Deborah Acklin / photo courtesy WQED Multimedia

“I was a kid whose life was changed by PBS and WQED,” says Deb Acklin, president and CEO of WQED Multimedia. Her commitment to Remake Learning springs primarily from her dedication to 50% children-focused programming for the network, which airs educational and creativity content from 6am until 6pm every day of the week.

A Pittsburgh native who was rarely allowed to watch television (even WQED) as a child, Deb remembers seeking special permission to watch a National Geographic special about tigers and telling her parents she wanted to “do that.” She says, “I probably meant that I wanted to be an explorer like Jane Goodall, but my parents emphasized that Pittsburgh made that program possible, that I could certainly achieve a career in media production.”

Her career path included positions with the National Geographic Society, executive production of local documentaries, and now places her at the helm of the network, to guide projects encouraging creativity in children. For instance, Deb oversaw development of the pilot for a new children’s series called Scientastic! that focuses on health literacy, features local students from Winchester Thurston (where she attended and now serves as board member), and includes a complementary website where kids can explore science fundamentals after viewing. “I’ve really come full circle,” she says. “Now, I can contribute right back, trying to serve the educational cause any way I can.”

Deb is a member of the Remake Learning Council.

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