2023 NYWIFT Creative Workforce STEM Summit: Day 3, ‘Children’s STEM Programming – Inspiring the Next Generation’ (Virtual Panel)

Join us for Day 3 of the 2023 NYWIFT Creative Workforce STEM Summit for a virtual panel on “Children’s STEM Programming: Inspiring the Next Generation.”

Date: Friday, June 23, 2023

Time: 4-6pm ET

Location: Virtual (Link sent out after registration)

Tickets: In order to make our incredible lineup of innovative leaders accessible to the wider community, we are excited to announce that attendance at the NYWIFT Creative Workforce STEM Summit at the Paley Center will be complimentary!



Summit Highlights and Publications: NYWIFT Board Member, Shruti Ganguly

Shruti Ganguly is a filmmaker and writer based between New York City and Oslo. Shruti was a member of the Obama Administration’s ECCO committee of 30 leaders and creators in entertainment, chairing its Asian Caucus, and is on the Creative Council for Emily’s List. She has produced several feature and short films (including Spirit-winner H., and the Nora Ephron Prize-winner Initials SG) that have premiered at Sundance, Venice, Tribeca, Telluride, and Berlin. Ganguly is currently writing for Secret Daughter for Amazon Studios, which will star Priyanka Chopra and Sienna Miller, directed by Cannes-winner Anthony Chen. Ganguly developed and will EP Flossy, a half-hour comedy with writer/comedian Kerry Coddett, and EP Robin Thede, set up at Warner Bros and Showtime, and she will be an EP and writer on the half-hour TV series Brown Baby, which is in development with Bad Robot/Warner Bros and will star Himesh Patel. Ganguly has directed and produced commercials, short and feature docs, music videos and branded content, ranging from clients like Nike, Netflix, Michael Kors, MUNCH, and so on, through her production company honto88. In addition, Ganguly started Prism Entertainment with producers Megha Kadakia and Priya Giri Desai to focus on high-quality, South Asian-focused film and TV content. Previously, Ganguly worked at NYLON, MTV, and Conde Nast, producing the Clio-winning 73 Questions series. She is a co-founder of the Resistance Revival Chorus, a collective born out of the Women’s March that brings together artists and activists to use music and joy as an act of resistance. Ganguly is a published writer (Nevertheless We Persisted, Penguin) and a contributing writer for The Juggernaut. Ganguly received her Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University, and went to NYU’s dual MFA/MBA program at Tisch and Stern. She hails from India, by way of Oman.

Opening Keynote by Dr. Tamatha Fenster, Director of Innovations and Biotechnology of the Fibroid Center for Weill Cornell Medicine

Dr. Tamatha Fenster serves as the Director of Innovations and Biotechnology of the FibroidCenter for Weill Cornell Medicine. She is an Assistant Professor of ClinicalObstetrics and Gynecology, Obstetrics at Cornell University andAssistant Attending Obstetrician and Gynecologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She specializes in minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic gynecologic surgery and uses the latest surgical innovations to treat all types of benign gynecologic conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis and ovarian cysts.

Dr. Fenster received her Bachelor of Arts degree from New York University, Master’s degree in Biological and Physical Science from Touro College, and Medical Degree from The State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beth Israel Medical Center and an American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (AAGL) accredited fellowship in minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic gynecologic surgery at NorthShore Long Island Jewish University Hospital.

Among Dr. Fenster’s honors include winner of Humankind Healthcare Awards with USA Today, induction into the Gold Humanism Medical Honor Society, USA Today Healthcare Hero, Founder’s Day Scholar at New York University, and recipient of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) Junior Fellow’s Scholarship. She has won two teaching awards as an attending at Weill Cornell and five teaching awards as aBeth Israel resident.

Currently, Dr. Fenster has inventions in the areas of patient education, imaging and medical devices, including a novel speculum that will launch later this month. She has earned two utility patents and currently has three preliminary patents pending. Her entire 20-year medical career is devoted to innovating female healthcare. As a prolific Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon, she works towards improving women’s outcomes in the OR by providing state-of-the-art, least invasive surgical options, and she improves them out of the OR by ensuring her patients are well informed about their anatomy and treatment options. Dr. Fenster creates a partnership with her patients to ensure they will receive the best care possible.


Children’s STEM Programming – Inspiring the Next Generation

How can children’s content inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, mathematicians, doctors, and astronauts? Join our panel of filmmakers, producers, executives, and educators to discuss the current children’s media landscape and how creators work with STEM experts to educate and motivate young people today. We’ll also discuss how creators hoping to break into the children’s media market can find funding and support.

