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Willam Ferrell | Source: Getty Images
Willam Ferrell | Source: Getty Images

Neuroscientist, Astrophysics, and More: Unexpected Academic Qualifications of 12 Celebrities You Never Knew About

Dorcus Osongo
Jul 03, 2024
12:57 P.M.
  • Many celebrities have surprising academic backgrounds in fields like psychobiology and biochemical engineering.
  • Stars such as Natalie Portman, Lisa Kudrow, Lionel Richie, and Brian May balanced their education with their rise to fame.
  • This article explores how diverse studies have shaped these 12 celebrities' lives, proving they are more than just entertainers.
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Lisa Kudrow arrives at the NBC's "Carol Burnett: 90 Years Of Laughter + Love" Birthday Special in Los Angeles, California,  on March 2, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Lisa Kudrow arrives at the NBC's "Carol Burnett: 90 Years Of Laughter + Love" Birthday Special in Los Angeles, California, on March 2, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Celebrities often impress us with their performances, but many have fascinating off-screen lives too. Some hold degrees in unexpected fields. From Lisa Kudrow's biology background to Ashton Kutcher's biochemical engineering studies, these stars prove they're more than entertainers.

Ashton Kutcher attends the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 1, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Ashton Kutcher attends the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on May 1, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

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This article explores the academic journeys of these twelve celebrities. It also highlights the lesser-known studies that shaped the lives of stars such as Eva Longoria and Lionel Richie.

Eva Longoria is seen walking into ABC Studio in New York City, on June 20, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Eva Longoria is seen walking into ABC Studio in New York City, on June 20, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Lisa Kudrow

Lisa Kudrow, a tall, blonde-haired, and green-eyed beauty, was born on July 30, 1963, in Encino, California. Her mother, Nedra, was a travel agent, and her father, Lee, worked as a physician.

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay from "Friends", on June 15 1994. | Source: Getty Images

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay from "Friends", on June 15 1994. | Source: Getty Images

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Raised in Tarzana, Kudrow was interested in being an actress at a young age but when she went to school, she fell in love with biology. She loved her father's work as a physician and thought biology would help her unlock all the mysteries of humanity.

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay in "Friends", circa 1995. | Source: Getty Images

Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay in "Friends", circa 1995. | Source: Getty Images

So, all through high school and college she never took part in plays, acting, or even read a script. Kudrow later attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. There, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychobiology.

Initially set on a research career due to her passion for biology, she moved back to Los Angeles to work alongside her father.

Lisa Kudrow during Saks Fifth Avenue's Unforgettable Evening Benefiting Women's Cancer Research Fund in Beverly Hills, California, on March 1, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

Lisa Kudrow during Saks Fifth Avenue's Unforgettable Evening Benefiting Women's Cancer Research Fund in Beverly Hills, California, on March 1, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

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While driving and listening to sitcom promos, Kudrow often felt she could deliver the jokes better, noting that the actors seemed to push too hard.

She made mental notes to craft better humor when her chance arrived, surprising herself with her latent desire to be an actress and comedian.

Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow crack each other up on the set of the hit NBC series "Friends" in Burbank, California, on September 12, 2003. | Source: Getty Images

Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow crack each other up on the set of the hit NBC series "Friends" in Burbank, California, on September 12, 2003. | Source: Getty Images

Eventually, Lisa Kudrow's path shifted when she was inspired by comedian Jon Lovitz, a friend of her brother. With this newfound inspiration, she embarked on a career in entertainment.

She recalled, "I never thought I'd be an actress. It wasn't even on my mind when I was 22, sitting at graduation. Then something hit me: You've always kind of wanted to be an actress—now is the time to try."

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Lisa Kudrow at a 2010 Vassar graduation, on a YouTube video dated, May 27, 2021. | Source: Youtube/@BrutAmerica

Lisa Kudrow at a 2010 Vassar graduation, on a YouTube video dated, May 27, 2021. | Source: Youtube/@BrutAmerica

With a backup plan of returning to school to study evolutionary science, if things didn't work out, she took a leap of faith. Her parents and friends chose to support her as much as they were shocked.

