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GAMES FOR CHANGE 4/22-24 & 4/26 *Speaker Roster & Schedule, nyc

The Games For Change Conference and Festival in NYC proves the growth of the industry’s progressive elements sees the value of games as education and instruments for instilling civic and moral values. We recommend some of these speakers highly.

A full schedule of events (including panels and keynotes) can be found by visiting: and selecting the different date.


Also! The G4C Public Arcade, as Family Day, is on Saturday, 4/26.


We believe that some of the freshest minds can be found through the gaming industry. One fierce example speaks Tuesday 12:15pm  at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

  • 12:15pm-12:45pm
    NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts
    Jane McGonigal / Games for Change in the Year 2024
    PARTICIPANTS: Jane McGonigal
    What will games for change be like a decade from now? Jane McGonigal sparks your imagination with a forecast of five “games from the future”. This talk will prepares you to think beyond today’s generation of social, mobile and quest-based games to a world of affordable, mainstream virtual reality and sensor-based gameplay. Come immerse yourself in the future, and celebrate the top award-winning games at the Games for Change Festival, year 2024!
    We also suggest:
    Wednesday 4/23
    2:30 pm-3pm
    NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
    Paolo Pedercini / Making Games In a F****d Up World
    PARTICIPANTS: Paolo Pedercini
    Molleindustria: the first ten years. Molleindustria [soft industry/soft factory] is a project of reappropriation of video games, a call for the radicalization of popular culture, an independent game developer. Since 2003 we produced homeopathic remedies to the idiocy of mainstream entertainment in the form of free, short-form, online games. Our products range from satirical business simulations (McDonald’s Video game, Oiligarchy) to meditations on labor and alienation (Every day the same dream, Tuboflex), from playable theories (the Free Culture Game, Leaky World) to politically incorrect pseudo-games (Orgasm Simulator, Operation: Pedopriest). Molleindustria obtained extensive media coverage and critical acclaim while hopping between digital art, academia, game design, media activism and internet folk art.
    and, inter alia, :
    Thursday 4/24
    NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts
    Gender Inequality in Games:
    Beyond the Grim Statistics
    Gender diversity in the game industry is a popular topic, now discussed in many game and tech industry conferences. However, with all that has been said, how much closer are we to achieving gender parity? According to the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), women roles and leadership within game media industry – especially in game development – continue to be a rarity, and games with exciting girl / women characters and significant feminine themes are even more rare. How can we fix this?For the first time, Games for Change brings together a leadership conversation with 3 entrepreneurial frontrunners who are also female role models in the ‘games for good’ movement:
    Dr. Jane McGonigal, award-winning game designer and NYT bestselling author of Reality is Broken advocates the design and use of games to channel positive attitudes and contribution in real-world contexts.
    Dr. Constance Steinkuehler Squire, former Senior Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology, and leading academic researcher discusses the huge impact of video games on girls’ cognitive development and how their gameplay relates to learning.
    Dr. Idit Harel Caperton, award-winning author, EdTech innovator and CEO has been transforming the education system by inspiring thousands of girls to develop passion for game media design and programming and pursue viable EdTech and GameDev careers.These three trailblazing women discuss, each from her unique perspective, the state of game media beyond the grim statistics, and what needs to happen to achieve 50/50 gender parity–among game creators, game content and characters, academic research, marketing, and education policy. They also share concrete strategies on how the games-for-change movement can be at the front of this effort moving forward. It’s possible!There will be a Q&A following this session. Please tweet your questions and tag them with the hashtag, #Gender4G4C.


Here are links to the full schedule

  • Tuesday 04/22/2014
    Focus: industry engagement & strategic partnerships
  • Wednesday 04/23/2014
    Focus: independent efforts & creators
  • Thursday 04/24/2014
    Focus: games for learning & assessment strategies
  • Saturday 04/26/2014
    G4C’s outdoor arcade on the streets of lower Manhattan

Tuesday 4/22:

And HERE is an insightful introduction to all the speakers:

  • Gabriel Adauto
    Co-Founder & CTO,
    Motion Math
    Gabriel Adauto is the co-founder and CTO of Motion Math, making delightful games that help elementary school kids master math’s most challenging concepts. Gabriel developed his engineering expertise in enterprise software development, providing stable, scalable, and user-friendly infrastructure for many large institutions worldwide, and simultaneously spent five years teaching technology classes. He has a B.S. in Computer Science and an M.A. in Learning, Design, Technology from Stanford.
  • Dan Ariely
    James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University
    Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to exploring questions about human behavior in order to help people live more sensible – if not rational lives. His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his creative experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom. In addition to appointments at the Fuqua School of Business, the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, the Department of Economics, and the School of Medicine at Duke University, Dan is also a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, and the author of the New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty.
    Twitter: @danariely
  • Phil Ashcroft
    Island Nation Media
    As Co-Chair of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Academy Los Angeles Games Committee, Phil has been instrumental in creating a profile for BAFTA’s Games activities in Los Angeles. In 2013, Phil was responsible for high-profile events including the Lights Camera Action Hero Masterclass with the creative team from Tomb Raider, panel discussions at DMW Games in Hollywood, and a special evening with Mark Hamill as part of BAFTA Los Angeles’ Behind Closed Doors. This year, Phil and the Games Committee in Los Angeles launched a new event to celebrate the Nominees of the British Academy Games Awards, and a viewing event for the US Games industry to watch footage from the UK ceremony. As general manager of Participant Media’s YouTube business, Phil was responsible for the launch and operation of TakePart TV, part of the YouTube Originals program where he commissioned pioneering pro-social shows. Prior to Participant, Phil worked for over 10 years at BBC Worldwide. He launched a range of high profile multimedia properties with BBC Worldwide in the US, UK and around the world, including ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ and ‘Planet Earth’.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Simon Bachelier
    Games for Change Europe
    Simon Bachelier is an indie curator and teacher based in Paris, France. During three years with the public museum complex Universcience, he worked to rethink the use of video games as a learning tool for kids, teenagers, parents and senior to (re)discover sciences and to develop serious games activities around exhibitions, productions and events of La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, the biggest science museum in Europe. Simon is a member of Games for Change Europe and the French indie game collective One Life Remains, who develops experimental games, installations, alternative game events and stage performances related to digital games. He gathers people, curates indie games events which he regularly organizes in Europe.
