The Bronx Institute at Lehman College works to improve educational opportunities for students in The Bronx and has had a long-running partnership with The New York Public Library. One of the highlights of that partnership has been the "Meet the Author" event, which connects public school students in the Institute’s GEARUP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) with well-known writers from the New York City area.
This year's featured author was Greg Pak, a Korean American graphic novelist and filmmaker, who has worked on blockbuster titles such as Planet Hulk and Darth Vader, as well as original publications Mech Cadet Yu and Ronin Island. This year’s book was Mech Cadet Yu, and it proved to be a big hit with the students. The event took place on Thursday, May 4, and it was an unforgettable experience for the 300 students from In-tech Academy and Jonas Bronck Academy who attended.
During the event, Pak gave a presentation that was moderated by library staff, followed by a Q&A session. The students were enthusiastic and engaged, asking Pak about everything from his start in graphic novels to the inspiration behind his characters. To cap off the event, Pak signed every student's book as they lined up to meet him. He also announced that his book will be featured in a Netflix series this fall.
The success of the event was due to the coordinated efforts of many individuals. The Bronx Institute provided a copy of Mech Cadet Yu for each of the students beforehand, and the library staff at the Bronx Library Center played an instrumental role in organizing the event. Additionally, faculty at In-tech Academy and Jonas Bronck Academy did an exemplary job preparing their students for the event.
Professor Herminio Martinez, Ph.D.—Executive Director of The Bronx Institute and a professor of Middle and High School Education at Lehman College—expressed gratitude to all who made this event possible, while emphasizing the importance of connecting GEARUP students with unique learning opportunities.
"Our 'Meet the Author' event provides an accessible and academically enriching experience for our students,” he said. “They get to see all the work and collaboration that goes into writing, publishing, and distributing a book. As the authors speak candidly about their experiences, students may be able to visualize a tangible career path for themselves that they may not have considered before.”