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Tech Conversations at FIU’s Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator

Tech Conversations at FIU’s Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator

By Jacek Kolasiński
The Ratcliffe Art + Design Incubator at Florida International University presents "Tech Conversations", talks with experts innovating at the intersection of technology, creativity, and entrepreneurship. Hosted by Director, Dr. Jacek J. Kolasiński and co-hosted in Season 2 by producer, Maggie Salas-Amaro.

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The #StreamingWars with Evan Shapiro
Evan Shapiro, Emmy and Peabody award- winning producer, pundit and professor at NYU Stern School of Business. Our podcast talk takes through the stages of the #streamingwars and the many questions of who is winning and losing...  Who is profitable and why?  What influence did  technology have on the entertainment ecosystem and more!    About Evan Shapiro Over the last 30 years, Evan Shapiro has worked in media, entertainment and education, creating distinctive content, building iconic brands, teaching thousands of students and young executives, leading a charge for diversity and inclusion in media, and pushing for change in the industry as an executive, producer, board member, professor, writer and most recently, has become the industry’s official unofficial cartographer. As Board Chair of The Ghetto Film School and Co-Founder of One Day Immersion, and as a writer, speaker and thought leader, for decades Shapiro has spent substantial time, energy and personal capital on pushing the entertainment community to increase opportunity, access and inclusion for those who have been historically under-represented on and behind the camera. As a producer and executive, his efforts have resulted in ground-breaking projects in film, television and podcasting, giving platforms to new, original and diverse voices. Shapiro’s work has resulted in awards, critical acclaim, and, most importantly, a strong and diverse community of collaborators, across the spectrum of disciplines in the for-profit and non-profit spheres. His maps of the Media Universe have become touchstones in the industry. Shapiro is an Emmy and Peabody Award winner, having produced or created more than 150 television series, specials, documentaries and podcasts, including Portlandia, Comedy Bang Bang, Maron, National Lampoon Radio Hour Podcast, The Roast Of Your Teenage Self, Dinner For Five, Please Like Me, Take My Wife, Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, Shrink, Trapped In The Closet, Harmonquest, Laurie Kilmartin’s 45 Jokes About My Dead Dad, Doug Stanhope’s No Place Like Home, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord, Fortitude, Carlos, My Brother My Brother & Me, Brick City, This Film Is Not Yet Rated, and Funny Women of A Certain Age. He is a Professor for TV and Media at NYU/Stern School of Business and for Media Studies at Fordham University, a sought-after guest speaker for conferences and universities, as well as a frequent guest writer for publishers such as Huffington Post, Deadline and The Wrap, where he has made some rather bold predictions about the future of the media and entertainment industry, many of which have come to fruition. He is also an in-demand lecturer for companies and government agencies about Generation Y and Gene
December 4, 2021
Global Art and NFTs with Mikhaile Solomon
Join Mikhaile Solomon, Founding Director of PRIZM as she talks about her journey in art and this year's panel program including the growing interest in NFTs. During our talk we explore what opportunities is technology providing artists for receiving benefits from the resale of their work?  PRIZM returns for its ninth edition, taking place from November 30th through December 19th, 2021. A Preview for our Patrons will take place from November 24st to 30th, 2020. PRIZM Art Fair 2021 will be available for online viewing through PRIZM’s website and Film screenings and PRIZM’s panel program will be available through the fair’s website. This year, PRIZM’s Mikhaile Solomon will present a curated exhibition entitled “Points of Contact. The special section will include 45 artists from various global locales including Congo, Haiti, Jamaica, Barbados, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Saint Maarten, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and the United States. Home – PRIZM
November 28, 2021
Media Disrupted with Amanda Lotz
Amanda D. Lotz, professor and author presents her latest book, Media Disrupted- When did the media companies know that they had to launch their own streaming services? The subscriber- funded services have created the most unique business venture developing a direct relationship with its subscribers.  We're taking a journey in this talk through the past two decades and the changes across, radio, television, cable and the recent streaming wars!  Amanda D. Lotz is a media studies professor at Queensland University of Technology. Her research focuses on understanding the implications of internet distribution on media industries, with a particular focus on U.S. television. She has also published two books on representations of gender on television and in the media. Bio / Contact — Amanda D. Lotz (
November 9, 2021
#MiamiTech with Leigh-Ann Buchanan
Leigh-Ann Buchanan talks about her journey from being an attorney to finding her way in the tech space.  In this podcast we talk about her purpose, passions and the black entrepreneurial stories that haven't been told.  Leigh-Ann A. Buchanan, Esq. is a strategist, writer, facilitator, and frequent speaker on strategies for inclusive innovation and designing equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems.  She has supported innovation and technology leaders at Fortune 500 companies including Google, Facebook, Delta, P&G Ventures,  Airbnb, HSBC, and UBS. As a founder,  she has launched ventures from concept to scale, raised seven-figure philanthropic investments, and designed partnerships and platforms to connect innovators, young leaders, and communities with the capital and opportunities necessary to take their impact to the next level. Most notably, as the founding Executive Director of Venture Café Miami. She led the organization to exponential growth and impact to connect 50,000 innovators and establish 1000+ content partnerships with national and global organizations over a 5 year period. Leigh-Ann is also the founder of the Nyah Project, which bridges systemic opportunity gaps through transformative leadership fellowships abroad and tech-enabled college access coaching for disadvantaged youth of color. Under her leadership, 100% of Nyah Fellows attend college and over 90% win scholarships—amounting to over $10 million in scholarships since 2014. About — Leigh-Ann Buchanan (