    Twitter: @Blackcorn666
  • Sasha Barab
    Executive Director,
    the Center for Games and Impact and Professor, The Teachers College at Arizona State University
    Dr. Barab is an internationally recognized Learning Scientist who holds the Pinnacle West Chair of Education, and who has researched, designed, and published extensively on the challenges and opportunities of using games for impact. Leveraging designbased and impactbased research methodologies, his work focuses the design and research of gameinfused learning environments to support a more knowledgeable, compassionate, and committed citizenship.
    Twitter: @sbarab
  • Gregg Behr
    Executive Director, The Grable Foundation
    In his eighth year as executive director of the Grable Foundation, Gregg Behr manages a grantmaking portfolio advancing high-quality early childhood education, improved teaching and learning in public schools, and robust out-of-school time support. From 2002 to 2006, Gregg served as president of The Forbes Funds. Nationally, he is a trustee for and Grantmakers for Education. In Pittsburgh, he is a trustee for A+ Schools. In 2013, the Western Pennsylvania Forum of School Superintendents presented Gregg with their Voice of Advocacy Award. In 2012, he was honored with a doctorate of humane letters from Saint Vincent College for his work on behalf of children and youth. In 2010, he received the Lay Leader Award presented by the Pittsburgh chapter of Phi Delta Kappa — the same award once given to one of Gregg’s heroes, Fred Rogers.
  • Heidi Boisvert
    CEO & Creative Director, futurePerfect lab
    Heidi Boisvert is a new media artist, game designer, experimental filmmaker, writer and educator based in NYC. She was formerly Multi-Media Director at Breakthrough, where she designed, developed and propagated new media and pop culture campaigns on pressing social issues. She created the first 3D social change game, ICED I Can End Deportation. Heidi also taught Digital Media and Media Studies at Hunter College and launched a digital media program for low-income youth. Her latest initiative, America 2049, a groundbreaking alternative reality game about pluralism, has been featured by several media sources and nominated for two awards. Most recently, Heidi founded and serves as CEO and Creative Director of futurePerfect lab, a boutique creative agency that works with NGOs, cultural and educational institutions to develop imaginative and playful applications of integrated media and emerging technology. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Electronic Arts program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
    Twitter: @hjboisvert
  • Asi Burak
    Co-President, Games for Change
    As President, Asi leads on the curation, development and execution of programs and services to raise the production, quality and influence of social impact games, and serves as a spokesperson for the organization. He is the award-winning Executive Producer who co-founded Impact Games and created the internationally acclaimed “PeaceMaker” and “Play the News” gaming platforms. He also served as a consultant to companies such as Newsweek and McCann Erickson, around the strategic use of games to further brand engagement. He is often interviewed by international media (BBC World, ABC, Al-Jazeera, NPR, The New York Times, Time, Wired), and has been invited to speak at conferences and institutions including The Sundance Film Festival, The Skoll World Forum, SXSW, GDC, and The US Army War College. A native of Israel, Asi was VP of Marketing and Product at Axis Mobile (acquired 2008), where he introduced pioneering mobile apps and games to a worldwide market (Asia, Europe, U.S.). He holds a Masters of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon and a BA in Design from the Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem.
    Participating in: Welcome & Introduction
    Twitter: @asiburak
  • Linda Burch
    Chief Education and Strategy Officer,
    Common Sense Media
    Linda Burch is a co-founder and Chief Education and Strategy Officer of Common Sense Media, a not-for-profit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology. Linda leads Common Sense Media’s education, strategy, and development efforts as well as the growth of its regional offices. She is the architect of Common Sense Media’s K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship program that is now being used in over 70,000 schools across the country and more recently has spearheaded the strategic development of Common Sense Media’s new learning ratings initiative. Linda is a widely sought after speaker on digital learning and kids’ media and technology use. Previously, Linda was Senior Vice President of Business Development and Corporate Planning at SyStemix, a biotechnology company that she helped build and then sold to Novartis. From 1985 to 1990 she was a strategic management consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York, where she served healthcare and consumer-products companies and prior to that she spent five years in investment banking at Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch, where she negotiated joint ventures between U.S. technology companies and the People’s Republic of China. Linda received her MBA from Stanford University and her bachelor’s degree from Yale. She has two kids who love media and technology almost as much as they love being outside.
  • Kevin C. Bushweller
    Executive Editor, Education Week Digital Directions
    KEVIN C. BUSHWELLER is an assistant managing editor of Education Week and the executive editor of Digital Directions, its magazine for K-12 technology leaders. He directs coverage of news and ideas in educational technology and e-learning that spans both those publications. He also oversees the Digital Directions online channel and the twice-monthly Digital Directions e-newsletter, and serves as project editor of Education Week’s annual Technology Counts report. Before joining Education Week in 2000, he was a writer-editor for American School Board Journal and the senior technology editor for its Electronic School quarterly. Kevin also oversees Education Week’s new Industry & Innovation online channel, which covers developments in the education marketplace and new approaches to schooling that are changing K-12 education.
    Twitter: @kbushweller
  • Michelle Byrd
    Run It By Byrd
    Michelle is the principal of Run It By Byrd, a strategic consultancy working with public, private and non-profit media and entertainment entities. For three years she served as Co-President of Games for Change where she produced the organization’s annual festival and served as an executive producer of the Half the Sky Movement games. Prior to that, for 12 years she served as Executive Director of the Independent Filmmaker Project. She was honored with a Made in NY award from Mayor Bloomberg for her leadership of IFP. Michelle has served on numerous film festival juries and funding review panels, including: Tribeca Film Institute’s New Media Fund, Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Documentary Competition, USA Fellows, National Endowment for the Arts and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. She sits on the board of The Adrienne Shelly Foundation and the Advisory Boards of cinelan, Culture Shed and several others.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Idit Harel Caperton, PhD
    Founder & President,
    World WIde Workshop
    Dr. Idit Harel Caperton is an Israeli-American entrepreneur known for her edu-tech innovations, and founder of the World Wide Workshop, a global non-profit, developing platforms that combine game mechanics and social networking for learning. GLOBALORIA empowers users to become gaming inventors, productive digital citizens, and creative leaders in the global knowledge economy. In the 1980s, she pursued pioneering R&D in computation & cognition at the Harvard Graduate School of Education & MIT Media Lab. In the 1990s, her MIT spinoff startup, MaMaMedia, was the first born-on-the-net brand for digital kids and won numerous partnerships, awards, and recognitions. In addition to being a HuffPost blogger, Idit is a learning theorist, education activist and opinion leader on technology, award-winning author, mentor of young entrepreneurs, and she serves on several prestigious higher-education, media, and non-profit boards.
