Emoti-Con 2018

**** Update: Registration is now open!****


Emoti-Con is NYC's biggest showcase for young designers, makers, technologists, and tinkerers who believe in digital innovation as a tool for positive change in the world around them. 2018 will be Emoti-Con's 10th Anniversary!

  • WHEN: Saturday, June 16th, 2018, 12PM - 4:30PM
  • WHERE: Celeste Bartos Forum
    The New York Public Library,
    Stephen A. Schwarzman Building,
    42nd Street between 5th & 6th Avenues (Entrance on 42nd Street)
    New York, NY 10018

Thinking about Presenting? Read the Emoti-Con Planning Guide for Project Teams for answers to all of your questions!

What's Emoti-Con like? Watch this video and click the "past events" above to learn about the winners, keynotes and judges for each previous event:

Badges

Competing projects are reviewed by judges and peers. Winners could earn one or more of the following digital badges:

  • Emoti-Con Presenter
  • Most Social Impact
  • Most Innovative
  • Crowd Favorite
  • Most Entertaining
  • Best Pitch
  • Point of View

Keynotes

  • Dr. Amon Millner

    Dr. Amon Millner

    Dr. Amon Millner is an Assistant Professor of Computing and Innovation directing the Extending Access to STEM Empowerment (EASE) Lab. His research and teaching is informed by his work in the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) domain, drawing heavily from his specialization: developing tangible interactive systems for making and learning. He develops technology and community platforms to facilitate learners becoming empowered to make and make a difference in their neighborhoods.

    Millner creates engaging environments and tools that support learners of all ages increasing their capacity to innovate - leveraging a hands-on approach. Dr. Millner especially enjoys designing, developing, and deploying technological systems that allow novices to invent their own interactions between the physical world and the digital world. An example hardware interface is the PicoBoard (selling at sparkfun.com), a sensor board that Dr. Millner co-created while helping to invent the Scratch programming language. An example software interface comes from a startup that Millner co-founded, Modkit - producer of the graphical programming interface to the VexIQ robotics system.

    Dr. Millner has established local and international hubs for learning, making, and digital fabrication, shaping the ways in which networks such as Computer Clubhouses and Fab Labs have evolved. His international recognition includes a designation as a Fulbright Specialist/Grantee. Millner, a champion in the Maker Movement, has authored computing curricula for K-12 classrooms.

    Millner contributes to multiple research communities, particularly conferences that focus on: tangible user interface design, interaction design and children, and digital media and learning. Dr. Millner, a patent holder, earned a Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT; a M.S. in Human Computer Interactions from Georgia Institute of Technology; and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.

  • Nafiza Akter

    Nafiza Akter

    Nafiza Akter is an Educational Technology Specialist working in the Provost's Office at Teachers College, Columbia University. Nafiza partners closely with faculty to design or redesign programming for online learners. Prior to joining Columbia, she served as an Instructional Designer at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Nafiza also worked for Adelphi University's Faculty Center for Professional Excellence and Global Kids' Digital Media Initiatives. She holds a Master’s in Educational Technology from Adelphi, with a background in psychology. Read more about Nafiza on the Huffington Post.

Judges

  • Amy Ashida

    Amy Ashida is an Interaction Designer at the School of Visual Arts. Bio Coming Soon.

  • Andy Parsons

    Andy Parsons is the Founder and CTO of Workframe. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Andrea Mozo

    Andrea Mozo is a Product Manager at Globaloria, Carnegie Learning. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Andy Saldaña

    Andy Saldaña

    Andy Saldaña is the Director of Operations for NY Tech Alliance (NYTA), a non-profit organization that runs the largest Meetup group in the world with over 58,000 members and a mission to strengthen the NY tech industry through building community. He also co-organizes the Queer Tech Meetup NYC group, manages operations for a startup (Livecube) and advocates for increased diversity in tech. He's a lover of coffee, food, spirits and the conversation that happens while enjoying them.

