Creative College Mentors and E4 Youth students pose with Kuri the Home Robot during SXSW Interactive.

“The more they learned, the more fascinated they were. The presentation showed that creatives are a big part of this STEM industry, which opened up new job ideas for these kids — things they didn’t even know they could do. ”

It’s already been a couple of weeks, but the positive effects of SXSW are still resonating across the E4 Youth community. Here’s an initial look back at our experiences and we hope to share more in the coming weeks. There was just so much to take in!

 

SXSW.EDU: Spreading the Mission and Gathering Inspiration

Humberto and Carl were deeply engaged in panels and presentations, soaking up inspiration and making new connections to spread the work of E4 Youth and Get Creative Enrichment Clubs. High school students from our Pflugerville club and Creative College Mentors shared their digital creative portfolios at a Learning Expo booth supporting our partner Bulb. This was an excellent opportunity for students to present their work and learn how to represent themselves and their organizations in a professional manner.

 

Creative College Mentor, Savannah Gonzalez (center) captures a shot of Kuri, the Home Robot.

 

Get Creative Enrichment Club Members Attend SXSW

Through their hard work and dedication, 20 Get Creative Enrichment Club members earned passes to attend the Interactive, Film and Music portions of the conference. Creative College Mentors guided these students through the conference, helping them get the most out of everything SXSW had to offer.

Creative College Mentor Savannah Garza led a group of 9-10 club members on the first Saturday. According to Savannah, “The most memorable thing was the Kuri the Home Robot presentation given by Kuri’s Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Kaijen Hsiao. I’ve studied interaction design in college, so I was really pumped for it, but the kids haven’t experienced it so they weren’t as excited at first.”

The presentation was titled “You, Me, and a Robot Makes 3 — Tomorrow’s Modern Family,” and was designed to give everyone a friendly introduction to robots. Design is a key part of Kuri’s success. Animators from Pixar helped make the robot a family-friendly character, and this really resonated with the Get Creative Enrichment Club kids.

“The more they learned, the more fascinated they were. The presentation showed that creatives are a big part of this STEM industry, which opened up new job ideas for these kids — things they didn’t even know they could do. It was also great that the panel was led by a woman of color (Kaijen Hsiao) and the industry people we met were women. It just so happened that the group I led was almost all young women, so it was fantastic for them to see these leaders that they could relate to.”

At the end of the panel, Savannah and her group were able to interact with Kuri and a team member from Mayfield Robotics, the company that created Kuri. They learned more about how Kuri was created, while sharing their own stories about E4 Youth and Get Creative Enrichment Clubs. Networking, learning and creative inspiration came together in that perfect SXSW way.

 

Why Attending SXSW Matters For Creative Kids

Imagine the impact on a young filmmaker who gets to see as many festival films as she wants and talk to other creators… Or a musician who attends multiple sessions on the business of music, publishing, technology and stagecraft.

Through their experiences at SXSW, students gain:

  • Eye-opening exposure to the wide range and variety of creative careers. (You can’t imagine yourself doing a job if you didn’t know it existed.)
  • Opportunities to network and share their work with creative professionals and potential employers.
  • Creative inspiration and energy from experiencing the vast amount of film, interactive and music experiences from all over the world.
  • Self-confidence and pride from representing their work and E4 Youth amidst the world’s most exciting creators and employers.
  • Professional education opportunities through attending keynotes, panel discussions and workshops.

Each student who attended SXSW through E4 Youth will be developing some creative content about their experience — we can’t wait to see what they create (and I’ll be sharing more with you here).

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