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From Oxford to YouTube, #WCW Sally LePage is science’s latest hero
‘There is absolutely no point of doing science if no one hears about it and can use it.’
It’s not often that a doctoral student at Oxford University is as passionate about researching evolution as she is about making YouTube videos, but when it comes to biologist Sally Le Page, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.
Consider her a science superhero.
Le Page originally started her channel Shed Science with the purpose of making science accessible and interesting to a wide audience, or as she more beautifully puts it: “There is absolutely no point of doing science if no one hears about it and can use it.” Le Page has had a long love affair with STEM fields, pursuing an undergraduate degree in biological sciences at Oxford before transitioning into a Ph.D. program there. In 2013, a year after starting her channel, Le Page’s unconventional approach to science education began making national headlines after she won both the Guardian’s short film contest and Oxford’s first Science Slam competition. During her recent talk at the Royal Institution, Le Page presented “Secrets of Sex,” a lecture in which she related how the weird and amazing sexual habits of animals are more relevant to humans than we tend to believe.
Currently, Le Page is studying how sexual selection, kinship selection, and evolution all influence the behaviors of a species.
Over the last three years on YouTube, Le Page has done a lot in the name of science, from creating original songs for starfish to painting her face orange to demonstrate animal mating preferences. Recently, GE hired her as a creator in residence and gave her the support and power to create multiple science series around everything from movies to the latest in science news. Le Page has even the opportunity to interview Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson—a task that would intimidate even Charles Darwin.
At the root of all of Le Page’s many amazing achievements is her passion for science and education. Just like STEM educators Emily Graslie (Brain Scoop), Vanessa Hill (Braincraft), and Dr. Doe (Sexplanations), Le Page is an incredible role model to young girls interested in pursuing their scientific passions.
I’m especially grateful to Le Page for speaking openly about her struggles with imposter syndrome, an anxiety often felt by women that they do not deserve their own success, despite having external evidence to the contrary. Her candid conversation on the topic was a light bulb moment for me—and likely many of the rest of her 14,600 subscribers.
So keep rocking on, Sally Le Page, and I promise, I’ll always keep watching.
Screengrab via Sally Le Page/YouTube
Carly Lanning is a journalist who covers social media. Her work has been published by Psychology Today, NBC, Thrillist, and Ms. Magazine.