It's just a normal day at Brains On headquarters, until Molly and co-host Aaliyah find Forever Ago host Joy Dolo in the midst of a full-blown stress attack. She has a lot on her agenda: it's her birthday month and Black History Month, she's producing a one-woman show, she's got episodes to host, parades to plan and a self-portrait made entirely out of found objects due for her art class! Joy isn't sure which way is up, if tacos are sandwiches and if she should re-think her entire life. Luckily, there are all sorts of amazing scientists who just happen to be hanging out at Brains On HQ happy to help. Chemist Joya Cooley, urban ecologist Jasmin Green, roboticist Randi Williams, entomologist Jessica Ware and space suit technician Sharon McDougle are on the case, ready to share their wisdom and superpowers with Joy.
Below you’ll find coloring pages of each of our super scientists, so you can color along while you listen! Send us your masterpieces at brainson.org/contact.
Jasmin Green coloring page
Randi Williams Coloring Page
Jessica Ware Coloring Page
Joya Cooley Coloring Page
Sharon McDougle Coloring Page
ALIA: You're listening to Brains On where we're serious about being curious. Brains On is supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
MOLLY BLOOM: Hi, Alia. Welcome to Brains On headquarters. I am so glad you're here.
ALIA: Me too. So excited to see the studio. Wait, is that Joy Dolo hosted Forever Ago pasting back and forth and muttering to herself?
JOY DOLO: That's it. I can't do all of this. I'm just one person, one super spectacular, incredibly gorgeous person.
ALIA: Joy, what's going on? You seem really stressed.
JOY DOLO: Oh, Alia, sorry. I just have way too much going on right now. I'm performing in a sold out, one woman show, The Joy Dolo Story. Valentine's day is right around the corner, and I wanted to bake heart shaped cookies for all my friends and all my friends pets, plus it's Black History month, and I'm organizing a citywide parade to celebrate.
ALIA: That is a lot.
JOY DOLO: And I'm not done. It's also my birthday this month, and I'm planning my annual birthday blowout block party. And I need to rent the bounce house, buy the cake, drop hints to all my friends about the birthday presents I want this year, candy factory hint, hint. And to top it all off, I'm supposed to host a forever go episode today.
OK. But what's all this stuff all over the ground? Oh, I need to make a self-portrait for my art class. So I'm using stuff from my grandma's junk drawer. Look, I made my eyeballs out of batteries and my arms out to used toothbrushes. Brilliant, right? I just need to find something in here for my eyebrows.
ALIA: Joy, hold on. Maybe we can prioritize some things so you don't have to try to do everything on your to do list at once.
JOY DOLO: Yes. Great idea, learn to prioritize. Adding it to the do list right now.
ALIA: That's not what I meant.
JOY DOLO: Why am I so busy? Do I need to rethink my entire life? Maybe I should just quit my job, sell all of my stuff, and become a professional surfer. Oh, great. Now, I need to learn how to surf.
ALIA: Joy, how about we celebrate Black History month by talking to some awesome Black women working in science about their lives and their jobs, like how they got to be where they are and what advice they have? Maybe that can help you figure out what you want to do.
JOY DOLO: I love it. I'm in. But first, can you help me finish this self-portrait for my art class? It just needs some eyebrows. Oh, how about these?
BOTH: Flat head screwdrivers, yes.
MOLLY BLOOM: You're listening to Brains On from APM Studios. I'm Molly Bloom
ALIA: I'm Alia.
JOY DOLO: And I'm Joy Dolo. Today, I'm having a serious crisis. I'm way too busy, I'm stressed out, and I have no idea what to do with my life.
MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, we need to help her Alia. So I'm wondering, how do you fight stress?
ALIA: Well, usually, when I fight stressed, I try to find something that will get really to my roots to make me calm down and take some deep breaths.
MOLLY BLOOM: So what helps you calm down?
ALIA: I don't know, listening to some music or watching a funny video. That usually helps me calm down.
MOLLY BLOOM: Good advice. Do you know what you want to do for work when you're a grown up?
ALIA: Well, I did want to be a professional basketball player when I'm older.
MOLLY BLOOM: Very cool. What are some of your other options?
