LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
If you have a kid anywhere from 6 to 10 years old and they like science or you want to get them to like science, you may have already heard of the Netflix show "Brainchild," which takes science and makes it fun.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BRAINCHILD")
SAHANA SRINIVASAN: How big is the universe? Where are we in the cosmos? What are stars made of? And most of all, are we alone in the universe?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's the host, Sahana Srinivasan. And she joins us now. Welcome.
SRINIVASAN: Hi. Thanks for having me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hi. So you're in school. You're in university.
SRINIVASAN: Yes, ma'am. So I'll be graduating in May from UT.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's really exciting. What are you studying?
SRINIVASAN: I'm studying film - Radio Television Film.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Fantastic. OK. So I guess, as we know, getting young girls interested in STEM is vital to getting women working in STEM. And seeing a young woman like yourself talking science seems like it was deliberate. They wanted to sort of encourage that in young girls.
SRINIVASAN: Yeah, exactly. A lot of people compare the show to, like, "Bill Nye" or "Beakman's World," "Adam Ruins Everything." And all of those include a male host. So when we see that, it could be discouraging for young girls who are very interested in going into STEM fields or STEAM, which incorporates art into engineering and science.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I've heard you get a lot of mail from young fans. What do they say?
SRINIVASAN: Oh, yeah. It's so sweet when I get mail or messages. They talk to me about stuff like seeing a woman talk to you about science and stuff is very encouraging for young girls. And they message me about that. And then I also have women of color - Indian young girls who tell me that they're interested in going into acting. And this is inspirational for them. Yeah. It's really cool to hear about that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, needless to say, I came across this because I've got a 6-year-old daughter who absolutely loves you. And she was so excited that I was going to talk to you. And she asked me to send you a message. Here it is.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I love how you say it. And I watch "Brainchild" every day. And I'm really interested into "Brainchild."
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you want to be a scientist?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I want to be a scientist.
SRINIVASAN: Aww. That's so sweet. That's awesome.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, yeah. There you go - a little bit of fan mail that I thought might perk you up.
SRINIVASAN: Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that message. I definitely think she can...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let's hope she sticks with it.
SRINIVASAN: ...Do it. Yeah.
SRINIVASAN: I think she can do it so...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you've said, actually, people interested in science are diverse. What they see on television is not.
SRINIVASAN: Yeah. If you're in a room and you look around, it's so colorful. It's so diverse. And if you look on a screen and you see a group of friends, and they're all the same, that's surprising. It's more surprising, you know, to see that than to see a woman of color hosting a science show. You know, at first you think, oh, that's rare, like, I haven't seen that, you know. But I think the other is actually more startling because it's totally not how it is in real life.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're from Texas. And science nowadays has been under assault. In Texas, the state Board of Education has voted to allow textbooks to have language doubting evolution. What does this show do about showing young people how the world works?
SRINIVASAN: Yeah. So I think what "Brainchild" does really well is explore topics that may not be discussed in school traditionally. For example, our first episode is social media. I feel like we do it in sort of an entertaining and fun way, which really is engaging for kids to see.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Sahana Srinivasan, the host of "Brainchild" on Netflix, thank you so much.
SRINIVASAN: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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