Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

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January 31, 2014

Television star, scientist chats with MSU students

MOREHEAD — From the mountains of Eastern Kentucky to the Hollywood hills, television star Mayim Bialik let Morehead State University students know a common ground between them exists.

Bialik has shot to the top of television fame with her role in CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.” But while she describes her past as atypical, she tells a familiar story of hard work, humble beginnings and she knows what it’s like to work your way through college.

As she gave details about her past to a packed student audience in MSU’s Academic-Athletic Center, she said she not only felt the way she grew up was uncommon, but also her career.

She described herself as a child actor, having her own TV show, “Blossom,” at age 14, then pursued undergraduate and graduate study in neuroscience and later returned to acting to acquire health insurance through the Screen Actors Guild union.

Undoubtedly the most distinguishing characteristic of Bialik’s career is that she is the only cast member of “The Big Bang Theory” that is not just a scientist on the show, but also in real life.

Bialik said she earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California in Los Angeles, which supplemented her acting resume quite nicely.

“We have to give casting directors a resume when we audition that tell every television show, movie or commercial you’ve acted in, and at the bottom under ‘miscellaneous,’ I added ‘Ph.D. Neuroscience.’  I thought that was important enough to be mentioned somewhere,” she said.

Though later in her life she fell in love with the learning process and the opportunities college presented to her, she said the math and science field was not something she initially excelled in. She told students those were her worst subjects; those that came easy were arts and humanities.

It was a young biology tutor from UCLA who assisted her during on-set schooling, who inspired her with a passion that was oftentimes poetic in nature, opening her eyes to the different aspects of the science world she had not previously considered.

“I fell in love with the neuron,” she said.

Once she discovered the possibilities of scientific study and the answers research provided about the environment surrounding her, she dedicated her life to rigorous study.

“I didn’t really have a social life, I studied all the time. I wanted to learn as much about everything as possible,” she said.

With a gymnasium full of college students before her, her largest audience at a speaking event yet, she wanted students to take advantage of the time they have in college to commit to learning.

“It’s a blessing to have this time in your life to have the luxury to learn,” she said.

After a short question and answer period following her lecture, Bialik reminded the audience that even though she is a familiar face regularly featured on TV, she is a regular person just like them; she goes to the supermarket, cleans her own toilets and takes care of two young children.

LANA BELLAMY can be reached at

lbellamy@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2653.

 

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