LifestyleOct 17, 2016
The Enchantments of New Mexico
Meow Wolf, Balloon Fiesta and MORE!
Find out how this TikTok star gets women excited about science!
How it all began
Hi! I'm Melanie Byrd, aka @sciencey_melly on TikTok. If you ask me how my TikTok career started, I’ll tell you honestly: I was bored.
It was the beginning of COVID and I was a junior in high school. Cut off from my friends and classmates, I had too much free time, and not enough people to talk to. I spent countless hours scrolling on TikTok and thought to myself, ‘I could do this. What if I just talk about all the weird and wacky stuff that happens at my high school?’
So, I got in front of a mirror and started telling stories. It was just like dishing out the latest gossip with my friends— only, I was having a one-way conversation with a whole bunch of strangers on the internet instead.
Everyone was a bit starved for entertainment during the pandemic, weren’t we? To my surprise, my storytimes about the drama at my high school started to gain a lot of traction. By my senior year, I was eager to start the next chapter of my life, with a modest social media following coming along for the ride.
A new approach
Then, senior year took me on a journey I never imagined. I sustained a bad hip injury, which disrupted my daily routine. Shortly after, my dad and I got into a car crash on the highway. I suffered a traumatic brain injury, which I’m still recovering from years later. Clumps of my hair started falling out because of it. Eventually, I chose to shave it all off to reduce the anxiety of my hair falling out without warning.
Within a few months, I went from being a carefree high schooler dishing out the latest gossip to a girl with a shaved head and a much more serious outlook on what mattered in life. And so, a lot of things changed. I wasn’t the same person I used to be. I posted storytime content less and less frequently. A lot of my followers started to drop out, especially after I shaved my head, which hurt more than I wanted to admit.
I started to take a step back from my original TikTok account because I realized I didn’t really care to tell crazy story times anymore. I was moving away from that chapter of my life, and towards better things. I entered college at UT Austin and chose a biochemistry major with a certificate in forensics. With a new topic to focus on in my life, the content on my channel also began to shift. I’d sit in class, taking in so much new and fascinating information. All I could think was, ‘this is what I want people to learn about.’
The birth of Sciencey Melly
I made a new channel dedicated to science in July of 2022. To tell you the truth, I had no expectations for it. I thought it would be my fun little side project. I wasn’t worried about followers or engagement— I just wanted to talk about science.
I started with about 30 followers, and that was fine by me. I wanted to be the go-to science woman for this small community. I got to engage with my followers on an intimate level. We could talk about whatever we wanted science wise and just run with it.
Then, I had a viral video within my first month and skyrocketed up to 23,000 followers. Still, between the ups and downs of my first two years in college, I took plenty of time off. School was my number one priority. Last year, I didn’t post for five months. Then, I suffered yet another injury— this time, I broke my foot— and got another perspective shift along with it. Since I was effectively grounded, I thought it was the perfect time to start talking about science again. I started posting again to my 23,000 followers, who were thrilled to have me back. Less than a month later, I hit 90,000 followers.
Getting excited about science
The big jump in followers was thrilling, but not for the reason you might expect. All I could think of was how happy I was to share my passion for science. And not just any science, but really weird science! I was getting tons of questions about forensics— everything from poisons to decomposition to toxicology. Audiences who were interested in true crime became curious about the science behind it, and that curiosity led them to me. I was only too happy to indulge them.
A lot of forensics as a field is lectures about basic chemistry, or basic biology. But I knew I wanted to go beyond that. There’s only so much you can take in from textbooks and lectures. I wanted to share the strange, interesting tidbits of scientific knowledge that were applicable to real life. I started different segments on my channel— like Kooky Science, where I shared all the weird science constantly happening in the world around us, like how your brain has a “hate circuit.” Another popular series I started was Could That Kill Me?, which is exactly what it sounds like. In bite-sized videos, I dove into the hidden dangers of mundane tasks, like brushing your teeth or eating potatoes!
The 'why' behind what I do
The majority of my followers are kind, enthusiastic, and encouraging. But of course, it’s impossible to be a woman on the internet and not receive hate comments. Being a woman in STEM who challenges traditional beauty standards didn’t do me any favors, either. I’ve received my fair share of bullying from strangers hiding behind their keyboard. But the hate doesn’t get me down. The other comments, like "you helped me so much with this topic!” and “I've never been interested in science until I saw your channel!” make it all worth it.