    Twitter: @idit
  • Jenova Chen
    President & Creative Director, thatgamecompany
    Jenova Chen is the designer of the award-winning games Cloud, flOw, Flower and Journey at thatgamecompany, an independent game studio recognized for creating timeless interactive entertainment that inspires and connects people worldwide.  After earning a bachelor’s degree for computer science in his hometown of Shanghai, Chen moved to Los Angeles, where he got a Master’s Degree in the founding class of University of Southern California’s Interactive Media and Games Division.  Following graduation, he co-founded thatgamecompany with fellow graduates, where he remains its co-founder and Creative Director.  Alongside thatgamecompany’s critically-acclaimed reviews and multiple honors including the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, D.I.C.E Awards and Game Developers Choice Awards, the studio’s works have been featured in exhibitions across the world including the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan and the Smithsonian.  To date, Chen has been named one of Variety Magazine’s “10 Innovators to Watch” and given the prestigious honor of being named to the MIT Technology Review Magazine’s “World’s Top Innovators under the Age of 35” list in 2008.  Fast Company also profiled him as one of the “Most Creative Entrepreneurs in Business” in 2009 and 2010, in addition to being listed in their “Most Creative People in Business 1000” list in 2014.
    Twitter: @JenovaChen
  • Craig Hatkoff
    Co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival
    Craig Hatkoff is a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival along with Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro. The largest film festival in North America, the festival was created immediately following the events of September 11th to help revitalize lower Manhattan. In 2010, Craig created and curates the annual Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards in collaboration with Professor Clayton Christensen [with whom he is Co-founder of the Disruptor Foundation] Craig is Chairman of Turtle Pond Publications LLC, a private entertainment and media based company. He is on the Board of Directors of the Tribeca Film Institute, Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, Sesame Workshop, The Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, the Child Mind Institute, The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, The Wild Bird Fund and the Borough of Manhattan Community College Foundation. He is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. He is a Director of two NYSE companies, Taubman Centers Inc. and SL Green Realty Corporation. In addition, he has co-authored with his young daughters a best-selling series of children’s books including the New York Times #1 best-selling Owen and Mzee. Craig graduated from Colgate University’76 and received his MBA from Columbia University ’78, where he was an adjunct professor at the business school for five years.
  • Chris Crawford
    Chris Crawford earned a Master of Science degree in Physics from the University of Missouri in 1975. He has published fifteen computer games and five books. He created the first periodical on game design, the Journal of Computer Game Design, in 1987. He founded and served as Chairman of the Computer Game Developers’ Conference, now known as the Game Developers’ Conference. Crawford has given hundreds of lectures at conferences and universities around the world, and published dozens of magazine articles and academic papers. He served as computer system designer and observer for the 1999 and 2002 NASA Leonid MAC airborne missions. His current work concerns interactive storytelling technology.
  • Chris Curran
    Founding & Managing Partner,
    Education Growth Advisors
    Chris Curran is a Founding Partner of Education Growth Advisors who brings 20 years of experience in banking, consulting, operations, and policy in the education industry, and is well known as a thought leader and speaker in the field. He previously led the Education and Training practice at Berkery Noyes. In his 6 years at the firm, Chris became the pre-eminent education industry investment banker, having personally initiated, negotiated, and managed more than $3 billion in transaction volume in virtually every sub-segment within the preK-12, postsecondary, and corporate training sectors.Previously, Chris was the Managing Director of Eduventures and before that, Senior Vice President of Business Development at I.COMM, a software provider to the education and government marketplaces. During his time at I.COMM, Chris also served as the president and executive director of the SchoolFirst Foundation, which developed a model educational technology platform that was donated to underserved schools.Chris began his career as Research and Policy Director for the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he supervised a staff of 30 and was intimately involved in the development of several initiatives focused on educational reform, charter school funding, and the implementation of educational technology in Massachusetts public schools. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Education Week and Editorial Projects in Education, on the Bill and Melinda Gates-sponsored Games and Learning Publishing Council, and on the Board of Adopt-A-Classroom Inc. Chris has a B.A from St. Lawrence University, an M.A. from Boston University in Economics, and a J.D. from Suffolk University Law School.
  • Drew Davidson
    Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University
    Drew Davidson is a professor, producer and player of interactive media. His background spans academic, industry and professional worlds and he is interested in stories across texts, comics, games and other media. He is the Director of the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University and the Founding Editor of ETC Press and its Well Played series and journal.
  • James Early
    Creative Director & Partner, Threespot
    James Early is a creative director and partner at Threespot, an interactive agency that believes creative strategy and strategic creative can bring about meaningful change. He balances his time between leading teams to innovative solutions and working with clients to ensure that they’re leveraging digital for the greatest impact. James has been working in the interactive design industry since the CD-ROM days. He offers deep experience contemporizing brands online, translating complex content needs into intuitive user experiences, and designing across multiple channels: web, mobile, social, video, and print. His expertise has helped evolve brands online and offline for The Pew Charitable Trusts, U.S. Department of State, BBC America, The Brookings Institution, The Paley Center for Media, Planned Parenthood, and the World Bank.
    Twitter: @xearlyx
  • Lisa Elkin
    Lisa Elkin is a producer and mathematician from Ottawa, Canada. She obtained a Bachelors of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo while dabbling in theater production in her time off. She is currently a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. She is a producer on the team creating Feed, a massive outdoor game made exclusively for Games for Change by students at the Entertainment Technology Center. She thinks games are a phenomenal medium for impact and is excited to be working on a project for Games for Change.
  • Deborah Estrin
    Professor, Computer and Information Sciences, Cornell Tech
    Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at Cornell Tech in New York City and a Professor of Public Health at Weill Cornell Medical College. She is co-founder of the non-profit startup, Open mHealth. She was previously on faculty at UCLA and Founding Director of the NSF Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS). Estrin is a pioneer in networked sensing, which uses mobile and wireless systems to collect and analyze real time data about the physical world and the people who occupy it. Estrin’s current focus is on mobile health (mhealth), leveraging the programmability, proximity, and pervasiveness of mobile devices and the cloud for health management. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.