ALIA: A white hat hacker. Also, white hat hackers are basically like a good type of hacker. And I was learning coding for a little bit.
MOLLY BLOOM: That's amazing. Any other things you're thinking about?
ALIA: Well, I kind of do want to be an astronaut. But I'm kind of still thinking about it because there's so many risks and I'm a little scared.
MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah. I mean, the cool thing is that you're interested in so many things. It's hard to decide. I feel like Joy is maybe going through something similar right now.
JOY DOLO: I am. There's so many things. And I need to prioritize. I need to think about what I'm doing. I need to figure it out. But it's really interesting? I could not be a white hat hacker because I still can't turn off my flashlight on my cell phone.
JOY DOLO: I don't know how to do it. They keep updating these phones and it's too much for me. I reached to my brink. I want to live through you, Alia.
MOLLY BLOOM: But you know, Joy is an actor now. But she thought about being a scientist when she was younger, right?
JOY DOLO: I did. I was in AP chem classes when I was in high school because I was really interested in elements and how everything kind of came together. But then I just started doing theater. And as you can tell, I'm pretty expressive. I can be a little dramatic, some would say. I don't know why Molly's laughing, but I ended up doing that.
ALIA: I can help you with all the phone stuff. I got it down.
JOY DOLO: Oh, good. I need a lot of help. I also need to change my background. It's been my dog for like six years.
MOLLY BLOOM: Well, there's a lot of ways we're going to try and help Joy today. And one of these is that we have to help her figure out what she's going to do with her life how to prioritize what's happening. So I think that we should get on our coats and hit the town because I don't think we're going to find a bunch of people hanging around Brains On headquarters who can give us career advice, except maybe Gangadhar. And I have a feeling his advice would not be that helpful.
JOY DOLO: Good call. To the coat closet. I always feel more confident when I'm wearing my neon green, a fur coat.
JOYA COOLEY: Hi, Joy. Hi, Molly. Hey, Alia.
JOY DOLO: Whoa, Joya Cooley, chemist at Cal State Fullerton.
ALIA: Joya, what are you doing in here?
JOYA COOLEY: I was looking for my coat. I think I left it here after the Brains On baking competition. Have you seen it? It's the one covered in flour and chocolate chips.
JOY DOLO: Yeah, I think I ate it. Well, we're really glad you're here because I've been wondering whether I need to completely rethink my entire life and start over, like new career, new friends, new pets and everything.
JOYA COOLEY: I totally understand that feeling. Sometimes life just feels kind of overwhelming, but it helps to focus on what you're passionate about. That's how I got into science.
JOY DOLO: OK, then. I think I need to ask you a few questions. So you're a chemist. Can you tell me like-- imagine I'm an alien. What is chemistry?
JOYA COOLEY: Chemistry is quite simply the study of matter. So it's the study of everything around us. So we want to understand what makes up matter, why matter behaves certain ways, and what matter will do if we do certain things to it, if we mix it with other things, if we heat it up, if we cool it down.
JOY DOLO: Why does matter matter?
JOYA COOLEY: Because matter makes up everything around us. So it helps us understand why certain things are the way they are, but it also helps us understand how to make new things. If we want to make something new that does something specific, we need to understand matter in order to make better matter.
JOY DOLO: That matters. How did you find your love of chemistry?
JOYA COOLEY: Learning about chemistry in school was always very fun for me. I had really great teachers, especially in high school, they helped me understand that chemistry really does help us understand the world around us. It helps us understand why things act the way they do, and how you can use chemistry to make new things that will make the world better.
JOY DOLO: So I mean, we know you love chemistry. Do you have other passions that you're interested in?
JOYA COOLEY: I do. One thing I love is music. I'm always listening to music and I love to go see live music. I also love baking because it's basically chemistry that you can eat.
JOY DOLO: So if you had a superpower real or unreal, what would your superpowers be?
JOYA COOLEY: If I had an unreal superpower, I would say I would need laser vision. And that's because in my research that I do at Cal State Fullerton, we are really interested in how matter reacts to temperature. So we heat things up and see what it does. So if I can heat things up myself, that would be really cool.
