Posted November 2, 2016

Owls score Geek Awards

Three Temple alumni were among the innovators honored at the 2016 Philly Geek Awards ceremony. 

Yasmine Mustafa standing outside smiling.
Photography By: 
Ryan Brandenberg
The Philly Geek Awards are an annual awards ceremony honoring outstanding achievements in Philadelphia's geek community.

In recent years, Philadelphia has become a hub for technology, start-ups and creative ventures, and each year, the Philly Geek Awards honor the individuals and organizations leading the charge. It should come as no surprise that Owls are among the pioneers recognized for powering the entrepreneurial energy flowing through the city.

The Philly Geek Award winners were announced at a red carpet ceremony at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Oct. 16. Innovators honored at the event included everyone from comic artists to scientists, impact organizations to community leaders, and of course a few Temple alumni.

The Owls awarded for their contributions for Philly’s tech scene range from a technologist making smart safety jewelry to a filmmaker producing documentaries on incarceration and reentry.  

Yasmine Mustafa, FOX '06: Technologist of the Year
Yasmine Mustafa is an entrepreneur who founded ROAR for Good, a company that makes self-defense wearable technology for women. Mustafa was inspired to start ROAR after a six-month trip through South America where countless women shared their stories of assault and harassment with her.

The experience drove her to conceive the Athena device, which is a lightweight piece of smart safety jewelry designed to protect women with the touch of button. Wearers can choose between alarm mode and SilentROAR™, for more discreet situations, and can connect their device to their smartphone to send texts to family, friends or campus security.

Mustafa is a three-time winner of Temple’s Be Your Own Boss Bowl and started the Philadelphia chapter of Girl Develop It, a nonprofit that teaches women web development skills.

Jonathan Kaufman, CLA ’09: Multimedia Project of the Year—Media in Neighborhoods Group
Filmmakers Jon Kaufman and El Sawyer are the creators of the Media in Neighborhoods Group, or MING, a nonprofit film production company that uses media to “change the culture of crime.”

After producing the U.S. Department of Justice-funded documentary Pull of Gravity about three Philadelphia men returning home after incarceration, they created MING to use documentary film and other media to shed light on stories of incarceration and the marginalization faced upon re-entry.

MING has also worked on projects for outlets including Vice, National Geographic and Revolt and has used funding from the Knight Foundation to create a video production apprenticeship program for returning citizens.

Rasheedah Phillips, CLA ’05, LAW ’08: Impact Organization of the Year—Community Futures Lab
Rasheedah Phillips, co-director of The Community Futures Lab in the Sharswood/Blumberg neighborhood in North Philadelphia, is helping residents share and preserve their memories of the neighborhood through the multidisciplinary community art project “Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly.”

Phillips saw how the residents had many fond memories of their changing neighborhood and wanted them to participate in the collection and preservation of oral histories for future generations. She set up the gallery and lab to include a recording booth, resource library and workshop space for the residents’ use.

In addition to being a public advocacy attorney, Phillips writes science fiction novels and short stories and is the founder of The Afrofuturist Affair, an organization that promotes, celebrates and engages creatives who produce Afrofuturism-themed work.

—Hayley Chenoweth