  • Noah Falstein
    Chief Game Designer,
    Noah Falstein has been developing games since 1980. Among the first ten employees at LucasArts Entertainment, The 3DO Company, and Dreamworks Interactive, he also ran his own design and production firm, The Inspiracy for 17 years. He has contributed to a wide range of entertainment and serious game titles, and has been a long-time supporter of Games for Change. Currently he is Chief Game Designer at Google, working in a new team at their Mountain View HQ.
    Twitter: @nfalstein
  • Mary Flanagan
    Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities, Dartmouth College
    Dr. Mary Flanagan directs the internationally acclaimed game research laboratory, Tiltfactor, the theory/practice laboratory she founded in 2003. She has written more than 20 critical essays and chapters, and her books in English include reload: rethinking women + cyberculture (2002), re:SKIN (2007), Critical Play (2009), and the forthcoming Values at Play in Digital Games (2014), all with MIT Press. Flanagan created the first internet adventure game for girls and researches and creates socially conscious games and software at Tiltfactor. Tiltfactor is deeply invested in innovation through values in game design and implementing core psychological principles of social change in games. Flanagan has broken ground with collaborator Helen Nissenbaum by investigating how games, interactive systems, and online activities can be redesigned to prioritize human values. In this work they have proven that using humanist principles to shape software development and guide the game design process is a process of innovation. Flanagan’s work has been supported by commissions including The British Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the ACLS, and she has been PI or co-PI on six National Science Foundation research awards. She serves on the faculty of the Salzburg Global Seminar & the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy Academic Consortium on Games for Impact. Flanagan is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College.
    Twitter: @criticalplay
  • Nick Fortugno
    Co-Founder/CCO, Playmatics
    Nick Fortugno is a game designer and entrepreneur of digital and real-world games based in New York City, and a founder of Playmatics, a game development company. Playmatics has created a variety of digital and real-world games for organization including AMC (such as the CableFAX award winning Breaking Bad: The Interrogation), Disney, the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the Red Cross/Red Crescent. For the past ten years, Fortugno has been a designer, writer and project manager on dozens of commercial and serious games, and served as lead designer on the downloadable blockbuster Diner Dash and the award-winning serious game Ayiti: The Cost of Life. Nick is also a co-founder of the Come Out and Play street games festival hosted in New York City and Amsterdam since 2006, and co-creator of the Big Urban Game for Minneapolis/St. Paul in 2003. Nick teaches game design and interactive narrative design at Parsons The New School of Design, and has participated in the construction of the school’s game design curriculum. Nick’s most recent writing about games can be found in the anthology Well-Played 1.0: Video Game, Value, and Meaning, published by ETC-Press.
    Twitter: @nickfortugno
  • Nina Freeman
    The Code Liberation Foundation
    Nina Freeman is a programmer and a game designer. She is currently working on her M.S. in Integrated Digital Media at NYU Engineering, where she is studying video games. She’s interested in gender, sexuality and narrative in games. Recently, her game Ladylike received an honorable mention in the IGF. She is one of the co-founders of The Code Liberation Foundation (CLF), an organization that offers free development workshops in order to facilitate the creation of video game titles by women. She is currently teaching a CLF C++ game development course for high school girls.
    Twitter: @hentaiphd
  • Tracy Fullerton
    Associate Professor and Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts; Director of the Game Innovation Lab
    Tracy Fullerton is an experimental game designer, associate professor and chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where she directs the Game Innovation Lab. This design research center has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and The Night Journey, a collaboration with artist Bill Viola. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook in use at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. Recent projects include Collegeology, a suite of college preparation games funded by the Department of Education, the Gilbert Foundation and the Gates Foundation; Participation Nation, a history and civics game funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and developed in collaboration with Activision-Blizzard and KCET; and Walden, a simulation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond. Prior to entering academia, she was a professional game designer and entrepreneur making games for companies including Microsoft, Sony, MTV, among many others. Tracy’s work has received numerous honors including an Emmy nomination for interactive television, Indiecade’s “Sublime Experience,” “Impact,” and “Trailblazer” awards, and Time Magazine’s Best of the Web.
    Twitter: @kinojabber
  • Zach Gage
    Game Designer,
    Zach Gage is a game designer, programmer, educator, and conceptual artist from New York City. His work often explores the power of systems, both those created by social interaction in digital spaces, and those that can be created for others, through the framing of games. An Eyebeam Alumni, Apple Design and Game of The Year Award Winner, and BAFTA Nominee, he has exhibited internationally at venues like the Venice Biennale, the New York MoMA, The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, XOXO Festival in Portland, FutureEverything in Manchester, The Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, and in Apple stores worldwide. His work has been featured in several online and printed publications, including The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, EDGE Magazine,, Neural Magazine, New York Magazine, and Das Spiel und seine Grenzen (Springer Press). In games, he is best known for SpellTower, Ridiculous Fishing, and Lose/Lose.
  • Tinsley Galyean, PhD
    Research Affiliate,
    MIT Media Lab and Program;
    Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values
    Tinsley is an entrepreneur who has been involved with a number of startups, most recently Static-Free Media. In this capacity he has helped museums like MoMA, Museum of Science & Industry Chicago, Boston Museum of Science, Liberty Science Center, Georgia Aquarium, and SciTech Perth, engage and educate their audiences. His work developing mass media experiences for children have included broadcast and online projects for Disney, Warner Brothers, and an Emmy nominated program for Discovery Kids. Tinsley was the first Ph.D. from the Interactive Cinema Group at the MIT Media Lab and holds a ScM in computer graphics from Brown University.
  • Dr. Adam Gazzaley
    Mount Sinai School of Medicine
    Dr. Adam Gazzaley obtained an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, completed clinical residency in Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at UC Berkeley. He is the founding director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center at the UC San Francisco, an Associate Professor in Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry, and Principal Investigator of a cognitive neuroscience laboratory. His laboratory studies neural mechanisms of perception, attention and memory, with an emphasis on the impact of distraction and multitasking on these abilities. His unique research approach utilizes a powerful combination of human neurophysiological tools, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and transcranial magnetic and electrical stimulation (TMS & TES). A major accomplishment of his research has been to expand our understanding of alterations in the aging brain that lead to cognitive decline. His most recent studies explore how we can enhance our cognitive abilities via engagement with custom-­‐designed video games, and how this can be bolstered by closed loop systems using neurofeedback and TES. Dr. Gazzaley has authored over 80 scientific articles, delivered over 300 invited presentations around the world, and his research and perspectives have been consistently profiled in high-­‐impact media, such as The New York Times, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, TIME, Discover, Wired, PBS, NPR, CNN and NBC Nightly News. Recently, he wrote and hosted the nationally televised, PBS-­‐sponsored special “The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley”. Awards and honors for his research include the Pfizer/AFAR Innovations in Aging Award, the Ellison Foundation New Scholar Award in Aging, and the Harold Brenner Pepinsky Early Career Award in Neurobehavioral Science.
