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SMTD student to receive Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology

By Marilou Carlin

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance, in which the Performing Arts Technology department is located.

Johanna Baumann, a major in Performing Arts Technology (PAT) at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD), has been named the first-ever recipient of the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which comes with a $25,000 scholarship prize.

Johanna Baumann

Johanna Baumann

Presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, a leading international trade organization for the movie, music, TV, and home entertainment industry, the award recognizes female college students in their junior year whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise.

The award is named for the legendary film actress Hedy Lamarr, who was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology, utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.

At SMTD, Baumann served on the board of the university chapter of the Audio Engineering Society and has been involved in numerous research projects, including the use of sensors and wearable computing devices for live music performance and interactive art installation. She is also currently leading an effort to encourage more young women to apply to the PAT program and to foster an inclusive environment within the department.

“Johanna embodies the combination of artistry, ingenuity, and curiosity that Hedy Lamarr demonstrated in her time, and she is capable of making impacts on the same scale,” said Michael Gurevich, chair of the PAT department. “Johanna’s talent for finding creative applications of cutting edge technologies is exactly what we try to cultivate in PAT. Women are underrepresented in this field, so at a time when the PAT program is diligently engaged in efforts to engage and support young women, it’s especially exciting and inspirational for Johanna to receive this recognition, named for one of the trailblazing women who came before her.”

SMTD’s PAT department presents an annual “Resonance” concert and master class, which highlights the work of prominent women in the field, as well as that of our female students. In addition, the department, in partnership with U-M’s Women in Science and Engineering program, offers “Girls in Music and Technology,” a summer day camp designed to promote participation by girls in activities at the intersection of music and technology.

Baumann’s award will be presented in November 2017 in Los Angeles, when Academy Award-winning actor and advocate Geena Davis will also be presented with DEG’s first Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology, recognizing female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry. Davis is the founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

The winners were selected by a judging panel comprising a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, academic, IT, and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the principles of innovation, engagement, and excellence.