Sci-Fi Common Reader Film Fest

Sam Houston will be hosting a Sci-Fi film festival in the Lowman Student Center Theater Nov. 2 as part of a weeklong series of events focusing on this year’s common reader, “An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth.” The festival is open to all students to participate and attend.

The book follows Col. Chris Hadfield, an astronaut who has spent more than 4000 hours in space. After returning Col. Hadfield catalogued the most impactful, resonant and outrageous events to help himself and the reader better value life on Earth.

The events begin Oct. 3 with the Fine Arts Reception and Awards Ceremony. Besides beginning the next few days of events, the Reception will announce awards related to the common reader, such as scholarships and winners of essay contests, will be announced.

Over the next three days a handful of speeches will cover broad topics all around the STEM fields and welcome a number of speakers to Sam.

On Tuesday, Nov. 1 Astronaut Chris Hadfield himself will be present to deliver a keynote and sign books. The keynote begins at 2 p.m. and will be held in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom.

The next day a panel is scheduled at 11 a.m. bringing together some of the brightest professors from around campus to discuss the past, present and future of The Great Space Race. Mass Communications Adjunct, Professor Frank Krystyniak, History Department, and Clinical Professor Zachary Doleshal, and Mike Yawn, Political Science Department and director for SHSU’s LEAP Center will all share expertise on the matter.

At 2 p.m. Dr. Lisa Brown, with Sam’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, will present a lecture titled “Women in STEM at NASA”.

At 6 p.m. is the week’s biggest event, the sci-fi film festival. The film festival is the first of its kind, allowing any student at Sam to enter a project.

“The 1st Common Reader Film Festival: Sci-Fi is a collaboration between the Film Program and the Common Reader Program at SHSU. It originally had the goal to stimulate our Film students to create films that incorporated the themes of the Common Reader,” Assistant Professor of Mass Communication Elisa Herrmann, who also coordinates the Film Program said. “But after noticing great interest from other students as well, we decided to open the festival to all SHSU students who would like to submit a short Sci-Fi film to the festival.”


The festival is becoming a recurring tradition, with each year’s theme determined by the common reader. The ceremony and viewing will begin at 6 p.m. in the LSC Ballroom.


“If this year’s event is successful, we intend to keep it going yearly, always choosing a different theme for the festival, one that incorporates the chosen book of the year,” Herrmann said.


On Thursday there will be another lecture from Dr. Renee James, SHSU Department of Physics, at 11 a.m. The lecture focuses on how scientists view other planets from space based observation stations, and it’s titled “Bird’s Eye View: Seeing Worlds from Outer Space”.

The events on campus will end with a luncheon to honor the entire faculty involved with the week and the completion winners.

The final event of the week will occur later that night at the Observatory. The Taurids meteor shower runs annually from September 7 to December 10, and the nights with the highest concentration happen to be Nov. 3 and 4. The organizers request anyone attending the Star Gazing to arrive while there is still daylight and that they bring a flashlight.

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