Newest Installment of STEM Speaker Series Features ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’


Courtesy of MCT

The discussion following the film showing on Nov. 29 will center on the genetic mutations of the popular movie’s characters.

Like most young superhero fans, science professors grow up fantasizing about fantastic superpowers of their own, but their imaginations may wander wider than those of their childhood counterparts.

San Jacinto College South Campus Biology Professor Sheema Nasir said that as a child, superheroes like those featured in the “X-Men” series made her wonder about “the limits of what science could achieve.”

In that spirit, Nasir, on behalf of the South Campus natural science department and in collaboration with the office of Student Engagement and Activities, organized a viewing Nov. 29 of the film “X-Men: The Last Stand” followed by a discussion on the characters’ genetic mutations. South Campus Biology Professor Aleshia Seaton will lead the discussion.

The event is part of a speaker series started last year featuring showings of “X-Men” and “X-Men 2.” Nasir said the popular films help engage students in conversations that raise questions they find intriguing like “… will telepathy ever be possible? Or will we be able to actually engineer a human with spider genes, or have an actual Spiderman?”

She noted the first two installments of the series generated a lot of interest and positive feedback which led the organizers to keep the STEM movie theme going.

Meanwhile, for this session, Seaton said she would define what a mutation is and what factors cause them, as well as exploring the potential for cures. Mostly, she said she would like students to view the subject matter with a new lens.

“My aim for this event is to transform the way our students think about STEM,” Seaton added.

Likewise, Nasir said the film showings and subsequent discussions are useful tools in the effort to pique students’ interest in the sciences.

“I believe that using media like ‘X-Men,’ which started off as a comic series and was adapted to the big screen,” she said, “is a really neat way of tying in the fantasy genre, which most people already know and are fascinated by, and the scientific concepts underlying the series.”

The showing of “X-Men: The Last Stand” and the discussion on genetic mutations will take place at 1:30 p.m. until 4 p.m. on Nov. 29 in Room 152 of the Academic Wing-North (S7) on the South Campus.