  • Anke Stohlmann

    Anke Stohlmann is the Founder of Li'l Stories. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Anthony Yim

    Anthony Yim is a Software Engineer at Venmo. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Ashley Miller

    Ashley Miller

    Ashley is Director of Engineering at Datadog where she runs the web platform and dashboard/data viz teams. Before that she focused on building fast, scalable data infrastructure at BuzzFeed. Ashley has help build (and rebuild) core systems at many startups in NYC. Prior to working as a software engineer she worked in policy and politics and continues to follow campaigns the way other people follow basketball.

  • Ashley Pinakiewicz

    Ashley Pinakiewicz

    Ashley is a design thinker, brand strategist, and educator. Through her business, Looking Glass Strategy, Ashley consults with schools and mission-driven organizations to bring human-centered strategy, messaging, and processes to their work. Prior to establishing her practice, Ashley was the founding 7th grade English teacher at Girls Prep Bronx Middle School, where she learned alongside the world's best 7th grade girls. Ashley cut her professional teeth at design and innovation firm IDEO, where she learned the design thinking approach, brainstormed ideas and pitched clients as part of the Toy Lab, and taught design thinking to corporate clients. She worked closely with IDEO’s Education group on projects including: redesigning an after-school science program with NYC DOE and the American Museum of Natural History; teaching design thinking to university students in Colombia; and developing a design thinking curriculum for a national education non-profit. After her inspiring stint at IDEO, Ashley ran US business development for brand strategy firm Clear, an M&C Saatchi Company, and led the Creative Team at Tough Mudder. She has a BA in English Literature from Georgetown University and a Masters in Education from Harvard University. When she's not teaching or strategizing, she's likely practicing yoga, reading, baking, or learning how to play the bass.

  • Barrie Grinberg

    Barrie Grinberg

    Barrie Grinberg is the Senior Director of Community Partnerships at Venture for America, a fellowship program that aims to create economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs. In her role, Barrie leads the team responsible for VFA’s startup partnerships, community engagement, regional fundraising, and in-city programming. Prior to joining VFA, Barrie was a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. Through her work, Barrie has learned that a team of determined, kind people with a thoughtful plan can accomplish almost anything. She has also learned the importance of knowing the names of local sports teams when working across several U.S. cities. Originally from the Boston area, Barrie is a graduate of New York University.

  • Bianca Jackson

    Bianca Jackson

    Bianca Jackson is a former award-winning project manager with 12+ years of experience managing IT infrastructure, web, mobile, video, and VR/AR projects for Fortune 500 companies such as UnitedHealth Group, Marriott, and USA Today. She gallivants around the world as a VR speaker for several conferences such SXSW, Wonder Women Tech, and Women and Minorities in Technology. In her spare time, she's building a mindfulness VR product that was selected as a Top 10 finalist for TOFI International’s HersOwnly Pitch Competition in Atlanta, GA in 2017. Her goal is to inspire little girls and young women of color to pursue VR/AR and other forms of emerging technologies.

  • Charles Okochu

    Charles Okochu is a Network Engineering Manager at Marketaxess Corp. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Christal Pickett

    Christal Pickett

    Christal is currently a teacher and a part time Children's Library Information Assistant. She enjoys creating and developing programs at the library. She leads most of the science and technology programs held at the branch. She loves reading, learning, and growing!

  • Corrie Davidson

    Corrie Davidson

    Corrie Davidson is a user engagement and retention specialist. Through designing and fostering meaningful experiences for people both inside and outside of a product and facilitating connections between a products' creators and users, Corrie works to improve overall product success and user satisfaction. At Google she helped create and grow the Local Guides program, improving the Google Maps experience for over a billion people, and is currently working on creating user-centric products and experiences in Google Search - specifically Bulletin, From Google.

  • Daniel Doubrovkine

    Daniel Doubrovkine

    Daniel Doubrovkine (aka dB.) is a seasoned entrepreneur, technologist, CTO at Artsy.net in New York, the largest online fine art marketplace and publication. Daniel graduated from University of Geneva in late 90s with a degree in Computer Science. Daniel is the creator and maintainer of many popular open-source projects and a lifetime artist.

