Touching Triton Premiere Party

Saturday, May 10, 2014
Some days I go to bed thinking, "my job is really cool." Yesterday was one of those days.

Three years ago we began work on a NIH education grant with the goal of creating an online activity to help teach complex disease genetics. What seemed like it was going to be a relatively straightforward project has evolved and developed into something so much bigger as we ventured into the world of serious (educational) games and created Touching Triton. This project has been, and continues to be, a big part of my job.

In Touching Triton, students take on the role of working in resource management for a private space exploration enterprise. They are tasked with figuring out what medical supplies and equipment to pack on the Argos, a ship that will be carrying a crew of 6 all the way out to Triton (a moon of Neptune...really really far away) and back. To help aid in that decision they are provided with medical and genetic information about the crew members and they have to first make some assessments about what types of medical problems are more or less likely to arise during the trip.

The overall project is not done. In fact we have two more years of funding where we will be developing more associated content and teacher tools and doing teacher training across the state and beyond. But the application itself is pretty much complete.

We wanted to have an event to celebrate that fact and thank everyone who played a role in making the project a reality so we hosted the Touching Triton Premiere party last night. The event was fantastic and it was really cool to see just how many people were a part of the project in one way or another and have them all together in one place. One of the coolest things was the fact that three actors who we hired and filmed a year and a half ago were able to come back and be a part of the night. They mentioned how neat it was to be able to see the bigger picture of what the project really is and where it is going.

We had good food and drinks, including these amazing petit fours with the Touching Triton and Argos logos on top.

And we ordered these custom champagne flutes with the Argos logo printed on them to use for a toast and for guests to take home. 

We also had 11x17 "movie posters" printed to pass out as giveaways along with an Argos lapel pin. I know I wasn't necessarily expecting this to happen, but many people actually got their posters signed by the three actors who were there. So fun.

Andrew got to come, along with Emily and Matt (whose names actually appear in the credits of the game and are the real brains behind the virtual pharmacist and dietitian you can consult while packing the Argos). It was great to be able to celebrate with them.

It was a big night professionally and probably as close to a "red carpet" event I will ever get. During the party we showed a little video documentary of how the project has evolved and it was crazy to look back that the hand drawn karyotype on a shower curtain that served as the starting point for what is now Touching Triton. Now that we have celebrated, it is time to get back to work on the project and finish strong. 

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