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Beyond the Big Screen

This guide houses resources for the annual Beyond the Big Screen event.

Welcome to the Beyond the Big Screen research guide for The Martian.

This guide includes information about exciting events and contests related to the program, ways to access the book and film, and resources to help you research the themes in The Martian.


Access the Book and Film

The Martian is currently available to rent via streaming on Apple TV and Prime Video


Headline Events

Screening of The Martian

Wednesday, March 1st @ 5 PM | South Campus Wilson Center

Join fellow FSCJ students and staff for a screening of the 2015 blockbuster hit The Martian!   Watch the lead character fight for survival as he is unknowingly abandoned by his crew and left stranded alone on Mars.  Will he be able to find enough food, mentally survive the isolation, and conquer all that Mars throws at him?  Will NASA decide it is worth the cost to save just one life and, if so, how can they do it before time runs out?

Main atrium doors open at 4:15 PM so come early to visit the art gallery and cast your vote for the "People's Choice" award.   At 5 PM winners from the essay, art, and video contests will be announced, and the Video Short winners will be shown.  The movie adventure will immediately follow.  

Science in Action!

Tuesday, February 28th @ 11 AM- 12 | Kent Campus E-104

It is one thing to read the science in pages of book or watch it on the Hollywood screen; it is another thing to see it in action!  Come watch science brought to life as your FSCJ professors connect the concepts you learned in the classroom to the action packed events from The Martian.


Additional Events


Book Club

Join in with your professors and fellow students to discuss The Martian.

A virtual asynchronous book club is available in the "Discussions" section of the Student Life Canvas page. There are discussion prompts for the four weeks leading up to the screening of the film. 

Week of Jan 30th- Feb 3rd- Alien Landscapes

Week of Feb 6th- Feb 10th- The Mission Objective

Week of Feb 13th- Feb 17th- Taking Inventory

Week of Feb 20th- 24th- System Malfunction


Robots in Space: Past, Present and Future

Monday, February 6th  @ 2:00 3 PM | Webex

Robots, a remarkable example of human creativity and ingenuity, are essential in our quest to explore and venture into outer space.   Join Professor Alan Zube beaming in live from the FSCJ Robotics Classroom for a discussion of how robots have been at the core of space exploration, how they are being used today, and how they will shape the future of space exploration.

Earth to Mars?  Can you hear me?

Thursday, February 9th @ 9:30 10:30 AM | Downtown Campus Library 2102Q

Trying to communicate while stranded alone on Mars and all the equipment is breaking seemed nearly impossible in The Martian, but sometimes it can seem just as impossible to communicate when the person is only 3 feet away!  Come join Lisa Moore, FSCJ's Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer, to learn about how we can best convey our ideas and intents while appreciating all of our wonderfully unique backgrounds.  

The Book was Better...

Monday, February 13th @ 9:30-10:30 AM| Downtown Campus Library 2102Q

Adaptation from book to screen is rife with challenges and expectations. In this discussion, well explore methods used by filmmakers to convey tone, backstory, and character visually while citing examples of success, as well as failure. Join Kevin Kimball to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of visual and written storytelling while comparing the page to what we ultimately see on screen.

How Much is Mars?

Wednesday, February 15th @ 11 AM 12 | South Campus Library - G300

It is one thing to just say we want to go to Mars, but it takes so much more than you might even realize to actually get there.  Join Logistics Professor, Mitch Velasco in a brief exploration of the collaboration of private and public organizations, the costs, and reasons for going to Mars.

Making It on Mars

Thursday, February 16th @ 11 AM 12 | Kent Campus E-112F

Being a new student and stepping onto campus can feel like taking your first steps on Mars!  Yes, there is excitement and happy anticipation, but also there is the stress of the unknown and what is to come.  Join Billy Thomas, Dean of Behavior and Social Sciences, as he connects The Martian with the experience of being a new student on campus and not understanding the culture, hidden curriculum, and other more!

No Superpowers? No Magic? No GRAVITY?

Wednesday, February 22nd @ 11 AM 12 | South Campus Library - G300

Whether itThe Martians being stranded on a hostile planet or Frankensteins monster thrust alone into the wilds of brutal society, there are so many books and movies focused on being "alone".  Why do we cheer for the solitary only one character to survive by wits and luck, without Marvel magic or super-powers? Join Professor Rebecca Reeder to learn about these various stories and why we invest in these lone characters and root for them overcoming all odds to SURVIVE! 



This year, Beyond the Big Screen is hosting an essay contest, and art contest, and a video contest related to The Martian. See below for more details.  