  • Darren Person

    Darren Person is the SVP/CTO at Elsevier. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Dave Monteagudo

    Dave Monteagudo works at Playcrafting NYC. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Dawn Collins

    Dawn Collins

    Dawn Collins is a Senior Librarian specializing in teen services for the New York Public Library. She received her undergraduate degree in theater from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina and her Masters Degree in Library Science from Southern Connecticut State University. Her passion is working with teens especially on STEAM programming. She's a life long nerd and a major Doctor Who fan. On any given day you can find her hanging out with her wife and three dogs (and one cat who pretends to like them on occasion). You can find her on IG and Twitter @tattedlibrarian.

  • Dennis Morgan

    Dennis Morgan

    Dennis Morgan is a Sr. Product Manager at Michael Kors. When Dennis first started working with lasers over 20 years ago, he thought lasers were for shooting and blowing things up! Then he learned how to use them to capture beautiful patterns of light in film that could recreate exact, unbelievable replicas of the world around us frozen in time. When he started working in atomic physics 18 years ago, he thought atoms were only the tiny pieces of the universe that swirled around us, and combined to make up what we see in everyday people and things. Then he learned how to use them to measure time and frequency to a level of precision that would enable vehicles to circumnavigate the globe unassisted, finding their way when they were far from home. When he started playing video games many years ago, games were something he dropped twenty-five cents into almost everyday instead of buying school lunch. Then he learned to make games that could change the fundamental way school lunches are prepared, packaged, distributed, and recycled, so school administrators could save money and be rewarded for cleaner disposal. Now, he is working with the data that humans produce, which swirls and expands around us daily, recreating exact, unbelievable replicas of who we are in this world… Wonder what he will learn next?

  • Diane Levitt

    Diane Levitt

    Diane Levitt is the Sr. Director of K-12 Education for Cornell Tech, driving their engagement with the NYC computing education community, including the Dept. of Education's CS4All initiative, and works with individual schools to catalyze K-12 computer science. She oversees the Teacher in Residence program, which provides content coaching in CS to teachers in elementary and middle schools, and is responsible for Cornell Tech's annual conference, To Code and Beyond, convening educators, nonprofit and industry leaders, policymakers and funders to examine best practices and innovative solutions in K-12 computing education. Before coming to Cornell Tech, Diane was the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Belkin. She holds a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street and a BS from Barnard College, Columbia University.

  • Doug Rhode

    Doug Rhode is an Engineering Manager at Google. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Ellen Sitkin

    Ellen Sitkin is a self-employed Design + Strategy Consultant. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Evan Silberman

    Evan Silberman is the Director IT Partnerships and Community Relationships at NYU. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Gerad O'Shea

    Gerad O'Shea

    Gerad O'Shea is a researcher and co-founder of Applied Curiosity Research. He has an extensive background developing and evaluating educational games, programs, curriculum, TV, and strategic messaging for many audiences and clients. His work includes research to develop and evaluate educational apps for the US Department of Education, interactive TV episodes for Nickelodeon, comic books and podcasts for MIT grad students, and a summer program to help NYC youth develop career skills for the NYC Office of Community Schools. Gerad was also the Assistant Band Director at The Boston Arts Academy before his research life began.

  • Greg Climer

    Greg Climer

    Greg is an assistant professor of fashion design as well as associate director of first year education at Parson School of Design. He splits his time between the BFA in Fashion Design and the MFA in Design + Technology. Greg Climer’s work is interested in the union between seemingly disparate parts of our everyday lives. Textiles and technology are often assumed to only merge in very sci-fi, high concept ways. Climer is interested in how they can converge while maintaining the warmth and comfort we often associate with well-worn garments and beloved blankets. His work merges traditional textile crafts with technology. His work has shown in the Mint Museum of Art, Christopher Stout Gallery NY, Hive Gallery Los Angeles, The Visual Studies Workshop Gallery, and others. As Artist in Residence at the Museum of Arts and Design, he quilted an animated film. In 2015, Hyper Allergic Magazine listed him as an “artist to watch” when he debuted the knitted film at Fred Frelinghuysen Presents.