Lisa Kudrow on "Watch What Happens Live," on February 23, 2012. | Source: Getty Images

Lisa Kudrow on "Watch What Happens Live," on February 23, 2012. | Source: Getty Images

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Kudrow was nervous but decided to follow her heart as she ventured into acting. It all worked out well for her. However, it wasn't until eight years later that Kudrow landed the role of Phoebe Buffay on "Friends."

Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Marta Kauffman, Matt LeBlanc, Kevin S. Bright, David Crane, David Schwimmer, and Courteney Cox on the set of "Friends" on May 29, 2009. | Source: Getty Images

Jennifer Aniston, Matthew Perry, Lisa Kudrow, Marta Kauffman, Matt LeBlanc, Kevin S. Bright, David Crane, David Schwimmer, and Courteney Cox on the set of "Friends" on May 29, 2009. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman, born on June 9, 1981, made history as the first person born in the 1980s to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. She received the honor for her performance in "Black Swan" in 2010.

Natalie Portman, winner of the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for "Black Swan" poses in the press room at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held in Hollywood, California, on February 27, 2011. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman, winner of the award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for "Black Swan" poses in the press room at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards held in Hollywood, California, on February 27, 2011. | Source: Getty Images

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Portman is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American artist who also serves as her agent.

Raised in an academically inclined family, Portman was encouraged by her father to prioritize her education. At 25, she took his advice to heart and studied psychology at Harvard University, graduating with honors.

Natalie Portman at the premiere of "Saving Private Ryan" in Los Angeles on July 21, 1998. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman at the premiere of "Saving Private Ryan" in Los Angeles on July 21, 1998. | Source: Getty Images

By this time, Portman had started her acting career, which began at age 11 when an agent discovered her in a pizza parlor. Although initially steered towards modeling, she chose to focus on acting instead.

Natalie Portman on November 19, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman on November 19, 2000. | Source: Getty Images

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Despite her early start in the industry, it took time for her to fully commit to acting. She was torn as her family's expectations leaned towards more traditional, scholarly careers. Her parents wanted her to be a professor, lawyer, or doctor but she ended up being an actress.

She explained, "So it took me a while, coming from that background, to be like. This is what I want, and this is what I love. I enjoy this."

Natalie Portman on the set of the film "Leon", directed by Luc Besson in 1994. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman on the set of the film "Leon", directed by Luc Besson in 1994. | Source: Getty Images

Portman excels in her craft, as evidenced by her Academy Award for "Black Swan." This win made her the first Harvard College graduate to receive such an honor.

Law School Professor Alan M. Dershowitz said Portan was an excellent student. "Her psychology background helped her in formulating the role for [Black Swan] ... She's an actor who uses her academic background," he added.

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Natalie Portman attends the "Black Swan" premiere during the 67th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, on September 1,2010. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman attends the "Black Swan" premiere during the 67th Venice International Film Festival in Venice, Italy, on September 1,2010. | Source: Getty Images

Stephen M. Kosslyn, a former Harvard psychology professor and Dean of the Social Sciences, worked with Portman when she was a research assistant in his lab. He also described her as a determined and focused individual.

Natalie Portman attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on February 9, 2020. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, on February 9, 2020. | Source: Getty Images

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Today, Portman admits that he has no other skills aside from being an actor. She said she would have trouble handling any other job that does not require her to be in silly outfits and do hilarious voices.

Natalie Portman arrives at the AFI Awards Luncheon at Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California, on January 12, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Natalie Portman arrives at the AFI Awards Luncheon at Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California, on January 12, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

William Ferrell

William Ferrell was born on July 6, 1967, in Irvine, California, to Betty Kay, a teacher, and Roy Lee Ferrell, Jr., a musician. His interest in performing began during his time at University High School in Irvine.

While there, he creatively delivered the daily morning announcements over the public address system using various disguised voices.

Will Ferrell during the NBC All Star Cocktail Party for Fall TCA in Pasadena, California, in 1999. | Source: Getty Images

Will Ferrell during the NBC All Star Cocktail Party for Fall TCA in Pasadena, California, in 1999. | Source: Getty Images

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Ferrell initially joined the Los Angeles comedy and improvisation group The Groundlings, which was a stepping stone in his comedy career. However, before fully committing to comedy, the actor attended the University of Southern California, earning a degree in Sports Information.

Will Ferrell is seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in Los Angeles, California, on June 6, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Will Ferrell is seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" in Los Angeles, California, on June 6, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

He noted, "I don't think I had the courage to admit to myself that I really wanted to do comedy for a career, so I went off to college to do the degree."

Max Nikias presents Will Ferrell with an Honorary Doctorate Degree during the University Of Southern California 134th Commencement Ceremonies in Los Angeles, California, on May 12, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Max Nikias presents Will Ferrell with an Honorary Doctorate Degree during the University Of Southern California 134th Commencement Ceremonies in Los Angeles, California, on May 12, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

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Ferrell said that immediately upon graduating, he had a persistent feeling that he would regret it if he didn't give comedy a shot. So he told his dad about his plans and he supported and advised him.

Will Ferrell delivers the commencement speech during the University Of Southern California 134th Commencement Ceremonies in Los Angeles, California, on May 12, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Will Ferrell delivers the commencement speech during the University Of Southern California 134th Commencement Ceremonies in Los Angeles, California, on May 12, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Wiliam Ferell never got his sports career off the ground, but he is fine with that. The movie star is glad that his career path gave him stability just as a nine-to-five job would have done. He has built a life for his family that is blissfully happy and peaceful.

Will Ferrell speaks about his new film "The House" in New York City, on June 21, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Will Ferrell speaks about his new film "The House" in New York City, on June 21, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

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Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher was born on February 7, 1978, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kutcher's parents are Diane, who worked at Procter & Gamble, and Larry Kutcher, a factory worker. The actor grew up in rural Homestead, Iowa, and graduated from Clear Creek-Amana High School in Tiffin, Iowa.

Ashton Kutcher during 19th Annual St. Judes Gala in Beverly Hills, California, on March 4, 1999. | Source: Getty Images

Ashton Kutcher during 19th Annual St. Judes Gala in Beverly Hills, California, on March 4, 1999. | Source: Getty Images

He began studying biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa in 1997, where he was discovered by a local talent scout.

Kutcher said due to his savings, getting paid for donating plasms blood, and jobs in high school and college, he was able to take the risk and pursue acting.

Ashton Kutcher during the premiere of "Varsity Blues" in Hollywood, California, in 1999. | Source: Getty Images

Ashton Kutcher during the premiere of "Varsity Blues" in Hollywood, California, in 1999. | Source: Getty Images

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Still, he is passionate about biochemical engineering. "I just invested in a biotech company that's doing some very interesting stuff in the space around Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's [disease]," divulged Kutcher.

Ashton Kutcher arrives at the premiere of "Killers" held in Hollywood, California, on June 1, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Ashton Kutcher arrives at the premiere of "Killers" held in Hollywood, California, on June 1, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Even so, Ashton Kutcher is glad he pursued his passion for acting. Having acted for over two decades, he still doesn't feel like his career is a job, which reaffirms that he chose the right path for himself.

Ashton Kutcher on the set of "What Happens in Vegas" in New York City on October 2, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

Ashton Kutcher on the set of "What Happens in Vegas" in New York City on October 2, 2007. | Source: Getty Images

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In 2010, Time Magazine named Kutcher one of the Top 100 Most Influential People. He also founded the Demi and Ashton Foundation to combat child sex slavery worldwide.

Today, Kutcher encourages people to understand their true aspirations before investing in college tuition. However, he also emphasizes that it's never too late to change direction, even if they no longer identify with their current career path.

Ashton Kutcher arrives at the World Premiere Of Netflix's "Your Place Or Mine" in Los Angeles, California, on February 2, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Ashton Kutcher arrives at the World Premiere Of Netflix's "Your Place Or Mine" in Los Angeles, California, on February 2, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Brian May

Brian May, born on July 19, 1947, is celebrated as one of the most influential, innovative, and technically gifted guitarists in rock history. In addition to his prowess as a guitarist, he is also a prolific songwriter, May has penned and co-written numerous international hits.

