Meet our newest Role Model, Athena Brensberger. Athena is an advocate for science, an entertainer, and a blogger and host. Athena is passionate about influencing the younger generation to get involved in the sciences, and the fusion between art and science. Click this link to shop Athena's style.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF! TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR FORMAL AND INFORMAL EDUCATION.
Hi, I’m Athena and I am constantly learning! In college I studied astrophysics and theatre, and nowadays I study through online courses mainly in "modern-day” theories in astrophysics (to stay up-to-date!)
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OR SKILL YOU LEARNED INSIDE THE CLASSROOM?
The most important was the way to communicate and convey complicated information to anyone in the room in a way that each of them would understand.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON OR SKILL YOU LEARNED AT NASA?
From the multiple times that I visited NASA to help do coverage of rocket launches, one of the most important skills I learned was just how important it is to be detail-oriented when it comes to rocket science! If we are going to make a big change on humanity, and do something previously thought of as IMPOSSIBLE, details are very vital. I’ve learned to directly apply this to my own life.
WHO WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE TEACHER?
Dr. Charles Liu! He was my first astronomy professor in college and my mentor, and still is like a mentor to me.
HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN SCIENCE? IN YOUR VIEW, HOW CAN WE GET MORE YOUNG GIRLS INTERESTED AND ENGAGED IN STEM?
I got interested in science from a picture book! I was 12, and I was always an artist and performer so seeing photos of the universe in a giant picture book from the Hubble Space Telescope, it blew my mind and I just had to learn more!
I think there needs to be more integration of the arts and sciences and this will get more young girls (and boys) interested!
From my observations, girls tend to fill up the art classrooms much more than boys (if it’s an elective rather than mandatory class) this being said I think the creativity aspect of science can really bring awareness to the female youth of their interest in the sciences.
WHY IS SCIENCE COMMUNICATION IMPORTANT TO YOU?
Scicomm is extremely important because science can be a tad intimidating at times to newbies, so to have a good source of science communication can help ease the subject matter and focus on the more important thing, the discoveries and growing the population of scientists, science-thinkers, or just scientifically literate individuals.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR CAREER AS A SCIENTIST WITH YOUR MODELING CAREER? HAVE YOU BEEN UNFAIRLY STEREOTYPED BECAUSE OF YOUR MODELLING?
When I was conducting research and modeling simultaneously, it was tough, missing castings for presentations, or missing team meetings for photoshoots.. so I chose. I decided to do a “trial and error”, after thinking about it a lot and spending weeks of advisement from my wonderful mentor and advisors at the time, so I took 1 semester off to explore the fashion industry.. that semester turned into an 8 year journey of international modeling and acting. Where I find myself now is in the place of a science communicator and host, applying all my skills I’ve picked up from the entertainment world but tapping it to where my passion always was, ASTRONOMY!
WHAT IS ONE LESSON YOU YOU’VE LEARNED THAT YOU’D LIKE YOUNG GIRLS GROWING UP TODAY TO KNOW?
Don’t be afraid to try something new, go to a new place or explore a different interest. Life takes multiple twists and turns and finding yourself comes from taking chances, not being shy and by learning as much as you can. Build up your skillset and know that the world will open up millions of doors of opportunities for you.
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.