JOY DOLO: Thanks so much for talking with us, Joya.
JOYA COOLEY: I'm so glad I could help. Hey, I found my jacket. See you both later.
ALIA: Bye, Joya.
MOLLY BLOOM: That was so helpful.
JOY DOLO: Yes. Maybe I should become a chemist. She gave me a lot to chew over. And speaking of chewing, I'd love to chew some food to. Lunchbreak?
MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, yeah. Sandwiches or tacos?
ALIA: Aren't tacos technically sandwiches?
JOY DOLO: Whoa, you are blowing my mind right now.
MOLLY BLOOM: I think if we'd really want to know, we'd have to talk to a taco and sandwich expert.
JOY DOLO: Oh my gosh. Botanist and urban ecologist, Jasmin Green. What are you doing here?
JASMIN GREEN: I'm always here on Taco Tuesday.
MOLLY BLOOM: The taco farm does grow the absolute best tacos.
JOY DOLO: Jasmin, I'm so glad you're here. I don't want to get in between you and your tacos, but would you have time for a few questions?
JASMIN GREEN: Sure. I'm used to getting asked a lot of questions whenever I stop by Brains On headquarters. I'd love it.
JOY DOLO: Great. First of all, what is botany?
JASMIN GREEN: Yeah. Botany very simply is the study of plants.
JOY DOLO: When I was little, I used to-- we always lived by this big field. And then there was this pond in the middle of it. And it was just in the middle of suburbia. And I always goes this is just like my little piece of nature. How did you get involved in this field?
JASMIN GREEN: Yeah. So very similar to you, I also grew up in suburbia, and most of my outdoor experiences were going out in my backyard, or like walking around the neighborhood walking by little ponds and walking trails in the forest, and that always seemed super magical to me. What I study is plants in vacant lots. So what I'm interested in is seeing how urban landscapes might lead to more differences in plants living in different parts of the city compared to maybe a more, quote unquote, "natural landscape" where it doesn't have all of this like human sort of influence.
JOY DOLO: If you had a superpower, what would your superpower be?
JASMIN GREEN: It would be really cool if I could absorb energy like plants do, like solar energy, but I would expand this to electricity. If I could plug myself up to a wall socket and that could power me, I think that would be super cool.
JOY DOLO: What's your origin story?
JASMIN GREEN: I feel like I've wanted to be a scientist since probably elementary school. So I think this probably started because my mom's a nurse. So she was getting her nursing degree when I was little. And so that probably started it. And then when she would study science, I was also there. I just thought it was really cool.
JOY DOLO: What is your favorite plant you would find in a vacant lot?
JASMIN GREEN: Hands down, it is wild radish, so raphanus genus. I love seeing this plant just because it has really beautiful flowers. They're really cute, small. They can be pink, they can be white, and they can be yellow. And also, they can mix colors too. So it's always fun to stumble upon them because they're really beautiful in my opinion.
JOY DOLO: Can you eat them?
JASMIN GREEN: You can. They're not like the radishes that we see like in stores. Basically, they're wild relative. So you could eat them if you wanted to, but it's probably not as pleasant an experience as the ones that you get in the store.
JOY DOLO: OK. So I have dandelions that grow in my yard. Can I straight up eat the dandelions that are in my yard?
JASMIN GREEN: Dandelion leaves are edible. I would caution anyone if you're going to eat a plant that you see, make sure that you've identified it correctly before consuming anything because plants can also be toxic.
JOY DOLO: That's true. And I have two dogs. So there might be little peepee on them. Should I become an urban ecologist?
JASMIN GREEN: Urban ecology is really cool because you get a better understanding of the nature that's all around you. So if you are going for a walk and you see maybe a vacant lot or you see a yard full of trees, if you're curious about how that got there, why it looks the way it does, why the plants that are growing there or growing there, that's all you need to be an urban ecologist. And thinking about the future, a lot of people moved to the cities and a lot of people are living in these urbanized areas. So if we want plants in humans to coexist peacefully, then we need people to study how they interact and study how they live together so that we can create nice places to live that have beautiful plants and beautiful people.
