Prof. Ellis’ Science Fiction Students on Inspiration for Entering STEM Fields


Before getting out for Spring Recess, Prof. Jason Ellis asked his ENG 2420 Science Fiction students what SF inspired them and what SF in general does to inspire young people to pursue STEM careers. These are some of their insightful responses:

Nurul Alam, Mechanical Engineering
“Science fiction can open someone’s mind to potential ideas, things that people normally think is impossible. We have a lot of creative fields here at City Tech. In a way, we are the future.”

Kevin A. Gaul, Emerging Media Technologies
“Since science fiction contains elements related to STEM fields, it would seem appropriate for science fiction to inspire people to take up STEM fields to unlock the mysteries that science fiction has presented to us.”

Brandon Francis, Undecided
“I enjoy really thought provoking and complicated science fiction such as “—All You Zombies.” Science fiction can inspire people to want to create things that are seen in movies or TV shows. Inventions that are seen on Star Trek, like video chat, wasn’t possible at the time of conception but now it is a reality!”

Favio Campos, LAA
“Since I was younger I loved watching shows like Power Rangers, Gundam and those similar to it. To this day, shows like these never fail to cheer me up and put a smile on my face. I was curious to know more about the genre. SF can inspire people to study STEM since a lot of SF works go into future technology and makes people want to help bring us one step closer to that technology.”

Alejandra Avila, Civil Engineering
“Science fiction inspires people to lead technology and science beyond . . . to make unpredictable things, settings, and societies.”

Amelfi Alix, Human Services
Science fiction inspires people to pursue STEM fields “by allowing people to think ahead into the future.”

Joanna Wong, Computer Information Systems
“It really isn’t an inspiration to what I choose to learn, but Transformers was an inspiration with their alien knowledge and technology. We learn about ideas that we didn’t think would be possible and apply it to see if its right or wrong.”

Octavio Anaya, Entertainment Technology
“Comic books and comic book movies inspired me to want to learn more about creating more works such as those already created using production (video) and post production technologies. Those in the STEM fields can look at the technology produced within SF works and could inspire those going into these fields to want to create technologies like or similar to those in SF.”

Darius Freeman, Computer Engineering Technology
“What inspired me to major in computer engineering was the first Iron Man movie. I had just begun ninth grade and seeing Tony Stark invent all that technology to help him save the world was a sort of “aha” moment for me to go into engineering. Science fiction can inspire people to study in STEM fields by allowing someone to see the things that might be possible in the not so distant future. The stories are often of people ascending to a higher purpose through science and are most always answer the hero’s call.”

Anonymous, Computer Science
Science fiction “gives concepts and ideas to strive towards.”

Angela Teeraj, Biomedical Informatics
“Tim Burton works to do something out of the ordinary, and Jurassic Park [explores] what happens when we manipulate DNA. Science fiction can inspire people to work to insure that technology is used only to better humanity through studying STEM fields.”

John Darius, Computer Information Systems
“SF allows people to think outside of the box and against the ordinary. It allows people to have a bigger imagination and allows people to have a deeper understanding of science.”

Gabriel Vega, Hospitality Management
“The way science fiction can inspire someone to enter a field that they are interested in is how they react to it.”

Atif Shabbir, Civil Engineering
Science fiction inspires by “building and designing in a more futuristic way.”

Anonymous, Electrical Engineering
“Science fiction can inspire people to study STEM fields by giving them the ambition to create what is in science fiction into the real world.”

Alan Zhu, Facility Management
“To be able to play a game, such as Elite Dangerous, is to experience how might the future be: space trading, bounty hunting, and exploring. To know that we are able to achieve great things, such as space traveling, it really motivates me.”

Peter Lee, Applied Mathematics
Science fiction inspires people into STEM fields when they “make it interesting and cool without making it seem impossible or look like magic.”

Binny Pakhiddey, Architectural Technology
“When I was younger, I saw The Fifth Element. It got me thinking about the future. Anything which is unknown gets my attention.”

Tommy Lin, Computer Systems Technology
Science fiction “can inspire by getting people fascinated and curious on how far technology can advance, even if it’s just imaginative.”

Mike Paar, Radiography
“The works of Douglas Adams would certainly be an inspiration on my own philosophy as a whole. Simply the notion that the universe is so laughably huge that there’s no point in being so serious about it. Science fiction can potentially introduce a person to a whole world of possibilities only available through the study of science and math. Without the imaginative worlds found in fiction, we would be nowhere.”

Soshana Butiku, Computer Systems Technology
“Nichelle Nichols and Roxann Dawson inspired me to enter the STEM program. With SF they show things that seem impossible, but if you enter the STEM field, you can see and prove the impossible isn’t so impossible.”

Andy Diaz, Applied Mathematics
“Fallout, 3 in particular, blurred the lines of “good” and “evil.” Simple overarching story writing and living breaking world inspires my writing and hope to create art in similar depth. SF is often about what is eventually possible. That possible is only reality when one puts their mind to achieving that possible.”

Hunter Brown, Computer Science
“Warhammer 40K and Eclipse Phase show the difference between human technology: Warhammer 40K being a “dark age,” and Eclipse Phase being what happens when humanity is redefined completely by technology. Science fiction can inspire us by showing the light of technologies not created or by showing dangers and problems that need solving.”

Anonymous, Computer Engineering
“SF shows the possibility of what enough education can achieve.”

Mauricio Vargas, Computer Systems Technology
“Science fiction raises awareness of the relationship between STEM and the “real” world and the effects of future jobs due to STEM.”

Mathew Tackett, Biomedical Informatics
“Two examples of science fiction that influenced my major would be Limitless with its mind enhancing drugs and Stargate with its space travel and technology. Science fiction can inspire STEM fields by creating that spark that gets you excited about particular parts of STEM studies.”

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