New series brings a fresh approach to STEM eLearning Watch the trailer here
ARLINGTON, VA; - July 21, 2022 - PBS Digital Studios announces today the debut of “Why Am I Like This?,” a new show exploring how and why our bodies do what they do. Adopting a fresh take on science education, the series begins streaming July 21 on PBS Terra, a PBS Digital Studios channel on YouTube dedicated to digital-first science programming, with new episodes released each month.
“Why Am I Like This?,” hosted by Dr. Tina Lasisi, aims to broaden audience participation and improve learning outcomes in STEM. The program takes a unique approach to examining the history and evolutionary biology of human traits through highly-engaging animated explainers, and plenty of humor.
“I’m excited to be working on this new series with my awesome colleagues at STEMedia and share my love of human evolutionary biology,” said Dr. Tina Lasisi, host of “Why Am I Like This?” “PBS Digital Studios is giving us a great opportunity to bring fresh voices and faces to the traditional science videos we see online—I can’t wait to see how this show evolves (pun intended)!”
This will be the second show, following the May 2022 launch of Far Out, in a lineup of new STEM-related content coming to PBS Terra with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program. The grant aims to elevate underrepresented voices in STEM media, in particular Black and Hispanic creators, as well as women in general.
“Why Am I Like This?” is produced by STEMedia®, a media company that provides educational and creative content for the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) community. As a production company and edtech platform, they have a goal to broaden participation from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in STEM fields in the United States and internationally. The show’s writing staff is led by women of color with the objective to maintain this representation and reflection in the voice and tone throughout the entire series.
“Our team is especially proud of this series and the clever way it approaches the subject matter,” said Maribel Lopez, Head of PBS Digital Studios. “Dr. Lasisi does an excellent job teaching evolutionary biology in this format, and she certainly knows how to make learning fun! She’s incredibly engaging and I think younger viewers will really appreciate her communication style, energy and expertise.”
The first three episodes of “Why Am I Like This?” will cover the following topics:
Episode 1:How Memories Are Linked to Smell
Premieres Thursday, July 21
Have you ever been stopped in your tracks after catching a whiff of body odor? Have you ever stopped to think about WHY human beings smell? Dr. Tina Lasisi walks us through how our brain processes smell, why we associate smells with certain memories, and why we needed to develop a sense of smell in the first place.
Episode 2: Skin Pigmentation: Why Am I This Color?
Premieres Thursday, August 18
We’re taking a step back in time to when black and white detective films were all the rage. However, even though the world may seem black and white, that is not always the case. Especially when it comes to the way we talk about skin color. In this episode, Dr. Lasisi puts her detective hat on to investigate why skin pigmentation can differ between people and within families. We’ll explore how skin pigmentation is not a binary concept and how distribution is rooted in genetic variation in melanin and human ancestry.
Episode 3: Why Is My Hair Like This?
Premieres Thursday, September 22
Did you know that the way most people talk and think about hair isn’t scientifically correct? Dr. Lasisi teaches us how scientists describe and measure hair, how hair is miscategorized, and why humans developed hair in the first place.
Audiences can find new episodes of “Why Am I Like This?” on PBS Terra on YouTube, on pbs.org or on the PBS Video app available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung Smart TV, Chromecast and VIZIO. For additional content and conversation, follow PBS Digital Studios on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Facebook.
“Why Am I Like This?” is produced for PBS Digital Studios by STEMedia Inc. For STEMedia, Dr. Nehemiah Mabry, Dr. Stephanie Castillo and Justin Shaifer serve as executive producers; Stephanie Castillo and Justin Shaifer as directors; Tina Lasisi and Stephanie Castillo as writers; Tina Lasisi as host; Taylor D. Adams as an editor and director of photography; Stephanie Castillo for animations; and Keaton Lusk as Boom Operator/Sound Mixer; with music by APM. For PBS, credits include Maribel Lopez as executive in charge; Gabrielle Ewing as director of programming; and Darren Knabe as director of audience development. “Why Am I Like This?” has been made possible in part by the National Science Foundation.
About Tina Lasisi, PhD
Dr. Tina Lasisi is a science communicator, content creator, and a postdoctoral researcher at University of Southern California. As a biological anthropologist, Dr. Lasisi explores hair shape and skin pigmentation, providing insights into the genetic architecture and evolutionary history of racialized human traits. Her unique research and nuanced perspective reach diverse audiences through her dynamic and witty TikToks and Instagram Reels, in addition to her conversations as a guest expert on several podcasts, including NPR’s Short Wave, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, and In Those Genes. Dr. Lasisi is excited to bring enthusiasm, wit, and authenticity to PBS Digital Studios as the host of “Why Am I Like This?” sparking curiosity and breaking down common misconceptions about how our body works. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.
About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming designed to engage, enlighten, and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 30 million subscribers on YouTube, generating an average of 50 million views per month, with a total of 3.6 billion lifetime views. Digital Studios has published over 70 original series, including 26 series from PBS member stations. Series include the Webby Award-winning BE SMART and CRASH COURSE, as well as popular series such as TWO CENTS, EONS and PBS SPACE TIME.
About The National Science Foundation (NSF)
The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote the progress of science; advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and secure national defense. NSF is the only federal agency whose mission supports all fields of fundamental science and engineering disciplines, from mathematics, engineering, and geosciences to biological, behavioral, and computer sciences. For more information, visit https://www.nsf.gov.