  • Henry Martes

    Henry Martes

    Henry Martes is a Senior Interaction Designer at frog design. He works with some of the world's leading brands and products using a human centered approach to design. For his day job he focuses on the design of websites, apps and experiences for large corporations, but in his spare time Henry is also an entrepreneur providing design and strategy consulting to small business owners. He is experienced across many industries ranging from healthcare to banking and has practiced domestically and internationally as an architect, urban designer, and user experience designer. Henry has a love for cities, design, and technology. He holds a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University, and a Bachelors of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

  • Jeanne Kelly

    Jeanne Kelly is the Director of Product Design at the Tech Lab at A+E Networks. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Jeffrey Lambert

    Jeffrey Lambert

    Jeff Lambert is a librarian and technology integrator interested in how libraries serve as community hubs for both formal and informal learning. He is the Digital Literacy Coordinator at Queens Library, where he works with staff to offer technology classes for patrons of all ages on topics ranging from basic keyboard to coding in Python. Jeff has led workshops for young people on 3D printing, block coding, audio and video editing, and physical computing in library makerspaces in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York.

  • JONAH BRUCKER-COHEN

    JONAH BRUCKER-COHEN

    Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Ph.D., is an award winning researcher, artist, and writer. He is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Networked Culture at Lehman College / CUNY in the Bronx. He received his Ph.D. in the Disruptive Design Team of the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department of Trinity College Dublin. His work and thesis entitled “Deconstructing Networks” includes hundreds of creative projects that critically challenge and subvert accepted perceptions of network interaction and experience. His work has been exhibited and showcased at venues such as SFMOMA, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Art, MOMA, ICA London, Whitney Museum of American Art (Artport), Palais du Tokyo, Tate Modern, Ars Electronica, Transmediale, and more. His project, “Bumplist”, is included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. His writing has appeared in publications such as WIRED, Make, Gizmodo, Neural and more. His Scrapyard Challenge workshops have been held in over 15 countries in Europe, South America, North America, Asia, and Australia since 2003.

  • Karen Ng

    Karen Ng is the Community Lead, Program Manager at Google. Bio Coming Soon!

  • Karl Alomar

    Karl Alomar

    Karl Alomar is a serial entrepreneur with extensive experience in developing high growth businesses. He is responsible for driving the day-to-day business and people operations, and manages DigitalOcean’s international footprint—along with all procurement and global operations activities—as the company continues to build out its hardware and datacenter infrastructure internationally. Prior to DigitalOcean, he was the co-founder and senior partner of China Export Finance, Ltd, where he helped the business to grow from inception to more than $125M of annual revenue within four years. He received his MBA from Columbia Business School in New York and a Bachelor’s in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London.

  •  Katie Jergens

    Katie Jergens

    Katie wrote a software for over a decade then decided instead of making things someone else designed, she could design them herself. She switched to UX design, eventually leading a design team for an educational-tech company. These days Katie combines her love of software engineering, design and inspiring others in her role as a computer science teacher and Girls Who Code mentor, both at The Dalton School. Lately Katie has also been studying machine learning and mentors an ML course on Coursera.

  • Katherine Loiselle

    Katherine Loiselle

    Katherine Loiselle graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering, and from Lehigh University in 2016 with a Master's of Engineering in Structural Engineering degree. She started her career at a construction management firm in Washington, D.C., where she worked on high profile projects, including the WMATA metro line improvements. Since graduating from Lehigh, she has been designing bridges with Dewberry Engineers in Bloomfield, New Jersey.

  • Katrina Ortega

    Katrina Ortega

    Katrina Ortega (M.L.I.S.) is the Young Adult Librarian at the Hamilton Grange Branch of the New York Public Library. Originally from El Paso, Texas, she has lived in New York City for six years. She is a strong advocate of continuing education (in all of its forms) and is very interested in learning new ways that public libraries can provide higher education to all. She is also very interested in working with non-traditional communities in the library, particularly incarcerated and homeless populations. While pursuing her own higher education, she received two Bachelors of Arts degrees (in English and in History), a Masters of Arts in English, and a Masters of Library and Information Sciences. Katrina loves reading most anything, but particularly loves literary fiction, YA novels, and any type of graphic novel or comic. She’s also an Anglophile when it comes to film and TV, and is a sucker for British period pieces. In her free time, if she’s not reading, Katrina loves to walk around New York, looking for good places to eat.

