We had the good fortune of connecting with Athena Brensberger and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Athena, how do you think about risk?
I think of risk taking as a strategic curiosity. You see, taking a risk is simply driven by curiosity however you can be strategic about it. For example, knowing WHEN to take a risk and allowing for that vulnerability to allow for any outcome and accept it. Risk taking has lead me to come of my greatest breakthroughs and most humbling moments. Sometime sit can lead to denial and learning to cope with denial is a ver important trait to gain as a business owner. Risk taking is also fun and adventurous when you give something your all but don’t expect an outcome. Sometimes your greatest outcomes can form through these very moments.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is in astrophysics. As a dancer, actor and model I’ve merged this creative world with my love for astrophysics and my background knowledge in it. This is an abstract form of art I suppose, because partly it’s science communications which is’t really abstract or unique since there have been several science communicators for years; but on the other hand what I’ve created is this intertwined entity of both industries and created one world. As of now this entity really only resides inside of me, but what I am working on it parlaying this into other physical tangible forms not including me. Professionally it was difficult because for 1. I do not have my degree and have been experiencing imposter syndrome for years. 2. Learning how to speak in front of people is something I trained myself to do by volunteering at science museums for years to gain the ability. 3. I began doubling up on free academic courses online to absorb as much knowledge as possible in astrophysics that were outside of my specified research when I was in university; to do courses on your own takes a lot of discipline while balancing another career. 4. I spent years catering, busing and greeting at red carpets while also filming commercials for Ralph Lauren as a fashion model, completing courses online and starting up my business–let’s just say that was a much needed humbling time of my life. All these weird diverse experiences lead to this brilliant moment of realizing my path is very unconventional. I am not here to do research and publish ground breaking discoveries in astrophysics, I’m here to change the misconception that science is a thing we only study in a textbook, that the multi-layered universe and reality we live in is the very essence that makes science, by nature, our human language. I simply share the knowledge I research and process in my own brain and encourage others to derive their own understandings of the subject matter. There’s a beautiful moment when something just *clicks*, when I see in my friend’s eyes that they comprehend a theory and then question why the theory is this way. THIS right here is that moment of evolution, that is the moment the brain sparks the creativity side and merges with the side of logic. This is the art.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My best friend actually DID visit not too long ago and the first place we went to was PHILZ COFFEE!!! Man, I miss that place so much, I’m in NYC now. Venice beach is my go-to for sunsets especially Saturday nights, just before sunset is a drum circle that continues until the sun has set, and then just after sunset just when twilight begins and the starts start to rise is when the neon lights bicycle parade begins. Everyone gets on their bike/scooter/skateboard and rides along the boardwalk between Venice beach and Santa Monica with laser neon lights attached to their vehicles. It’s extraordinary. One night I caught it DURING a SpaceX launch, IT WAS PHENOMENAL!! SpaceX launches out on Vandenberg, CA and that night they lit up the sky.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
YES, Dr. Charles Liu my mentor when I was in college during research and my long-time friend who I still look up to as a mentor. Anika Ahmed, my best friend of 17 years this October for introducing my first astronomy book to me and the subject to me when we were 12 years old. She is my greatest supporter in every way and when I need it my greatest questioner: Why is this important to you? Who are you doing this for? Why do others need to hear your message? She in every way has challenged me to do great things and believe more in my impact on the world than my self-doubt. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for these two individuals. Books; “The Holographic Universe” by Michael Talbot. This book has me questioning life, our understanding of not only the world around us but our perception of it. “Power vs Force” by David Hawkins. “Contact” and “Billions and Billions” both by Carl Sagan.