    Twitter: @GazzLab
  • James Paul Gee
    Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor and Regents’ Professor of Literacy Studies,
    Arizona State University
    James Paul Gee is the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor and Regents’ Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Education. His books include: Sociolinguistics and Literacies (Fourth Edition 2011); An Introduction to Discourse Analysis (Third Edition 2011; What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (Second Edition 2007); How to Do Discourse Analysis (2011); Woman as Gamers: The Sims and 21st Century Learning (2010) and Language and Learning in the Digital World (2011), both written with Elizabeth Hayes. The Anti-Education ERA: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Media appeared in 2013 and A Unified Discourse Analysis: Language, Reality, Virtual Worlds, and Video Games will appear in 2014. Prof. Gee has published widely in journals in linguistics, psychology, the social sciences, and education.
  • Alan Gershenfeld
    Co-Founder & President,
    E-Line Media
    Alan Gershenfeld is Co-Founder and President of E-Line Media, publisher of digital entertainment that engages, educates and empowers, with a core focus on computer/video games. E-Line works with leading foundations, academics, non-profits and government agencies to harness the power of games for learning and social impact. Prior to E-Line, Alan was CEO of netomat, a leader in mobile-web community solutions. netomat originated as network-based art project and was selected as a Technology Pioneer at the 2007 World Economic Forum at Davos. Before netomat, Alan was member of the executive management team that rebuilt game publisher Activision from bankruptcy into a global industry leader. As SVP of Activision Studios Alan oversaw titles such as Civilization: Call to Power, Asteroids 3D, Muppet Treasure Island, Spycraft, Pitfall, Zork and Tony Hawk Skateboarding. Alan is also a Founding Industry Fellow at the Center for Games and Impact at Arizona State University; serves on the Board of Directors of FilmAid International and on the Advisory Boards of PBS Kids New Media, iCivics and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center For Educational Media and Research (Sesame Workshop). He is also on the Advisory Board and former Chairman of the Board for Games for Change.
  • Tom Giardino
    Steam Team,
    Valve Software
    Tom Giardino works on the Steam Team at Valve Software. He splits his time between the day-to-day business of helping developers and publishers reach their customers, and the longer-term work of expanding and improving the Steam platform. Tom is an alumnus of the Teach For America program, which brought him to Greenville-Weston High School in the rural Mississippi Delta. In Greenville, Tom taught 10th grade English, journalism, and theater, and coached the boys soccer team to their first winning season in school history. This is, and will remain, his greatest accomplishment in life. His long-term goal of writing poetry from the muddy banks of the Mississippi River has been derailed temporarily by his career in the games industry. He is a firm believer in the power of video games as tools for learning, communication, and fun, and dreams of the day when games are mandatory curriculum supplements in public schools.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Ron Goldman
    Co-founder & CEO,
    Ron Goldman is an innovator, tech executive and social entrepreneur. Over the past decade, he has pioneered the use of gaming and simulation technology for learning experiences in health, behavioral health and education. Ron is the co-founder and CEO of Kognito, a leader in driving positive change in health behaviors through the use of immersive learning experiences with virtual humans. Established in NYC in 2003, Kognito’s online and mobile programs now reach hundreds of thousands of individuals and professionals at more than 450 federal, state and local government agencies, hospitals, institutions of higher education, and non-profit organizations in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada. Ron has served in the role of principle investigator and has co-authored several articles published in peer-reviewed journals. His work has contributed to the listing of three Kognito simulations in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP). Ron is a member of the advisory board of the Games for Health journal. He is a frequent speaker at conferences about the intersection of gaming and health, the efficacy of role-play conversations with virtual humans, and growth and leadership in entrepreneurial environments. He has been invited to speak at The White House, the CDC and SAMHSA.
  • Stephanie Gottwald, PhD
    Assistant Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research,
    Tufts University
    Stephanie’s research has focused on investigations of linguistic knowledge in children with reading disabilities and interventions for struggling readers. Her work at the Center includes the development of literacy content and materials, conceiving and conducting professional development programs for educators, and implementing research projects investigating the characteristics of children with reading impairments. Stephanie holds an M.A. in linguistics from Boston College and completed her Ph.D. in language development and literacy at Tufts University.
  • Lindsay Grace
    Associate Professor, American University
    Lindsay is an associate professor at American University, where he is directing masters in Game Design and Persuasive Play and heading the Purpose Driven Play studio. His game designs have received awards and recognition from the Games for Change Festival, Meaningful Play Conference, Advances in Computer Entertainment Conference and Gamescape Festival. He has published more than 25 papers, articles and book chapters on games since 2009. His creative work has been selected for showcase in more than seven countries and 12 states. He has taught 82 college courses over a decade and widely distributed more than 15 independent games in that last 5 years.
    Twitter: @mindtoggle
  • Claire S. Green
    Sandbox Summit
    Claire is the president of Parents’ Choice Foundation, the nation’s oldest nonprofit guide to quality children’s media and toys. Since taking the helm in 1999, Claire has been determined to preserve and promote the organization’s reputation as a leading authority in and advocate for quality children’s media and toys. One of the ways she does that is by getting down on the floor herself and playing with her minions of mini testers. Claire serves on the selection committee for the National Toy Hall of Fame® at the Strong National Museum of Play® and is a member of the TOTY nomination committee.
  • P.J. Gunsager
    Co-Founder & CEO,
    P.J. currently serves as Co-Founder and CEO of Kidaptive, Inc., an educational technology company that positions children for lifelong success by providing learning tools that stimulate smarter thinking. Since 2003, P.J. was Co-Founder and President of Prana Studios, a leading 3D animation and visual effects studio with approximately 2,000 employees worldwide. P.J. managed the Company’s 3D animation studios and supported penetration of Prana’s services globally. Before starting Prana, P.J. worked at Intel Capital advising software and services companies within Intel’s Asia portfolio. He also Co-Founded and led the business development efforts at in San Francisco, which was acquired by Adhesion Technologies in 2001. His first job out of college was at UBS Warburg as a mergers and acquisitions Investment Banker focused on the technology sector. P.J. has earned bachelors degrees in Economics, Business and Political Science from UCLA and a Law Degree from Stanford University.
