she says.
The 8th grader says she too wants to be a scientist and an actor. "It's fun knowing she's doing something I want to do. I can relate to her," says Aliyah. "I think more girls like me and my friends should be in science. It's really fun."
Bialik is visiting schools as the ambassador for Texas Instruments. Her visit to Sarasota helps highlight the Sarasota School District's TechActive Classrooms.