JOY DOLO: Jasmin Green, it's been so great talking to you. I don't want to hold you up from the tacos. I can smell them from here.
JASMIN GREEN: They smell so good. Bye, Alia. Bye, Molly. Bye, Joy.
JOY DOLO: Wow, that Jasmin knows her stuff. Maybe I should become a botanist.
MOLLY BLOOM: Botany is awesome.
ALIA: And if you want to be an ecologist, you have to have excellent observation skills.
MOLLY BLOOM: Oh, like the power of hearing. And as long as you're here Joy, I hope you'll join us for the, Mystery Sound. Here it is.
JOY DOLO: Oh my goodness.
ALIA: Well, that's intense?
JOY DOLO: What is that?
MOLLY BLOOM: What do you guys think? All right. Who wants to guess first? Let's have you a guest first, Alia.
ALIA: OK. So I kind of thought, like at first, it was like when you have a textbook and you just get bored, and then you flip through the pages super fast with your finger like when you do that. And then I feel like they were like ripping out pages after that.
JOY DOLO: Yeah. That's really good. You know what I thought it was? You know like a broom or maybe like a brush that has the bristles. And then you kind of like do that thing where they kind of go doink, doink, doink, doink.
ALIA: It does sound like that too.
JOY DOLO: Yeah, even like a broom or brush maybe.
JOY DOLO: Or maybe like a really thick carpet.
ALIA: I think you might be right.
JOY DOLO: I'm just going to keep guessing until somebody tells me to stop.
MOLLY BLOOM: We are going to be back with the answer and give you both another chance to guess in just a bit. Hey, friends. We're working on an episode all about friendship.
ALIA: Friendship is an amazing part of being human.
MOLLY BLOOM: What would you say, Alia, makes a good friend?
ALIA: Someone who you can really trust. Like if you tell them a secret, they'll keep it. And someone who's supportive, and someone that is very kind to you. Not someone that pushes you and kind of like a show off, and who's kind of mean to you.
MOLLY BLOOM: Listeners, tell us. What do you think makes a good friend? Record yourself and send it to us.
MOLLY BLOOM: And while you're there, you can send us mystery sounds, drawings.
ALIA: And questions like this one.
- Why do birds not taste spicy things and squirrels do?
MOLLY BLOOM: You can find the answer on our Moment of Um podcast. It's a daily dose of facts and fun every weekday. You can find it wherever you listen to Brians On.
JOY DOLO: And Forever Ago.
ALIA: And keep listening. You're listening to Brains On. I'm Alia.
MOLLY BLOOM: And I'm Molly.
JOY DOLO: And I'm Joy. And I can't stop thinking about that mystery sound.
MOLLY BLOOM: I know. I can't take the suspense. Let's listen one more time, and then find out what it is.
JOY DOLO: Yeah, let's do it.
ALIA: Let's do it.
MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Any new thoughts?
ALIA: Well, now it kind of sounds like somebody's like-- when you ever get packages and there's little balls clumped together, it sounds like somebody's chopping that.
JOY DOLO: Yeah. Oh, that's a good one. Maybe packaging bubbles when you're like--
ALIA: Oh, I love those.
JOY DOLO: Those big fat ones when you rub them, they kind of make like a pift.
MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah, that sound.
JOY DOLO: If you ever need someone to make mystery sounds like I'm available.
MOLLY BLOOM: All right. We got some good guesses. Are you ready for the answer?
MOLLY BLOOM: OK. Here it is. So that was the sound of dragonfly wings rubbing kind of against my fingers. So I was taking my finger and rubbing it along the edge of a dragonfly wing. And dragonfly wings are very stiff and they have lots of veins in them, which helps their wings stay stiff when they're doing their flying. So if you run your finger along them and you hit each of those little veins, it makes that kind of rustling sound.
MOLLY BLOOM: Amazing. So you guys were close rubbing a finger on something.
JOY DOLO: Yep.
MOLLY BLOOM: It just happened to be a dragonfly's wing.
JOY DOLO: And it's stiff like the bristles or like packaging bubbles.
JOY DOLO: Yes, you were not that far off. So that mystery sound came from our friend Jessica Ware. She's an entomologist, which means she studies insects. She's also the president of the World Dragonfly Association. And she left this message for us.