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Brian May of Queen performs on stage in Rosemont, Illinois, on September 19, 1980. | Source: Getty Images

Brian May of Queen performs on stage in Rosemont, Illinois, on September 19, 1980. | Source: Getty Images

May's educational journey began at Hampton Grammar School in London. He later graduated from Imperial College London, one of Britain's top universities, with a degree in Mathematics and Physics.

Brian May after he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Hertfordshire in St Albans, on November 19, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Brian May after he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Hertfordshire in St Albans, on November 19, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

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Despite his musical success, May's passion for astronomy began well before he became a renowned guitarist. This passion led him to pursue a degree in Physics and Mathematics in the late 1960s.

Brian May holds up a anti-fox hunting poster at the Royal British Legion in Keynsham, England, on April 24, 2010.

Brian May holds up a anti-fox hunting poster at the Royal British Legion in Keynsham, England, on April 24, 2010.

"The reason I did my physics degree at Imperial College was because I had astronomy in mind," May explained. After earning his Bachelor's degree, May embarked on postgraduate studies for a PhD. He focused on a project in the infrared astronomy department.

Brian May and Anita Dobson after he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Hertfordshire, outside St Albans cathedral, on November 19, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Brian May and Anita Dobson after he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science by the University of Hertfordshire, outside St Albans cathedral, on November 19, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

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His research centered on optical Doppler shift astronomy. This involved studying the dynamics of dust in the Solar System. May left his PhD after reaching a challenging point in his thesis.

Brian May had completed three years of study and had written most of his thesis, including pictures, diagrams, and an index. After an additional year of supporting himself by teaching math, he felt ready to submit his work.

Brian May, attends a ceremony in which Queen were awarded the PRS for Music Heritage Award at Imperial College London in London on March 5, 2013. | Source: Getty Images

Brian May, attends a ceremony in which Queen were awarded the PRS for Music Heritage Award at Imperial College London in London on March 5, 2013. | Source: Getty Images

However, his supervisor suggested making further revisions and additions. Feeling unable to continue, May decided to step away from his PhD.

He ultimately chose not to submit his thesis to the authorities. Having put his PhD on hold, he joined Queen, marking the start of his legendary career in music.

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Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, and Freddie Mercury of the Queen band in 1970. | Source: Getty Images

Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, and Freddie Mercury of the Queen band in 1970. | Source: Getty Images

Freddie Highmore

Freddie Highmore was born on February 14, 1992. He is a native of London, England. His parents are Sue, a talent agent, and Edward Thomas Highmore, an actor.

He went to Highgate School and later graduated from Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He holds a double first-class degree in Spanish and Arabic.

Freddie Highmore arrives at the 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, on February 5, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

Freddie Highmore arrives at the 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, on February 5, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

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Highmore chose to be an actor after he was cast in "Bates Motel" for five years when he was only 19. Prior to this, he viewed acting as a hobby, especially when he played Leo Howard in the '80s soap opera "Howard's Way."

Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates on "Bates Motel" on October 3, 2012. | Source: Getty Images

Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates on "Bates Motel" on October 3, 2012. | Source: Getty Images

The "Good Doctor" star mentioned that he would work in Los Angeles and then return home to a sense of normalcy. Eventually, he took a break from acting, intending that if he ever returned, it would be a deliberate choice to pursue his career as an actor.

Freddie Highmore on "The Good Doctor" on February 18, 2021. | Source: Getty Images

Freddie Highmore on "The Good Doctor" on February 18, 2021. | Source: Getty Images

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Now, Highmore has advised aspiring actors to maintain a sense of normalcy and reality in their lives just as he has done even when they become successful.

Freddie Highmore arrives to the 74th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

Freddie Highmore arrives to the 74th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft Theater on September 12, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

He emphasized the importance of not solely focusing on acting, suggesting that they continue their education. "Also a university degree is a wonderful opportunity to get more life experience," he added.

The actor reflected on how actors who transition directly from child acting to adult roles might lack diverse experiences to draw upon in their performances.

Freddie Highmore attends the ABC Disney Upfront at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street in New York City, on May 17, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

Freddie Highmore attends the ABC Disney Upfront at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street in New York City, on May 17, 2022. | Source: Getty Images

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Rowan Atkinson

Rowan Atkinson was born on January 6, 1955, in Consett, UK, to Ella May and Eric Atkinson. He studied electrical engineering at both Newcastle University and Oxford University. At Oxford University, he did his postgraduate in Engineering Science.

