Mayim Bialik Says It's an 'Immense Honor' to Guest Host Jeopardy!: 'An Unbelievable Opportunity'
Mayim Bialik's guest hosting stint on Jeopardy! begins Monday
In a Jeopardy! interview posted Saturday, the Big Bang Theory alum, who has her PhD in neuroscience from UCLA, said it was an "immense honor" to stand in Trebek's place.
"This is such an iconic and unbelievable piece of our collective culture, to be considered to be part of it really in any way, it's an immense honor," she said. "Especially for someone who's dedicated so much of my life to academia to knowing things and to being able to communicate things."
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As for what she hopes to bring to the role, Bialik noted her background as a woman in academia.
"Being a woman of science, as I am, is something that I'm obviously very passionate about presenting myself as," she explained. "I really didn't grow up with a lot of female role models and I think especially for young people — not just young girls, but for young girls and boys — to see that women can be scientists and can do these types of intellectual things, that feels very important to me."
The Call Me Kat star continued, "Also, as a second generation American whose grandparents on one side never fully mastered the English language, it's just an unbelievable opportunity to see what in two generations my family has been able to see."
Like the guest hosts before her, Bialik has chosen a charity that will receive a donation in the amount of the cumulative winnings of the contestants who competed during her time as a host. The Mayim Bialik's Breakdown podcast host chose the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI.
"They provide support and resources and information and all sorts of things that families of those living with mental illness need in order to support their loved one," she said in the interview. "It's an organization I've used in my life for about 20 years, and constantly refer people to them and their website and all of their resources and this donation will mean so much to them."
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The actress previously told PEOPLE she was "nervous about everything" leading up to her guest hosting stint.
"There's a lot of responsibility that falls on the host," she said in March. "I think also there's a lot of iconic pressure. When I was looking over some of the scripts, I was thinking, how would Alex [Trebek] say this? And that's probably not who I'm expected to be, Alex Trebek, but in my head, I am Alex Trebek — that's who I want to be."
"I've been saying it's really one of the most iconic things I think that I'm ever going to do in my career," Bialik added. "It's going to feel like Forrest Gump, like I've been inserted into the Jeopardy! set."
Jeopardy! airs weeknights in syndication (check local listings).