DEG’s Fifth Annual Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award Will Go to Dolby’s Poppy Crum

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Aug. 24 announced Poppy Crum, chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories, as the 2021 recipient of the Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.

In its fifth year, the Hedy Lamarr Award recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

At Dolby, Crum is responsible for integrating neuroscience and data science into algorithm design, technology development and technology strategy. She is also an adjunct professor at Stanford University, focusing on the impact of modern technologies and immersive environments such as augmented and virtual reality on neuroplasticity and learning.

The 2021 Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, honoring a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise, will be presented to Shambhavi Mishra, an undergraduate student at Carnegie-Mellon University who is double majoring in humanities analytics and music composition. Brianna Seaburg, a communications major at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC), is runner up. Both will receive a financial award to continue their education.

The awards will be presented during an online event Dec. 6.

“It is an honor to recognize Poppy Crum, an outstanding female leader in neuroscience and technology, with this year’s Innovation Award. She is a true visionary working to better lives and society through the development of immersive technologies,” said Amy Jo Smith, DEG’s president and CEO. “It is also a great pleasure to present the Achievement Award to Shambhavi Mishra to support her work toward ensuring that all voices and perspectives across the industry are heard equally. The 2021 Hedy Award winners are remarkable women in their field who clearly share Hedy’s passion for innovation.”

Crum said, “This honor represents a dedication to excellence in the field of technology initiated by Hedy Lamarr that continues to be led by many outstanding women who are committed to driving advancements that enhance our world and the experiences we have in it. It is truly gratifying to be recognized among them.”

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and bluetooth applications.

Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; and Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS KIDS Digital.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlists its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries.

PBS’s Sara DeWitt Presented With DEG’s Hedy Lamarr Award

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Nov. 9 presented its fourth annual Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology to Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

DeWitt was surprised by presenters in masks and gloves who gave her the award in her home during the virtual event.

“A fun thing about this being virtual is that my whole family is here with me,” DeWitt said, surrounded by her kids and husband.

“Sara oversees PBS kids streaming video services, the PBS kids games app and PBSkids.org, which collectively serve over 13.5 million visitors each month,” said PBS CEO Paula Kerger, who introduced DeWitt. “Under her leadership PBS Kids has produced and published cutting-edge experiences for children from AR games and podcasts to game video hybrids and texting programs. Her drive to understand how digital media can impact children’s learning has yielded profound findings from a variety of research studies, and she’s established the gold standard for children’s digital privacy and security.”

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DeWitt paid tribute to Lamarr, an Austrian-American actress who was a Hollywood legend and lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications. PBS chronicled her life in the “American Masters” documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.

“I loved this story of this glamorous movie star moonlighting as a technological powerhouse, but I think what struck me the most as I watched that ‘American Masters’ documentary Bombshell was how long it took for her contributions to come to light, that silence of 50 years from the time that she received her patent for the idea of frequency hopping to the time of actual public recognition for it,” DeWitt said. “And when I think about that piece of the story I get really frustrated. I hope many of you are as well. It just reemphasizes for me the importance of amplifying the successes of women here and now, women in technical fields, women in my own organization, women in our community. It reaffirms to me too how critical it is to provide opportunities for more voices, for those underrepresented in our industry to be heard and celebrated so that no one has to wait 50 years for their groundbreaking work to come to light.”

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DeWitt, who was a teacher before joining PBS, stressed the power of programming in helping kids envision their future.

“The media that we create has so much power to introduce kids to places and to people that they’ve never know about before,” she said. “Good storytelling has the power to help children imagine exciting possibilities for themselves and good technology can help even more children gain access to the tools and the resources that they need to realize these possibilities. I hope that our innovation at PBS Kids can inspire all children and all of those little girls in our audience to think big and to think about their own future to create new inventions and new art and new discoveries that won’t take 50 years to be recognized.”

The DEG also virtually presented the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. The Emerging Leader award was presented to Molly Mielke, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in film, TV and digital media at UCLA. Mielke will receive a financial award to continue her education. Her work can be found on her website, mollymielke.com.

Lamarr’s son Anthony Loder also joined the virtual event.

“It’s wonderful that you’re sharing her legacy forward in history while making history of your own,” he said.

Nominations for the 2021 awards are open Nov. 10 on the DEG website.

DEG to Present Hedy Lamarr Award to PBS’s Sara DeWitt Nov. 9

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present its fourth annual Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology to Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

The DEG also will present the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. The Emerging Leader award will be presented to Molly Mielke, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in film, TV and digital media at UCLA. Mielke will receive a financial award to continue her education.

Sony Electronics is presenting sponsor of the awards, which will be presented during an online event Nov. 9, to coincide with the 106th anniversary of Lamarr’s birth (Nov. 9, 1914).

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“We are thrilled to present DEG’s 2020 Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award to Sara DeWitt, who is a potent example of the power of media, and of women in media, to push technological innovation forward and at the same time, benefit society on a larger level,” Amy Jo Smith, president and CEO of DEG, said in a statement. “I’m equally excited to present our Emerging Leader Award to Molly Mielke to support her vision for immersive storytelling. These communicators embody Hedy Lamarr’s dedication to progress through innovation in media and technology.”

“I am honored to receive this award,” DeWitt said in a statement. “I am truly amazed to be associated with Hedy Lamarr and the other pioneers recognized by DEG through this program! I know that I am fortunate to work with a team at PBS Kids who is passionate about improving technology and media for young children, and I am so grateful for this recognition.”

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and DelilahThe Strange Woman, and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.

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To honor Lamarr, the Innovation Award seeks to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders who have made a similar impact in the field of entertainment technology. Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; and Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: Innovation, Engagement and Excellence.