Friday, 18 September 2015

Engineer/Techie YouTubers - Who Knew? No.2

Following the high interest circulating my last blogpost on YouTubers whose content concern not only their lifestyle, but their work and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics - the fun has just begun.

The way how I came across this YouTuber was very unexpected. With the anticipation of my PhD, I was recommended to take a MOOC by Edx.org called "How to Survive a PhD". Although the title makes it seem that a PhD is a soul-tormenting,  physically constraining, world-ending bootcamp for intellectuals all over the world, it is actually a very warm and friendly course. It really encourages you to learn and appreciate the history of the PhD, and prompt you to develop the skills needed to optimise your performance and success during the PhD.

In the third module, the theme was confidence. According to the module, many PhDs may face a decline in confidence. Whether due to beliefs in their ability to complete and quality of their work, feedback on work, comparison to the progress of other people, and comparison of experience/knowledge. The topic of Impostor Syndrome came up which led me to find my next STEM YouTuber - Sally Le Page.

Sally Le Page describes herself as a Biologist, Youtuber, and Communicator. Following her undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, she is now a PhD student researching Interdisciplinary Biosciences - specifically sexual selection and kin selection. The MOOC featured Sally's very articulate, very engaging, and heavily empathetic video on Impostor Syndrome - which you can watch here. Watching her video, I found similarities between her and I. For starters, she entered her PhD straight from completing her bachelors. I am in the same situation. Sally shared that she had Impostor Syndrome, and still has it, during her PhD. Especially when she started, the academic experience and qualifications compared to other PhD students and herself seemed vast. Other PhDs had 1,2, or even 3 Master degrees whereas Sally skipped hers. Yet, there they all were, still considered apt enough to be admitted on PhD programs. Sally showed in her video that Impostor Syndrome can be felt by the most accomplished of scientists and technologists in the industry. Even, Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell. The video made me realise that I lived through Impostor Syndrome throughout my first year of my Undergraduate. Only through watching Sally's video that I gained the vocabulary I needed now to describe it. It is amazing now, that given my doubts and worries about my academics that I dealt with alone as a Fresher, I did not give up, excelled in what I was good at, and now embarking in a PhD early! I was so thankful for Sally's video, that I personally thanked her over Twitter. Very nicely, she took the time to reply, saying that Impostor Syndrome can really happen to everyone and we are not alone.

Flicking through her other videos, Sally Le Page's content is good. Really good. Purely looking at the scientific content, she soars in this category of YouTube. Sally is completing a PhD in Natural Selection and Biology at the University of Oxford, and the passion she has seeps into her series of videos called 'Shed Science'. Already praised to be used in biology videos by Professor Alice Roberts, a respected Clinical Anatomist and known as a broadcaster, author, and Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Birmingham, you know that these videos are special. Check some out yourself:

Underwater sound safari | Shed Science  - Sally Le Page


The sorbid truth of #MontythePenguin's sex life | Shed Science  - Sally Le Page

The success of her Shed Science videos, her personable and intellectually rich delivery, and positive online presence on YouTube got the attention of General Electric (GE). It is likely that her growing skills as a video editor and making entertaining science videos (which also contributed to her winning a film competition held by The Guardian Newspaper) made her the perfect fit for GE to be their YouTube representative and presenter in a series of online videos. She was flown out to America for 5 weeks, temporarily halting her PhD studies at the University of Oxford, making videos for General Electric at the age of 22! She made a great vlog series called 'American Adventures' where she records her highs and lows of her journey recording for General Electric, meeting some amazing people in the STEM and film industry, and discovering parts of America. Some videos were so funny I actually laughed out loud. You can find this vlog series on Sally's channel here; the following videos give you a taster:

Welcome to my American Adventures - Sally Le Page


I FLEW IN A HELICOPTER! ~ AA#5 - Sally Le Page


One of the great things about YouTube is the chance to identify with people you have never met, and to 'go' to places around the would you are yet to visit. Although you only see a snippet of their lives, sometimes it can be enough to make a positive impression on you. Enough to compel you to give their video a 'like' or even 'subscribe' to them. Watching the American Adventure vlogs, made me realise that Sally and I share a merciless love for hot chocolate and that sometimes when it gets a bit much, we reach for little reminders of home. Although her content is primarily science-based, and mine engineering, there were technical methods of explaining concepts that I feel can greatly improve and quality and future quantity of my content.

Definitely, check out Sally Le Page's YouTube channel and get to know answers about the world that you have not even asked the questions for. That is a beauty of science. Answers are everywhere, all you have to do is be curious, investigate, and start asking the right questions.

This is really going to be an exciting series of blogposts for me, I am looking forward to come across another engineer/techie/science YouTuber to gawk over.

Take Courage,

Olivia


This blogpost was not sponsored by General Electric, Edx.org, or even Sally Le Page. It was written out of genuine enthusiasm and wanting to share the love around.

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