I love telling people about what I'm interested in. I love talking about science in a way that 1. people understand and 2. people are interested in. So many of us are introduced to science with a focus on memorizing complicated facts and equations, to try and get a good grade. But whenever you take a step back and you educate people on the really cool parts of science that are relevant to daily life, they get really interested.
Being a voice for change
Building up the kind of audience grants me the label of “influencer.” To me, that means a lot more than just posting content. Having a large following gives me the chance to be a voice for what I believe in.
Over 90% of my followers are women. That means every time I log on, post a video, or respond to a comment, I’m a real-life example of what being a woman in STEM looks like. I have the power to encourage and uplift women like me, who might feel discouraged from pursuing the kind of career I choose to pursue. That’s a huge honor for me, and a responsibility I don’t take lightly.
I have always wanted to use my platform for good- to raise money and awareness for the causes I care about, and build a community with other people who share my passion. About a year ago, I became aware of the term “impact influencer” when a Silicon Valley startup called Stashrun reached out to me to scout Gen Z’ers who are using their social media in this way. Today I lead partnerships there, to help empower other impact influencers, and I think this is the perfect way to describe what motivates my content. I’m impact influencing! For women in STEM and for the planet So, in addition to my series about fun and quirky science facts, I keep my followers updated with the latest news about the state of climate change. I inform them about new bills and government projects that could have a negative impact on the Earth, provide resources to combat environmentally dangerous laws in my bio, and offer outlets for my followers to donate to nonprofits centered around combating climate change. Bringing climate activism to the public is hands down the most important part of what I do.
The importance of being genuine
If I have one piece of advice for anyone trying to make it big on social media, it’s this: don't try to become an influencer for the sake of becoming an influencer. Find passion in your own life first before sharing it with other people. It’s very obvious whenever you meet someone if they’re interested in becoming an influencer for the sake of the pretty pictures, popularity, and brand deals. But the key to success is being excited that you're sharing a topic with people.
That’s what drew me to partnering with Odyssey. I loved that the platform covered so many different topics, and gave so many writers a chance to share their voice. The articles are engaging and well-written, but most importantly, they’re real. They speak to what’s most important to the creators’ hearts and minds. That’s a quality I admire, and one I hope to embody in my own content creation for years to come.
Find Melanie on social media!
We've all seen a Jay Alvarez travel video and wondered two things: How can I live that lifestyle and how does he choose which song to use for his videos?
It will take a lot more than my advice and a few paragraphs to answer the former, however, compiling a list of music that will highlight the best of your vacation is something a little creative research can provide.
Rather than search through Spotify playlists that all have the same Lorde song or choose whatever is popular on the radio, check out the list below for the perfect song to match the vibe of your next vacation memories.
Whether it's a beach vacation or a laid-back weekend in a new city, these songs are perfect to showcase a happy and positive vibe for your video.
If you're planning a trip where you're going to capture a lot of fast-paced adventurous activities best queued by a beat drop, these songs mixes are the perfect fit for you.
The best way to showcase your trip is with a song that features your location. Summer trip to Paris anyone?
No matter the situation, you can't go wrong with these classic background tracks for your next Go Pro video.
Sunsets, flowing dresses in the wind and slow motion action shots. That's the image that comes to mind when these songs are layered in the background.
One thing that many creators know is that fun to have characters and different universes to work with but what's the point if you have nothing to do with them? Many people turn to roleplay as a fun way to use characters, whether they're original or from a fandom. It'd a fun escape for many people but what happens when you run out of ideas to do? It's a terrible spot to be in. So here are a few different role play plot ideas.
SEE MORE: The Amazing World Of Roleplay On Tumblr
Person A has had many near-death experiences in their life. They should be dead but it's as if something is protecting them. Then they meet Person B, their guardian angel.
Person A is a vampire Prince. They rule the kingdom and sit on the throne, but it's all with reluctance. Every year a sacrifice is brought from a nearby village for The Vampire Royalty. They kidnap Person B and take them to the castle.
From here you can go in any direction you want! Person A can turn person B into a vampire, Person A can have mercy on them and send them back to the village, or maybe even keep Person B as a pet or something of the likes. This one is very open so just have fun with it!
Person A is a mental hospital patient, put there for any reason you'd like. So far nobody has been able to make progress with Person A. That is until Person B comes along.
This one is good if you like getting deep into characters and their relations with others.
Person A is riding along the outskirts of their ranch when they see Person B on the ground. Person B has been shot and will soon bleed to death if they aren't helped.
I left this one fairly open too. Does Person A take the risk and help Person B? What will it cost them if the do?
