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Starship NEXIS is a unique learning environment designed for intellectual, technological, and personal discovery.

This education enhancement program was created and directed by Professor Anthony Rotolo. Its purpose is to support students whose talents and interests extend beyond established curricula.

The Starship hosts an interdisciplinary crew of learners and mentors working on independent and collaborative study projects.

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Starship NEXIS embarked on its first voyage from Syracuse University with a pilot mission that ran from 2011-2014. 

NEXIS started out as a small vessel but was well-equipped thanks to the generous support of Microsoft Research, the Ruth Ivor Foundation and other private donors.

The central feature of the Starship was its onboard Exploratorium. This flexible learning deck housed an array of cutting-edge technologies and workstations to support NEXIS crew projects.

The Starship hosted and sponsored student projects in:

  • 3D Printing

  • Virtual Reality

  • Social Media Data Analysis

  • Drone Technology

  • Data Visualization and Design

  • Open Source Hardware

  • Digital Media Production, and more.

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The Starship has been home to an eclectic crew of technologists, tinkerers, and imagineers.

We are a port and refuge for the "misfit" explorer. Many of our most exceptional crew members possess abilities that flourish outside traditional classrooms.

On the Starship, crew expand not only their technological abilities, but also public speaking, design thinking, teaching, collaboration, and leadership skills. 

NEXIS Crew have gone on to invent their own products, start businesses, and work at social media companies, news and television networks, and design agencies.



Part of the Starship's mission is to share our knowledge and resources to benefit the people of Earth and the greater galaxy.

Starship NEXIS has produced several public events and learning experiences, including our popular Future Friday sessions where everyone can come aboard for show and tell.

Professor Rotolo and Starship crew also made frequent appearances at conferences and as expert panelists for media reports within the technology realm.

Some of these missions are chronicled below.



The Starship NEXIS team organized and hosted the 140cuse conference at Syracuse University. This event was inspired by the influential 140conf created by tech pioneer Jeff Pulver--and the Syracuse adaptation proved just as memorable! NEXIS senior crewman, David Rosen, led the conference planning committee, which recruited a world-class roster of speakers, 600 attendees, and 15,000 online viewers to the event.

140cuse featured talks by Jeff Pulver, Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian, journalist and podcast host Tim Pool, innovators from NASA, Major League Baseball, and many more. The full-day event was hosted by Starship NEXIS founder and "Captain," Anthony Rotolo. 

“Before I came to Syracuse, my first gut feeling was that it’s going to be amazing. Meeting with the [Starship NEXIS] team and being at the iSchool has amplified my own beliefs. I believe this will be an awesome event – from the preparation, the thinking, the people who will be speaking here, the people who are working on this and who want to create an experience.  I’m humbled by the team that’s come together to produce it."


- Jeff Pulver

140conf Founder

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Starship NEXIS regularly hosted Future Friday when members of the campus and local community could come aboard and learn about the technologies in our Exploratorium. Starship crew would demonstrate their projects, and a special tech "encounter" was offered.

At one Future Friday, our featured encounter was with 3D scanning and 3D printing--guests were scanned and then watched as their likeness was fabricated in plastic by our "replicator" device.

Other featured tech included aerial drone demonstrations, virtual reality experiences, and a visit with M.A.D.G.E.--Moisture-aware Decorative Green Element--who was our sentient, succulent plant that could alert the crew of her watering needs by sending out a Twitter message.



Starship Academy offered unique courses for college students, as well as high school students during our summer program. These courses were managed by an elite team of teaching and graduate assistants who, under the direction of Professor Rotolo, coordinated the technological and pedagogical enhancements to some of his most popular courses. These included:

  • #RotoloClass: The first college course on social media to be offered at at any school. Starship Academy supported the groundbreaking real-time social media teaching method developed by Prof. Rotolo, and assisted with data collection of the hundreds of tweets generated per class session.


  • #TrekClass: The Star Trek college course taught by Prof. Rotolo that utilized the popular science-fiction franchise to introduce students to current issues of technology and society. (Click to learn more about Trek Class)

  • #ElectionClass: A course on "Social Media and the 2012 Election" that taught students to analyze social media information and leverage digital technologies in a mock campaign experience. Starship NEXIS supported this course by developing electronic voting systems used in the mock election. Other Starship crew developed and presented a social media sentiment analysis application capable of identifying the positive or negative "tone" of Twitter discussion about the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election candidates in all 50 states.

  • NEXIS Class: This survey course on emerging technologies was offered to graduate and undergraduate students, as well as "summer sessions" high school learners. Prof. Rotolo and Starship crew introduced students to 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, coding for apps and open-source hardware, and more.


Deep within the Starship, and perhaps too close to the warp engines, a strange group of characters kept busy monitoring signals from the Interwebz. Their video reports, called Warp Corps, explored technology, pop culture, and the strange new world of social media.


Actor and comedian Evan Fonseca hosts alongside Rikki Kneeskern and a supporting crew.