| WOMEN IN THE WILD

Molly McKinney

| Areas of Expertise

Television Host & Science Correspondent

| Born

Towson, Maryland

| Currently

Boulder, Colorado

| Favorite Quote

“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

| Job Title

Emmy award-winning Television Host, Science Correspondent, Planetary Conservationist, Producer, Speaker

| Degree

Member of the Golden Key International Honours Society, Magna Cum Laude Bachelor of Science in Television & Digital Film Production, and the first-ever minor in Tropical Ecology from the State University of New York, College at Fredonia through her work at the Dolphin Research Center and International studies in Belize, Panama, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

| Molly and co-host, Caleb Kinchlow, hosting a live segment for NASA 360, in Worcester, MA, 2016

| Biography

Molly McKinney is a two-time Emmy award-winning Television Host, Science Correspondent, Planetary Conservationist, Producer, & Speaker.  She is a lover of all things involving science, travel, sharks, wildlife conservation, scuba diving, sour patch kids and exploring beyond her comfort zone.   Molly began working in the science field at the age of 9, when she said yes to scuba diving for the first time with 50+ wild sharks on the children’s environmental TV show, “Aqua Kids“.  For eighteen years, she hosted the show and traveled the world working with wild and captive animals, learning about wildlife conservation and educating people of all ages about protecting our planet.  Today, Molly has two Emmy award-winning Television Shows under her hosting belt and has earned numerous National and Regional industry awards.  She can be seen currently hosting “The Southern Weekend”, a travel show broadcast throughout the southern U.S. and Nationally on NASA’s premier video series, “NASA 360” where she helps highlight the latest technological advancements in the future of space exploration.  

| Molly and her favorite feathered co-host, Noodle, in Savannah, GA, 2017

| Challenges

  I’ve been told for as long as I can remember that I don’t fit very well into a box.  Some people have meant this as a compliment, others have meant it as a genuine concern that I’m not very marketable in such a cut-throat industry like television, and there have been a few who have meant for it to be taken hurtfully.     My problem is that I’ve never been interested in just one thing.  I’m excited and passionate about this mess of interests and goals that are all coiled up in this brain of mine and have absolutely nothing in common with each other.  And I’m slowly learning to accept that that’s OK.  Women don’t have to fit into this singular mold of femininity, education, hobbies, interests, etc…  If you like catching frogs and snakes but throw on high heels before you go to dinner, that’s YOU.  Rock it!  If you want to become an aerospace engineer but you also watch makeup tutorials before bed, embrace who you are.  Who gets credit for deciding that we can only be defined by just one thing?  I have interests that classify me as a “traditional” feminine woman like wanting to be a good wife and home maker, share love through cooking, enjoying interior design and yes, wearing makeup and heaven forbid, high heels occasionally.  But I am also passionate about deep space exploration, I’m more comfortable in the middle of a feeding frenzy of sharks than I am in a board meeting with other humans, I’ve cried every day this past week because of the emails I’ve been receiving about wolf populations in Oregon, and I help friends with the interior design of their homes, because it’s a fun puzzle for my brain to solve.  I recently had a Facebook critic ridicule NASA for hiring a Caucasian actor (me) who was a bad role model for young girls because I clearly “curled my eyelashes, before doing math equations”.  The most concerning thing to me about his post weren’t his zings about my physique, my outfit, or lack of intelligence regarding this subject matter, it was the fact that he assumed I didn’t have a science background (I do, but I shouldn’t need one to be excited about science) and allowed an assumption (that wasn’t true) to ruin what could have been a really neat experience for himself.  In that segment, that I presume he didn’t finish watching, I interviewed not one but TWO female engineers, who happened to be from different cultural backgrounds and not because we “cast” them that way, we had students drilling through martial dirt to try to extract water out of ice, to hopefully use this technology on Mars one day.  There were so many positive things he could have chosen to see, and yet he honed in on an untrue fact and got worked up over it.  All because I didn’t fit into this box of what he thought an intelligent woman interested in the aerospace sector should look, dress and sound like.

| Emotional Story

Recently I was hosting an episode for the southern travel show I work on and I straight up lost it on-camera.  I’ve teared up here and there on various episodes before, but this one was different. We were touring a beautiful Southern plantation and one of the events that the plantation showcases throughout the day is a play about Gullah language and culture and paints a picture of what slavery was like throughout the south at that time.  Before the play began, the plantation staff had set up an interview for me with the lead actor to get a crash course in Gullah culture. During the interview, I asked Gullah Joe why it was important to pay tribute to this time in American history. And he said, in the most beautiful Gullah accent, “if people learn to know my culture, they will respect it.”  He continued on to speak with an eloquence that was so ironic about how his people were discriminated for centuries not just for the color of their skin, but for their lack of intelligence.  They were ridiculed for not being able to speak the English language upon arrival (despite the fact that they were from different areas of Africa and many didn’t even speak the same African languages as each other).  They were chastised for their strange customs and for singing songs of hope, despite the unbearable conditions they were placed in.  But instead of carrying a message of hurt and heartbreak and bitterness (which I would have understood) Gullah Joe ended his thought by talking about his grandmother.  And how grateful she was for what she had.  (This is where I lost it…)  And how she refused to focus on what she had been deprived of and instead, spoke only of the bright future her family was going to have.  There will always be opportunities for heartache, pain, loss, unfairness, discrimination, injustice, and deceit in this world.  But there is an equal amount of love, kindness, hope, truth, humility and faith – we just have to choose to see it.  

| Conservation Tip

“Use less of everything that you can.  Water, plastics, artificial resources, you name it.  Small acts CAN make a big difference.”

| Advice

1. Listen to understand, not reply. I think one of the most inspiring qualities I’ve seen in truly impactful women like Jane Goodall and Sylvia Earle, have been their ability to truly listen to others. People fear what they do not understand.  I don’t think individuals destroying our rainforests and the last hope for an endangered primate species are bad people.  In many ways, I think they are compassionate, as most are trying to find ways to make a living and feed the ones they love.  They are doing what they are doing because they think it is the only way.  If we can stop and take the time to really listen to each other and educate ourselves with data from credible sources, it’s my hope that we can start seeing the worlds countless environmental issues from a less politically polarized platform and all work together towards what should be the common goal of taking better care of the only planet we call home.
2. You are enough, you have enough.  Another favorite quote that’s always helped me when I’d get discouraged about an animal being added to the endangered species list or learn of a new environmental problem was said by Margaret Mead, “Never believe that a few caring people cannot change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have”. You may be the only person on this planet who cares about a particular topic or is tasked with the mission you’ve set out on and that’s fine.  You were born unique, there is no one and will never be another person just like you, so never doubt the power of yourself or one person.  And it doesn’t have to be some big, bold, measurable goal!  Even if you can’t do one great thing, doing small things in a great way over time can lead to the same outcome, maybe even a better one.  You may very well be the ripple needed to change the tides.
3. Failure is not an option, it’s a requirement.  This is a direct quote from one of my colleagues at NASA and it’s a motto they practice regularly.  For engineers here on Earth, when something they’ve designed works right away, it’s concerning because they usually don’t understand why.  It’s only when a system fails, time and time again, that scientists can really understand the nuts and bolts of how it works and foresee what problems might arise when this equipment is on, say Mars, next time it needs repair.  So don’t look at failure as a negative.  Look at it as a stepping stone to growth.

| If You Could Be Any Animal, What Would You Be?

Ha, off the cuff answer – a giant squid.  We have a more detailed map of the surface of Mars than we do our own oceans!   I’m so curious what are they doing down there!

| Contact

Social: Instagram : @Molly_ _McKinney Facebook :  www.facebook/officialmollymckinney    
Email: Molly@MollyMcKinney.com  
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