I don't really have anything specific for this one. I feel it's a bit of an oldie but goodie. Similar to the Vampire one there are a lot of ways you could go. Are they both werewolves? Is one human? Does one of them get turned and the other has to deal with it? Are there two werewolf packs fighting? There are just so many possibilities with this one, just go for it.
After losing all of their supplies, friends and allies Person A finds themselves lost and without any defense. That is until they run into Person B's group. How does Person B react? Do they accept Person A with open arms or are hey hostile and wary?
This one mostly applies to fandom related RP's. Take the lead characters and reverse their roles. Make them the opposite of who or what they really are and see where that leads you.
Person A has just moved into their new home. (Apartment, Mansion, cozy town house, whatever you'd like) The first few nights are peaceful. Then things start to get crazy and the meet Person B. Person B inhabited the home once upon a time. They were killed some how and were stuck to their house as a ghost.
Person A and Person B have known each other for a long time. Person A gets into an accident, giving them head trauma and causing them to forget Person B, or even everything they've ever known. It's up to Person B to help them remember and if they don't remember, to help them figure out their life.
I feel like this is fairly self-explanatory. Person A and Person B switch bodies for a certain amount of time. Chaos ensues as they try to pretend to be each other and sort everything out.
(As in the movie, "Purge")
Person A and Person B are going through the Purge. They end up stuck together fighting against people who want to kill them.
This one is fairly open too. Have fun with who your characters are and their status and things like that.
Person A suddenly wakes up with the ability to read minds. What happens when they read their best friend, Person B's mind?
This could be a good spot to combine another one of these with this one! Maybe Person B had some secrets they really didn't want Person A to find out about.
Person A is a respectable treasure hunter. They put years of work into finding the most amazing treasure of their life only to have Person B, a treasure thief, to steal it right at the last moment.
While in college, you are bound to be friends with at least one person who is not from Texas. Now Texas is a culture of its own, and it is up to you to help introduce them to some good ole Texas traditions during their time here. Show your friends that famous Southern hospitality!
Now these aren't all of the things that it takes to be a Texan, but it is a good start. Help your friend learn about the culture they'll be living in during college and remind them of the saying, "Don't mess with Texas!"
I love the entire year. Well, for the most part. I'm not a big fan of Winter, but even then, every month has something that's pretty great. November? Thanksgiving. December? Winter Holidays. January? New Year's. February? Valentine's and Single Awareness Day. May? Existential dread during finals. But for me, March has always been my favorite month of the year, and for good reason.
I'll admit, I'm a bit biased--after all, one of the larger reasons that I like March is that my birthday is on March 20th. So, yeah, there's that. But, you know what else March has? The beginning of Spring. Which, coincidentally, is also my birthday (the Vernal Equinox). So, that's pretty cool! The beginning of Spring is always a bonus, if I do say so myself. (My birthday bias aside.) Also, it seems as if my birthday is Alien Abduction Day. Which is also pretty... interesting. Fun fact!
The flowers begin to bloom, allergies begin to flare up, and the weather can't decide whether it wants to rain, snow, or be unseasonably warm. (Gotta love that Cleveland weather.) But, hey, at least it's no longer ungodly cold (as often), and the sun's been staying out longer. The small victories. To that effect, Daylight Savings is this month as well--March 12, to be specific. We may lose an hour of sleep, but that extra hour of sunlight is definitely worth it!
March also has St. Patrick's Day, which is a pretty big deal where I'm from (near Cleveland). Though I'm not Jewish, Purim is also happening--so, happy Purim to all who celebrate it! In Japan there's White Day, and Pi Day is the same day as well!
For this year, not only is Beauty and the Beast being released in live-action, but the Nintendo Switch is being released as well. And, hey, it's Women's History month! So, that's pretty awesome as well.
Most of all, the crowning point of March, the point that everyone is waiting for with baited breath, is Spring Break! At least, for my college. But, in general, Spring Break is in March. Or, as I like to call it, "that moment after your midterms when you can finally function like a normal human being again". It is worth marching through March just to get to that break. I can almost taste it. (I say, as I am basically drowning in my midterms at the moment.)
Still, that aside, March is a pretty great month overall, my personal opinions aside. There are lots of holidays, the year is beginning to shift toward Spring, and all in all, don't forget that March is a month of wonderful holidays and events. So, as March goes on, march through it with that in mind. It will make your month all the more fun!
Songs About Being 17
Grey's Anatomy Quotes
4 Leaf Clover
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign