The Goodnight Scholars Program to Host Filmmaker and Eco-Activist Shalini Kantayya

Press Release: RALEIGH, October 2, 2017 – The Goodnight Scholars Program at NC State announced filmmaker, educator, and eco-activist, Shalini Kantayya, as its featured speaker for the fall 2017 installment of the “Goodnight Scholars Program Presents Speaker Series.”

The event will take place on Monday, November 6th, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. in the Talley Student Union Stewart Theatre on NC State’s Main Campus. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The event will be free and open to the public.

Kantayya is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker whose work serves as a tool to educate and motivate audiences across the globe. Her latest film, “Catching the Sun”, premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival and was named a New York Times Critics’ Pick for its “fascinating portraits” of the people who are working towards a clean energy future. Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio helped premiere the film on Netflix during Earth Day 2016. Shortly after its global debut, “Catching The Sun” was awarded “Best Feature” at the San Francisco Green Film Festival.

“The future of clean, sustainable energy is an issue that resonates strongly with our students and campus community, and one that will continue to shape our students’ lives and careers throughout this century,” said Allison Medlin, director of the Goodnight Scholars Program. “Shalini’s talk will highlight the wide-ranging opportunities and benefits to meeting this challenge with innovation, ingenuity, and compassion. We’re delighted to welcome her to campus.”

In her lecture for the “Goodnight Scholars Program Presents Speaker Series,” Kantayya will shine light on the foremost global economic opportunity of our time: clean energy. Through an in-depth recollection of stories and people she has filmed over the years, Kantayya will reveal how nations are retrofitting themselves for clean energy; implementing innovative plans for the “green economy;” and combating the massive technological challenges that lie ahead.

After the presentation, Kantayya will engage the audience in a candid Q&A session.

About Shalini Kantayya

Clean tech has to start locally. And it has to happen here. Filmmaker, educator, and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya shows us that sustainable energy isn’t just right for the environment, but also means untold economic opportunities. In her films, Kantayya tells a growing story of innovation and ingenuity—one that’s disrupting outmoded industries and putting power back into the hands of those who need it most.

Kantayya finished in the top 10 out of 12,000 filmmakers on Fox’s On the Lot, a show by Steven Spielberg in search of Hollywood’s next great director. Her award-winning sci-fi film about the world water crisis, “A Drop of Life,” was broadcast on national television in the U.S. and India. “A Drop of Life” was used as a tool to organize for water rights in 40 villages across Africa—making a real-world impact in the lives of thousands.

Kantayya is a Sundance Fellow, and a TED Fellow. She was also a finalist for the ABC/Disney Directing Program. A William D. Fulbright Scholar, she has lectured at Princeton, Yale, Stanford, and USC. She has received recognition from the Sundance Documentary Program, IFP Spotlight on Documentary, New York Women in Film and Television, and the Jerome Hill Centennial.

More information about Shalini and her production company, 7th Empire Media, can be found at

About the Goodnight Scholars Program

The Goodnight Scholars Program was established in 2008 out of the philanthropic generosity from North Carolina natives and NC State alumni Dr. Jim Goodnight, co-founder of global business analytic software leader, SAS Institute, and Mrs. Ann Goodnight, director of community relations at SAS Institute.

The Goodnight Scholars Program is targeted at North Carolina residents from low- and middle-income families who aspire to major in a science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) or STEM education discipline at NC State. First-year students accepted into the Program receive an annual scholarship valued at $19,500 per year for up to four years ($78,000 total) while transfer students receive the scholarship for two years with the possibility of a third-year extension.

Since its humble beginnings, the Goodnight Scholars Program has evolved into a comprehensive student development program focused on cultivating professional and personal skills for 210 current Goodnight Scholars through a series of programming initiatives. Goodnight Scholars receive insight and support from local and national STEM industry leaders and entrepreneurs; participate in professional development workshops; and engage in local, national, and international outreach efforts including STEM education outreach to North Carolina schools and service trips to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Per the Program’s website, each programming initiative sponsored by the Goodnight Scholars Program strives to “…develop critical skills and habits necessary for academic achievement; expose and educate students to current trends and advancement in the STEM and education industries; and establish strong personal and/or professional relationships with fellow Goodnight Scholars, NC State faculty/staff, NC State alumni, and STEM/education professionals.”