November 3, 2021
The Future of Electric Vehicles with Ebo Entsuah
In this innovative talk, we learn about the latest and the future of electric vehicles with expert Ebo Entsuah, a Policy Principal at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). Florida is the third most populous state in the nation with over 21 million residents and growing. What are the current incentives and rebates available to purchase an EV and how is that different from the Federal Tax Credit. The technology has well advanced with some batteries even being interchangeable, making it an advantage in saving both gas and power. There are a number of charging stations throughout state and will continue to rise with more consumers making the shift. It is estimated that the carmakers will have about 81 models by 2025 for the public to own an EV. Coming soon: a Ford model called "Lightning" will have a generator, as part of the vehicle's features—a handy one for those living in states with recurring hurricanes and storms. While we may not be seeing flying cars just yet, this is an alternative for the environment and consumer budgets.   Ebo Reuel Isaac Entsuah is a Policy Principal at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), where he leads AEE’s legislative and regulatory engagement in Florida and supports legislative and regulatory engagement in Virginia as well. Ebo is the youngest African American ever elected to Clermont’s City Council.  
October 28, 2021
#Roku on the rise with Gretel Perera
#Roku is dominating with subscribers not just in the United States, but in international markets like Latin America.  Meet Gretel Perera, a proud native of Venezuela and the Director of PR for Roku in Latin America. In this episode she takes us through her journey managing and leading public relations at various organizations. Our talk focuses on the international rise of Roku in Latin America and the role she plays promoting the brand expansion in the region.  Our conversation also discusses the current "streaming wars" and trends in content and viewership.    About Roku, Inc. Roku pioneered streaming to the TV. We connect users to the streaming content they love, enable content publishers to build and monetize large audiences, and provide advertisers with unique capabilities to engage consumers. Roku streaming players and TV-related audio devices are available in the U.S. and in select countries through direct retail sales and licensing arrangements with service operators. Roku TV™ models are available in the U.S. and in select countries through licensing arrangements with TV brands. Roku is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. U.S.A. For more information, visit
October 15, 2021
The creative entrepreneurial process with Anjanette Delgado
A unique creative talk with our next guest-- Anjanette Delgado is a Puerto Rican writer and journalist. In this conversation we take a journey and learn about her passion for storytelling , as well as the creative entrepreneurial process during these unprecedented times.   She is the author of The Heartbreak Pill (Simon and Schuster, 2008), 2009 winner of the Latino International Book Award, and of The Clairvoyant of Calle Ocho (Kensington Publishing & Penguin Random House, 2014).  Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, as well as in The Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Vogue, The New York Times ("Modern Love"), The Hong Kong Review, NPR, and HBO, among others. A Bread Loaf Conference alumni, she won an Emmy Award for feature writing in 1994, served as a judge for the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award in 2015, and was a Peter Taylor Fellow in Fiction in 2016. Her short story "Lucky" was nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize, she holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University, and lives in Miami, Florida. ANJANETTE DELGADO 
October 8, 2021
#eMerge: Building the tech hub of the Americas with Melissa Medina
Melissa Medina is a Founding Executive team member and President of eMerge Americas. In this talk she takes listeners through her journey with entrepreneurship deep in her DNA she's working hard to make #Miami and #SouthFlorida the next tech hub of the Americas. eMerge Americas, a venture-backed platform focused on transforming Miami into the tech hub of the Americas. The eMerge signature event, launched in 2014, is a global tech conference held annually at the Miami Beach Convention Center. With Melissa’s leadership, the eMerge Americas conference now attracts more than 16,000+ attendees from over 40 countries. eMerge gathers the brightest minds and convenes investors, entrepreneurs, innovators, business executives, government leaders, academia, and renowned subject matter experts from across the globe to discuss technologies transforming our lives.  In addition to the annual conference, eMerge organizes and hosts year-round executive summits, innovation challenges, startup pitch competitions, masterclasses, webinars, as well as publishes venture activity and investment insights reports and publications. Melissa has been at the forefront of helping to foster a thriving entrepreneurial and tech ecosystem in South Florida. Subsequent to the 2014 inaugural conference, Melissa assisted in the 2015 launch of the Women, Innovation & Technology summit (WIT), which convenes top female professionals from across the globe to showcase how they are transforming industries through technology & innovation. Melissa is extremely committed to and has a strong track record in supporting women and minority founders and entrepreneurs. Melissa Medina (
September 30, 2021
Go Like Mariana! with Mariana Atencio
Go Like Mariana! What led Mariana Atencio to become an entrepreneur and co-found her company GoLike? Mariana Atencio, award-winning journalist, motivational speaker, best-selling author and co-founder of Go Like! Her journey takes us from the early days of her passion for storytelling working at Univision and NBC News to creating a unique path with her spirit of innovation and creativity . 
