Founder & CEO, URU The Right To Be, Inc. and AAAS IF/ THEN Ambassador
Crystal Emery is known for producing narratives aimed at creating a more equitable society. She is the Founderand CEO of URU The Right To Be, Inc., a nonprofit content production company
that addresses issues at the intersection of humanities, arts, and sciences. Emery is a member of the Producers Guild of America andNew York Women in Film and Television and was selected in 2019 as an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador. She has designed and produced several groundbreaking Virtual Reality Learning Experiences. Recently, Crystal began production on “The Intersection of Crystal R.Emery”, a series of podcasts exploring Crystal’s life as a Black woman, filmmaker, writer, and a quadriplegic. Her contributions have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Leadership in Journalism Award, the BronzeLens Film Festival Spirit Award, the Trailblazer Award from NANBPWC and the United Nations as part of the International Year for People of African Descent, and the Yale University Seton Elm-Ivy Award.
In 2016, Emery’s film “Black Women in Medicine” cleared all Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requirements necessary toqualify for an Academy Award nomination in the “Best Documentary” category. Emery, in conjunction with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, introduced Changing the Face of STEM and the “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See” Virtual Reality Project, aimed at closing the identification gap for young marginalized students within the STEM realm. Emery believes that perseverance, faith, and trusting in a power greater than oneself comprise the road to success. She continues to shape a successful,fulfilling personal and professional life while triumphing over two chronic diseases as a quadriplegic.
Emery received her B.A. from the University of Connecticut, her M.A. in Media Studies from The New School of Public Engagement, and an honorary Doctorate of Letters from UConn in 2018, on which occasion she gave the commencement address to an audience of over 20,000. In so doing, shebecame the first Black female speaker at UConn’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the first commencementspeaker to receive two standing ovations.