It’s the last week of the month, which means … It's time to shine a light on another amazing Science Communicator!
Alie is the host of the popular podcast, Ologies, a weekly science show, which challenges all of us to “Ask smart people dumb questions.” Alie and her guests explore so many different areas of study, there’s definitely something for everyone. She talks about EVERYTHING, and she does so with experts in each field!
For example, in some of her recent episodes, she has discussed ‘Happiness’ with Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos, who taught a course on the topic; ‘Indigenous Fire Ecology’ with Good Fire podcast host Amy Christianson, who discusses how to create a healthy forest using Indigenous wisdom; and ‘Sparklebuttology’ with Dr. Sara Lewis of Tufts University that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about fireflies (sometimes also known as “lightning bugs”). See what I mean? Something for everyone!
I encourage you to check her podcast out, but that’s not all I have to say about Alie. One of the main reasons I have such great respect for her is her approachability. A supporter of mine from day one, I’ve always felt like she’s someone who not only cares about science, but about her peers in the industry. She continues to be a treasured resource, setting a great example for others to pursue their passions with an emphasis on inclusivity. She has a way of welcoming her audience into every project in which she participates, regardless of their science background.
The self-proclaimed ‘Internet Dad’ and ‘Elective Redhead’ also took what some may see as an unconventional path to become a science communicator. She started college studying Biology, but pivoted to film studies to finish out her education, earning a degree in Cinema. During that time, the California native also began an acting career with a recurring role on the popular series Nash Bridges. But that wasn’t her only role! Throughout her acting career, she also appeared on popular shows such as King of the Hill, The District, Grey’s Anatomy and Key & Peele … just to name a few.
In the midst of all of this, Alie also somehow found time to create beautiful, original art by way of acrylic paintings fashioned on wood, and carve out a writing career too, authoring a column for L.A. Weekly and later pieces for the L.A. Times and Metromix L.A.
Along with her BFF Georgia, back in 2009, Alie developed a website and cult following on YouTube with hilarious culinary/cocktail themed videos with outrageous recipes (you may have heard of the McNuggetini), which led to a cooking show, Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia, on The Cooking Channel in 2013. A year later, Alie became a correspondent for the acclaimed Innovation Nation program on CBS and earned an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Writing Special Class’ in 2016.
You can also find Alie streaming on Netflix—in 2018 she started regularly appearing on the educational show Brainchild, and last year co-hosted 100 Humans, which featured scientific experiments that explored everything from age to sex in a whimsical, yet clinical, way.
If that all doesn’t sound like a full plate, Alie also hosted the CW show, Did I Mention Invention? for two seasons. This program shared stories of unbelievable inventions by everyday people around the globe. You can still access this show free of charge on the streaming service Pluto.
For someone who isn't a formally trained scientist, I love that Alie has created a lane for herself in the industry, talking about science and sharing it with the world, while making it accessible! She’s truly inspiring and has no doubt given others interested in finding their way in science the courage to take steps toward their goals. Isn’t that what being an effective Science Communicator is all about?
I’m curious about which Science Communicators inspire you? Tell me about them in the comments section.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore