How has Star Trek influenced your life or career?
Louise & Michael
I had always been a fan of Star Trek and finally had come around to watching the new series The Next Generation and I fell in love with the new era of Star Trek. My husband had started watching The Next Generation and had become a fairly recent fan. We met on a Star Trek Website 16 years ago and it was trivia that brought us together. If we'd not developed a love for Gene Roddenberry's creation we would never have met and fallen in love with each other. In essence Star Trek brought two people from totally different parts of the world together and to this day we are still together and just got our copy of the Star Trek Encyclopedia by Mike and Denise Okuda! Thank you Star Trek for bringing us together and Happy Birthday...p.s. I was born in the same year Star Trek was and yes I'm dating myself.
It has been my dream for years to learn more about space travel. Watching films like Star Trek made me wonder what other life may exist in the universe. The Discovery Channel, NASA phone apps, specials on NOVA, and films like Apollo 13 fascinated me as I grew older and Einstein and Hawking became my heroes. In high school I was even voted the person “Most Likely to be a Lifeguard on the Moon”- perfect for my future space dreams!
Now, one of my long-term career goals is to improve space travel. In college, my short-term goals include completing a bachelor’s degree in physics with a second major in mathematics and a minor in kinesiology followed by at least a master’s degree in astrophysics. Conducting research and eventually going on to earning a PhD are also part of my mid-term goals.
Physics will help me better understand the universe and our place in it. Being part of a team of engineers and scientists who create the technology that transforms dreams of space exploration into reality is my motivational force. I dream of blazing new trails started by famous physicists like astronaut Dr. Sally Ride and Air Force Academy physics graduate Major General Ron Sega. Their dedication to education, research, and public service is awe inspiring.
Mathematics and kinesiology will help me better understand the physiological aspects of human motion and how math is used in all facets of designing, building, and flying spacecraft. My hopes are that studying physics, math, and kinesiology will reveal how each can fit together to improve life for astronauts and other space travelers - to help us explore strange new worlds.
With my love for the mysteries of the universe, I dream of working with NASA, the Air Force, or private companies on planetary exploration. Combining the study of space and helping others is my true calling, my final frontier if you will. Now that I am in my second year of a university physics program, I can see that combining hard work with team spirit will lead me to fulfill my career dreams, and Star Trek is part of the fuel mixture that will get me there.
Because of Star Trek, I became a pilot so I could travel to outer space. After becoming a commercial pilot for a major airline, I wanted to do more to bring the technology I saw to real life. I volunteered through the Air Line Pilots Association to help in the creation of ADS-B focusing on the display for pilots. Now I am creating the Human - Machine interface and created an interactive manual for the Gemini Spacecraft.
I remember when I was about 11 yrs old and was asked to play a "robot" at a work party my parents were throwing for some out of town visitors. It was 1978, Star Wars fever was in full effect and I was infected like the rest of my age-group. My father was a Colonel in the Air Force and was the Base Commander at Patrick Air Force Base in Cocoa Beach, Florida. He also was tasked as the Commander of the Eastern Test Range which included launches from Kennedy Space Center. Basically if the military was launching something at the cape, he was one of those with his finger on the button to destroy a rocket if it went astray down the coast.
He was good friends with a lot of the NASA folk at the time and especially good friends with their Director. Well, the Director had a special guest in town for a launch and the timing happened to coincide with a large party that was being held at our house on base. Of course he told my father who was happy to have another guest, as he was a big fan of parties. When he found out who it was, he had his assistant order a special treat for our new visitor. It was a near-perfect reproduction of R2D2 that was to be occupied by yours truly, and I would move around the party impressing all the guests with my best droid impression.
I was super excited to have anything to do with my favorite movie and couldn't wait to get inside my most beloved character. The day of the party, as everything was being prepared, I was pestering my father about who our special guest would be.."Luke Skywalker?"..."Han Solo?"..."Please tell me it Princess Leia!". My father had enough of my badgering and finally relented with the name...he was so proud to tell me, and with a big smile proclaimed "It's the man behind it all...GENE RODDENBERRY!"
"Gene Roddenberry?!? Dad, that's the Star TREK guy!" I shouted.
My father was beyond shocked and I think more than a little embarrassed to have made that big of a mistake. He paused for a moment and like the Commander he was, he looked me dead in the eye and in his best Colonel voice exclaimed "The ROBOT is ON it's WAY!!", and I knew exactly what that meant.
For the next two hours I was the happiest kid in town...rolling around as R2D2 at our party, impressing of our guests with my bleeps and bloops. My father, as the showman he was, turned the little snafu into a joke for the crowd which, truth be told, Mr. Roddenberry was absolutely tickled with. As it turns out, he was a bit of a Star Wars fan too.
As a first generation American, I was inspired by the mission of exploration and discovery in which the Enterprise and her crew were engaged. The commitment to the principle values (the prime directive) was a model to me as I entered my professional role in Rehabilitation Counseling, where our Prime Directive was to Do No Harm.
As a teen (ok i still do) my rebellion was channeled into pioneering new ways... new programs, helping people realize goals and dreams the thought were not possible, all of which i attribute to the spirit of "Boldly Going where No Man has gone before." To this day i am excited by exploring new possibilities and enjoy seeing what would happen if we were to try something new. My spirit of Why not and pushing the boundaries of performance and capabilities.
This makes me chuckle a little as I often reference the dialog between Captain Kirk and Scotty when the Captain is asking Scotty to push the limits of the ship and He replies "i am giving her all she's got..."
There is a message of being able to do what we thought we could not do, and end up meeting and exceeding the challenge.
I am a Trekkie and Proud of it! I guess in my nature I have taken on the traits of the Crew.
"Live Long and Prosper!"
I remember growing up in the 70s and 80s watching Star Trek TOS and loving the stories and characters; but, as i watched i never even considered the race or background of the characters in the series. As time went by there have been countless essays, books, and news stories about how the diversity of the characters in the series showed how there is hope for the future of humankind and how we can all get along, but i never considered that. Now, is that a reflection of my ignorance or does it show how well the series was able to put people of color in positions of leadership and importance when those folks were still struggling for acceptance in a world still controlled by white men at the time? I think it showed how well none of that mattered to a young man who just like seeing good plots, action and theatrics and who didn't think twice about who was giving the orders. So, with all that has been analyzed about Star Trek TOS's opening up doors for minorities and showing race and background really doesn't matter when you have a Klingon Star Cruser bearing down on the USS Enterprise.
Star Trek showed me that people could be successful and appreciated not just despite their differences, but sometimes because of them. It also piqued my interest in science and technology since those things were an integral part of the series.
For the first, it wasn't always easy being a geeky bookworm, someone who wasn't that great with social interaction and wasn't interested in the same things as most kids, especially the other girls. I was never bullied, but I was alone. Once I discovered Star Trek, it was like discovering another family - and a world in which I would be valued for being myself, even though I was different. Not better, not worse, just different - Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations.
Mr. Spock was my favorite character because I found him so relatable. He had different mannerisms. He wasn't overtly emotional. He had a dry sense of humor. He was studious and cautious. He had been mistreated because of his differences, but he didn't let that stop him from achieving his goals. He didn't change himself to fit in or make things easier. He succeeded on his own terms. That resonated with me. Sadly, I don't have Vulcan intelligence or a handy-dandy nerve pinch. I can do the eyebrow, though! I practiced for a long time. :)
And, oh, how I loved Lieutenant Uhura! Here was this tough, smart, and entirely competent woman on the bridge of a starship. Science fiction and television didn't have a lot of female characters like that. She was a valued member of the crew and the ship's leadership. That was so cool! It irritated me that she didn't get to do as much as she was capable of, but at least she was there and contributing.
That leads to the second impact Star Trek had on me - fostering an interest in science and technology. Communicators! Transporters! Warp drive! Replicators! Wow, it was all very exciting. The ship's computer could talk! The Enterprise could travel between stars in the time it would take us to go visit our grandparents. Doctors could see what was wrong without invasive exams or tests. It really made technology interesting and exciting - no longer an abstract and maybe dry topic. That played a large part in my decision to major in computer science.
When I went to college, most of my computer science classes had one woman: me. Most of my classmates were great, but some were awful - excluding me from project teams, trying to grope me, belittling my intelligence. It was frustrating and isolating, but I kept going. There was always this thought in the back of my mind that Uhura would never give up, that Spock would never give up, and that they found a place where they were appreciated for being themselves. The key was to just keep going.
I graduated and went into the workforce where I have almost always been appreciated for, you guessed it, being myself. I found a career that I enjoy and where my contributions are appreciated. I would never have gone down this path without watching the crew of the Starship Enterprise boldly go where no man - or woman! - has gone before.
Jeffrey W. M.
I watched the series on TV as a boy aged 9-11 years in 1966-69 and was influenced to read other science fiction and science facts about the Cosmos. In the mid-1970s in college at WVU I sat in dormitory TV rooms with dozens of others to enjoy re-watching those classic episodes while viewers poked fun at the series or offered humorous or serious critiques of it. I was inspired by the series to write my first published work, "A Star Trek Chronology" and a sequel to that work in a Signet paperback series called 'The Best of Trek,' in editions six and ten. In 1996 my wife and I won an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood to attend "The 30th Anniversary Star Trek Gala" thanks to a TV Guide contest, where I met and obtained autographs of many of the actors in the original series and Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Deep Space 9 and Voyager as well as meeting Apollo moon astronaut Buzz Aldrin. In 2016 I published a blog celebrating "Star Trek Plus 50 Years." I like to misquote, with tongue-in-cheek, the Saturday Night Live comic TV series Weekend Update sports correspondent and former baseball player Chico Escuela played by comedian Garrett Morris, by stating that "Star Trek's bin bery bery good to me." It most definitely has. Live Long and Prosper...and Scotty...Beam Me Up! By Jeffrey W. Mason, Wheeling West Virginia-born, current Washington, DC area resident in 2018.
when gene Roddenberry one man idea came to live how the earth an the planets out-there in space god give him a wonderful imagination for him to entertain millions of human old an young from there to now
even in this 21th era people can fly on airplanes, hot air balloon, but still people can not live in space planets or visiting by aliens like TV and news casting saying
any way it a good imagination god give to people entertain only god it the creator of earth , space and other planets but without any proof of exiting live on them