Who Is a Trek Girl and How Did She Become One? That’s the name – and the topic of discussion – of a sure-to-be-lively panel set for Friday, August 10, at 10 a.m. in the DeForest Kelley Theatre/Basilia Ballroom of the Rio Suites & Hotel during Creation Entertainment’s Official Star Trek Convention. The panel, hosted by StarTrek.com and moderated by fangirl expert Ashley Eckstein, will examine the evolution and current state of female fandom, particularly in the Star Trek universe.

Her UniverseEckstein will get Trek Girls and the audience talking about why they love the series, and why now is the best time to be a woman -- and a fan. Eckstein is the ideal moderator, having founded Her Universe, a new merchandise line featuring fashionable, feminine apparel and accessories designed specifically for fangirls. She’ll be joined on stage by Mary Czerwinski, co-producer/host of DVD Geeks (where she is known as the "Televixen"), the face of CreationTV for many memorable Star Trek celebrity interviews, and the entrepreneur behind Glue Guns and Phasers, which is both a web series and convention workshop; Charity Wood, associate editor at Subspace Communique, a professional artist and co-founder of Bye Bye Robot, a company featuring fully licensed fine-art reproductions, posters and stickers of original works of art inspired and derived from Star Trek; and Kayla Iacovino, a PhD student at the University of Cambridge studying remote volcanoes in Antarctica, Chile, and Korea, as well as a science blogger for NPR's Science Friday.

EcksteinStarTrek.com caught up with the very busy Eckstein, who talked more about what fans attending the panel can expect. Here’s what she had to say:

What do you have planned for your panel?

Eckstein: We plan to explore the past, present and future of the Star Trek fangirl. Are they different now than they were in the beginning? Also, who is a Trek girl and how did they become one? And how can Trek fangirls help shape the future of Star Trek to keep the flame burning for this iconic franchise we all love? I'm looking forward to discussing all of this with our fantastic panel and the audience on Friday.

What kind of dialogue do you hope to have with the women in the audience, especially since you're the ultimate fangirl success story?

Eckstein: I want to know why they are Star Trek fans and what elements of Trek they love the most. What brought them into Star Trek? How has Star Trek inspired them? What kinds of things has Star Trek empowered them to do. You know, what are the differences from past Star Trek shows to today's Star Trek films? Which female characters in Star Trek are heroes that women can really connect to? Along with our discussion with Mary, Kayla and Charity, I also want to take some time to find out what female fans want most for the future of Star Trek and its female role models.

What do Mary, Kayla and Charity bring to the table as your fellow panelists?

Eckstein: I have never met Mary, Kayla and Charity, but I have now read about them, and talked with Mary on the phone, and I am impressed with all of their backgrounds and loyalty to Star Trek. I think they are perfect examples of the kind of dynamic female fans Star Trek has. I cannot hold a candle to their knowledge and experience with Star Trek, and it is a bit humbling! With Mary's wonderful work on DVD Geeks, Glue Guns & Phasers and Trek interviews for both Creation and Roddenberry, along with Charity's incredible Trek-inspired art and work with Subspace Communique and Kayla's amazing PhD studies and science blogging for NPR, I am a bit intimidated with the talent on this panel!

Ashoka Tano

How much of a Star Trek fan are you?

Eckstein: I have to admit that I am relatively new to Star Trek. I certainly was aware of it growing up and watched different episodes, but over the last several years I have begun delving into, specifically, The Original Series and The Next Generation, and I love them. I also greatly enjoyed J.J. Abrams’ film. I can honestly say that I am now a Star Trek fan, which is why it is so much fun being able to design my own Star Trek apparel for female fans with Her Universe. Even though I am most well known as the voice of Ahsoka Tano in the Star Wars franchise, it hasn't taken long for me to feel the same devotion and passion for the Star Trek universe. I am just so excited to be hosting this panel and talking with other fangirls.

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