Cara Santa Maria

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Cara Santa Maria
Cara Santa Maria.jpg
Born Cara Louise Santa Maria
(1983-10-19) October 19, 1983 (age 31)
Plano, Texas, United States
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater University of North Texas (B.S., M.S.)
Occupation Science communicator, producer, journalist, podcaster, television host, neuroscientist

Cara Louise Santa Maria (born October 19, 1983)[1] is an American neuroscientist, science communicator, journalist, producer, television host, and podcaster.

Santa Maria wrote her first blog for The Huffington Post in March 2010 before joining the publication as its founding science correspondent and host of the Talk Nerdy to Me web series from October 2011 until April 2013.[2][3] She also co-hosted Take Part Live with Jacob Soboroff on Pivot TV from August 1, 2013 until April 17, 2014. She officially joined the online political and social commentary program The Young Turks as an occasional panelist in May 2013.[4]

She currently hosts her podcast Talk Nerdy and is a co-host of TechKnow on Al Jazeera America, and The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast.

Early life[edit]

Santa Maria was born and raised in Plano, Texas, the younger of two daughters born to a school teacher mother and an engineer father. Her parents both came from Catholic families and converted to Mormonism together as adults, raising their children in the religion. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old. Santa Maria left the LDS church at 14 whilst coming out as an atheist.[5] Through her father's remarriage, she has two adoptive twin stepsisters, in addition to three half-brothers, who were also adopted. Her ancestry consists of English,[6][7] Italian and Puerto Rican descent.[8][9] Santa Maria worked various jobs as a teenager, including being employed at a head shop, a bakery, CiCi's Pizza, as well as in retail. In her youth, she was also involved in gymnastics.

In 2001, Santa Maria graduated from Plano East Senior High School, after having attended T. H. Williams High School, with a year of college credit under her belt. During her high school career, she was involved in choir where she was a member of the the group Sound Invention, as well as cheerleading, being promoted to captain by her teammates during one season. In addition, she qualified as an International Baccalaureate student and participated in academic competitions. Santa Maria originally entered college with the intention of studying vocal performance and jazz studies; she auditioned for the second season of American Idol but ultimately did not receive a ticket to Hollywood.[10] She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in philosophy from the University of North Texas in 2004, before graduating with her Master of Science in biological science with a concentration in neuroscience from her alma mater in 2007. There, she also taught biology laboratory courses and performed neuronal cell culture duties and electrophysiology research at the Center for Network Neuroscience. Santa Maria then enrolled in a doctoral program studying clinical neuropsychology at Queens College, City University of New York, where she worked as an adjunct professor and laboratory researcher, but withdrew after a year of coursework to pursue science communication full-time.

Santa Maria received the Texas Psychological Association and Texas Psychology Foundation's Alexander Psychobiology/Psychophysiology Award for her contributions in undergraduate research concerning neuropsychological deficits among individuals with alcohol dependence or abuse in a visually impaired/blind population. In the clinical neuropsychological setting, she assisted in development and research of computer adapted guides for educational management of students with both neuropsychological dysfunction and visual impairment.[11]

Career[edit]

Take Part Live co-host Cara Santa Maria with guest, Alissa Walker.

In 2009, Santa Maria moved to the Los Angeles area to begin a career in science communication, after previously having worked in academia. She co-produced and hosted a pilot entitled Talk Nerdy to Me for HBO, but it never went to air. Santa Maria has appeared on various programs including Larry King Live (CNN), Geraldo at Large (Fox News), Parker Spitzer (CNN), Studio 11 (Fox LA), The Young Turks (YouTube), Attack of the Show! (G4), The War Room with Jennifer Granholm (CurrentTV), LatiNation (CBS), The Nerdist (BBC America), and SoCal Connected (KCET).

Cara Santa Maria at Skepticon in November 2014.

Santa Maria co-hosts Hacking the Planet and The Truth About Twisters on The Weather Channel, as well as TechKnow on Al Jazeera America. She is a former host of Take Part Live on the Pivot (TV channel).[12]

She makes regular appearances on popular YouTube programs, such as Stan Lee's FanWars, Wil Wheaton's Tabletop, and The Point.[13] She has also guested on multiple podcasts, such as The Nerdist Podcast, Point of Inquiry, and the Joe Rogan Experience.

Santa Maria has been interviewed by Scientific American,[14] The Times of London,[15] and the Columbia Journalism Review.[16]

In March 2014, Santa Maria debuted her podcast entitled Talk Nerdy. Guests typically revolve around those involved in STEM fields, however individuals with careers oriented in new media and pop culture also make appearances. Additionally, atheism and politics are popular topics of conversation.

Santa Maria wrote the foreword of atheism activist David Silverman's upcoming book, Fighting God: An Atheist Manifesto for a Religious World, to be published in December 2015.

On July 18, 2015, during the live taping of episode 524 of The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast at The Amaz!ng Meeting, it was announced that Santa Maria would be joining the podcast, and she recorded her first show as a permanent member of the panel.

In July 2015, Santa Maria was named a correspondent on "Real Future" for Fusion.[17]

Personal life[edit]

From 2009 to 2011, Cara Santa Maria was in a relationship with television host and political commentator Bill Maher.[18]

She has been open about her struggles with major depressive disorder.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Texas Births, 1926–1995". Familytreelegends.com. 
  2. ^ "The Huffington Post". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bora Zivkovic. "Huffington Post Science – interview with Cara Santa Maria". Scientific American. Retrieved January 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ Jeff Klima. "The Young Turks Add Dave Rubin & Cara Santa Maria To Their Network". New Media Rockstars. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  5. ^ JRE #293
  6. ^ "Texas Obituary and Death Notice Archive". GenLookups. September 4, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Bransford Family History". Ancestry.com. Retrieved April 25, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Roger Ailes: Soledad O'Brien Was 'Named After A Prison'". The Young Turks. April 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Cara Santa Maria profile, The Huffington Post". Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ Joe Rogan Experience #539 - Cara Santa Maria https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gad0gG7SABU
  11. ^ Jenkins, Sharon Rae (2008). A Handbook of Clinical Scoring Systems for Thematic Apperceptive Techniques. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISBN 978-0-8058-4373-6. 
  12. ^ Predicting The Top News Stories of 2014 – TakePart Live
  13. ^ Cara Santa Maria appearance on The Point
  14. ^ Scientific American
  15. ^ The Times
  16. ^ Cjr.org
  17. ^ Kevin Eck. "On the Move, 7/28/15". TVSpy. Retrieved July 30, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Bill Maher & Cara Santa Maria Split". In Touch Weekly. 
  19. ^ Episode 81: Cara Santa Maria http://mentalpod.com/cara-santa-maria-podcast

External links[edit]