You may have seen his handiwork on social media — across most all platforms. He’s Tyler Habiger, and he’s the creator of the Trek Positive positive movement. It seems that this young man oozes positivity, and he can’t help but share his messages of hope and resilience — even during the dark days of 2020.
Tyler’s messages, posts, and comments are the opposite of trolling, and it helps that he’s an incredibly huge fan of Star Trek. As most of us are aware, Trek’s underlying message is one of a positive future for all of humanity. So the fact that Tyler took positivity and Star Trek and made a mash-up of his own, makes a lot of sense.
We thought it would be a great time to talk with this Trek super-fan, to ask him when and how he came up with the #TrekPositive hashtag, and what his plans are for 2021.
TREK REPORT: Tell us a little about yourself…
TYLER HABIGER: I am an adopted Kansan. I was born in Missouri, but Kansas is home. I live in Lawrence, where I am happily employed as a fundraiser for the University of Kansas. I spend my days raising money for scholarships, programs and institutes that are making our world better. I suppose that is my contribution towards a more Roddenberry-esque society.
My mother is a nurse practitioner and my father a neurologist — no idea why I was not bitten with the medical bug. I am also an instructor for the Osher Institute, a national program geared towards senior citizens and their continued learning. I have created American history classes on our presidents and first ladies, an area we all know is never void of new information.
TREK REPORT: Tell us what a typical day for you was like at work pre-COVID…
TYLER HABIGER: My goodness, a normal day — that is quite the thought, isn’t it? It feels like a lifetime ago any of us had a normal day. I am fortunate to have several outlets for my passions which include Star Trek, history and making a difference for my community.
In addition to fundraising and teaching I work for a small company called PR Celebrity, which specializes in public relations and celebrity management. I was recruited by their CEO who had begun working with a friend of mine, Tracee Cocco, who has gained a cult following for playing Lt. Jae on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I had been helping her grow her social media following and she did not hesitate to recommend me to her new manager.
This enabled me a fantastic opportunity to write and consult with many actors and artists. A favorite memory was revamping Aron Eisenberg’s biography before his passing. He was so kind and gracious, grateful for the help we were giving him. The company continues to expand, and hopefully when conventions return, we can start bringing our people to their fans.
I will never forget the day KU Endowment leadership brought us together and informed us of the major changes COVID-19 would bring. The next day, we were told to stay home. As a single man without even a cat, it was quite an adjustment. After I did all the cleaning and purging of closets I could, I turned to social media, as many of us have. Despite the many pitfalls of 24-hour connectivity, it has allowed me to stay in touch with friends around the world. I have even connected on a deeper level with those I hardly knew in-person. Thanks to weekly Zoom and Facebook calls, we have gotten closer and been there for each other through lockdowns and odd CNN alerts.
TREK REPORT: In your role with PR Celebrity, was there a celebrity experience that stands out to you?
TYLER HABIGER: I have been fortunate to attend many conventions, most of them with my bestie, Madison Spencer Engle. We have been to four of the Star Trek Las Vegas conventions together and have experienced our shared Trek community at its best.
I must admit, while I have never met a “negative” celebrity, the actors who truly stand out to me are those from Star Trek: Discovery. Jayne Brook and Doug Jones have been incredible to me. Jayne is truly a badass both on screen as Cornwell and in real life. She is incredibly smart and connected with her surroundings — down to earth and wise. Doug is Doug. A “Doug Hug” from him will sustain you for months.
I have gotten to know Doug’s manager Derek Maki and work with his company Coolwaters Productions on a series of online conventions called InHouse-Con. Fortune really has come my way, and I am so happy to lend my talents in a small way to those who have brought so much joy to our world.
TREK REPORT: How have you been able to stay so upbeat during 2020? This year has been rough on everyone…
TYLER HABIGER: It has not been easy. Being apart from my family is an adjustment as they mean so much to me. Do not even get me started on dating! I keep on a schedule of self-care. It is the little things that make all the difference. Going on hikes, washing bedsheets, checking in on old friends, and of course a lot of Star Trek.