Rowan Atkinson attends the BAFTA awards in London, on 5 March, 1985 | Source: Getty Images

Rowan Atkinson attends the BAFTA awards in London, on 5 March, 1985 | Source: Getty Images

During his time at university, he met screenwriter Richard Curtis, and together they wrote and performed comedy skits. Atkinson first became famous as the star and co-creator of the satirical sketch show "Not the Nine O'Clock News." His portrayal of the character Mr. Bean earned him international acclaim.

Rowan Atkinson, as 'Mr Bean', attends the premiere of film "Top Funny Comedian" in Beijing, China, on March 19, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Rowan Atkinson, as 'Mr Bean', attends the premiere of film "Top Funny Comedian" in Beijing, China, on March 19, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

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In recent years, Atkinson has appeared in various feature films and had a successful run in West End theatre. In 2013, he was honored with a CBE in the Birthday Honours for his great work in drama and charity. The actor also has received two BAFTA awards.

Rowan Atkinson attends a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Sir Stirling Moss in London, England, on May 8, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Rowan Atkinson attends a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Sir Stirling Moss in London, England, on May 8, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria was born on March 15, 1975, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Her mother Ella Eva Longoria is a special education teacher, and her father, Enrique Longoria Jr., is a rancher.

Eva Longoria in 1998. | Source: Getty Images

Eva Longoria in 1998. | Source: Getty Images

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Longoria studied at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. Following her college graduation, Longoria participated in a talent contest that led her to Los Angeles. There, she was spotted and then signed by a theatrical agent.

Eva Longoria on January 1, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Eva Longoria on January 1, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Beyond her acting career, Longoria is a passionate advocate for education. She founded The Eva Longoria Foundation. This organization supports Latinas in building better futures through education and entrepreneurship.

Eva Longoria, founder Eva Longoria Foundation, on Centre stage during day three of Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2022. | Source: Getty Images

Eva Longoria, founder Eva Longoria Foundation, on Centre stage during day three of Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2022. | Source: Getty Images

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Longoria pursued higher education when she bagged a Master's degree in Chicano Studies. These studies focus on Mexican-American history. Her thesis was titled "Success STEMS From Diversity: The Value of Latinas in STEM Careers."

Eva Longoria receives the Harvard University Artist of the Year Award from Harvard Foundation Director Dr. S. Allen Counter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on February 21, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Eva Longoria receives the Harvard University Artist of the Year Award from Harvard Foundation Director Dr. S. Allen Counter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on February 21, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

While still working on "Desperate Housewives," Longoria started the program, juggling her schoolwork on the set and attending night school afterward.

Eva Longoria after graduating with her Master's degree in Chicano Studies, from an Instagram post dated, May 1, 2024. | Source: Instagram/fiercebymitu/

Eva Longoria after graduating with her Master's degree in Chicano Studies, from an Instagram post dated, May 1, 2024. | Source: Instagram/fiercebymitu/

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On May 22, 2013, she celebrated her academic achievement by posting on X, "Big day today!!! Very excited to graduate for my Master's degree in Chicano Studies!" The actress ever since contributed to publications on the topic of education.

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Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik was born on December 12, 1975, and grew up in San Diego. She landed her first acting role in "Pumpkinhead" at the age of 12. Numerous TV roles followed, culminating in her breakthrough role as the lead in "Blossom" in 1990.

Mayim Bialik attends the taping of "NBC 75th Anniversary Celebration" in New York City, on May 5, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Mayim Bialik attends the taping of "NBC 75th Anniversary Celebration" in New York City, on May 5, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

While still starring in "Blossom," Bialik secured a deferred place at Harvard and was also accepted by Yale. In the end, she chose to attend UCLA. The actress recalled how she ended up taking a break to pursue a degree in Neuroscience.

