b'FEATURE STORYYoure heavily involved in a number ofYou were involved with one of our favorite different television series that advocate forshows, MythBusters. Can you walk us the environment, animals, and science. Whythrough how that opportunity came about?is TV such an important part of your work?Tracy:Just in the past 2 years, I\'ve done over 200 talksTracy:Yes! It was an exciting experience to be a part of!and interviews related to these topics. And frankly, I do TV shows because my message can reach a much widerWhen I was doing my dissertation, I realized how audience and a broader demographic of people. important communication was. That\'s when I made my first video about harmful algal blooms and posted it But, honestly, the reason Im so passionate about doingonline. Actuallynow that I think about itit was about more TV programming in the first place was my 10-yeara week after my cousin visited from Buffalo with her old cousin. I absolutely love her, but when she wouldInstagram obsession. visit me from Buffalo, Id notice all shed talk about were Instagram influencers or reality TV stars. Shed obsessSo, that\'s when I decided to do my first video, and I over their clothes, their makeup, and their relationships. Itcalled it Inspector Planetmy combination of Captain was all she could talk about sometimes.Planet and Inspector Gadget. It was a perfect mix of sustainability and innovation. She was enamored with these people who werent goodI thought to myself, Is true sustainability actually role modelsto the point that she told me her dreamachievable? And the answer is, maybe not. However, if career was to be a YouTube star or Instagram model whenwe\'re going to strive for true sustainability, innovation is she grew up.the only way to get there with a growing population. And I thought to myself, "You know what? There are noBut anyway, I posted my first video on my dissertation female role models for her on TV or social media."research from the University of Florida, and the shows This 10-year-old girl thought that because she was pretty,producers saw it and called me the next day. It was a wild wore makeup, and liked to do her hairbeing a star orride. I competed with 10 other brilliant scientists and model must be the only path for her in life. I couldnt haveengineers to see who would become the next host of the been more frustrated with the whole situation. MythBusters reboot. It inspired me to do more. Frankly, it should inspire everyUnfortunately, I didnt win, but the only way to grow woman thats capableand in the position to do sotopersonally and professionally is to go out of your comfort do more in media to break these stereotypes. Kids needzone. Im not big into competitions, but I wanted to give more opportunities to see better role models on TV, sopeopleespecially womeninspiration that they can take they can dream bigger. So they can become the nexton any challenge and do anything they put their mind to. leaders in science that we desperately need.That opportunity was a stepping stone to other TV opportunities. Since then, Ive done many other projectsmy favorite being my contributions to The Weather Channel related to red tide. Whos Minding the Planet? 35'