This is not a trick question. But, the answer may surprise you.
Many of you would know her as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler, one of the stars of The Big Bang Theory.
Dr. Bialik began playing a recurring character as Sheldon’s “friend that’s a girl, but not a girlfriend.” Later in season 4, she became part of the main cast. Dr. Bialik plays the character, Amy, a neurobiologist in The Big Bang Theory. Her very funny portrayal earned her Emmy Award nominations in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.
Interestingly, Dr. Bialik is a neuroscientist in real life. She has earned the doctor title in 2007 as a result of completing a Ph.D. (doctorate) in neuroscience at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). She was accepted into neuroscience programs at Harvard and Yale universities, but chose UCLA.
After working as a neuroscience professor, she got the opportunity to return to her former career as an actor. She won the role as Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory and was soon a big hit.
As Dr. Bialik explains,
I loved doing research with adolescents with special needs—that was seven years of my life. It was exciting to get my Ph.D. in 2007. But in terms of time to raise my two sons, the flexible life of an actor was better than the long hours of a research professor.
Dr. Bialik has not stopped there. Amazingly, she has also written and published four books. Two of her books were written with a pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon. Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way (2014) is a book about parenting, while Mayim’s Vegan Table (2014) contains over one hundred vegan recipes.
Dr. Bialik’s third book, called Girling Up: How to Be Strong, Smart and Spectacular (2017) is about the struggles and ways in which girls grow up, while their their bodies change. Her fourth book is called Boying Up: How to Be Brave, Bold and Brilliant (2019). These books analyze the science and anatomy behind the changes girls and boys face, growing up from adolescence to adulthood.
Here is how Dr. Bialik discusses her recent books:
Dr. Bialik is an incredibly accomplished person. But, early on, as a young women interested in science, she had some doubters to deal with. In an interview with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, in National Geographic magazine, (June 2017), she explained feeling sad that many young girls and women are discouraged from pursuing lives in science and technology. She talked about one physics teacher in junior high that was a positive influence for her. Dr. Tyson also felt sad thinking about how many students are missing even that one person.
Growing up, Dr. Bialik didn’t feel naturally gifted in math and science, but she pushed past her doubters and got results. Some teachers might think, she quipped, “Oh, you’re not naturally good at math? Better try English—how’s your Chaucer?”
To that Dr. Tyson offered his view that:
“There are people who presume that unless something comes easily to them, they should never pursue it as a career—without realizing that some of the greatest achievements you ever attain are because you busted ass to reach that point.”
Of course, young girls and women are not the only ones that can be discouraged to pursue their dreams. When I was in grade 8, our teacher, who was also the principal, called each student into his office and offered a his opinion about our chances of success in life. I was given a 60% chance of finishing high school.
I was very fortunate to have supportive parents and more encouragement than many of the girls around me. I didn’t really like school until I got to university. Luckily, I was able to keep going and earned my own Ph.D..
I wanted to feature the accomplishments of Dr. Bialik as a source of encouragement for girls and women all over the world. Future posts will highlight girls and women with achievement s in all walks of life. Stay tuned.
Until next time.