Mayim Bialik has spent a good part of her life in front of TV cameras: first as the title character of the 90s sitcom "Blossom," and more recently as the nerdy neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit "The Big Bang Theory." Bialik started her career as a child actress in the late 1980s and has garnered a lot of attention for her numerous appearances in film and television, including winning the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 2015 and 2017. Outside of her acting career, she is an accomplished neuroscientist and author. To date, Bialik has written two New York Times best sellers, a parenting book, and a cookbook. Additionally, in January 2021, Bialik announced that she was extending her impressive resume by branching off into the podcast space with the launch of "Mayim Bialik's Breakdown," a podcast that focuses on mental health issues. Through acting, writing, and public outreach, Bialik has made great efforts to create meaningful STEM experiences for people of all ages.
Though acting was a major facet of Bialik’s life, she also discovered a love of science during her time at UCLA, which granted her a deferred acceptance in the mid-1990s. At the time, Bialik had just finished "Blossom," and she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience from UCLA in 2000, with a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies. As an undergraduate, Bialik also became a committed student leader on campus. She served in the Jewish student group UCLA Hillel, while also conducting and authoring music for UCLA’s Jewish a cappella group.
Bialik then stayed at UCLA for graduate school, noting her passion for science. “I specifically fell in love with the action potential and the electrical properties of the neuron when I was in my first semester at UCLA – I love understanding the way we think and feel and communicate, and neuroscience is the science of all that.” In graduate school she researched obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome for her PhD, which she received in 2007.
As one of UCLA's most distinguished graduates, Bialik has remained a vital member of the Bruin community. In 2019, the actress was back on campus to help celebrate her school's 100th birthday, while also receiving an award for her many years of work: the 2019 UCLA Science and Education Pioneer Award. Established in 2017, the award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a stellar commitment to empowering the public–especially children–to pursue education and success in STEM. Following the presentation of the award by Dean of Physical Sciences Miguel García-Garibay, the actress said, "The fact is, you're going to have to work hard, and it's sometimes not going to be easy. And that's still okay. There's still beauty in the journey of becoming a scientist."