‘Jeopardy!’ Host Mayim Bialik Reflects on Parents’ Career in Academia as Tournament of Professors Kicks Off

by Kati Michelle

Cute, quirky, and brainy. All these things describe Mayim Bialik who continues to draw in fans for that last characteristic, especially. And she doesn’t just play the brainy characters on TV. She’s actually got a Ph.D. in neuroscience to show for it. That’s also why transitioning from neuroscientist Amy Farrah Fowler on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory” to “Jeopardy!” host just made a lot of sense for fans.

With the Tournament of Professors underway, all eyes are on some of the best educators in the nation looking to do their Universities proud. Along with her touching message of support for the contestants, Mayim Bialik just spoke to her own connections with academia. It turns out, both of her parents were actually educators.

‘Jeopardy!’ Host Says She Grew Up With a Special Appreciation for Teachers Because of Her Parents

Between the two of them, Mayim Bialik’s parents put in approximately 70 years of teaching in the public school system. They started out as English teachers serving the public school systems of the Bronx and Harlem in New York. Her mother also ended up teaching in the women’s prison at one point in her career. Seeing her parents accomplish these things gave the “Jeopardy!” host a special appreciation for teachers, she says. Ultimately, she saw teachers as more than “people who just teach.” Bialik describes how she saw them as “people who guided you in your journey in education and life.”

Although Mayim Bialik is a successful actress and author, she recalls feeling an “itch” recently to go back to a space where she’s surrounded by “so much knowledge” and “the most enthusiastic professors.” Lucky for her, “Jeopardy!” just combined all of those things.

You can listen to her talk about her love of academia here:

If you’re wondering how to tune into the very first Tournament of Professors, Outsider’s Jonathan Howard has your back. He did a whole piece on where to watch the special and its schedule, which you can access here.

Exploring Her Education Background Further

So you know Mayim Bialik earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience, but where did she attend school? And what about her undergraduate studies? Well, she broke that down in an interview with USA Today some time ago.

“I studied neuroscience as my undergraduate degree. I did a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies, which kept my GPA up and therefore my morale because science was still really hard for me. I was a late bloomer,” she said. “So I did my undergrad for five years and then I went directly to the grad program, the Ph.D. program at UCLA.”

She occasionally even teaches fans herself through YouTube videos on things like disease processes and being Jewish.