  • Kieran Gopaul

    Kieran Gopaul is the Project Manager / Youth Forum Producer at Richard Attias & Associates. Bio Coming Soon!

  •  Kimiya Hojjat

    Kimiya Hojjat

    Kimiya is a design thinker and entrepreneur from Northern California with a background in cognitive science and education technology. She recently earned her MA in Learning, Design, and Technology at Stanford and is now working in User Experience Research at Google for Education. She enjoys solving interesting problems through creative and thoughtful human-centered approaches. Today, she is new grantee of the 4.0 Schools Tiny Fellowship, as co-founder of Candid, a mobile tool that helps families have better conversations about important topics in comprehensive sex education. Past adventures include teaching Art & Science at UC Berkeley and hosting The Creative Consciousness. She loves learning new things, cooking colorful meals, and exploring new cities. Website: kimiyahojjat.com

  • Mark Mathias

    Mark Mathias

    Mark Mathias is the founder of Maker Faire Westport, Connecticut’s largest event focused on creativity and innovation and one of the top 5% of all Maker Faires worldwide. He is also serving his fourth term as a member of the Westport, Connecticut Board of Education. In his spare time, Mark consults as a Chief Information Officer.

  • Maya Setiawan

    Maya Setiawan

    Maya Setiawan is a Local Search Language Specialist for Google. Before coming to United States Maya used to live in 3 different countries Indonesia, Singapore and Qatar. She moved to California - the bay area right after that and now she is in New York working for Google Search. She is so grateful to be able to move around and work with some of the greatest companies around the world “Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Google Maps, Uber and Facebook”. Her passion is always about cooking but she does love dancing, autocross-ing, and traveling.

  • Mia Therese Jamili

    Mia Therese Jamili

    A tech for good enthusiast at heart, Mia Therese Jamili currently serves in the Project Management group of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Operations where she gets to tackle data and tech innovation projects and help monitor the progress of various interagency initiatives promoting equity across the City. Previously, she consulted for the United Nations and worked at the United States Fund for UNICEF, Accenture, and Salesforce. Her achievements include being designated Accenture Nonprofit Innovation Champion and a Global Campaign for Education Youth Advocate in Washington D.C. and the United Nations HQ. She is Master of Science in Technology Management candidate at Columbia University and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Certificate in Human-Centered Design from the University of California, Berkeley. She additionally conducted postgraduate studies in Strategic Communication, Marketing, and Media Management at New York University and in International Economics at the University of Oxford. She never turns down a great Broadway musical or a trip to the outdoors. Catch her on Twitter @miajamili.

  • Mona Patel

    Mona Patel

    Mona Patel is an entrepreneur and bestselling Author who has been designing better human centered interactions for the past 20 years. Beginning her career with organizations like NASA, BMW and Microsoft, she has helped some of the world's largest brands understand what customers need and design systems to meet those needs. Mona's UX agency, Motivate Design, was started in 2009 and has been on the Inc 5000 list three years in a row. Based in New York City, Motivate (an MWBE certified company) supports companies like First Republic Bank, BlackRock, Jet.com, Tumblr, Coca-Cola, Chick- Fil-A, and PayPal with U/UX Research, Design, Strategy, Workshops and Staffing services. Mona is a sought after speaker and leads design thinking talks, workshops and interactive sessions for companies around the world. She also dedicates time grooming our next generation of design thinkers by running YOUTHx, a design camp for kids, writing a children's book about an elephant that redesigns a swing, and teaching at Parsons The New School and lecturing at Columbia University and General Assembly.

  • Natarajan Krishnaswami

    Natarajan Krishnaswami

    Natarajan Krishnaswami works as a senior software engineer at Google working on public statistics, following lengthy stints at at Bloomberg LP and IBM. He is passionate about making open data accessible and useful to communities. He was chosen in 2015 and 2017 for Lesbians Who Tech's LGBTQ Tech and Innovation Summit fellowships, for which he volunteered on projects on transgender inclusion and eviction prevention.