  • Christopher Hazard
    Founder, Hazardous Software
    Christopher Hazard is the founder of Hazardous Software. In addition to developing the game engine that allows time travel, he was the producer of Achron. He also conducts research for the military and earned his PhD in Computer Science at North Carolina State University, with publications on engineering and analyzing coordination in large-scale multi-agent systems. Dr. Hazard has extensive experience in software engineering. He worked for Motorola Inc. for 3 years designing and developing simulation software for CDMA infrastructure, rising quickly to directing global development teams. Dr. Hazard has also had experience at Kiva Systems, a warehousing robotics startup company, performing algorithms research. He has won numerous awards, including a best paper award in an international conference, the North Carolina State University Dean’s Fellowship and Valparaiso University Board of Directors’ Independent Research Award. He obtained his B.S. in computer science from Valparaiso University with departmental honors.
    Twitter: @achron
  • Erin Hoffman
    Lead Game Designer at GlassLab,
    Institute of Play
    Erin leads the day-to-day game design work at GlassLab, a project of Institute of Play. She is a decade-plus veteran of online game design and the author of the Chaos Knight fantasy series from Pyr Books. She has worked on titles for PC, Nintendo DS, casual downloadable and social platforms, with design credits including Kung Fu Panda World, Shadowbane: The Lost Kingdom, and FrontierVille. She writes for the award-winning online magazine The Escapist, and has published fiction and poetry in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Electric Velocipede, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more.
  • Alex Hu
    Alex Hu studied computer science during his undergraduate degree at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China. He came to Entertainment Technology Center because of his deep love of games. He is a programmer on Team Ursa and enjoys working with his amazing teammates to make games for change. Upon graduating from ETC, he hopes to be a game designer or a game programmer.
  • Erik Huey
    Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, Entertainment Software Association
    Erik Huey is currently the Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). As Senior Vice President, Erik oversees the entire federal and state government relations operations of ESA. The Entertainment Software Association is the U.S. association edicated to serving the business and public affairs needs of companies publishing interactive games for video game consoles, handheld devices, personal computers, and the Internet. The ESA offers services to interactive entertainment software publishers including a global anti-piracy program, owning the E3 Expo, business and consumer research, federal and state government relations, First Amendment and intellectual property protection efforts. A former partner at Kilpatrick Stockton LLP who specialized in public policy advocacy for the entertainment, communications, and media sectors, Erik joined the Entertainment Software Association in July 2009. For nearly two decades, Huey has contributed to policy debates involving issues such as protecting domestic film production, combating digital theft of copyrighted content, expanding broadband deployment, and preserving artists’ First Amendment rights. In 2007, The Hollywood Reporter named him one of the “100 Most Influential Media & Entertainment Lawyers” in its annual “Power Lawyer” issue. Born outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and raised in Morgantown, West Virginia, Huey graduated cum laude with a B.B.A. from the University of Miami and with a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School.
    Twitter: @ErikAtESA
  • Jean-Baptiste Huynh
    Co-Founder & CEO,
    Jean-Baptiste Huynh is co-founder and CEO of WeWantToKnow, creator of the award winning educational algebra game DragonBox. WeWantToKnow maintains the audacious goal of delivering K-12 mathematics knowledge to any child in 30 hours of gameplay. Huynh holds a M.Sc. in IT and mathematics and is a certified financial analyst. Before founding WeWantToKnow, Huynh spent 10 years as a stock portfolio manager (where he promoted corporate responsibility and socially responsible investment), then became a certified math and economics teacher 5 years in Norway. With WeWantToKnow, Huynh combines his passion for entrepreneurship, science and social impact.
    Twitter: @jbhkb
  • Azadeh Jamalian
    Co-Founder & Chief Learning Officer, Tiggly
    Azi is a co-founder and Chief Learning Officer at Tiggly- a new learning company that brings together physical and digital play for preschoolers’ better learning. At Tiggly, she overseas product design, curriculum, and research. She is also currently a doctoral research fellow at Teachers College Columbia University focusing on early childhood math education and effects of gesturing on learning and thinking. She also teaches the “Development of Mathematical Thinking” course at Teachers College. Azadeh has literally sat down with hundreds of children, watching them interacting with different types of software, and analyzing their engagement and learning. She has published journal articles and book chapters on broad range of topics such as game design, software design for children, mathematical education, and cognition, and has received awards such as “IES Prize for Excellence in Research on Cognition and Student Learning” and “The Cooney Center’s certificate of innovation in Children’s Learning”.
    Twitter: @TigglyKids
  • Dr. Jennifer Jenson
    Professor of Pedagogy and Technology, Faculty of Education & Director of the Institute for Research on Learning Technologies , York University
    Dr. Jen Jenson is Professor of Pedagogy and Technology in the Faculty of Education and Director of the Institute for Research on Learning Technologies at York University, Canada. She is past-President of the Canadian Game Studies Association ( and current co-Editor of its journal Loading ( She has published on gender and gameplay, gender and technology and technology and K-12 education in journals such as: Feminist Media Studies, Simulation & Gaming, and The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing. She holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Partnership Development Grant for the Feminists in Games initiative ( and plays a lead role in the GRAND-NCE research network ( While much of her time is consumed in the usual ways (teaching, reading, writing, researching and supervising), she occasionally has time to play fetch with her dog and a videogame, which at this moment is the Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds.
    Twitter: @Ludic_Junk
  • Yan Jin
    Game Designer & Programmer
    Yan Jin worked as a programmer at NVIDIA and The9 City for three years. Now he is studying at the ETC to learn game design skills. He’d like to be a game designer.
  • Barry Joseph
    Associate Director of Digital Learning,
    American Museum of Natural History
    Barry Joseph is Associate Director of Digital Learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Since 2000, he has developed innovative programs in the areas of youth-produced video games, mobile and augmented learning, virtual worlds, digital fabrication, alternative assessments models, and more, always seeking to combine youth development practices with the development of high profile digital media projects that develop 21st Century Skills and New Media Literacies. Now, at the Museum, he is helping to guide youth learning programs to leverage digital tools to advance informal science learning. He co-developed Minecraft at the Museum, an after school program combining museum exhibits with Minecraft builds, such as global food production and the power of poison. He has been hugged by Oprah and is writing the first history of seltzer. He is one of the co-founders of Games For Change.
