Emoti-Con Showcases Youth Innovating a Better World


Emoti-Con Showcases Youth Innovating a Better World

By Omar Nasr     Jun 9, 2015

Emoti-Con Showcases Youth Innovating a Better World

Emoti-Con is, without a doubt, one of the most fantastic annual youth events in New York City. This year was no exception; I was one of some 296 people who came from all five boroughs to proudly demonstrate or wondrously marvel at the various technology and digital media projects presented at the 7th Emoti-Con. The event was organized by MOUSE, Hive NYC, the New York Public Library, Parsons School of Design at The New School, General Assembly and Urban Arts Partnership. An additional 32 great organizations attended this year.

There were plenty of highlights at this year’s conference, which encourages youth to express themselves through digital media and technology. I particularly enjoyed both the Pineapple game and Networking hour. The former provided a creative way to break the ice and mingle with other people at the event, while the latter was an excellent opportunity to interact with and get advice from professionals in various areas. All three of the keynote speakers--Minerva Tantoco, Arlene Ducao, and Iltimas Doha--were upbeat and entertaining sources of advice and inspiration.

Although all 42 projects presented were amazing, there could only be a few winners. The Crowd Favorite award went to Elating Emotions, a project designed to encourage the spread of positive emotions through the use of creative buttons. The other five honors were:

  • Best Pitch: Middle School 88 Design Team (NYC DOE)
  • Point Of View: Squad Up: Finding Kathy (Global Kids)
  • Most Social Impact: Bridging the Gap (Educational Video Center)
  • Most Entertaining: Elating Emotions (Parsons School of Design at The New School)
  • Most Innovative: Coderpillar (The Lower Eastside Girls Club of NY)

My group presented a project called Artillo, designed to help individuals with cerebral palsy create digital art. Regrettably, our project did not win. But we were excited to be a finalist for the Urban Arts Partnership’s Smartbomb Labs Fellowship, which offered us a chance to win one of five spots for a fellowship that would include a $1000 budget, additional mentorship, a free class at NYU, and the chance to pitch our project to professionals in the field.

All in all, the 7th annual Emoti-Con was a great success. As usual, every project was phenomenal and all the people there—youths and adults alike—were engaging, helpful, and in general great company. I am sad that I won't be participating again for quite some time; I will be heading to Pittsburgh for college in the fall. However, I will definitely make a point of attending in the future, to once again witness the amazing feats that Emoti-Con has to offer.

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