This past weekend, the city of Auburndale was host to their first (hopefully annual) CityCon. The USS Haven was invited to attend as guests, which we excitedly accepted. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to sit on and moderate a couple panels at the convention.
Saturday morning, I had the pleasure and honor of moderating the first panel of the day, STEM: Growing Roots in a Sci-fi Universe. This panel featured some amazing people from the area: Christina Drake, PH.D., Assistant Professor, college of engineering at Florida Poly, Mary Carpenter, Ed.D. Director of Curriculum and programs at Florida Poly and sci-fi authors William Hatfield and Earnest Mercer.
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. We focus on these areas together not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively.
We discussed the panelists’ love of science fiction fantasy and the correlation of STEM during the panel. When asked what childhood fandoms each panelist was influenced by that drove them to their current places in the world, many gave the same answer. The response from each were overwhelmingly in favor of Star Trek.
Dr. Christina Drake sighted Star Trek Next Generation’s Geordi La Forge for single-handedly being one of the main reason for making a huge change to her educational future. With an audition lined up at Julliard and an acceptance already received from another school focused on Literary Arts…Christina took a leap and applied to the University of Florida where she began her educational journey in Science and Technology. (Dr. Drake, I apologize if I misquoted you in any way, Please let me know and I will correct it asap)
It was fantastic to speak with two female educators like Dr Drake and Mary Carpenter whom strongly advocate females in STEM related fields, and to discuss science fiction with two very well spoken authors. Earnest and William have some really amazing books that you should seek out…Like Earnest Mercer’s Old Yellow Hand and William Hatfield’s Captive Audience.
It is such a great thing to realize that Star Trek really has the power to change lives. Not to mention, when it comes to science and technology, Trek has a huge impact in all of our lives.