Emily Graslie, of YouTube’s The Brain Scoop, only has a little over 300,000 subscribers, and in this day-and-age of the internet, that isn’t a lot. However, she’s not lacking the viewers because her content isn’t great — it is great. Her educational content, backed up by the Chicago Field Museum, is something worthwhile. Educators on YouTube have made more strides to make the internet more than just jokes and cat videos, and Emily Graslie is one of the best out there (in my humble opinion).
Her channel started from very humble beginnings. Emily Graslie was discovered by Hank Green, a man who is known for his innovation on YouTube with the help of his brother. Hank Green visited a little museum in Montana called the “Phillip L. Wright Zoological Museum”, where Graslie volunteered. Green, who runs a vlog channel with his brother, recorded the experience and the tour Graslie gave him on camera for his viewers to see. Green was taken by Graslie’s comfort in front of the camera, and the loyal vlogbrothers subscribers loved her, too. Green began to back up Graslie in making a YouTube channel of her own, where she would be educating people on animals, taxidermy, and how museums were run. Soon enough, she was contacted by the Chicago Field Museum, and she was offered a job there.
Now, The Brain Scoop is run out of the Field Museum.
Nearly four years later, though, and not enough people have payed attention to the strides her channel is making. From encouraging young women to join in STEM fields, to keeping people up to date on scientific news (in her new segment called “the Natural News”), to using her time and energy to educate as many people as possible. I don’t think she’s getting the attention she deserves.
Before reaching the Field Museum, Graslie was worried she’d have to shut down the show. They weren’t receiving the funding they needed. A lack of viewers left them unable to pay the small team behind the camera, and even Graslie herself.
Some of the problem may lay with the fact that she wasn’t doing weekly videos. Even with a small team behind her, doing the editing and whatnot, it takes a lot of time and effort to come out with these videos. Between doing all the research, the shooting, the editing, and the processing, a small team can only handle so much. However, Graslie has stated recently that they will be back to making weekly videos soon, and hopefully this will help up their viewer count.
Graslie’s videos cover a wide range of topics that can appeal to many different audiences. She’s gone so far as to skin a wolf on camera for people to watch how taxidermy works. She also goes into more simple subjects, such as the difference between horns and antlers, that can appeal to younger viewers. She has humor thrown throughout to keep viewers entertained, and her quirky personality is something that’s enjoyed by all. She’s extremely intelligent, and she showcases this without being in your face about her knowledge. Her only goal is to educate people as much as she possibly can.
It should be noted that it’s not as though Graslie has gotten no attention for her channel. Early on in the channel’s life, she was featured on the Scientific American website for her work.
“I mean …that’s pretty awesome,” — Emily Graslie about being featured on Scientific American
She has even had the opportunity to give a TEDtalk (which you can view here), all about the value of curiosity — a topic she holds dear.
Considering the small size of her channel, it has done well, regardless. However, it still deserves more attention. The Brain Scoop proves to be everything education should be. Free, allowed to the public, easily accessible, fun, worthwhile, and engaging. If you enjoy learning and science, you’re really missing out if you’re not watching The Brain Scoop.