Elizabeth Romanaux
September 11, 2010
Face the Fiction
Saturday September 11, 2010
7:00 p - 10:00 p
Panera Bread
1300 State Route 17N
Ramsey, NJ 07446

For those arriving early, please join us at 7pm for our open
mic-style Whispers From Beyond from 7-8pm. This group
meets on the second Saturday of each month and spotlights
guest speakers from SF and genre related fields of interest.

This group meets on the second Saturday of each month and
spotlights guest speakers from SF and genre related fields of
interest. This month we welcome Elizabeth Romanaux,
representative of the Liberty Science Center and the NJ
Association of Museums, who will be talking to us about
work at the museums, creating exhibitions, and so much
more.
Face the  Fiction Presents:
Elizabeth Romanaux
September 11, 2010

The watchword was Science on Saturday as the Science
Fiction Society of Northern New Jersey gathered together for
a little something out of the ordinary: a presentation by
Vice-President of Marketing and Public Relations for the
Liberty Science Center, Elizabeth Romanaux. The evening
started early with discussions of Star Wars and Warhammer
40,000/Rogue Trader in Todd's Carpool. That's right, Todd
Ehrenfels, Kate Landis, and Todd Debiak teamed up for
laughs and conversation on the road, as I wanted to make
sure that everyone had a chance to have some fun.

We arrived at 6:30pm and Kate, Todd and I started setting
up the room in preparation for the meeting. During the
set-up we chatted about Cthulu, the problems with some
modern SF movies, and the decline and fall of the SyFy
channel. We were soon joined by the Spinmen: Steve and
Jim Spinosa, who pitched in with contributions on Technology
and e-Publishing. Next in the room was Master Gene
McGrath, who I would have liked to chat with a bit more, but
a rapid influx of people prevented my socialization efforts.
Next thing we knew, it was 8:00 and Elizabeth was arriving
and ready to start.

Like a Super Derecho blowing in across the Great Plains, Elizabeth
started the evening out with a masterful description of the Liberty
Science Center's latest premier attraction: The Baby Mammoth, Lyuba,
who is headlining the the Mammoths and Mastadons exhibit
(http://www.lsc.org/lsc/ourexperiences/exhibits/mammoths). Elizabeth
explained that she was very excited about this because the
opportunity to actually see something like this is beyond rare, and
hearkens back to her first steps in the realms of science.

Brought up in a home filled with science, Elizabeth Romanaux
wanted first to be an Anthropologist and Archeologist after
becoming enamored of the sciences due to early exposure to
National Geographic magazine. Before the age of six, her
focus had changed to Geology and Paleontology, subjects
that she continued to favor until she arrived at college and
learned that she would need a great deal more math in her
background, and years of lab-work before she could fully
participate in the sciences that she so loved. After school,
she moved out to the West Coast and began a successful
career in Marketing, and eventually landed a gig back in New
York City doing PR and Marketing for a firm that dealt almost
exclusively with museums. The Liberty Science Center was
not having much success with their current advertising and
PR guru, and through a quirk of fate, the Chief Administrator
was someone who Elizabeth had babysat for in the past
(small world), and said Chief Administrator placed Elizabeth's
resume and curriculum vitae on the desk of the then VP of
Marketing and said, "You owe me one."

Thus began a career of awesome events at the Liberty
Science Center. Elizabeth recounted tales of frantically
gathering the CEO of the Liberty Science Center from Mexico
City and having the exhibit makers drop everything to build a
proper erupting Mount Saint Helens during the more recent
eruption about five years ago for an appearance on the
Today Show. Explaining the facts of environmental sciences
to John McCain to help him make informed decisions on New
Jersey Horseshoe Crab issues was another cool topic of
conversation. While politicians and such are cool, some of
the celebrities that have graced the LSC were just as much
fun and fodder for discussion.

Conversation turned from the LSC itself to the concepts of
Science in the media, conservation, and a few other
important issues. When asked if she thought that there
might be too many Science Museums in the NY Metro area,
she quipped that there was no shortage of ignorance and so
there should be no shortage of education. We discussed the
environmental impact of our homes and habituation, the
importance of newts, greening the house, saving the
spiders, and the importance of anatomically correct anatomy
models. Also in the mix were anecdotes about the science
courses for educators, the cool programs for Abbott District
Schools, and changes in the way that reporting is being
done.

I am totally not doing this event justice. We started promptly
at 8pm, and likely would have kept going until midnight if the
store was not closing at 10pm. As it was we had to force an
end to the evening when the manager of the store very
subtly reminded us that they were closing in 10 minutes. We
repaired the room in record time, and then proceeded to
chat in the parking lot until 11pm. In addition, Kate, Todd,
and I enjoyed even more discussion on the way home, citing
many interesting topics from the event before moving the
topic to how cool the rock band Genesis is.

Join us in October as Anton Strout and Ekaterina Sedia for a
discussion of Werewolves, Lycanthropes, and
Shapechangers at Borders Books & Music at the Ramsey
Interstate Shopping Center on October 9th.


(writeup by Todd V. Ehrenfels)