Alumna Brings Serious Science to YouTube Series

by Nicole Morell on February 10, 2017 · 3 comments

in Alumni Life, Media, Science, Video

Ceri Riley ’16

Ceri Riley ’16 wasn’t sure that the non-traditional career path she hoped for after MIT was the right choice. “For a long time I was afraid that if I didn’t graduate MIT and become an engineer or a scientist that I wasn’t making something of myself,” she remembers. Now an editor the for popular YouTube series SciShow—a spate of science explainer videos with nearly four million subscribers—Riley is confident she made the right choice. “It’s like a dream,” she says.

Riley majored in Biology and Comparative Media Studies / Writing (CMS) at MIT and participated in programs like MIT+K12 Videos, an outreach program where students can write, host, and produce educational videos. Riley worked on these videos in her spare time but never imagined it was something she could pursue as a full time job. That changed with some help from social media.

“I always followed SciShow because I was making educational videos and really respected what they did,” she says. “And one day I just saw it pop up on Twitter that they were looking for an editor.” Riley was hired after submitting writing and video she had created while at MIT. She credits her CMS professors for pushing her to explore the opportunity.

“They always encouraged me to pursue communicating science, explaining how important it was,” she says. Riley worked part time for the show during her senior year then moved to Montana after graduation to work for SciShow full time. “MIT pushed me to change and grow and I think this move was a similar thing,” she says.

Riley spends her days with SciShow reading scripts for episodes, fact checking, and working to become an expert in random topics, like bitcoin, antimatter, and the microbiome. “MIT taught me how to read papers and do rigorous research to really understand something that I don’t have a background in,” she says. “Like having to take (courses) 8.01 and 8.02 with no background in physics, I learned that with a little persistence and a lot of creative Googling, I can figure this out.”

SciShow releases several new episodes each week that can touch on weird news or the latest science research, and Riley strives to make science behind each episode relatable and easy to understand. “We’ve had shows on what dinosaurs tasted like and the history of the internet. You have to explain that in a way that isn’t overwhelming,” she says.

And while Riley and the SciShow editors work on scripts to create episodes can be enjoyed by kids and adults, she’s also working on a game show-style podcast, Holy F—— Science, designed to get adults excited about science.

Learn more about SciShow then watch video on the show’s YouTube page.

 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Reid Sheftall MD February 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm

What an adorable girl! A fine reflection on MIT!

Reply

Alan Friot February 10, 2017 at 12:45 pm

It sounds like you may be able to help me. “Alan.s Discovery” has been on you tube for almost 20 years but it’s not getting out there to the public. I have no idea how to accomplish that. If there is a cost please let me know. You can use afriot@maine.rr.com to let me know.

Reply

Hajime Sano February 10, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Awesome! There are a lot of alums who pursue non-traditional (for MIT) careers. They usually have a strong impact in their fields, bringing a fresh approach and lots of energiy and ideas. And don’t be surprised if you have more than one non-MIT traditional career in your life time.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: