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Dr. Moiya McTier

Astrophysicist, Folklorist, Author

Dr. Moiya McTier has given hundreds of talks around the world on a wide range of topics, from the physics of water to global eclipse rituals. Her work sits at the intersection of science and storytelling, fact and fiction, complex concepts and chaotic creativity.

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Fee Range: $20,000 - $30,000

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In this motivational talk, Dr. McTier describes her life’s journey from a log cabin in Pennsylvania to living her dream in New York City. She shares the wisdom she picked up along the way and encourages the audience to thrive on their own path.

You don’t have to be great at math or a genius with computers to be a scientist. The real trick is to be curious about the world and systematic in your approach to solving problems. Dr. McTier has identified 9 basic skills used by scientists in their work that anyone can benefit from honing. This multi-session, customizable workshop series covers as many of the skills as you’d like. The skills are:

  • Observables vs. inferrables

  • Asking the right questions

  • Doing quick and dirty math

  • Playing with units

  • Building equations

  • Planning under constraints

  • Proving yourself wrong

  • Visualizing & interpreting data

  • Communicating complex ideas

If you want to know about exoplanets, stellar lifecycles, black holes, or anything else in the universe, Dr. McTier would love to tell you about it! Here are some of her favorite topics:

  • Telescopes vs. Instruments

  • Why are we here in THIS part of the galaxy?

  • What makes a planet a planet?

As a science communicator, Dr. McTier is an expert at taking really complicated topics, breaking them down, and sharing them with others. In this talk or interactive workshop, she shares her best practices for getting your point across to any and all audiences.

This workshop is an introduction to my process for fictional world-building. The session is great for any audience, can be as interactive as you’d like, and Dr. McTier will incorporate the theme of your event into the activities.


Dr. Moiya McTier is an astrophysicist, folklorist, and science communicator based in New York City, but her origins are a bit more modest… and surprising.

Moiya grew up in a log cabin in rural Pennsylvania without running water or TV, which meant she had plenty of time to focus on her studies. Hard work and a lot of luck took Moiya to Harvard, where she was the first person in the school’s long history to double major in both astrophysics and folklore. After graduating, Moiya moved to New York to earn her PhD in astrophysics at Columbia University. There, she was named a National Science Foundation Research Fellow for her work studying planets outside of our solar system and the motion of stars around the galaxy. Moiya officially became a doctor of the universe in 2021 as the first Black woman to graduate from Columbia’s astronomy PhD program and started pursuing science communication full-time.

In her career, Moiya has already given hundreds of talks about science around the world, helped design exhibits for the New York Hall of Science, and consulted with companies like Disney and PBS on scientific themes in their projects. She has reached thousands through her interviews on hit podcasts (Star Talk, Science Vs., and NPR’s Science Friday) and media channels (PBS, MSNBC, NY1). Moiya can also be found co-hosting Fate & Fabled, a mythology show for PBS Digital studios, as well as hosting her own podcasts Exolore (about fictional world-building through a science lens) and Pale Blue Pod (about astronomy for people who are afraid of the cosmos).

Moiya’s debut book THE MILKY WAY: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy was released in 2022 to critical acclaim and was named one of Publishers Weekly‘s best books of 2022. Moiya’s mission is to help people understand the world around us better through science and is eager to do that across as many platforms as possible.


Moiya embodies the most compelling attributes of a great speaker: she knows her science, she is passionate about sharing science, and she understands how to engage her audience. I always walk away with a new or deeper understanding of the topic. In the universe that Moiya shares, science is fascinating, cool, and relevant.

Lyndele von Schill, NRAO


No matter the subject or setting, I always leave with my mind thoroughly blown, and in awe of our universe. Her talks blend humor, information and context in a relatable and entertaining way.

Kate Downey, Caveat NYC


Dr. McTier is witty, brilliant, and an excellent facilitator. I would encourage anyone attempting to foster more creative collaboration across the sciences, arts, and humanities to consider learning from this transformative thinker.

Josh Cerretti, WWU


Dr. McTier captured our audience with her insightful words, clever anecdotes, and meaningful reflection exercises. She managed to keep high school students highly engaged at 9 am on a Saturday, which reflects her great presence and understanding of her audience.

Helena Heckschen, YWLL

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