Is nerd a pejorative term or have we entered an era where it’s chic to be geek? Nerd-friendly fascinations like comic books, video games, sci-fi, and fantasy once considered fringe, are fast becoming popular in mainstream culture. How can colleges create programs and communities that celebrate diverse geek-like interests and support this oft-neglected group of students?
On this episode of Student Affairs Live, host Tony Doody speaks with Alfred Day, Eugene Frier, Carey Loch and Brian MacDonald as they explore issues of identity, stereotypes, and community related to geek culture and what they’ve done on campus and the national stage to bring attention to these issues.
We hope you’ll contribute to the conversation by emailing questions before the show to firstname.lastname@example.org or by tweeting live during the show using the #higheredlive hashtag. As always, we’ll do our best to incorporate a few questions from viewers into the live conversation.
Tony DoodyTony Doody has over 25 years of practical experience and oversight in senior leadership positions within the Higher Education industry in the areas of Facilities Management, New Student Orientation, Recreation, Parent and Family Programs, Leadership and Training, Marketing and Communications, Adult Learning, and Major Events and Programs. He currently serves as the Senior Director of Student Engagement at Rutgers University. Over the last six years, Tony has presented at over thirty universities and national conferences on topics of innovation, digital leadership, technology, and unconventional leadership. He received the Diamond Honoree Award from the ACPA Foundation, the highest honor of the American College Personnel Association, recognizing transformative contributions to the field (2017) and earned NASPA's 2017 Technology Emerging Practice Award. In addition, Tony has worked over 20 years as a consultant in the areas of executive coaching, leadership development, presentation skills, risk-taking, innovation, social media, conflict resolution, and team cohesiveness. Past clients include J&J, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Vistakon, Navigant, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, United Way, Merrill Lynch, Tumi International, and Aventis Pharmaceuticals.
Alfred Day currently serves as the Care Manager for the Dean of Students Office at University of California, Berkeley. Prior to that he as worked in the field of Student Affairs, primarily in the field of Residence Life at such institutions as Saint Mary’s College of California, University of California, Merced and University of California Santa Barbara.
Alfred is one of the architects of the GeekEd movement encouraging students, faculty and staff to embrace the nerd within and utilize it to build communities and connections on college campuses. He works as a professional stage actor and stand-up comedian and has circumnavigated the globe with Semester at Sea. He recently presented a Pecha Kucha on Misogyny in Nerd Communities at the ACPA National Conference in Tampa, Florida where he was declared Czar of Geek Education by people who should really know better.
Carey Loch serves as Director of Major Events and Programs for Student Affairs at Rutgers University where she oversees the Rutgers University Programming Association (RUPA) and manages campus-wide traditions including Convocation, Homecoming, Geek Week and Senior Days.
Believing deeply in the value of conversation and the celebration of originality, she works to foster community and encourages uncommon and unexpected connections between students. Despite having interests rooted more deeply in space and mysticism than comics and gaming, she shares her trademark excitement with anyone who will tolerate it.
Brian is the current Director of Residential Education at UCLA and is the tech and innovative programs chair for ACPA 2016 in Montreal. While he probably knows more about the expanded Star Wars universe than our own, he has learned a few things spending time living and working across America. His adventures have taken him from Massachusetts to Vermont, California, Idaho, New Jersey, and now back to California. He loves to teach and learn, and hopes to do both forever.
Eugene Ahn is a professional geek in every sense of the word. Having left his career job as a litigation attorney to pursue making geek music full-time, he has since toured nationwide and amassed an Internet following and has garnered over 2.4 million Youtube Views for his work. On the side, he also serves as an online PR consultant and works in event planning for universities and organizations, specifically regarding geek and nerd-based events.