It would be remarkably interesting to know what fellow Trekkers have been binging the most through COVID-19. I watch each series for varied reasons: TOS for nostalgia, TNG to feel cerebral, DS9 to feel engaged and Voyager to feel relaxed. I also have a countdown to STLV 2021 — hoping the world continues to heal and we can gather again in less than 200 days at the Rio!
TREK REPORT: Tell us about #TrekPositive. What exactly does #TrekPositive mean?
TYLER HABIGER: Honestly, #TrekPostive came on a whim. I was texting back and forth with Madison, as we do every day, and we were talking about the spike in negativity that has come with more use of social media. I was saying to her “I wish I could fight back in a way, inject more positivity in people’s daily lives.” If I could make one person smile or feel better, even for a minute, then it will have been worth it.
So, I produced #TrekPositive. The idea is quite simple: At the week’s midpoint of Wednesday, post a photo of yourself or an object from the Star Trek world that is making you happy. It can be anything: a shirt, model ship, toy, artwork, episode or film — the possibilities are endless.
I have really seen some fantastic contributions. People have shown off their collections that otherwise never would have done. Madison has shown her shirts and uniforms. My friends from across the pond (England) in lockdown have shown off their brilliant uniforms. The list is endless. Plus, every week people can look at the hashtag #TrekPositive and see more positivity flood their Twitter feeds. It really makes for a nice break from the negativity.
TREK REPORT: When did you get into Trek? When was your “first contact” with the films or TV shows?
TYLER HABIGER: My earliest Star Trek memory, coincidentally, came because of Star Wars. In the late 1990s, I had worn out the VHS tapes of the original trilogy and my father was wondering if I would enjoy something similar. So, he got into his closet and pulled out a laserdisc of TOS’s “Space Seed.”
I was immediately mesmerized at the chemistry between Kirk and Spock, the earth-like science of the Enterprise, and of course the sheer magnetism of Ricardo Montalban. I was immediately hooked. Turning to my father, I asked if he had any more of them. He replied, “Shit yeah I do!” And then a new fan was born.
I attribute it all to my father. He was inspired to be a doctor after seeing Leonard McCoy on his parents TV set in rural Minnesota. He still practices neurology today. We have even gone to a few conventions together and met some of our heroes like William Shatner, Uncle George Takei and Nichelle Nichols.
TREK REPORT: Tell us about some of the Trek stars that you have met. You posted a photo with you and Nichelle Nichols on her birthday…
TYLER HABIGER: Oh yes, Nichelle was marvelous. She has had such an incredible life and treats every one of her fans with the same love and affection. I have had the good fortune to meet several of Trek’s great actors and designers.
A few favorite memories are Natalia Nogulich and her surprisingly awesome knowledge of American presidents, Wil Wheaton and his love of nerds, Terry Farrell and her acknowledgement of Madison and I’s Section 31 cosplay as “F-ING COOL,” and Marc Alaimo giving me a hug and million-dollar smile after I told him thanks for being a role model (as an actor, not as Dukat).
Being “Tech Guy Tyler” for InHouseCon has allowed me to say “hi” to a lot of the Discovery actors, and they are just as kind and grateful as you would want from a member of the Star Trek family. I hope we get to do more of those this year while we wait for conventions to return.
TREK REPORT: What are your plans for 2021? How is Trek Positive going to change in this new year?
TYLER HABIGER: Well, at the least I plan to remain healthy and employed. #TrekPositive will absolutely continue. It has been inspiring to see so much positivity emerge from our community. Negativity will always be there, but the least we can do is show positivity right back. I have an endless supply of Trek shirts in my closet, so I will always have something to show that is making me happy. I hope to submit a panel idea to Creation for STLV and get together as a community to talk about the ways we have been staying #TrekPositive through a such a tumultuous year.