As the mom of a techno-savvy 3½-year-old, Keli McCreadie
DiRisio was disappointed in educational software available for
|Leslie Summerson, left, and Keli McCreadie
DiRisio are parterns in One Smart Cookie Productions.
“My son loves to be on the computer,” says DiRisio ’92
(graphic design) and ’93 (M.S. graphic arts printing and
everything out there is so commercial. I was so frustrated.”
Her friend Leslie Summerson agreed. One day while their children
played, the two women decided to do something to fill the void.
They launched One Smart Cookie Productions in November 2004 and
released the first of a series of multi-level, interactive educational
DVDs last October. “Let’s Explore . . . Autumn and
getting outstanding reviews from parents and educators, and the
young company has received several awards. The second and third
installments in the series, “Let’s Explore . . .
Spring and Summer,” and “Let’s
Explore . . . Animals”
are in the works.
The two friends have an ideal combination of skills for such
a project. DiRisio, who lives in Victor, N.Y., has operated her
own graphic design firm, Alterna Design + Company, since 1997.
Summerson, who also lives in Victor, teaches fourth grade.
DiRisio had additional incentive for developing such a product. “I
was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly after I received
my master’s degree,” she says. “Fatigue is a
big part of MS, and on some days I am too tired to go outside and
play with my son. An educational activity we can enjoy together
indoors is a welcome alternative.”
The “Let’s Explore” DVDs are divided into three
levels with a wide range of facts and visuals; the DVD grows
with the child, as they move through the levels. It is not something
that will be tossed aside to gather dust after the child has
used it once or twice. Using video, photos, animation and original
music, they are designed to help children from kindergarten through
elementary school develop problem solving, mathematical analysis,
mapping, scientific inquiry and language skills.
Shortly after the first DVD was released, the company was selected
as one of 15 semi-finalists in the National MS Society’s “MS
Leaders of Hope” competition. In December, it was named winner
of the Small Business Development Program’s 2005 Success
Story for Rochester/Brockport.
The DVD has been picked up by Ward Scientific, one of the nation’s
largest educational science product catalogs, for inclusion in their
Science Kit and Boreal Laboratories 2006 catalog. “Let’s
Explore” can also be purchased through the company’s
Web site, www.onesmartcookieproductions.com, as well as at some
“The feedback has been terrific,” says DiRisio. “We
worked very hard on this, and it’s really gratifying to see
the positive response.”