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Dainis selected as finalist for ‘Month at the Museum’ contest

Published: October 1, 2010
Section: Front Page


Alex Dainis ’11 has been selected as one of five finalists to win a month-long stay at Chicago Museum of Science and Industry as part of its “Month at the Museum” contest.

If she wins, Dainis will live at the museum and use social media and film to report on activity within the museum from Oct. 20 to Nov. 18.

Dainis applied for the contest in order to begin fulfilling her lifelong goal of showing the general public “how cool science is” if she wins.

“They want someone who can really translate [how cool the museum is] out into the world and be a window,” said Dainin, who is double majoring in biology and film at Brandeis.

The voting will take place online on the museum website on Monday and the winner will be announced Wednesday.

The voters learned about this contest from the various sources of coverage this contest has gotten. Dainis, specifically, has been interviewed by the local Chicago paper, the Huffington Post and Wired.com. The voters have access to each contestant’s photo, and excerpts from the application that the museum put on its website.

The panel of judges uses this vote to help make their decision as to who the winner will be. Dainis said she does not know who the judges are. Dainis discovered the contest on a twitter link to the month at the museum page.

“I thought it was a perfect combination of science and film, so I had to apply,” she said.

Dainis, along with 1,500 contestants, sent in their applications on Aug. 11.

The applications consisted of an essay on why each contestant deserved to be chosen, a 60-second video clip, a head shot and a list of references.

After the contestants sent in their applications, the panel of judges called back Dainin, along with approximately 20 others, for phone interviews.

Two weeks later, the judges invited Dainis, and who she assumes were the other finalists, to Chicago for in-person interviews. “It was really exciting because this was my first time in Chicago,” Dainin said.

The panel announced the five finalists the following Monday.

In the mean time, Dainis has begun thinking about what she will do about her classes if she does win.

Although Dainis has already completed her biology major, she still needs three more classes to complete her film major.

“I’ll have to work that out with individual professors … I’m still working on that,” she said. “I might have to find alternative due dates for papers.”

Although she still has some requirements to complete at Brandeis, Dainis has already begun envisioning her future goals and how she can use this opportunity at the museum to fulfill them.

She explained in her application that she wants to make science more comprehensible to people, more enjoyable.

“Many people assume that all scientists look like Einstein and spend their days memorizing the periodic table … I want to breakdown stereotypes and show people the reality of science, the fact that scientists are an incredibly diverse group filled with exciting and interesting people of all ages,” she wrote.

Even if this contest isn’t the place where Dainis can begin her work, Dainis has further aspirations to bridge the gap between science and ordinary people.

“My long-term goal is to have a science television show. I want to make science more accessible and interesting to the general public. I want to create a bridge between the scientific and general public.”