Jump to biographies of the amazing speakers of the #ica_cam 2-17 preconference:
Alison is a leading researcher and expert on the impact of play in our lives, on children’s learning in the 21st century, and on how technology impacts families. As co-CEO and Chief Play Officer at PlayScience, she overseas insights efforts and leads innovation around branding, content creation and development for major global companies. Under her leadership, PlayScience has partnered with dozens of marquee family brands, including Sesame Workshop, Disney, Girl Scouts, and many others. Prior to PlayScience, Alison was Senior Research Director of Digital Research & Strategy for the Nickelodeon/MTV Networks Kids & Family Group. Before joining Nickelodeon, she was an assistant professor of communication at Indiana University. She has three edited books –The Children’s Television Community, Television and the American Family (2nd Ed), and Service-Learning in the University Classroom – and over 30 research articles and chapters. Alison earned her Ph.D. from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California.
Jan-Willem is the head of all children & youth media projects of the Dutch NGO "Free Press Unlimited". These projects involve using media for change through TV, radio, online, mobile, drama, documentary. Jan-Willem is Chief Editor of WADADA News for Kids that currently connects news/current affairs/human interest programs in 20 countries worldwide: Burma, Nepal, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Peru, México, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Ukraine, Netherlands. Each week, a WADADA News for Kids world edition is produced at the Amsterdam headquarters, which is then distributed inside the WADADA News for Kids network and also licensed to other partners in the rest of the wordld. The WADADA News for Kids library already contains over 1.500 hours of professional video's made about and targeting kids 8-15 and produced by the WADADA News for Kids network.
J.J. is the founding partner of Sinking Ship Entertainment. Since the company began in 2004, he has created 12 international hits including This is Daniel Cook, Dino Dan, Roll Play, and Annedroids – which, in 2016, had 10 Emmy nominations, a Gold Parents Choice Award, and – its character, Anne – has been named a top 10 Best Role Model in children’s TV by Common Sense Media. J.J. has directed over 100 hours of children’s programming and filmed in over 30 countries. With over 500 episode credits to his name, he has been recognized as one of Canada’s top children’s television producers. His passion for science-based kids’ programming, his unique approach in creating live action/animation hybrids, his ability to navigate the new digital media distribution space in creative ways, his belief in creating content that better reflects the realities of the audience, and his general passion for creating media experiences that are impactful and make a meaningful difference in the lives of youth today … well, it’s something we can all learn from.
David is Senior Vice President of Global Trends for kids interactive entertainment developer and consultancy Dubit. Strategist, analyst, author and speaker - for more than a quarter-century, he has led the children's media industry in developing sustainable, kid-friendly practices surrounding play and learning. He's a connector and thought leader, challenging the full range of professionals who care about great content and technology for children and families to evolve and adhere to best practices.
Jennifer is the Vice President of Content Research & Evaluation at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street and other educational programs for children. Dr. Kotler Clarke is responsible for research planning and creating logic models in order to maximize the impact of Sesame Workshop’s content on children, parents, and educators across the globe. She oversees research design, methodology, assessment and data analysis. She also develops and executes studies designed to inform the creation of educational material for children. Prior to joining the Workshop, Dr. Kotler Clarke worked on an evaluation of a school-based violence prevention program at the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She has worked with numerous organizations such as the Center for Media Education, the Center for Research on Influences of Television on Children at the University of Texas in Austin and Georgetown University, where she coordinated the Children & Media Project while completing a postdoctoral fellowship. Dr. Kotler Clarke also served as an adjunct professor at the Teachers College at Columbia University and Georgetown University. Dr. Kotler Clarke graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies. She went on to receive her master’s in Human Development from the University of Kansas and a Ph.D. in Child Development and Family Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.
With nearly 20 years of experience working to improve teaching & learning for children and education professionals through the integration of innovative technologies, Jessica currently leads engagement and new audience development initiatives at Brainpop. Previously the inaugural Education Fellow at Sesame Workshop’s Joan Ganz Cooney Center, she has also served as an adjunct professor at Bank Street College and a parent outreach workshop leader for Common Sense Media. Jessica holds an Ed.M. from Bank Street College, an M.P.S. from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications program, and a B.A. in Art History from Mount Holyoke College.
Michael Robb is director of research at Common Sense Media, overseeing their research program, evaluation of organization impact, and program development research. Michael has been involved in issues involving media and children for over 15 years. He has published research on the impact of electronic media on young children's language development, early literacy outcomes, and problem-solving abilities in a variety of academic journals. Michael also has supervised community educational outreach efforts, helping parents and teachers make the most of quality children's programming. Previously, Michael served as the director of digital learning and research at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children's Media. Michael received his B.A. from Tufts University and M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from UC Riverside.
Sara has just started a new position as Head of Casting at Free Range Animation. Prior to that, she was the Executive Director of Casting and Talent Relations for Disney Television Animation for 12 years! She has worked on such hit shows as Big Hero 6: The Series; Tangled ever after; Milo Murphy's law, Phineas and Ferb, Gravity falls, and Star vs. The forces of evil. Her credits also include Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Yin, Yang, Yo, Fish hooks, Club penguin, Wander over yonder, Super robot monkey team hyperforce go!, and many, many pilots. Prior to joining Disney, Sara worked in development at Klasky Csupo known for Rugrats and As told by Ginger and at Gullane Entertainment known for Thomas the Tank Engine.
As Vice President of Children’s Programming at PBS, Linda Simensky collaborates with producers, co-production partners, PBS station programmers, and distributors throughout the development, production, post-production, and broadcast phases for PBS KIDS programming. Since joining PBS in 2003, Linda has worked with renowned producers to develop hit shows that now reach 82% of all kids ages 2-8 in the U.S. – from CURIOUS GEORGE and THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT, to WILD KRATTS and WORDGIRL. Linda also helped bring PBS KIDS’ newest series to fruition: DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD, a program that brings Fred Rogers’ social-emotional curriculum to a new generation of children. Linda is currently working on a new PBS KIDS preschool math series, PEG + CAT. Before joining PBS, Linda was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw development and series production of "The Powerpuff Girls," among others. She began her career working for nine years at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch the popular series "Rugrats," "Doug" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show." Linda is a frequent speaker and writer on the topics of children’s programming and animation; she has presented at numerous animation and television conferences and her work has appeared in several books on animation and children’s media.
Alice is the educational advisor responsible for developing the Amazon Originals curriculum for kids and is helping implement Amazon’s unique educational point of view into the development of new series. She also serves as the Chief Content Officer for Speakaboos, a kid-centric, cross-publisher literacy platform and is the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Cha-Ching Money Smart Kids the “School House Rock” of financial literacy for 7-12 year olds, airing in Asia on Cartoon Network. Her work also includes being the co-creator and head of research and education for Super Why! on PBS Kids, and a Producer and the Director of Research and Development for Nick Jr.’s Blue’s Clues. She is also a proud senior fellow at the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. And she continues to advise the Kids & Creativity group in Pittsburgh, bringing kids and their point of view to help support educators, technologists, and makers as Kidsburgh creates a model and movement around the integration of the arts, sciences, and technology to inspire creative learning and play. Her groundbreaking work in formative research was cited in The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. Alice bases her work in formative research on the philosophy that ‘the only way to understand what children are capable of doing, what appeals to them, and what they know, is to ask them!’