Alumni Spotlight: Derek Demeter
Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Written by: Seminole State Staff
Name: Derek Demeter
Title and company: Planetarium manager at Seminole State College of Florida
Degree pursued at Seminole State: Associate in Arts degree with an Honors Certificate in 2005
What factors played into you deciding to attend Seminole State College?
One of the biggest contributing factors to choosing Seminole State was the class sizes. I thoroughly enjoyed the intimate setting and I felt I could really interact with my professors and my fellow students. Some of my friends who graduated before me who decided to go to a university discovered they were having a hard time focusing in class due to the sheer size of the classes. I also enjoyed that I could stay at home and help my parents out. Also, the commute was easy.
What were your steps after leaving Seminole State?
I continued my education with an easy transition to the University of Central Florida and pursued a dual degree in physics (astronomy specialization) and technical education. While finishing my degrees, I was hired as the planetarium manager on contingency that I would complete my degrees. I decided that it would be good to have education in the hard sciences while also learning the methodologies and practices in education since I would use both in my career.
How did your time spent at Seminole State help prepare you for where you are now?
My professors encouraged me to think critically, which I think is very important when working in a scientific field. I also met one of my best friends whom I got to work with for many years and still have a great relationship with. I was able to work at the planetarium as a student worker while attending school which fueled my desire to pursue a career in the planetarium field.
Who or what class was your greatest influence at Seminole State College?
One of my favorite classes that I took while at Seminole State was an honors oratory class where we got to debate and research topics on current issues. I enjoyed all my professors in the honors institute and the science merit program. They really cared about my future, where I was going and took the extra time to foster my curiosity.
Professionally or academically, of what are you most proud?
I am most proud of being able to translate my passion for science to my community. Every day I get a chance to meet with students and the public and evoke a sense of wonder in them to look beyond and to explore what is unknown. I have always been known to have enthusiasm and the desire to share knowledge and having the opportunity to do that is such a treat and a privilege that I never take for granted.
What advice do you have for current or prospective Seminole State students?
College should be a time for exploration. Take the time to interact with your fellow classmates. Engage with your instructors. Initiate long lasting friendships. Join a club or organization that you feel passionate about. Challenge yourself and take a class in something that you might otherwise not take because you feel it is too difficult. Don't mold to the career choice but rather let the career mold to you. The old saying "if the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it" holds a lot of truth while in college.
What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy the great outdoors such as hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, photography especially astrophotography, traveling with my wife all over the world, fossil hunting and rockhounding, and attending theatrical performances. One little tidbit most people are always shocked to hear about is I used to sing in the Orlando opera and have sung in various chorales in the past. I haven't done much singing lately, but I hope to get back into it at some point.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Never stop exploring.
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Located on Seminole State’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus, the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida offers live, interactive shows and full-dome video presentations. For more information on the Buehler Planetarium and upcoming events, visit the planetarium website, like the planetarium on Facebook and follow it on Twitter and Instagram: @seminoleplanet.