IN THIS ISSUE
helps single parents continue their education...
Fact, Fiction, Future
author David Brin is Mesa Colleges commencement speaker...
Student Athletes Win-Win-Win
Williams heads hottest womens basketball team in area...
Space Age Technology
prototyper finds design flaws early...
earn scholarships with community service...
Mesa Battles Teacher Shortage
to run teacher training program under state grant...
Innovative Outreach CD
College wins kudos for business-card-size CD...
Down Memory Lane at Miramar College
old-timers recall early days...
USA Today Honors Grad
spotlight on Mesa and Miramar College alumna Michelle Coble...
of Women Voters gives Leaders of Vision Award...
Miscellaneous tidbits of news...
Accomplishments by faculty and staff...
Fiction and the Future
dont have to be a rocket scientist to be Mesa Colleges commencement
speaker, but this year thats exactly who theyve booked.
David Brin may be better known for his best selling science fiction novels,
but hes also a CalTech- and UCSD-educated electrical engineer with
a doctorate in space physics. He was also a fellow at the California Space
Institute and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.
Today whats out of this world are his writing plots. He follows
in the steps of Isaac Asimov and other scientists who also found satisfaction
in teaching, and ultimately in taking their thinking beyond the quantifiable
to the fictional.
Brins teaching days included two years at Mesa College in the early
1980s, where he taught creative writing and engineering physics part time.
I found my experience at Mesa most rewarding. The broad mix of student
ages and backgrounds, the intense seriousness of those wanting to get
ahead, the live interest of those who were there simply to exploreit
Brin has also taught part-time at UCSD, SDSU, Grossmont College and Clairemont
Continuing Education Center. But, while he was in love with teaching,
his mounting success as a novelist was impossible to ignore.
His novel The Postman became a big- budget Kevin Costner film in 1997,
while another of his books, Startide Rising, is being developed as a movie
by Paramount Pictures. Several of his novels have earned the prestigious
Hugo and Nebula science fiction awards. His 1989 ecological thriller foreshadowed
global warming, cyber warfare and near-future trends like the World Wide
In his 1988 nonfiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology
Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, Brin deals with a range
of unexpected threats and opportunities facing our wired society. His
chief argument, that openness fosters freedom more effectively than secrecy,
has created intense controversy.
Ive learned that you cannot pay back the previous generations,
but you can pay forward, he told the Union-Tribune in August 1999.
Its todays kids who have the job completing what the
World War II generation started. By 2050, were going to have something
that looks just a bit like utopia, or else this poor planet will be fried.
There is no middle ground.
Brin is author of more than a dozen science fiction novels, a nonfiction
book examining the impact of future technology, and countless magazine
and journal articles. Asked how teaching influenced his writing, he replied,
Nobody truly understands a subject until they try to teach it. Students
can expose every smug, unjustified assumption that you relied on. That
is why, to this day, I think of my books as excuses to explore. I circulate
my [unpublished] manuscripts widely, as if to a class of bright students
who are eager to pounce on a teachers errors.
Some day Brin hopes to return to the classroom. Teaching is the
best job. Everything else is a demotion.