ECE at Dragon Con 2017

Atlanta, GA

Dragon Con, the annual sci-fi and fantasy convention that happens each Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia, gets bigger every year. This year, more than 80,000 people are expected to attend. We talked to three people from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering about what Dragon Con means to them and why they think Georgia Tech is so intrinsically linked with this long weekend that celebrates nerd culture.

Name: Natalie Chu
Current year: 5th
Major: Electrical Engineering

How have you been involved with Dragon Con?
I think I've attended Dragon Con every year since 2006 and I have volunteered since 2012. Between 2012-2014 I volunteered in the Dragon Con Store and 2015 to the present I help out in Guest Hospitality.

How will you be involved this year?
I will be volunteering in Guest Hospitality and attending as a Con-goer.

What are you most looking forward to at the event this year?
Volunteering, seeing friends I don't get to see but once a year, going to some Game of Thrones panels, and seeing a bunch of great costumes. 

In what ways do you think Dragon Con is particularly important to those in the Georgia Tech community?
We're all nerds in some way at Georgia Tech and I think Dragon Con can appeal to just about any kind of nerd since it has so many fandoms and science tracks present. I think it's a good way for us to see some of the city as well as bond with some friends over shows, engineering tricks, science theories, etc. 

How would you like to see the Georgia Tech community partner with Dragon Con in the future?
I like how there are competitions at Tech like the one where you can fix up an old car or design your own car, and I think it would be cool to have a similar competition that inspires engineering and working with technology at Dragon Con. Maybe it could be a vehicle from a comic or show, or a costume accessory that involves moving parts or circuit boards. I know there's a robotics competition there already so we could also send teams there?  

 

Name: Skanda Prasad
Current Year: 4th year Ph.D. student
Major: ECE

How have you been involved with Dragon Con?
This will be my second year participating. I cosplayed last year (as Rorschach from Watchmen), and also performed stand-up comedy as part of Georgia Tech’s Geekapalooza Comedy Tour, in Dragon Con’s Skeptics Track.

How will you be involved this year?
This year, I’ll be performing stand-up again (watch the Geekapalooza squad on Sunday at 10 pm in the Skeptics Track), and probably will cosplay as well. If I do, I’ll most likely pull out the old Rorschach rig again – it was fairly successful last year (although I couldn’t see much through the mask).

What are you most looking forward to at the event this year?
I’m looking forward to seeing what the new year of cosplay brings, especially with so many new superhero movies having come out. I’m also hoping there’s more science education present there. Last year had a great astronomy setup with a full-sized solar-viewing telescope. I got to see sunspots, and got a pair of eclipse glasses that helped me a couple of weeks ago.

In what ways do you think Dragon Con is particularly important to those in the Georgia Tech community?
I think Dragon Con is great for the Georgia Tech community, since we’re a group of (very) nerdy people, who are proud to be nerds, and the Con allows us to reach peak geekdom. But more importantly, there are a lot of opportunities for people to learn more about how to express their creativity, such as writing workshops, etc.

How would you like to see the Georgia Tech community partner with Dragon Con in the future?
It’ll be great to see more Georgia Tech professors and researchers showcase some of the cool aspects of their research at the Con. Given that sci-fi is such a big part of any comic convention, many attendees are passionate about technology. With Tech being at the forefront of much of this research (robotics for example), this is a great place to showcase it and educate the larger, non-scientific community about how our work can be relevant.

 

Name: Joanna Oliva
Position: Event Coordinator in ECE

How have you been involved with Dragon Con?
This is my first time attending Dragon Con, since I just moved to the Atlanta area. Several people have spoken about how amazing the Con is, not just from an attendee perspective, but also on how well put together it is as an event.

How will you be involved this year?
I will be attending on Saturday, mostly checking out the vendor hall and video game area!

What are you most looking forward to at the event this year?
Seeing all the cosplays!

In what ways do you think Dragon Con is particularly important to those in the Georgia Tech community?
Dragon Con gives the Georgia Tech community an opportunity to disconnect and engage with other people with similar interests in sci-fi, anime, video games, or any nerd fandom. It gives us the opportunity to learn about other fellow Jacket’s interests and learn something new about each other outside of the campus. 

How would you like to see the Georgia Tech community partner with Dragon Con in the future?
It would be cool to see Georgia Tech contribute to the designated charity for Dragon Con next year. This year it’s the Special Olympics Georgia and Dragon Con is matching every donation up to $100,000. If not, something simple like posting fliers around campus with information on volunteering or attending would be great to see!

Additional Photos

Skanda Prasad at Dragon Con

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Joanna Oliva

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Last revised September 5, 2017