BTV Ignite

Organizing and Accelerating the Energy of Burlington's Technology Ecosystem

Burlington, VT (October 19, 2016) –

BTV Ignite and it’s partners (The City of Burlington, Burlington Electric, Burlington Telecom, Champlain College, The Institute for American Apprenticeships at Vermont HITEC, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, People’s United Bank, the University of Vermont, the University of Vermont Medical Center, and Vermont Works) are proud to announce the youth digital storytelling showcase - the BTV Ignite Innovator Series, created by Young Writers Project.

UNVEILED October 19, 2016 - A new digital story collection showcases Burlington, VT as a tech-forward hub of entrepreneurial and creative energy. The BTV Ignite Innovator Series, created by Young Writers Project, a Burlington-based nonprofit that manages a free online writing community and publication outfit for youths, will premiere during Burlington’s Innovation Week on October 20. The collection was created in partnership with BTVIgnite in order to inform and excite Vermonters about the ways in which technological innovation is being used to grow communities and economic opportunity right at home.

“Among our challenges and opportunities is the need to find ways to attract and retain our young people to work here and get educated here and to start businesses here,” says BTV Ignite Director Mike Schirling, who commissioned Young Writers Project to create the collection. “Telling stories about the education and job opportunities that already exist and that so many institutions and new initiatives and companies are working to grow in Vermont is crucial to the our collective success.”

The six stories were created by a team of teens, 20-somethings, career journalists, videographers and animation experts under the direction of Mary Simons, whose project, Conversations from the Open Road, organizes citizen journalism trips for teens around the U.S. The collection showcases co-working spaces, student entrepreneurs, a musician, a geographer, web and app developers and, notably, youth perspectives on Burlington’s ever-growing tech scene.

The collection highlight – a piece called “Inspired”, by Young Writers Project Publications Coordinator Susan Reid – is narrated by Elizabeth Martell, 14, one of the youngest members of the team. “We took our cameras and recorders all over the city and met some very cool people doing very cool things,” says Martell. “We fell in love all over again with this beautiful city on Lake Champlain.”

Her fellow young news crewmate, Isabel Vivanco agrees. “I love living in Burlington. On the surface it’s such a great place,” says Vivanco. “Yet just this week I’ve discovered so many little things that I never realized happened here.”

The stories speak to the BTVIgnite mission. “We have got to find ways to grow, and grow in a very mindful way that fits with the character of Vermont… [BTVIgnite] is just one initiative trying to use technology and innovation to embrace the kinds of things that Burlington and Vermont have been good at for 265 years.”

The collection premieres on October 20th at noon at Contois Auditorium in Burlington. They can also be viewed on Young Writers Project’s Vimeo channel under BTV Ignite Innovator Series at this URL

Background and Thank Yous!

Participating young creators:

  • Elizabeth Martell, 14, Essex High School

  • Isabel Vivanco, 14, Burlington High School

  • Ava Kendrick, 17, Harwood Union High School

  • Amy Plambeck, 17, St. Johnsbury Academy

  • Nina Lam, 20, Barnard College

Assisting artists:

  • Mary Simons, Citizen Journalist, Educator and Project Leader (Conversations from the Open Road);

  • Gordon Glover, Video Editing and Animation Adviser (Champlain College);

  • Jeff Baron, Musician and Sound Editing Adviser (Seven Days);

  • Alison Redlich, Photojournalist and Adjunct Professor of Photography (Champlain College);

  • Jesse Kreitzer, Filmmaker and Video Capture Adviser (Vermont College of Fine Arts);

  • Sam Burris, Film Student and Video Capture Assistant (Champlain College).

Those interviewed for the pieces:

  • Jim Lockridge, Executive Director of Big Heavy World

  • Nick Donowitz, COO of ThinkMD

  • Alexander Marchese, UVM Medical Student and Entrepreneurial Accelerator

  • Noah Ahles, Remote Sensing Technician at UVM Spatial Analysis Lab and Humanitarian OpenStreet Maps Organizer

  • Michael and Giovanna Jager, owners and operators of The Karma Bird House at 47 Maple Street

  • Geoffrey Gevalt, Executive Director of Young Writers Project

  • Karma Bird House tenants: Sascha Mayer of Mamava, Joe DiStefano of Okay Plus web development, Anna Thelemarck of Struktur Architects and others.

  • Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies: co-working companies: GameTheory, Horse Network and others.

Copyright BTV Ignite - 2016.