Essay Contest Overview

In The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney finds himself stranded on Mars. As he awaits rescue, he encounters a series of challenges and even disasters that threaten his life, but he comes up with creative solutions and perseveres. In a 500 to 600-word essay, describe a time you felt like you were on your own and had to solve an important problem. Provide a narrative of your experience. 

Format: The essay must be typed and have a creative title specific to the topic of your paper. The essay also must have clear paragraph designations. A submission that appears as one long paragraph will be disqualified. Using a formatting style like MLA or APA is recommended but not required. 

Contest Rules: 

  • Attach a cover sheet to the essay that includes your name, FSCJ email address and phone number.
  • Contest is open to FSCJ students only.
  • By entering this contest, you consent to having your entry displayed in FSCJ galleries.
  • Submission deadline is February 16th by midnight. Winners will be announced on March 1st at the showing of the movie at South Campus.
  • Only one entry per student will be accepted.
  • Essays will be judged by a panel of FSCJ faculty and staff.

Judging Criteria: 

  • 50% on addressing the theme's message
  • 30% well-developed paragraphs and clear language
  • 20% on originality

The essay should be organized with well-developed body paragraphs that highlight the subject's abilities and also contain minimal errors in the area of grammar, punctuation and mechanics.

Submission Deadline: February 16th 2023 by midnight. Upload your essay to this link: Submit Essay Here.

Prizes: First Place $300; Second Place: $200; Third Place: $150

For questions, email Dr. Antee at


Art Contest Overview

This contest and exhibit challenges you to think of the intersections between science and art. Create artworks that celebrate botany, engineering, technology, space, or any of the themes of scientific ingenuity and human resilience modeled in The Martian. All works will be displayed in the South Gallery from March 1 29, 2023 (closed for Spring Break).


  • Any FSCJ student may submit up to two (2) artworks or digital media pieces (excluding video).
  • Drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, printmaking, graphic design, digital images, etc. will be accepted.
  • Works must be ready to hang/display when they are submitted. 2D pieces should be either framed or mounted on white or black foam core.
  • Please include your name and the title of the piece on the back or bottom of your work of art.

Judging: The contest will be judged by the Gallery Coordinator and two other FSCJ faculty or staff members. Visitors may vote for the Student Choice Award on March 1, 2023, prior to the screening of The Martian.

How to Submit: Drop off your work in the South Gallery, Wilson Center for the Arts, M1, Room 1110, between February 13 - 21, 2023, along with an entry form available at the Gallery. The gallery is open Monday Thursday, 10 a.m. 4 p.m., and Friday, 10 a.m. 2 p.m. For submissions after hours or any questions about the contest contact the Gallery Coordinator at

Submission Deadline: Submissions: On or before February 21, 2023, 6 p.m.; Return of Work:  March 30 – April 6, 2023

Prizes: 1st place $300; 2nd place $200; 3rd place $100; People's Choice Winner $100


Short Video Contest Overview

Record a short video (fifteen seconds to one minute) creatively demonstrating your takeaway from the themes from the movie. These themes include:

  • isolation and loneliness
  • strength and empowerment
  • creativity and problem solving
  • resilience and endurance
  • collaboration and camaraderie


  • Contest is open to FSCJ students only. Only one entry per student will be accepted.
  • You must record your own video, upload it to Canvas Studio, then submit the link and your contact information on this form.
  • The video cannot be less than 0:15 (15 seconds) nor longer than 1:00 (1 minute).
  • All videos will be recorded in 16:9 wide (landscape) not tall (portrait) format. It should be like your flat screen TV, not taller than it is wide.
  • Students may use props, filters or special effects if they choose to do so.
  • By entering this contest, you consent to having your entry shown by FSCJ events and on social media.

Judging: The judging committee comprised of FSCJ faculty and staff will watch and evaluate the submission based on overall feel and creativity. The submission that makes the strongest impression on the committee will be determined to be the winner. The video must remain posted for at least 1 year after the contest ends. The judging committee decisions are final.

How to Submit: Students will record their videos in 16:9 and upload that video to Canvas Studio. Submissions from Vimeo, YouTube or any other video platform will not be accepted by the committee. Students will create a public URL in Studio and then submit that URL/link on this form.  For additional guidance on how to do this, watch these videos:

Submission Deadline: February 15 at noon.

Prizes: 1st Place $200; 2nd Place: $150; 3rd Place: $100

Additionally, the top three winners will have their videos shown before the viewing of The Martian at South Campus on March 1st. 


Themes and Related Resources

Books and eBooks




Books and eBooks




Books and eBooks