Annual Teen Tech NY Conference Bridges Gap Between Tech and Youth


Photo by Ligeia Moltisanti

Student attendees experience virtual reality at B-Reel’s session at the Teen Tech NY conference.

By Christopher Schiff

On Sunday, November 19th, teenagers from around the New York area arrived at Microsoft’s Technology Center in Times Square to attend the fourth annual TeenTech NY conference.

The conference, which focuses on youth and technology, is hosted annually by TeenTech NY, a UNIS-funded, student-run non-profit organization.

Members of TeenTech NY arrived early Sunday to the Microsoft Technology Center to register conference attendees after a long morning of setting up.

The conference kicked off with an introduction by TeenTech NY CEO and T4 student Diego Flores, before heading into the first of many sessions of the day.

Students from UNIS and other schools across the city attended workshops and interactive sessions led by professional representatives from companies including Microsoft, Citi, Blue Apron and Google.

The event ended with a panel discussion led by representatives Alicia McCauley, Dave Seidman, and Eric Heaton from B-Reel, a Swedish film company.

This year’s conference was the result of many months of planning – a “long and tiring process,” according to Diego. The team members went to work contacting various industry leaders and reaching out to students not just from UNIS, but from all over the city.

TeenTech NY reaches out to many schools and organizations, but it especially focuses on those who have limited access to basic technological equipment and education resources.

“Our target demographic are those students who don’t even have a basic computer science course in their school and are searching for anything to grab ahold of to be around technology,” Diego said.

“You don’t have to go far from Manhattan to find schools that are heavily underfunded and just don’t have the ability to get something as basic as an I.T. class up and running. Those students are the ones that we actively seek out and want to have at the conference.”

TeenTech NY was founded in 2014 by UNIS senior Tim Cargan. Since then, the organization continues to expand and host the annual conference. The goal of the conference has always been to educate and introduce students to the various fields in the modern world.

By allowing students to have direct contact with technology, Teen Tech NY hopes to debunk misconceptions about technology. “Now more than ever, all fields are using technology; musicians, teachers, athletes, software developers are all using technology in their work,” said Diego.

“The purpose of TeenTech NY is to take all of these ideas, applications and real-life experiences and put them within the reach of young people all over New York,” Diego said.

“It’s been really cool seeing the event grow over the years, and more and more UNIS students are getting involved, as well.”