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Mayim Bialik, neuroscientist, author, and star of the CBS hit show The Big Bang Theory, spoke to a full house on Monday at Cox Auditorium during the fifth annual Mossman Distinguished Lecture.

During her presentation, Bialik reflected on her life journey, from becoming a child actor to getting a PhD in neuroscience and doing research to later playing a scientist on television.

In his introduction, Interim Chancellor Wayne T. Davis, highlighted Bialik’s efforts in promoting science among young girls.

“Mayim has been an advocate for encouraging young girls to pursue STEM disciplines,” he said. “Her career choices, going all the way back to her starring role on Blossom, the early-’90s hit sitcom, have reinforced the idea that it’s cool to be smart.”

The daughter of schoolteachers, Bialik grew up with a deep appreciation for the humanities. “Science definitely didn’t come easily to me,” she said.

In fact, it wasn’t until she was in high school that she became interested in the subject. She credits a tutor she had when filming Blossom with igniting her passion for science. Her positive experience motivated her to pursue a career in neuroscience.

“Just because you’re not naturally good at something, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It only means you haven’t been taught the way you are supposed to be taught,” she added.

Bialik also offered her best advice for academic success.

“School can be hard and I relied heavily on the services the university provided to get me through these stressful times, so don’t be afraid to do the same. And always sit in the front row—that is where you really learn.”