September 22, 2021
Get on your feet! Entrepreneurship with Emilio Estefan
Get on your feet! What does it take to be an entrepreneur in these times...Hosted by producer, Maggie Salas-Amaro.  Emilio Estefan talks about his journey as an award- winning producer, recipient of 19 Grammys, director, entrepreneur, known for launching the careers of artists like Shakira, Ricky Martin just to name a few... His unique rhythm has crossed borders and created a cultural movement.  In this creative talk we discuss the timely premiere of the song "Libertad" and the role of technology in the recent protests in Cuba. 
September 14, 2021
Design and Lifestyle Tech with Martin Amado
Meet FIU Alumnus, MARTIN AMADO - TV personality, interior decorator, lifestyle expert, and author of One-Day Room Makeovers. He is currently a TV host/design expert on ION Television, a leading U.S. general entertainment network, a home contributor on Acceso Total on WSCV Telemundo 51 and NBC’s 6 In The Mix airing in South Florida, and nationally on Telemundo’s Al Rojo Vivo. Upcoming projects include a DIY series for CreateTV.Com.  Martin's early inspiration comes from working with his dad who was a contractor . In this conversation we discuss the role of technology in design and lifestyle, as the pandemic challenged everyone to reinvent themselves.  Prior to that, local viewers became familiar with his work on the home makeover segment Room for Improvement that aired on WSVN 7 News, FOX affiliate, for over 11 years; and most recently on SoFlo Home Project on WPLG Local 10, ABC affiliate, which he hosted for almost four years.  Source:
August 15, 2021
Mission to Mars II: Rover Tech Update with Elio Morillo
In our first interview with NASA, the Perseverance Rover was about to land on Mars. A few months later we connect with Elio Morillo, a system testbed engineer working on the Mars Mission. In this out-of-this-world talk we learn about his journey and what inspires his interest in space and science. For the last four years, he has contributed to the mission by developing and executing electrical integration procedures, verification and validation, and most recently, nominal and off-nominal operations readiness testing of Mars surface operations. Elio designed and executed testing procedures to verify flight systems capabilities for the Mars 2020 Remote Sensing Mast, Gain Antenna, Rover Motor Controller, Mars 2020 Engineering cameras, and the Mars Helicopter System. Source: NASA
August 9, 2021
Black Quantum Futurism with Rasheedah Phillips
What is Black Quantum Futurism... Our guest is Rasheedah Phillips, artist, author, attorney , community activist and 2021 Knight Arts+Tech Fellow.  Black Quantum Futurism is an interdisciplinary creative practice between Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips exploring the intersections of futurism, creative media, DIY aesthetics and activism in marginalized communities through an alternative temporal lens. Their  work focuses on the recovery, collection and preservation of communal memories, histories, and futures.  Black Quantum Futurism has produced a number of experimental music projects, exhibitions, writing, films, performances, and community-based events, including the award-winning Community Futures Lab. SOURCE: Knight Foundation 2021 Knight Arts + Tech Fellowship – Knight Foundation
June 29, 2021
Virtual and Analog Public Realms with Rodolfo Peraza
Meet Rodolfo Peraza, a Cuban-born multimedia artist that began his journey in Havana, Cuba. His work focuses on public spaces, both virtual and physical.  Peraza is the founder of Fanguito Estudio in Havana (2009). In 2013, he launched the VRLab for the development of browser-based VR technology.  Peraza also created MUD Foundation (Miami, 2016) to advance the intersections between art and digital technologies by implementing artistic and educational programs.​ Rodolfo Peraza has been recognized with numerous recognitions and is a 2021 Knight Arts + Tech Fellow. 
