Who will become America’s next great innovator? That’s the question the Discovery Channel is hoping to answer with a new reality show called, “The Big Brain Theory: Pure Genius.” A grad student from Virginia Tech is one of ten people chosen after they sent video applications to the producers.
Amy Elliot, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech is one of two women selected from thousands of applicants around the country. The Discovery Channel’s new reality TV show combines the drama of competition with the world of science, technology and engineering.
“We went through eight, really tough engineering challenges, just one after the other, so it was kind of like the engineering Olympics and so we all can really flex our engineering muscles now say hey, I have the confidence to tackle more projects and even go further with our skills," said Elliot.
Unlike other reality shows, the, ‘losers’ of each week’s Big Brain competition are not sent home “I mean in life do you get to quit? Really, you get to just walk off, say I’m out of here, your family, your job, I don’t think so. You have to come back the next day pull up your socks and swing again," said Executive Producer Mark Fuller.
Elliot is originally from Tennessee. When she was in high school, she did an internship with NASA She says that’s what got her interested in engineering. Her Phd thesis is on a specific aspect of 3-D printing, leading edge technology for sure. But what about the added pressure of cameras rolling all the time and relentless deadlines familiar to vies of reality tv competition programs.
"I think it’s good to have a sense of urgency because honestly, some decisions don't’ require need a whole of thinking, you just need a decision so you can move on. Because you learn so much more further down the road, right? After you make a decision is when you start learning.”
The winner of the Big Brain Theory Competition gets not only a $50,000 prize, but a one year contract to work at WET, Fuller’s the industry leader behind some of the world’s most innovative water-based designed environments including the nine-acre choreographed lake of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
The series runs for eight weeks.