Maria Agui Carter: Director and Series Producer/Advisor, Latina Sci-Girls

Maria Agui Carter, is a writer, director and professor at Emerson College. Born in Ecuador, she grew up undocumented in NYC and graduated on scholarship from Harvard. She’s written and directed documentaries and series aired on national and international networks, from PBS to ZDF, ARTE, NHK, Discovery, and streamers. Her film Rebel about Loreta Velazquez, a woman soldier and spy of the American Civil War, won an Erik Barnow award for best historical documentaries (PBS & Amazon Prime). Her pilot for Latina SciGirls, about Latine tweens in science and technology, which aired on Univision, PBS & Amazon was nominated for an Emmy. Maria is in development and production on several new projects. She has a first look deal with Concordia Studio, who will Executive Produce her new project on embracing joy in the wake of Anti-fat bias and toxic diet culture. Her project Birthright, on belonging and citizenship, is supported by an NEH and Firelight Media grant. She is seeking funding for her fiction script supported by a Sundance lab called Secret Life of Lamariposa, a fable about an undocumented Latine teen scientist obsessed with the extinction of Monarch butterflies who must rise up to fight for her own survival

Christina Delfico: iDig2Learn, Founder & Independent Producer

In addition to her two primetime Emmy Award nominations as Executive Producer of shows hosted by Katie Couric, Queen Latifah, John Mayer, Al Roker and Big Bird, Christina has garnered over 40 awards in media production. She has served as VP and EP with Sesame Workshop, collaborated with CBS, PBS and others. Christina has produced concerts with the Hollywood Bowl and created international productions in China, Germany, Spain, and Greece. While Chair of the Green Committee of the Producers Guild of America she supported NYC Film Green to reduce waste in media, a nation’s first.

Honored to present at the United Nations in a 2019 panel highlighting Sustainable Practices in the Film, Food and Waste industries she continues to advocate to protect nature.

In 2012 she founded iDig2Learn which engages youth and the young-at-heart with hands-on programming that allows the public to explore nature, grow food and understand how sky, land and water are connected to our existence. She is a Producers Guild of America and Television Academy Member based in New York City.

Dorothy Bennett: Director of Creative Pedagogy at the New York Hall of Science

Dorothy Bennett is currently the Director of Creative Pedagogy at the New York Hall of Science, leading the development and implementation of groundbreaking initiatives that embody NYSCI’s signature pedagogical approach, DESIGN, MAKE, PLAY. With over 30 years of experience in formal and informal education, her expertise drives the translation of this child-centered approach into transformative practices.  Her contributions include creating professional development experiences for our museum facilitators and K-12 educators, designing stimulating apps to extend STEM learning beyond the walls of the museum, and crafting captivating exhibit and program experiences tailored to inspire diverse audiences to see STEM as part of their everyday lives.  Before joining NYSCI, Dorothy played a pivotal role in pioneering gender equity and design-based STEM education at EDC’s Center for Children and Technology, Bank Street College of Education, and Sesame Workshop. This foundational work involved fruitful partnerships with national and international entities, including IBM, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation, higher education schools of engineering, and K-12 educators nationwide. Together, they created immersive, hands-on design experiences and engaging digital media that served as inclusive gateways for diverse learners to develop agency and identities as innovators in STEM.  Together, they crafted immersive, hands-on design experiences and engaging digital media that fuel curiosity and empower learners of all backgrounds to become STEM creators. 

Jane Startz: Multi-Emmy award-winning producer and president of the production company, Jane Startz Productions, Inc.

Jane Startz is the president of New York-based film and television production company Jane Startz Productions, Inc. which acquires, develops and produces high-quality intellectual properties across all media platforms. Prior to starting her own company, she was the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Productions, the film and television division of Scholastic Inc. Among Startz’s credits are the major theatrical releases Ella Enchanted, Tuck Everlasting, The Indian In The Cupboard, The Mighty and The Baby-Sitters’ Club. She developed and served as Executive Producer on the multi-award-winning animated television series, The Magic School Bus, which became a major franchise and the longest-running science series in broadcast history. Startz also has produced over 100 award-winning television productions adapted from high-profile literary material for HBO, Paramount, ABC, FOX, PBS, NBC, A+E, Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon, Disney Channel and Disney+. Her most recent projects include Sneakerella (Disney+), The School for Good and Evil (Netflix), The Tiger’s Apprentice (Paramount), Max and the Midknights (Nickelodeon), Duck & Goose and Get Rollin’ with Otis (Apple TV+) and many more.

Maribel Lopez (Moderator): Senior Director and Head of PBS Digital Studios

Maribel Lopez is Senior Director and Head of PBS Digital Studios. She oversees original digital programming and strategy for PBS Digital Studios, and is responsible for identifying opportunities to expand reach and implement strategies to advance the legacy of PBS to the next generation of fans and supporters of public media. Prior to joining PBS in 2021, Maribel spent the greater part of eleven years in creative and editorial leadership roles at member station Twin Cities PBS (TPT), located in St. Paul, Minnesota. She served as executive producer of Sound Field, a music education YouTube series, and managing director of Racism Unveiled, a multiplatform storytelling initiative at Twin Cities PBS’ (TPT) about racism in Minnesota and of Rewire.org, a magazine for young adults. In these roles, she led the editorial vision, developed and implemented audience-centered content strategies that grew and engaged audiences across platforms.



See the full Summit schedule

June 23 @ 4:00pm
4:00 pm — 6:00 pm (2h)



Join the conversation on social media:
#nywift | @nywift

NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.