Behind the Scenes: World Community Grid Goes to the Webby Awards

On May 16, three members of the World Community Grid team accepted a People's Voice Webby Award on behalf of volunteers, supporters, the IBM design team who created the new sign-up process, and World Community Grid employees. In this article, Keith Uplinger, World Community Grid technical lead, writes about their trip to the awards ceremony.

Program manager Sophia Tu, technical lead Keith Uplinger, and project manager Juan Hindo giving our 5-word speech

On May 16, I had the extreme honor of representing World Community Grid at the 20th Annual Webby Awards. Our team, Al Seippel, Caitlin Larkin, Erika Tuttle, Jonathan Armstrong, Juan Hindo, Keith Uplinger, Kevin Reed, Sophia Tu, and Viktors Berstis, was nominated under the Corporate Social Responsibility category. We submitted the new sign-up process which was created by a talented group of IBM design interns. We won the People's Voice Award in our category, beating out other companies like Tumblr and MTV.

To accept the award, every winner is allowed to give a 5-word speech. Since we were voted in by the public and World Community Grid volunteers, we invited World Community Grid members to come up with suggestions for our speech. Nearly 500 people responded, with so many creative ideas that we had a difficult time making a choice. The World Community Grid team discussed the options, then voted for the winning speech and made some tweaks to it. Eventually, the speech we settled on was "Let your computer daydream science." We chose this because it was playful, yet descriptive of what we do and had a clear call to action. (After we settled on the final speech, we realized that the original suggestion had come from Stefano Forli, one of the researchers for the Fight AIDS@Home project.)

Very few Webby Award winners actually get to go up onstage to give their acceptance speeches, so most groups record their speeches ahead of time. We recorded our speech at the Webby's corporate offices the day before the award ceremony. We dressed up in lab coats and had other props to help make our video more memorable.

Above are a few pictures of Juan, Keith, and Sophia getting ready to record their speech and at the ceremony itself.

The following evening was the big award ceremony. The ceremony was hosted by Nick Offerman, who announced some of the more well-known recipients of the Webby Award. These include celebrities like Jessica Alba, Krysten Ritter, Lena Dunham, and The Onion, to name a few. About midway through the ceremony, 10-12 videos were selected to be shown on the big screen to a room of more than 1,000 attendees. We were thrilled that our video was showcased during this time! You can watch the full Webby Award Ceremony in the video below, and see the recording of our speech at the 45:02 mark.

I would like to thank the World Community Grid volunteers who voted for us and those who submitted their suggestions for the speech. It was a great honor to see the important work we all do for science get recognized. We share this award with all of you.

Related Articles