Bite Sci-zed video channel makes alum a YouTube star
She's on a short list of possible next-generation science educators
In today’s world, innovative teaching methods – like everything else – can spread speedily as a result of technology.
For example, Khan Academy, now one of the most popular online video-based educational programs, started in 2009 as a single YouTube channel. It has since garnered more than 190 million total views and now has 16 different channels providing material in different languages.
Khan Academy and YouTube teamed up in September to look for the next generation of online educators and produced the YouTube Next EDU Guru project, a project that has selected 10 engaging video-creators and is providing them with the training and tools to become better global educators.
One of those who made the roster was Alex Dainis '11, creator of the Bite Sci-zed YouTube channel.
“I was extremely excited to be chosen as one of the YouTube Next EDU Gurus,” Dainis said in a recent interview by e-mail. “My Bite Sci-zed videos have been a fun way for me to talk about the parts of science that I think are exciting and amazing with more people, and I was honored that YouTube saw what I was doing and wanted to support it.”
Dainis was at YouTube headquarters for three days last week and “got to meet with some incredible online educators. Seeing their passion for what they're doing, and getting to share in their ideas and creativity, was truly an amazing experience,” she said.
Dainis confesses that she struggled with her science major halfway through her Brandeis career. Her lab experience with Associate Professor of Biology Paul Garrity over the summer of her sophomore year was crucial for her success.
“Working in his lab reminded me why I loved science, and gave me my first real opportunity to experiment and investigate,” she says. “I received more support and knowledge there than I could have ever hoped for.” she says.
In addition to working in the Garrity lab, she TA’d in the biology lab of Associate Professor Melissa Kosinski-Collins lab during her junior and senior years.
“There, I found my passion for teaching science,” Dainis says. “There was something so amazing about sharing the things that I loved with students. Every moment where I saw a student stop worrying about exams and really see science was a personal victory. After graduating, I wanted to continue sharing my love of science with others and expose people to the parts of science that I think are interesting and cool.”
Because her Brandeis degree was in both Film, Television, and Interactive Media and in biology, “it made sense for me to combine the two. I make Bite Sci-zed simply because I love talking about science and I wanted to share it with other people,” she says.
Now 23, the Mansfield, Mass., native is working at the Richard Lewis Media Group and looking to take her passion for science to the next level – the Genetics Department at Stanford, where she intends to pursue her PhD.
While there, Dainis will simultaneously culture her fervor for teaching and public science education. “I want to continue to share my passion for science with the world, be that through video, the Internet, or teaching,” she says.