Morgan Fairchild on science ed and the economy

Morgan Fairchild
(photo courtesy of Morgan Fairchild.com)

Who knew that actress Morgan Fairchild knew so much about science? “I was the original science nerd,” she told the audience during her keynote speech this morning. Fairchild, the daughter of a high school English teacher and an engineer, said that when she first came to Hollywood, her first stop was not the beauty salon, but the La Brea tar pits. She has hosted a panel on paleontology, where she was thrilled to show off a saber-tooth tiger’s skull; given presentations to the Senate about AIDS and environmental issues; studied anthropology; and keeps up with the latest medical discoveries, calling herself “a virus geek.” “If I can walk and chew gum at the same time, people are amazed,” she quipped, adding, “I may be blond, but I’m not stupid.”

She urges teachers to help their students see “science not as a drudgery, but as a door” to “a good and financially sound life.” While she believes the literary and entertainment worlds—such as the CSI television series—can hook students on science, she contends that “there will always be a new entertainment icon … but who is going to be the new Bill Gates?”

“Science has a great effect on the economy,” and “we can’t afford to fail,” she points out. The United States needs to preserve genetic diversity to ensure agricultural success and address health care issues that also threaten our economic future, she explains. “Fresh water is what the next wars will be fought about, not oil,” she maintains.

“It’s going to be the kids in your classes” who will have to deal with the issues of climate change, Fairchild observes. So it’s up to science educators to discover new methods of teaching to keep students engaged, and “our kids have to put in more time” studying science, technology, engineering, and math like children in other nations do, she contends. In addition, teachers should “fully exploit the mental capacities of girls and minorities” because “all societies improve economically” when women and minorities are in the workplace.

Fairchild received a standing ovation following her speech. Audience members praised her for her scientific knowledge and support for education–AND her beauty. Dr. Betty Crocker had this to say:

NSTA President-Elect Karen Ostlund also weighed in:

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