Mayim Bialik attends the premiere of Showtime's "Fat Actress," at Arclight Cinemas, on February 23, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

Mayim Bialik attends the premiere of Showtime's "Fat Actress," at Arclight Cinemas, on February 23, 2005. | Source: Getty Images

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Mayim Bialik had a biology tutor who was then a dental student at UCLA. This tutor became her first one-on-one female role model, sparking Bialik's love for science.

The "Big Bang Theory" star was determined to pursue a college degree. This drive stemmed from her background as a second-generation American in a family that placed a high value on higher education.

Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons on "Big Bang Theory" on August 23, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Mayim Bialik and Jim Parsons on "Big Bang Theory" on August 23, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

When "Blossom" ended, she seized the opportunity to follow her passion for science and enrolled at UCLA to study Neuroscience. She earned her Bachelor's degree in 2000 and went on to pursue a PhD in Neuroscience.

Mayim Bialik attends the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, on January 27, 2013. | Source: Getty Images

Mayim Bialik attends the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, on January 27, 2013. | Source: Getty Images

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Bialik decided to pursue a PhD because of her passion for teaching and research. Additionally, her grades were not high enough for medical school. Even so, she realized that the rigid structure of medical school might not have suited her anyway.

Mayim Bialik arrives at the Breakthrough Prize in Mountain View, California, on December 3, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Mayim Bialik arrives at the Breakthrough Prize in Mountain View, California, on December 3, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

The actress focused her research on Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Its target was a population of individuals affected by Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic disorder. She completed it in 2007.

Throughout her academic journey, Bialik continued to work in television, remaining a regular presence on US TV screens.

Mayim Bialik poses as the Los Angeles LGBT Center hosts The Center Gala in Los Angeles, California, on April 22, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

Mayim Bialik poses as the Los Angeles LGBT Center hosts The Center Gala in Los Angeles, California, on April 22, 2023. | Source: Getty Images

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Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie, an American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, and television judge, was born on June 20, 1949, in Alabama.

Lionel Richie at the Variety Sundance Studio, Presented by Audible in Park City, Utah, on January 19, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Lionel Richie at the Variety Sundance Studio, Presented by Audible in Park City, Utah, on January 19, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

He now resides in Beverly Hills, California. Richie first gained fame in the 1970s as a songwriter and co-lead singer of the funk band the Commodores.

Lionel Richie, third from right, and Commodores in 1970. | Source: Getty Images

Lionel Richie, third from right, and Commodores in 1970. | Source: Getty Images

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The singer majored in economics and minored in accounting at Tuskegee University. In 2019, Richie served on the host committee for the Tuskegee University inaugural Crimson and Gold Gala. This highlighted his commitment to giving back to his alma mater.

Lionel Richie addresses the class of 2017 at Berklee's graduation, from a YouTube video dated, June 2, 2017. | Source: Youtube/@Berklee

Lionel Richie addresses the class of 2017 at Berklee's graduation, from a YouTube video dated, June 2, 2017. | Source: Youtube/@Berklee

Art Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel, born on November 5, 1941, in Forest Hills, New York, is a renowned music artist and actor. He pursued studies in Mathematics and Architecture at Columbia University.

Art Garfunkel in New York City, circa 1983. | Source: Getty Images

Art Garfunkel in New York City, circa 1983. | Source: Getty Images

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When asked what career he might have chosen if not for music, Garfunkel replied, "I would have been happy being a teacher. Architect, no. I went to architecture school for three years and it just didn't happen. I didn't have the gift."

Art Garfunkel in New York City, circa 1980. | Source: Getty Images

Art Garfunkel in New York City, circa 1980. | Source: Getty Images

Garfunkel reflected on other alternative career paths he could have pursued had singer Paul Simon not steered him towards music. He considered the possibility of becoming a mathematician. However, he found the idea amusing, noting that mathematicians often work for the Defense Department.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel of the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel in a Columbia Records publicity still in New York, circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel of the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel in a Columbia Records publicity still in New York, circa 1967. | Source: Getty Images

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He did now see himself fitting into a role in the Defense Department or a related industry. Teaching, on the other hand, was a different story. Garfunkel felt he would have been comfortable as a teacher.