June 17, 2021
Transmedia art, Robots, AI and Beyond with Stephanie Dinkins
In this conversation we feature Stephanie Dinkins, a transmedia artist who creates platforms for dialog about race, gender, aging, and our future histories. This impactful conversation takes listeners on a journey with a project Bina48, a humanoid robot in a  quest for friendship and questions about the future.    Dinkins’ art practice employs emerging technologies, documentary practices, and social collaboration toward equity and community sovereignty.  She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to co-create more equitable, values grounded social and technological ecosystems. Dinkins is a professor at Stony Brook University where she holds the Kusama Endowed Professor in Art. Stephanie Dinkins is a 2021 Knight Arts +Tech Fellow.  Source:  STEPHANIE DINKINS /   
June 5, 2021
Tech Policy and Access with Dr. Dominique Harrison
Do you know which technology policies are being introduced for legislation in Washington, D.C. ? Meet Dr. Dominique Harrison, Director of Technology Policy at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Our talk takes us to  explore three issue areas:  Platform accountability, broadband access privacy and algorithm experience.  Our conversation turns to learn more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) bias, and how it could produce discriminatory outcomes for communities of color.   
May 28, 2021
FinTech in Miami with Eric Rosenthal of Rapyd
Why Miami? Our next conversation is with Eric Rosenthal, VP and Managing Director, Americas for Rapyd. The company recently announced a $100 million Miami Tech Power initiative, placing the spotlight on Miami when it comes to tech companies sourcing talent and using our geography to further expand their businesses globally. 
May 14, 2021
The Era of Online Learning with Dr. Karla Kennedy
How do we keep inspiring students when the classroom now shifts to a digital platform? In this conversation, Dr. Karla Kennedy, Program Director of Online Learning for FIU CARTA takes us through some of the challenges of engagement in distance learning and the future .
April 23, 2021
Miami: The New Tech Frontier with Mayor Francis Suarez
Is Miami ready for the tech revolution? In this conversation we have the honor of featuring Mayor Francis Suarez, the first Miami-born mayor and FIU alumnus. Mayor Suarez talks about the opportunities that emerged to run the city during the pandemic, and the virtual platforms that exist for residents to start businesses and interact virtually without ever having to go in person to a government facility.  Our conversation turns to the "Miami Connected” initiative to bring  100,000 students free broadband connection and digital tools. Mayor Suarez is urging every city across the country to embrace , grow and expand their tech ecosystem.
April 11, 2021
The Art of Gaming with artist Leo Castaneda
The Art of Gaming... Art, gaming and virtual reality..  In this conversation our guest is visual artist Leo Castañeda, born in Colombia and from a talented family of artists and architects... We're talking about the intersection of art and virtual reality . 
April 7, 2021
Miami-Dade Tech talk with Mayor Daniella Levine Cava
As we close Women's History Month, our guest is Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. The county's first female mayor will talk about her digital engagement strategies during her campaign in the time of the pandemic . We also discuss the initiative "Thrive 305",  a survey aimed to get feedback for determining  priorities,creating innovation and creativity between the government and the public.    Our conversation turns to the tech priorities and an econmic agenda called "Renew 305" creating partnerships and  a pipeline for training  welcoming both local talent and prospectives that want to call our county their headquarters or home. The podcast closes with the recent announcement to rename the Miami Heat's stadium to FTX Arena.  
March 28, 2021
Crypto Art and NFTs with David Anasagasti and Sam Pepper
The art world has changed and our guests David Anasagasti, digital artist and Sam Pepper, internet creative are  talking about crypto art and NFTs.... In this artistic conversation we learn all about what's happening and changing in the virtual art scene and beyond.    
March 19, 2021
What's in the forecast? with Meteorologist Paola Elorza
 The weather is always either a HOT or COLD topic... so what's in the forecast? Our conversation turns to the famous weather models and the current tech tools to predict everything from storms, hurricanes and well the overall changing weather. We're talking to Meteorologist, Paola Elorza, a familiar face in South Florida and throughout Latin America, having been the face of weather reporting in her native Chile and later for Weather Channel Latin America. Paola Elorza, a well known meteorologist for years at Univision and now as part of the weather team at WSCV, Telemundo 51.
March 12, 2021
VR Tech Innovation with Joanna Popper, Head of Global VR at HP
Joanna Popper, Head of Global VR at HP takes us on this unique experience to discuss the newest tools and innovation in headsets, backpacks and full body experiences in VR.  Did you know you can connect with people to build and collaborate on anything from visiting and building art to performing surgery with VR?   
March 2, 2021
The Future of Art with Lauren Shapiro
Lauren Shapiro, international artist takes us on a unique artistic journey to learn more about the intersection of technology and ceramics. Did you know that clay is one of the first tools and technology of mankind?  
February 22, 2021
Mission to Mars with NASA project manager, Dr. Andrew Johnson
In our inaugural episode, we connect with NASA's Mars 2020 Guidance Navigation and Control Subsystem Manager, Dr. Andrew E. Johnson, working on Terrain Relative Navigation for the Perseverance rover's mission in 2021.
February 3, 2021