  • Nathalie Leon

    Nathalie Leon

    Nathalie Leon is a bright-eyed interdisciplinary innovator studying systems engineering and aerodynamics. As preposterous as her ideas may seem, she will never be afraid to say or pursue them. Nathalie thinks out loud and takes her ideas to the whiteboards at hack-a-thons sponsored by Major League Hacking (MLH). In her free time, she nerds out on arcade games and dabbles in physics and linguistics. Catch her working on community service projects around Manhattan!

  • Paul Hamilton

    Paul Hamilton

    Paul is Design Director at This Also, where he leads teams to create unique and memorable products, blending design, branding and strategic thinking for clients including Samsung, Nike, and Google. Industry recognition includes IxDA and Webby Awards, teaching with Hyper Island, and jury member for the D&AD New Blood Awards.

  • Rob Cancielo

    Rob Cancielo

    Rob Cancielo is the co-founder, producer, and designer behind Stuido Studios, a small independent game and VR studio in Brooklyn, NY. He also teaches an 8 week Unity game development course for Playcrafting NYC

  • Rolando Brown

    Rolando Brown

    Rolando Brown is a freelance Product and Engineering Manager. He blends management consulting rigor with design thinking and agile development. An award winning Community Developer, Artist, and Entrepreneur, Rolando leverages a lifetime of practice towards helping teams discover customers, build capacity and strengthen infrastructure. Rolando majored in Leadership and Management Studies at New York University, is a lifelong learner, and continues to explore human aspiration, technology, cooperation, and conflict. Rolando also serves on the following Boards: The Advocacy Institute, ParentsTogetherAction, Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), iCouldBe.org, and the Hip-Hop Education Center at NYU Metropolitan Center for Urban Education.

  • Shula Ehrlich

    Shula Ehrlich

    | Shula Ehrlich is a designer and educator in Pleasantville, NY. Her passions are around designing learning experiences that are rooted in play and design and empowering people to create positive changes at individual, community, and global levels. She also keeps herself busy with fitness, food, and her new baby, Levi! With an undergrad degree from NYU in Applied Psychology and Education and an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons The New School for Design, Shula has a unique and versatile skill set that includes: teaching and facilitation; graphic design and game design; and curriculum and program development. At the heart of everything she does is creating playful learning experiences that encourage learners to take risks, fail safely, and ultimately learn through play and design. Shula is the Creative Design Lead at Institute of Play, where she designs and facilitates professional development for educators, designs new innovative schools, consults on game and curriculum design projects, and is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all of the work at The Institute is playful, beautiful, and inspires creativity and collaboration.

  • Winston Avil

    Winston Avil is a Software Engineer Associate at PDT Partners . Bio Coming Soon!

  • Zaman Baksh

    Zaman Baksh

    Zaman Baksh is a Technical Program Manager at Google for over 10 years. He is currently responsible for the successful implementation of local experiences on the Google Assistant - enabling users to engage in two-way conversations with Google across many devices. his team engineers solutions to answer user queries on everything from deciding where to go for dinner, finding your nearest bank branch, figuring out when the next train to the city departs or navigating to your friend's house. In his previous roles, he has lead engineering teams on Ads - building publisher platforms and Geo - enhancing semantic location and exploring points of interest on Google maps. He started his career as a software engineer at a startup company within the stored-value/debit card processing industry. He enjoys mentoring and speaking to young students interested in Computer Science and host numerous events at local schools and at Google to help promote and guide interest in this field.

  • Zoë Bachman

    Zoë Bachman

    Zoë is an educator and artist with a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University and currently works as a Senior Curriculum Developer at Codecademy. She previously worked as a Lead Teacher for Girls Who Code and as a photography and media teacher in Baltimore, MD. In addition to her education work, she is a member of The Illuminator, a collective that uses outdoor projections to shine a light on the issues of our time. Zoë is interested in how we use technology to engage in politics, tell stories, and express ourselves.