Trek Long Island Founder Stefanie Gangone Embodies Ideals of Star Trek: Being Bold and Kind

Trek Long Island 2 will take place Friday, May 31st through Sunday, June 2nd at the Hyatt Regency in Hauppauge. We spoke with Stefanie Gangone, founder of the area’s only Star Trek convention about launching the con and what Star Trek means to her.

Stefanie Gangone launched her Star Trek con because, as a librarian, she believes that every person (and especially children) should see themselves in stories so they can feel a part of something bigger. Star Trek embodies that belief, where people of all species across the galaxy come together to discover new wonders in the universe. The diversity of the characters allows everyone who watches to see themselves as a part of the United Federation of Planets (or maybe the Borg if you’re into that sort of thing.) 

“Also, I’m a Star Trek fan, obviously,” she added.

Going Kindly

Gangone is a Long Island children’s librarian and during the pandemic when everything shut down, she wanted to reach out to make sure the kids were alright. She knew that people were all going through the same emotions and fears, being isolated and alone. So she started a nonprofit called Library For the Kind.

“My initial focus was on providing children’s books that helped kids and families cope with depression and anxiety caused by isolation,” she says on the nonprofit’s website.

The Library for the Kind’s mission expanded over the years to support children facing a range of obstacles, including dysmorphia, parental incarceration, growing up LGBT+, and understanding people from different cultures and family backgrounds.

Building Her Con Experience

In addition, Gangone had served a number of roles for the Long Island Doctor Who convention including director for children’s programming, vendor director, and social media manager.

Ken Deep, founder of Long Island Doctor Who, which has been running since 2013, said Gangone has been a part of the Long Island Doctor Who con since the early days. He told us that because of Gangone’s professional background, she’s very resourceful and organized.

“Getting an all-volunteer staff to share a common vision is a bit like herding cats,” he said.

When she told him about her idea for a new Long Island-based con for Star Trek fans, he was all for it, considering it was a first for Long Island – you can say she was boldly going where no one had gone before.

“Stefanie loves Star Trek,” Deep said. “It’s surprising that Long Island never had its own Trek convention, being that it’s so popular.”

On a Mission

Two years ago, Gangone did boldly go on her own mission and launched her Star Trek con on Long Island focused on the inclusion and sense of wonder that Star Trek embodies. She called it Trek Long Island.

Gangone said that in addition to her work with Long Island Doctor Who, with her library duties she does a lot of programming and hiring talent, so her professional career segued nicely to creating a con.

“It’s very similar to what I do at my job,” she said.

The first event in 2023 was a success. Trek Long Island is doing good while being kind. Through the con Gangone raises money for charity. Last year she was able to donate $1,000 to the Lavelle School for the Blind.

“It was so amazing,” said Gangone.

Trek Long Island 2 promises to be bigger and better with more meet and greets, an artist alley, and a bigger auction. Money raised this year will also go to charity including The Trevor Project and PanCAN, among others.

Click here to read our interview with Gabrielle Ruiz who plays T’Lyn on Star Trek: Lower Decks and will be a guest at Trek Long Island.

Being a Trekkie

Gangone herself said she knows what it’s like to be a little different. Her family was not full of Trekkies like herself and she was alone in her love of both Star Trek and Doctor Who.

“No one I knew was into it,” she said. “I was the one who was the quote unquote nerdy one.” She eventually found her people in the fandom.

“Later on in life I realized it was cool,” she said.

Gangone is a hardcore fan. She even bought a white Jeep (it had to be white) so she could add accents to make it resemble a Starfleet shuttlecraft.

Stefanie Gangone’s white Jeep is modeled on a Starfleet shuttle.

For her con, she seeks out like-minded people to help her run it and appear at the event. Star Trek seems to lend itself to that type of fan.

“It comes kind of naturally,” she said. “People know that this is the way this convention is. I find nice people. The agents know that I’m looking for actors who are good people.”

The tagline for Trek Long Island is, after all, “Going Kindly.”

Deep said that Gangone infused the con with everything that Star Trek represents.

“She created a con that not only celebrated Trek, but represented the values she feels strongly about,” he said. “Star Trek is about a positive, optimistic view of the future.”

Bringing Trek Long Island 2 to Life

Gangone says that although organizing a con is not easy, it’s worth it. Like any good Starfleet captain, she has a good crew behind her. 

“It’s exhausting but I have a great team,” she said. “They’re fantastic. In each department I have someone who leads.”

The team works together so well, she says, it’s a little scary.

“I don’t want to call them the Borg but they’re like the Borg,” Gangone joked.

For Trek Long Island, like many conventions the costs come upfront so getting your ticket early is a key part of helping make the con a success. Venue fees and other expenses are all due before they open the doors.

“The most money I have to spend is before the con,” she said.

Even with the work and the stress leading up to Trek Long Island, Gangone says it’s all worth it in the end.

“I’m such a nerd,” she said. “I get happy when I see someone excited. I look at the people there and they’re just so happy. It’s magical.”

Click here to reserve your ticket to Trek Long Island today!

 

Photo credits: StarTrek.com and Stefanie Gangone.

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