Outrageous Experiments

Tracy’s Exit Interview

posted: 02/09/17
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Needle in a Haystack Elimination

Much to chagrin of many fans, environmental engineer Tracy Fanara was the fourth to leave the show, exiting after the Needle in a Haystack episode. While she showed great teamwork and on-camera talent, it was felt that she lacked the build skills required to be a Mythbuster, something that is critical to the job. Tracy talked to us about her experience on MythBusters: The Search -- and about what we might not know about her from watching the show.

  1. Your team, the Blue Team, had a very different approach to finding a needle in a haystack (a table shaker) than the Red Team (a fire tornado). Which design, if either, was more practical in your opinion?

Our design was much more practical given that there was a bone needle that we found to burn very easily.

  1. You had the unenviable task of looking for the needles underwater, in a wetsuit. What were the challenges you faced in that task?

It was pretty cold in that "pool"! The turbidity of the water increased over time, due to small particles in the hay, making it a little difficult to see underwater. However, the pool was small enough for me to be able to feel around for it.

  1. What were your thoughts when you just couldn't find the bone needle?

If the bone needle got to the pool, I would have found it. I'm suspecting that the bone needle was in the hay we didn't get to. If we had more time, I am confident we would have found it.

  1. If you could change anything about this episode, what would it be?

I would have built a more advanced water system that would have eliminated the clarity issue, and I would have considered time restraints in calculations

  1. How is being a MythBuster harder than it looked to you as a viewer?

It is a tough position because not only do you have to build everything from scratch, you have to do it in a small time frame that eliminates time for running calculations on different options to determine the most successful possibility. It was a challenge for me in so many ways. But it made me break out of my comfort zone (as I am a designer/scientist), so it allowed me to grow in ways I wouldn't have without this experience.

  1. How is being a MythBuster easier than it looked to you as a viewer?

Being a Mythbuster was fun and exciting, and every day I was excited to go to work!

  1. Is there anything you want viewers to know about you or this experience that they may not get from watching the show?

Well, there is A LOT that viewers may not know about me from watching the show, as all of these experiences were new to me. My dad had passed months before filming, and he always believed in my ability to communicate scientific principles, so although I knew much of this would be out of my comfort zone, I took the challenge in his honor. He barely knew how to work a toaster, so I'm sure he would have been quite impressed!

I learned how to use some of the equipment on the spot, and although I needed more practice, I was pretty shocked at what I could do using the scientific and engineering experience I had. I am an environmental engineer who designs and develops sustainable systems and solutions to environmental and human health threats. I didn't really get a chance to show that, or my passion for the environment, but it all comes back to a love for science, which I think we all displayed.

Also, I am extremely creative, resourceful, and a pretty good leader -- I'm not sure I was able to show that. One more thing viewers may have not gotten from the show is how we all became such great friends!

  1. What's next for you?

I want to continue to work to make the world a more science educated place! I hope to use this platform to show anyone that they can be whatever they want to be, if they put their mind to it. Applying scientific approach to hypotheses is my passion: It is what I do at Mote Marine Laboratory and it is what MythBusters is all about. I believe that change and growth are inspired by education, and having the opportunity to spark scientific interest, paired with the ability to reach such a broad demographic, has the potential to be powerful, so I hope I can use it effectively.

My goal is to continue to encourage, educate and entertain through demonstration of scientific principles, with an underlying purpose of showing women, young and old, that there is no stereotype to smart, that science is cool, and that anyone can be a scientist or engineer with some passion and hard work.

  1. What was it like meeting Adam Savage?

Pretty cool! He seems like a really great guy and I loved his energy, passion for science, and the way he inspires excitement for the show! He's definitely someone to look up to!

  1. Did you watch MythBusters? What was your favorite episode?

Who hasn't watched MythBusters?! My favorite shows are ones that have to do with being creative in stressful environments, like building wheels for a stranded car, or using duct tape to float down a river. I love survival scenarios, and actually get a little excited when things don't work out perfectly so that I can come up with some creative solution!
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