Interview with Sarah Masih, founder of The Science Behind
Over the past week, I have had the opportunity to interview Sarah Masih, the founder of The Science Behind (TSB). The Science Behind is a youth-led blog that posts articles about the science behind everyday phenomena, and the blog has partnered with many other youth-led organizations, such as One Mask, One Life, One World (OMOLOW) and Happy Art. In this article, Sarah talks about how TSB started, its growth over the past few months, and her plans for TSB’s future.
Q: What is TSB's purpose? What inspired you to create it?
The concept behind The Science Behind was inspired by one of my teachers. Out of all the things he taught me, the most important thing was to question ordinary things, like “Why is the sky blue?” or “Why is the grass green?” This idea had been circling in my head for the past two years, and thanks to my mom’s constant encouragement, I was able to build a blog out of it.
TSB’s purpose is to show people that curiosity is one of the most important traits a person could have. The greatest minds in the world started as nothing but curious children. Through this blog, my team and I hope to show people that curiosity is what got us where we are and what will determine the future. We also aspire to teach people that science is important and that it is all around us. Especially in a world where scientific explanations are often doubted or rejected, it is important for people to understand that science is almost always logical.
Q: Once you had the idea for TSB all planned out, how did you start building the website and the team?
I have incredible friends. Out of the blue one day, I asked them, “Hey, I’m starting this blog, wanna join?” And just like that, I had something of a team. We’ve lost and gained people over time and expanded from just my friend group into local teenagers and some people from India.
I’d worked with Wix before, so figuring out the design wasn’t a big problem. It took me about three to four weeks of hard work to create the rough draft of the website that you see today.
Q: I have heard that TSB has grown exponentially since it was launched. What were your initial marketing strategies, and how have they changed?
In the beginning, our target audience was friends and family members. As time went on, we got more and more confident, so we started testing out the response to our brand on social media. We got a lot of positive messages, so we created official accounts. We have a fantastic social media manager, who is the perfect kind of person to appeal to other people our age. We found that changing the people we presented our content to dramatically increased our views.
Q: I understand that TSB has partnered with many other youth-led organizations to initiate projects such as the firefighter project. Can you explain the firefighter project and its impact?
The California wildfires destroy thousands of acres of land annually, and our local firefighters are absolute heroes. TSB’s firefighter project is a small act of kindness towards our local firefighter team. We’re making digital cards and a short video containing messages of gratitude.
I’ve always wanted to be involved in goodwill work like this, and especially during COVID, this seemed like one of the few doable projects. Overall, I just want to express my gratitude to the firefighters, and my team was incredibly supportive of this spontaneous project. However, a selfish part of me hopes that this project will bring a little publicity to TSB.
Q: What are TSB's short-term and long-term goals?
At the moment, we’re just trying to figure out the best way to complete the firefighter project without violating any safety protocols. We’re also launching a podcast, so its success is the most significant short-term goal for us.
In the long run, I’m hoping to expand our team, especially in the writing department. I’m also hoping to open up some leadership positions in the future and get TSB involved in a non-profit, preferably in the science field.
Q: What are some struggles you faced along the way, and how did you get past them?
After coming up with the idea, I was so excited to launch this blog that it was all I ever thought about. But in the beginning, my biggest hurdle was time management. I struggled to set deadlines and basic rules for my team, but my parents were very helpful with that. Though it took us a few months to get used to the deadlines initially, I think we arrived at a common ground. I’d never run a team before, especially not three different sections, so everything was done trial-and-error style.
Q: Lastly, what are the different ways people can get involved with TSB?
There are three positions on our team: Writers, Editors, and Outreach. We have forms on our website. We have a specific tab called Work With Us, which talks about each position’s responsibilities and a way to apply. People can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if, for some reason, they’re unable to navigate the website, and I’d be more than happy to help them out.