    Twitter: @mmmooshme
  • Yasmin Kafai
    Professor, Learning Sciences, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania
    Dr. Kafai is a pioneer in research on electronic gaming, learning, and gender, Utilizing constructionist theory, Kafai examines technology designs and culture, and helped to set the foundation for programmatic initiatives on games and learning. Kafai was an early developer and researcher of Scratch, an educational programming language that allows students to creatively participate as programmers in the development of virtual projects. She is also an active voice on the involvement of girls in gaming and programming and on the impact of virtual gaming on real life social behavior in youth.
    Twitter: @katyaskit
  • Dean Karlan
    Professor of Economics,
    Yale University
    Dean Karlan is a Professor of Economics at Yale University, co-Founder of, and President and Founder of Innovations for Poverty Action. Karlan’s research integrates innovation for behavior modification with randomized trials to measure impact.
    Twitter: @deankarlan
  • Xuyan Ke
    Xuyan (Ken) Ke is currently a student at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. He is a programmer on Team Ursa and is particularly interested in educational games and social games.
  • Greg Kieser
    Technology Strategy Consultant,
    Robin Hood Foundation
    Greg Kieser is a Technology Strategy Consultant on the Management Assistance team at the Robin Hood Foundation, New York’s largest poverty fighting organization. In this role he oversees technology related grants and projects for Robin Hood’s 220+ grantee organizations to help them reach their full potential. These projects range from database implementations to business intelligence to digital media and consumer-facing mobile solutions. In this capacity, Greg selects and funds technology projects based on their potential to produce the greatest poverty fighting impact.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Shoshana Kessock
    Phoenix Outlaw Productions
    Shoshana Kessock is a writer, game designer and scholar specializing in tabletop and live action roleplaying experiences. A graduate student at the NYU Game Center, she is the founder of the Living Games Conference, the first academic conference in the US dedicated to live action role-play games in all their forms. She is also co-founder of Phoenix Outlaw Productions, an independent role-play game design company, with several titles in production for publication. She is the author of such freeform LARPs as SERVICE, The Last Ten Minutes, and Dangers Untold and has staffed and organized live events for nearly eight years. When she isn’t running and writing games, she travels the world speaking about innovation and design in the LARP community and topics like social action and activism in gaming spaces. She hails from Brooklyn, New York.
  • Michelle King
    Teacher, Environmental Charter School; Publisher, The Learning Instigator
    Michelle King is a teacher at the Environmental Charter School and publisher of The Learning Instigator. She is a learner first and foremost. A teacher. An instigator. She learned and honed her craft in Mt. Lebanon with a fantastic crew of educators and students for over 15 years. Currently, she teaches at The Environmental Charter School where she seeks to create opportunities for students to learn, discover, be challenged and express their thoughts, dreams, and desires. Constantly in pursuit of making connections locally and globally, Michelle pushes the envelope and boundaries of where learning should occur for all students. Through her partnerships with the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, Hear Me and the the Kids+Creativity Network, Michelle is helping to create equitable and empathetic learning opportunities for students throughout the Pittsburgh area.
  • Jack Koo
    Jack Koo graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. During Jack’s BFA, he discovered his passion for programming through his interest in procedurally generated art in computer games. Jack’s interests in both art and programming clarified that the benchmark in game aesthetics is technology. Jack is now attending Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center where he is working with game development teams and studying computer graphics. Jack wishes to become a Technical Artist so that he may assist artists in bypassing technological benchmarks.
  • Josh Larson
    That Dragon, Cancer
    Josh Larson is an artist, designer, and programmer passionate about videogames that leave a lasting impact on people by changing how they see the world. He has 9 years of professional experience creating PC, web, and mobile videogames for a variety of audiences, including Columbia University’s smoking cessation research project LIT2Quit. While organizing the Meaningful Gameplay Game Jam, he connected with Ryan Green and they decided to start their current project That Dragon, Cancer, an interactive retelling of his family’s struggle fighting terminal cancer.
    Twitter: @godatplay
  • Deborah S. Levine
    Director of Online Health Education, Planned Parenthood
    Deborah S. Levine, Director of Online Health Education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, works to translate Planned Parenthood’s education needs into a digital strategy for the Federation. Deborah has a diverse background in education, human sexuality and non-profit experience. Previously, she was a high school teacher working in the public school system in the greater Boston area. Prior to joining Planned Parenthood in September 2007, Deborah spent two years as a sexuality educator, trainer and teen peer education coordinator at Planned Parenthood of Connecticut. In these roles, Deborah researched, developed and wrote an array of sexuality education materials including: lesson plans, activities, guidelines, and resources that were culturally competent, engaging, and effective. Deborah earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Social Work degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Arts in Teaching from Simmons College located in Boston.
  • Dr. Michael Levine
    Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center
    Dr. Levine directs the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, an independent organization based at Sesame Workshop that catalyzes and supports research, innovation, and investment in promising educational media technologies for children. Prior to joining the Center, Michael served as Vice President of New Media and Executive Director of Education for Asia Society, managing the global nonprofit organization’s interactive media and educational initiatives to promote knowledge and understanding of Asia and other world regions, languages and cultures. Previously, he oversaw Carnegie Corporation of New York’s groundbreaking work in early childhood development, educational media, and primary grades reform and was a senior advisor to the New York City Schools Chancellor, where he directed dropout prevention, afterschool, and early childhood initiatives. Michael has been a frequent adviser to the U.S. Department of Education and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, writes for public affairs journals, and appears frequently in the media. He was named by Working Mother magazine as one of America’s most influential leaders in shaping family and children’s policy and serves on numerous nonprofit boards, including the Forum for Youth Investment, We Are Family Foundation, PBS’ Next Generation Learning Media, and Journeys in Film. Michael received his Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University’s Florence Heller School and his B.S. from Cornell University.
    Twitter: @mlevine_jgcc
  • Sam Liberty
    Engagement Game Lab
    Sam is lead writer for EGL’s projects, including Community PlanIt and Civic Seed, and one half of the Spoiled Flush Games design studio. His designs took top prize at Game Chef 2011, as well as at the 2010 Rio Grande game design competition. Games include Forsooth, Gladiators (Rio Grande), and Cosmic Pizza (Cambridge Games Factory). Sam has been featured in the Ideas section of the Boston Globe (“Inside the Board Game Renaissance”), and spoke on the topic of board game design at TEDxBoston 2012.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Janet Lin
    Janet Lin is a co-producer on team Ursa. She did her undergraduate degree in Computer Science in Taiwan. Now she is pursuing a masters degree at the Entertainment Technology Center where she is honing her interdisciplinary communication abilities, learning how to efficiently work with others to achieve common goals, and improving her skills in production and leadership. Her dream is to become a producer in the Entertainment Technology industry after graduation.
