Trained by the best: Selene Faranfey | UFOP: StarBase 118 Star Trek RPG

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Trained by the best: Selene Faranfey

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Each month we interview a member of the Academy Training Team for insight on how our training works, and as recognition for all the hard work that goes into training new members each and every week of the year!

This month, we’re sitting down with Capt. Selene Faranfey, who was recently appointed the Commandant of the Academy.

WOLF: Hello, captain! Can you tell us a little about yourself for the folks who may not know you?

FARANFEY: Yes, I am a stay at home mother with two kids. My husband and daughter are part of the group, and I write for Selene Faranfey, the captain of the USS Doyle.

How long ago did you get involved with the Academy Training Team, and what was it like getting started?

I got started with the Academy, back in August of 2013. I had only been part of the group since January that year, so joining was a big deal. I had started with the Academy as part of my Commander’s requirements, and was completely nervous. Being the role model to new cadets, showing them what it was like to be part of the group, when I was so fresh myself?

Everyone on their way to command has to participate in the Training Team as part of their promotion requirements. But you stayed and continued with the team even after being promoted. What kept you coming back?

The same reason that caused me to be nervous, actually. Being one of the first people that a cadet met, providing a good role model, while telling interesting stories. Knowing that these people who I trained, or had a hand in training, are part of the fleet. It is inspiring. Do you know, that five of the people on my ship, I have connections with because of the Academy. Three I trained (through various roles), one I had my first chance to work with as a fellow trainer, and then there is Nugra, the person who trained me and brought me into the fleet. Those kinds of bonds, knowing that these people I helped shape, are what kept me coming back.

For a while you were also involved in the Statisticians Team. What exactly does that team do?

The Statisticians are the ones who keep track of the information for the Commandants. They record the classes, when people volunteered last, what role they worked in last. They keep track of our cadets, when people applied, whether they graduated, which ship they got assigned to. Without their hard work each week, we’d have to go through hundreds of emails for application and graduate reports.

Last year, you were appointed as a Deputy Commandant for the team. Can you tell us more about what you did in that role?

Every week I would send out an email, asking for volunteers. Then on Monday I would sort through these volunteers based off priority. Volunteers are first come first serve, but you also have to take into account whether someone needs a specific role for the Commander’s progress. Then I would setup classes, I sent out the first email, which was a roll call. Afterwards, I watched over the classes, making sure questions and problems were seen to quickly. For new trainers, the Commandant is basically the person teaching you to ride a bike. Stands close enough to help you if you fall, but let’s you ride the bike without training wheels. At the end of the class, I notify the group of placements and their subspace thread.

Academy Training is a real institution for our fleet, and you’re one of just a half-dozen commandants. When you were named as the Commandant for the Academy Training Team, how did that feel?

Wow, I didn’t realize there were only a few. The group having been around for so long and all. I am honored to join the ranks. It’s a big responsibility that needs to be taken seriously, and I hope every time I am doing tasks associated with the Academy, that I am providing the best example, and making the group proud. I know all my trainers make me proud.

Do you have plans for the team that you can talk to us more about?

Well, we now have some nifty badges for the training group, which are given out when trainers meet certain milestones. We want to give more recognition for our hard working trainers, so we are also shouting out to volunteers and trainers at the beginning of every month.

We just put out a survey to trainers to see what might need some work, and how we can encourage more volunteering.

And, another thing in the works is a lot of trainers over the next few months, will end up getting for the first time, a review of sorts on their participation. All of our trainers do really hard work, and while we want to applaud them wherever possible, we also want to provide them with the resources to continue doing a fantastic job.

You’re not only the Academy Commandant, but also the captain of the Doyle, and the Captain at Large for the Executive Council. Do you have any tips for the community on how to juggle so much at one time?

Do as much as you can when you get energy and time. You will have ups and downs, sometimes you have to focus on one thing at a time, others you are able to do burst work. When you have a lot on your plate, you triage, what is urgent (drop everything and do), what do you need to do quickly (within the next couple hours), what needs to be done today. Delegate when possible, and make sure things only you can do, or are urgent, are in the front of your list.

I also keep a lot of emails marked unread, I read it, if I haven’t the time to tend to the task, I mark it unread and move to the tasks and emails I can clear out. I don’t like my inbox having unread emails, so it keeps it fresh for me.

Thank you so much for your time — we’ll let you get back to training!

You can read more about Capt. Faranfey on the wiki, and learn more about joining the Academy Training Team on this page.

About Tristan Wolf

FltAdml. Tristan Wolf, real name Jordan, founded UFOP: StarBase 118 – a Star Trek Play By Email RPG – in June of 1994. He previously served as the Commanding Officer for a number of simming installations, notably the first of StarBase 118 Operations. He currently lives in San Francisco with his partner and their Humane Society rescue dog named Baxter. Jordan works in politics, loves scifi (natch), fantasy, and new technologies.
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