Heading into this episode, I knew a few things about Florida Tech.
1) My mom has been working there in the front office of the school since 2000.
2) Lots of smart people go to, and have gone to, Florida Tech.
Now, many locals have also witnessed the growth of Florida Tech through the years like I have. Student planes take off, fly around, and land at the Melbourne International Airport daily. The Indian River Lagoon research has been spearheaded by Florida Tech. And the growth and popularity of the Panther Athletic Department gives sporting fans teams to cheer for! From the basketball team to swimming, water sports to the football field. Athletics is now intertwined with academics at Florida Tech.
For many years, I'd meet my mom and grandma over at the dining hall just off Babcock as you enter campus off University, and you can see the diversity at just a glimpse at Florida Tech. This isn't the school I knew growing up at Satellite High. Florida Tech isn't just a institute for students on scholastic visa's, like we've all assumed. And the students that do come here on student visa's, guess what? They are apart of this community. As Dr. Dwayne McCay can tell you, and so can I, the students that come here to learn give back to our Brevard community. They want to help. These kids take the opportunity as even brief citizens, to be a part of our beachside lives.
The conversation with Dr. McCay and his wife, Mary Helen, was truly awesome...so before you push play, let me just say this. I wanted to talk to the president because I wanted to know where we see Florida Tech's future here in Brevard County. But selfishly, I couldn't wait to talk to his wife, because she trained as an astronaut and space flight and astronauts are my personal heroes. Both of them were an absolute pleasure to be around. They are amazing people and if you ever get the chance to meet them, get ready for some great smiles, great stories, and the two of them together were just the best dinner guests I've had in quite some time.
So here it is, Florida Tech's and the McCay's "Brevard County Story":
Now, are you hungry? Because I am just going back and visiting about what we had to eat on this episode. As always, Ole Fire Grill has some of the greatest food around. And recently, we've introduced a special "Dinner and Drinks" menu. Which is exactly what the McCay's ordered off of. Dr. Dwayne McCay ordered the chicken wings while Dr. Mary Helen McCay went straight for my heart with a quesadilla!
We all had the Lambruscorita, which is Lambrusco wine and it's flipped upside down in a margarita...this is the size of your face.
No surprise here for me, I went straight for the Gringo's Tacos, and had one chicken, one beef, and one pork. As always, we started off with Queso Fundito and chips. Plus, dessert this time with their amazing churro's!
If you haven't seen any of our teaser videos, we launch these every week so you can actually see who our guest is! Each video is kept on our Facebook page and you can check out the food, the drinks, and how much fun both the McCay's are in our video below!
I've been lucky enough to have my mom at Florida Tech since the early 2000's and we've taken full advantage of all the great things they have to offer, like how years ago we both went to see our friend Hakeem Oluseyi (you can see him on the Science Channel) speak at Florida Tech and we learned about space together!
And one of our favorite places to take my grandma was the Florida Tech dining hall. My grandma loved getting french fries from there and would eat like 3 plates full if you let her. So many great memories with her just having a simple meal together.
Finally, a very big thank you to Dr. McCay and Dr. Wes Sumner for being a part of this special episode to me. As I mentioned above, my mother (who is the most important person to me) was an employee of Florida Tech since 2000. And at the beginning of February this year, she finally retired. Recently, we lost my grandmother and my mom herself has had a few health scares she's had to over come. The people of Florida Tech have stood by my mothers side through good and bad. They've worked around her schedule and accommodated her at every turn. They even worked around my schedule to get this podcast recorded. So to the two gentleman named above, I'd like to personally thank you for all you've done to help my family. Additionally, I'd like to thank the two of them again because for MANY years now, all I've wanted is a Florida Tech Panther football jersey, and last week I went into the office of Dr. McCay's and in a Florida Tech reusable shopping bag I see this:
I can't tell you how happy I am to have this jersey...firstly, I feel like a body builder in the thing because it makes me look JACKED! And secondly, I feel a part of the team. So, thank you both so very much, for everything. I hope to be able to repay the two of you at some point.