January 13, 2016 | Download PDF

Former ‘Star Trek’ actor, LeVar Burton, to headline 2016 Nebraska Science Festival

Literacy advocate to present keynote on merging technology, storytelling, science fiction

Emmy-award winning actor LeVar Burton has shown that he can do it all.

The former “Star Trek” actor and “Reading Rainbow” producer will share the impact mentors, technology, storytelling and science fiction have had on his life, when he headlines the 2016 Nebraska Science Festival.

Gearing up for its fourth year, the Nebraska Science Festival – scheduled for April 15-23 – will feature an array of science- and technology-related activities in communities across the state with the goal of making science accessible, interactive, relevant and fun for all ages.

“We’re thrilled to bring LeVar Burton to Omaha to share his life story and the role science and technology has played in it,” said Kacie Baum, SciFest coordinator.

Past SciFest speakers have included scientist Bill Nye, “Animal Planet” host and conservationist Jeff Corwin, and meteorologist and extreme storm chaser Reed Timmer.

On April 22, Burton will present “Technology & Storytelling: Making a Difference in the Digital Age” at Joslyn Museum’s Witherspoon Concert Hall in Omaha. His 7:30 p.m. presentation is free to the public (but requires a reserved ticket) and is suitable for all ages.

Tickets for the general admission seating to Burton’s presentation will be released one month prior to the event, on March 22, on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets will be released online at Event Brite. Please check nescifest.com for more information. Although the presentation is free, tickets are required for admittance when doors open April 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Burton launched his acting career while still a student at the University of Southern California. Cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series “Roots,” he found himself on the cover of Time Magazine at age 19.

A seemingly impossible act to follow, Burton managed to do so in dramatic fashion, achieving further global acclaim as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series and feature films.

But it has been his role as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series “Reading Rainbow,” of which he is most proud. Airing from 1983 to 2009, “Reading Rainbow” was one of the longest-running children’s television shows in history, and one of the most acclaimed, earning more than 200 awards including multiple Emmys and a Peabody.

Always committed to improving children’s education through innovative uses of storytelling, in 2012 Burton launched RRKidz, a digital educational publishing company, co-founded with business partner Mark Wolfe. Together, they hold the global rights to the Reading Rainbow brand through a partnership with series creator, WNED/Buffalo.

Reading Rainbow was reimagined to combine today’s forms of media and technology with the goal of inspiring a new generation of children to love reading. The all-new Reading Rainbow is a digital reading service filled with more than 500 children’s fiction and nonfiction books, newly produced video field trips and new content added every week.

The honored recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy and five NAACP Awards, Burton is often invited as a keynote speaker at leading education and technology events, most recently speaking at NASA, ISTE, The National Headstart Association and many more.

In 2014, Burton was named Geek of the Year in the annual Geekie Awards, was listed as one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, and earned the World Tech Award for Education from the World Technology Network.

Presented by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the Nebraska Science Festival is a collaboration of organizations and individuals interested in the advancement of science literacy.

Besides UNMC, other sponsors, to date, include the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, Metro Credit Union, West Corporation and media sponsors KETV and the Omaha World-Herald.

For the latest information and updates visit us on the web: www.nescifest.com; Twitter (@NESciFest) or Facebook (NE SciFest).