Now that you’ve had just enough time to write off your 2016 resolutions, your faithful #WCW is back to bring you a little motivation from the path-paving women of YouTube. (You’re welcome ahead of time.) And who better to start off the year than Vanessa Hill, an Australian science educator whose love for brunch can only be topped by her adoration for her labradoodle and the human brain.
Many moons ago, when I was a young lass of 23, Hill was one of my first interviews for the Daily Dot in a feature about women combating sexism in STEM fields on YouTube. Her genuine love for science was palpable through the phone, and in the years since, it has only gained momentum. Her videos bring to life topics of psychology, neuroscience, and human behavior using current events and paper craft stop-motion animation. From the initial research to the paper creations to the final edit, the videos take days to make. Since starting her channel in 2013, Hill’s success has been evident not only in her growing view count, but also in her move to PBS Digital Studios and the support of her content from YouTube heavyweights such as AsapSCIENCE and Emily Graslie.
She originally started her channel BrainCraft with the purpose of making science education more relatable and entertaining for the general public—a throwback to her master’s degree in psychology and past jobs in education and social media.
“What I’m trying to do is communicate science in creative ways,” Hill stated in our past interview. “To just do something different that’s not a talking head and is a little bit crafty. I’m trying to work on it so it has a beautiful aesthetic and people want to watch it. It looks cool, and they learn bits of science along the way.”
Over the past two years, Hill has explained why movies control our brains, the benefits of forgetting, if our pets actually miss us, and most recently, why so many people get cancer. This topic sadly relevant following the deaths of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Celine Dion’s husband René Angélil, but it’s especially close to Hill’s heart as her long-time partner Jake Roper (the creator behind VSauce3) is currently battling sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the connective tissue.
Today, Hill is one of the most influential STEM educators on YouTube, changing the way people interact with science. She’s actually getting people to engage with topics we thought we ditched at our high school graduations. Through example, she’s showing young girls that women can thrive in STEM and that there isn’t just one roadmap you have to follow to discover—or invent—your dream career.
Screengrab via BrainCraft/YouTube