- My name is Dr. Jessica Ware and I am an associate curator at the American Museum of Natural History. And that means that I work with the collections of insects that we have here at the museum, and I'm a scientist. And what I study is evolutionary entomology. So I study how insects evolved over time.
I always really appreciated insects, I think. But I didn't know that someone could study insects for their job. And so once I got to University, I realized that there were scientists and that whole job was just being curious and asking questions. And I thought, well, that seems like a pretty great job, I think I should do that. And then once I learned about insects and how many there were and how many millions were yet to be discovered, I like an adventure. So I thought maybe I could be someone that does some of that discovery.
What I love most about dragonflies is that they're really colorful. They're amazing predators. So they're like Lions, they eat all the things that we don't really want to have around like mosquitoes. But they're also really old. So we have fossils of modern dragonflies. There are 250 million years old, which is pretty great. But I think in general also they're overlooked. So I like an underdog.
Once you get used to looking at very small things like insects, it really changes the way you look at the whole world. So when I'm walking to the subway, when I'm driving in a car to the grocery store, I really view everything through a different lens, I think, because I'm so used to working with things that are really small and kind of overlooked. And so it really changes your perspective, I think, on the grand scheme of things, and how we as humans fit into the world.
JOY DOLO: I love that, looking at tiny creatures to see the big picture. Thanks Dr. Ware. So cool.
ALIA: I know. Do you hear that?
MOLLY BLOOM: Yeah. It sounds like some kind of robot, but that can't be right. The Brains On robot prom isn't until next week.
JOY DOLO: Whoa, it's robotics scientist Randi Williams. And is that a skeleton?
MOLLY BLOOM: Well, that's Mr. Bonejangles, our resident singing skeleton. Randi, what are you two up to?
RANDI WILLIAMS: Oh, hey.
MR. BONEJANGLES: Hello.
RANDI WILLIAMS: So we're building a robot to help Mr. Bonejangles keep his sock stash organized.
ALIA: Sock stash?
MR. BONEJANGLES: I have an extensive collection of socks in my bone and flip hand. If you've ever had a missing sock, it's probably because I snuck into your house when you weren't looking, stuck my bony little hand in the laundry pile, and yanked it.
JOY DOLO: So that's where they went.
MR. BONEJANGLES: But I've gotten so good at stealing socks that I don't know what to do with all of them. Randi and I have been working our fingers to the bone trying to come up with a solution.
RANDI WILLIAMS: I don't worry. I just have to tighten up this screw and walla.
SUPER SOCK SORTER 3001: Super Sock Sorter 3001 activated. My mission is to sort all of your socks so that you can acquire more socks.
JOY DOLO: You're so cute, little tiny.
SUPER SOCK SORTER 3001: Where are the socks? Must organize.
MR. BONEJANGLES: Thanks so much Randi. Socky, wait for me. Socky, now I know that you think you're some kind of expert, but you could be learning from the real pros.
JOY DOLO: Randi, now that the Super Sock sort of 3001 is finished and busy sorting socks, would you have time to answer a few questions?
RANDI WILLIAMS: Sure, Joy.
JOY DOLO: OK. Randy, when did you become interested in robots and AI?
RANDI WILLIAMS: Well, actually, surprisingly late. So I really got into it when I started graduate school at MIT where I am now. Beforehand I had done a lot of work with computer science and with engineering. So I really liked to build things, but I never built a robot before. Yet it became a life changing moment when I met my professor, Dr. Cynthia Breazeal, who uses robotics in a very special way. She uses robots to communicate with people and to help people. And I didn't realize you could use robots for that before. I thought robots would drive you around or maybe work in factories, but I never thought about the connections between robots and people. And that really inspired me to learn more about robotics and AI.
JOY DOLO: Now when you say that robots communicate with people, are you saying that the robots talk and then you talk back to it, and it knows what you're saying?
RANDI WILLIAMS: Yeah. For example, how you move your body has a lot to do with how you communicate, or the facial expressions that you make, or the way that your voice goes up if you're really excited about something or down and maybe you talk slowly and dramatically to draw people in. So our robots try and use all of those different tools to really connect with people in the same way that people connect with people.