Art Garfunkel in Chicago, Ilinois on April 1, 1978. | Source: Getty Images

Art Garfunkel in Chicago, Ilinois on April 1, 1978. | Source: Getty Images

In high school, he supported himself by tutoring other students and earning a decent income from it. This early experience gave him confidence in his ability to teach as a potential career. The actor had also once taught professionally.

Art Garfunkel perform on stage during the Thurn & Taxis Castle Festival in Regensburg, Germany, on July 21, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Art Garfunkel perform on stage during the Thurn & Taxis Castle Festival in Regensburg, Germany, on July 21, 2017. | Source: Getty Images

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In the early 1970s, after getting married, Garfunkel moved to Connecticut and purchased a country house. This period followed the immense success of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." So, he sought to distance himself from the ego and pressures of show business.

Arthur Garfunkel and Paul Simon hold a "Grammy" for best record and best album of the year for "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in Hollywood California, on May 16, 1971. | Source: Getty Images

Arthur Garfunkel and Paul Simon hold a "Grammy" for best record and best album of the year for "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in Hollywood California, on May 16, 1971. | Source: Getty Images

During this time, he decided to try his hand at teaching and became a math teacher at Litchfield Preparatory School after studying mathematics and architexture. He enjoyed both the curriculum and the act of teaching, finding it fulfilling. However, he eventually realized that, as a profession, it felt too limited for him.

Art Garfunkel attends Sony Pictures Classics & The Cinema Society Host A Screening Of "David Crosby: Remember My Name" in New York City, on July 16, 2019. | Source: Getty Images

Art Garfunkel attends Sony Pictures Classics & The Cinema Society Host A Screening Of "David Crosby: Remember My Name" in New York City, on July 16, 2019. | Source: Getty Images

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Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones was born on February 25, 1976, in Los Angeles, California. Her parents are Quincy Jones, a media mogul, producer, and musician, and Peggy Lipton, an actress.

Rashida Jones at the Fox Netword Upfront party in New York City on May, 17, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Rashida Jones at the Fox Netword Upfront party in New York City on May, 17, 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Growing up in Bel Air, Los Angeles, she entered the world of professional acting with her debut in the 1997 mini-series "The Last Don." Alongside this, Jones completed her studies at Harvard University in 1997, majoring in religion and philosophy.

Rashida Jones arrives at NBC Universal's Press Tour Cocktail Party in Pasadena, California, on January 10, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Rashida Jones arrives at NBC Universal's Press Tour Cocktail Party in Pasadena, California, on January 10, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

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Growing up in a Reform Judaism household, she initially had no clear career path in mind after studying these subjects. Her interest in religion and philosophy was sparked by her childhood experiences in a meditation ashram.

Rashida Jones at Amy Poehler's Star Ceremony on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held in Hollywood, California, on December 3, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Rashida Jones at Amy Poehler's Star Ceremony on The Hollywood Walk of Fame held in Hollywood, California, on December 3, 2015. | Source: Getty Images

Jones also shared, "And I spent some time in India. And I ended up writing my thesis on Indian philosophy, 11th-century Indian philosophy. You know, you could do a lot with that in the real world."

Rashida Jones attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones in Beverly Hills, California, on March 4, 2018. | Source: Getty Images

Rashida Jones attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones in Beverly Hills, California, on March 4, 2018. | Source: Getty Images

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Rashida Jones finds religion fascinating due to its power to unite people. She mentioned that it also had the ability to incite conflict, create order, and influence behavior in the name of a higher power. Her diverse religious experiences as a child further fueled her interest.

Rashida Jones attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California, on February 9, 2020. | Source: Getty Images

Rashida Jones attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, California, on February 9, 2020. | Source: Getty Images

The actress participated in a Christian choir, explored Buddhism, attended a Hindu ashram, and went to synagogue. Additionally, she often accompanied a friend to her Presbyterian church on Sundays. These visits helped her immerse herself in various religious practices.

Rashida Jones attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones in Beverly Hills, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

Rashida Jones attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones in Beverly Hills, California, on March 10, 2024. | Source: Getty Images

These celebrities' academic achievements show their diverse talents and passions beyond entertainment. Their studies in fields like neuroscience and astrophysics reflect a commitment to knowledge. This combination of intellect and creativity enriches their performances and inspires their fans.

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