JOY DOLO: I think I understand what you're talking about. I would be a terrible robot. So I mean speaking of questions, I clearly have questions about my career. I'm having a career crisis. Just another Tuesday. Could you give me like a 30-second pitch on why I should become a roboticist?
RANDI WILLIAMS: All right. Here is why you should become a roboticist, Joy. My favorite thing about robotics is that it uses so many different skills all together in one thing. So if you really like to solve problems, if you like puzzles, then there's a lot of computer science and programming behind robots. So you get to do that. If you enjoy design and creating things and building things and art and working with your hands, then yeah, building the physical robot requires people who are very creative and very visual in order to make a robot that looks convincing and hopefully cute maybe, as well as works well.
Maybe you're someone who really likes interacting with people and really likes stories, maybe, or scripting how one person should talk to another person, and that has a lot to do with robotics too. Because if you're trying to build a robot that can talk to people, then you have to think about, well, what would this robot say in this situation, what would it say in that situation. And so the people who I work with, all the roboticists that I work with, they often have a whole range of skills. So they could be artists, storytellers, psychologists, computer programmers, and we all get to work together to make these really powerful, fun, but also helpful and practical robots.
JOY DOLO: Being a woman and a person of color in this field, did you have any specific challenges? Did you see a lot of people like you? And if you did have challenges, how did you overcome it?
RANDI WILLIAMS: I got to be honest with you. When I took my first computer science class, there were two girls in the class, me and my friend Kelsey. And I don't know. I think at first, I didn't really notice that. It didn't really bother me because I was lucky enough to grow up with my mom having done engineering. And so she would take us to all of these women or girls in engineering kinds of clubs. And so I'd already had the mindset like, yeah, of course, girls can do this. But over time in that computer science class, I started to wonder. I was like, wait a minute, do I belong here?
But here's what I learned. First, I think that really the field does best when people with very different mindsets enter the room. So if you come into the classroom and maybe you're the only girl, the only boy, or the only person of color, or the only person from where you're from, that's actually a good thing. That means that you have a way of seeing a problem that no one else does. So you can learn from the people in the room. And they can learn from you.
JOY DOLO: Oh, that's super great. That's wonderful advice. OK. So let's say you had a superpower, what would you say your superpower is?
RANDI WILLIAMS: My superpower is that I am always curious and I'm always wanting to learn more things and to understand the world in different ways. And yeah, that allows me to just continue growing and to continue being excited about new things.
JOY DOLO: Thanks, Randi.
RANDI WILLIAMS: My pleasure. Bye.
JOY DOLO: This makes me feel so much better. There are so many ways to be creative and explore the world, whether that's by building robots or studying plants and insects or inventing cool new materials. But there's one last thing that has me feeling kind of stressed.
ALIA: What is it? Whether tacos or sandwiches and sandwiches are tacos?
JOY DOLO: Yeah. But also I'm supposed to do a whole space scene in my one woman show, The Joy Dolo Story. And I have no idea what I'm going to wear. I need something practical but playful, flame retardant but fashionable, breathable but breathtaking.
SHARON MCDOUGLE: Oh, I can help you with that.
JOY DOLO: Wait. Aren't you Sharon McDougle, the Sharon McDougle, the spacesuit technician?
SHARON MCDOUGLE: I sure am. I was just on my way to Brains On zero gravity room. I'm helping Marc get suited up for his new dance class, grab her sizing. You know like Jazzercise. It's where you exercise in zero G.
ALIA: Oh, that sounds fun.
MOLLY BLOOM: I was wondering why Marc was walking around in Spandex shorts and a sweat band the other day.
ALIA: Before you go, Sharon, mind if I ask you about your work?
SHARON MCDOUGLE: Of course.
ALIA: How did you get started working with space suits?
SHARON MCDOUGLE: So I always get asked that, how did you get into your career? And I was like, there is no special moment where I was laying out in the yard on a grassy knoll looking up at the sky like, Oh, one day I want to work with the space program. There was none of that. I had no idea what I was going to do. When I graduated in high school, Air Force recruiter came and spoke to our class.
So I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't have money to attend college, even though I wanted to go to college. And so when the Air Force recruiter came and spoke to us in an assembly, I was like, that's what I'm going to do. The Air Force will pay for my schooling, and I'll get the-- I still can work and get a paycheck and travel and just have a great life. And I got in. And I did get all of that too in the Air Force.
So I worked with space shuttle program for 22 years. And so I started at the very bottom, even though I was already experienced from the Air Force. I started at the bottom as a suit technician. Then I became the first woman and the first Black crew chief in the Department. And then I became the first and only Black woman manager. So I made it all the way to the top of my career.
JOY DOLO: Wow
ALIA: What's been one of your favorite moments doing this work?
SHARON MCDOUGLE: Oh my goodness, the most memorable, of course, is making history by setting up the first Black woman astronaut to go to space. And I was the first and only Black woman in my department. Also, leading the first and only all-female spacesuit crew to suit up an astronaut crew and get them ready for flight.
ALIA: Wow. What are some of the trickiest parts of taking care of the spacesuit?
SHARON MCDOUGLE: The trickiest parts are that each astronaut did not have their own spacesuit. You'd have one astronaut a different size in the suit one day, and then the next day somebody else that may be shorter or taller or a little heavier or a little thinner would get in the suit. So we'd have to make sure we adjusted it just right. So you have to do all the measurements and make sure you tighten it where it needs to be tightened, loosened it where it needs to be loosened. And then when you test it, make sure it works properly.
JOY DOLO: What advice would you have for someone that would-- let's say they're in the middle of a career crisis, and they don't know what to do next? What advice would you give that person, let's say it's not me?
SHARON MCDOUGLE: OK. I would tell them to change gears. You can always change your mind. You don't have to stick with the subject that you may have as your major, if you're working a job and you don't feel like you're getting treated well. And I know we need a paycheck. But it's not worth your mental health. And then if you get rejected, rejection is just redirection. That wasn't meant for you.
ALIA: Thanks for answering my questions Sharon.
SHARON MCDOUGLE: Any time. I'm off to the zero gravity room. Bye.
ALIA: Wow. So many amazing, funny, creative, scientists hanging out at Brains On headquarters today.
JOY DOLO: And they were so kind to answer all of our questions. I love asking people questions, hearing about their lives, joking around with them, hanging out with cool kids like you Alia, learning stuff with my friend Molly. What a perfect day.
ALIA: Asking questions, learning stuff, making jokes seems like your perfect job might be podcast host.
JOY DOLO: Wow. You're right, and I already do that. Now that this existential crisis is over, I can get back to that to-do list.
MOLLY BLOOM: What's up first?
JOY DOLO: Finally, getting those snacks. Taco sandwich, anyone?
MOLLY BLOOM: That's it for this episode of Brains On.
ALIA: This episode was produced by Joy Dolo, Molly Bloom, Shahla Farzan, Rose Dupont, Anna Goldfield, Adaron Wuldislacy, Anna Weggel, Nico Gonzales-Wisler, Ruby Guthrie, and Marc Sanchez.
MOLLY BLOOM: Our editor is Sanden Totten. This episode was sound design by Marc Sanchez. Beth Perlman is our executive producer. And the executive is in charge of APM Studios are Chandra Kavati, Alex Shaffer, and Joanne Griffith. Special thanks to John Nicolosi, Latifa Bryant, Scott Rowan, and Mickey Bloom.
ALIA: Brains On is a nonprofit Public Radio program.
MOLLY BLOOM: There are lots of ways to support the show, head to brainson.org.
ALIA: While you're there, you can subscribe to our smarty pass.
MOLLY BLOOM: It gives you access to ad free episodes and bonus content.
ALIA: You can submit your questions.
MOLLY BLOOM: And tell your friends about us.
ALIA: That's brainson.org.
MOLLY BLOOM: Now it's time for the brains honor roll. These are the incredible kids who keep this show going with their ideas, mysteries sounds, drawings, and high fives.
[LISTING HONOR ROLL]
We'll be back next week with more answers to your questions.
ALIA: Thanks for listening.
Transcription services provided by 3Play Media.