  • Jessica Lindl
    General Manager of GlassLab, Institute of Play
    Jessica is the General Manager at GlassLab, a project of Institute of Play. She has spent over 15 years leading teams that design, develop, market and sell learning games to the global education market. In her work at organizations like Scientific Learning, Riverdeep (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and The Learning Company, she strived to improve learning outcomes for all children by blending effectiveness with engagement. She also serves on the board of Education for Change, a Charter Management Organization serving Oakland, California’s most disadvantaged youth. Jessica is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where she received a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on entrepreneurship and education. She loves testing new learning games with her husband and two sons.
  • Cathy Lewis Long
    Executive director, The Sprout Fund
    Cathy Lewis Long is the founding Executive Director of The Sprout Fund, a non-profit organization that supports innovative ideas and grassroots community projects that are catalyzing change in Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Under Cathy’s leadership, The Sprout Fund stewards the Kids+Creativity Network, a cross-sector, multidisciplinary coalition of researchers, educators, innovators, and civic leaders representing more than 100 organizations including university labs and research centers, regional cultural institutions and child-serving agencies, public, private, and charter school systems, and a burgeoning entrepreneurial private sector focused on technology and media—all working together to build an innovative model for 21st century learning in the greater Pittsburgh region. To catalyze innovation and provide sustainable support for the work of Kids+Creativity, Sprout operates two key programs: Spark and the Hive Learning Network. Spark supports early learning initiatives that nurture curiosity and creativity in children ages birth to 10 years and encourages them to develop hands-on skills and digital literacies by expanding their capacity to do as well as to know. Hive supports the creation of connected learning experiences that help prepare tweens, teens, and young adults for college, the workforce, and civic participation. Cathy also serves on the stewardship team for the Global Hive. As an active member of many of Pittsburgh’s civic and cultural organizations, Cathy currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and is a member of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the International Women’s Forum. Cathy is a former board member of Artist and Cities, Beginning with Books, the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh, the Ellis School, the Greater Pittsburgh Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, and Working Order. Cathy graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a dual degree in Professional Writing and Literary Cultural Studies.
  • Colleen Macklin
    Founder &
    Colleen Macklin is an Associate Professor in the school of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design and founder and co-director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab), a lab that develops games for experimental learning and social engagement. PETLab projects include disaster preparedness games and sports with the Red Cross, the urban activist game Re:Activism and the physical/fiscal sport Budgetball. PETLab has also published game design curricula for the Boys and Girls Club. She is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, best known for their collectible card game, the Metagame. Her work has been shown at Come Out and Play, UCLA Art|Sci Center, The Whitney Museum for American Art and Creative Time. BFA Media Arts Pratt Institute, MA International Affairs, The New School.
  • Jane McGonigal
    Chief Creative Officer, SuperBetter Labs
    Jane McGonigal, PhD is a world-renowned designer of alternate reality games — or, games that are designed to improve real lives and solve real problems. She believes game designers are on a humanitarian mission — and her #1 goal in life is to see a game developer win a Nobel Peace Prize. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World (Penguin Press, 2011) — and is the inventor and co-founder of SuperBetter, a game that has helped more than 250,000 players tackle real-life health challenges such as depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and traumatic brain injury. ane is also a future forecaster. She is the Director of Games Research & Development at the Institute for the Future, a non-profit research group in Palo Alto, California. Her research focuses on how games are transforming the way we lead our real lives, and how they can be used to increase our resilience and well-being. Her future forecasting work has been featured in The Economist, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, O(prah) Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times Science section, and more. She has a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in performance studies, and has consulted and developed game workshops for more than a dozen Fortune 500 and Global 500 Companies, including Intel, Nike, Disney, Accenture, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Before joining IFTF, she taught game design at UC Berkeley and the San Francisco Art Institute.
    Twitter: @avantgame
  • Rich Metson
    Rich is one half of the indie developer duo creating ‘Off Grid’, their first commercial title. Having started out as a metal worker casting bronze sculpture for artists such as Tracy Emin and the Chapman Brothers, Rich moved through animation and post production, and into games. ‘Off Grid’ is not his first foray into creating media with a social impact, over the last 4 years collaborating as part of the ‘Onwards’ collective creating web based design and animation for social causes and organizations including Greenpeace, the New Economics Foundation, 10:10, and Lush.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Oliver Miao
    Pixelberry Studios
    A father of twins, Oliver leads Pixelberry Studios in creating mobile games that make a difference. The team’s first title is High School Story, a Top 50 game on both iOS and Android. The team partnered with The Cybersmile Foundation, a cyberbullying non-profit, to create a special cyberbullying quest. The quest has raised over $100,000 for Cybersmile’s help line and shown over 2 million players how to overcome cyberbullying and over $100,000 has been raised for Cybersmile. Most importantly, over 100 High School Story players reach out to Cybersmile every week, often talking to their trained counselors about bullying, self-hurting, or suicide. Over 1,000 players have been helped to date. The Pixelberry team remains amazed by the impact the game has had and hope that more companies will join in making a difference through games.
  • Uri Mishol
    Co-Founder & Chairman,
    Games for Peace
    Uri Mishol’s background in the software industry spans close to twenty years. After six years in the Israeli army, where he led various software development projects, Uri joined Itemfield (which later became Informatica Israel), where he was VP of R&D. In 2000, he founded his own software company IncrediBuild (, which specializes in accelerating computational tasks related to software development – and game development in particular – through parallel processing. In 2013, he established “Games for Peace” – a non-profit initiative which uses video games to bridge the gap between young people in conflict zones, particularly Arab and Jewish teenagers. Uri lives in Israel with his wife and two sons.
  • Gerad O’Shea
    Research Director,
    Michael Cohen Group
    Gerad O’Shea is a Research Director and Statistics Coordinator at Michael Cohen Group. He is currently leading a study to inform the development of a music-based touchscreen app to help children with ASD communicate with their families. He has also previously directed research that has developed and evaluated nutrition curriculum for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services, interactive television episodes for Nickelodeon, and touchscreen apps for the Department of Education. Gerad graduated from Berklee College of Music with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education, and received an M.A. in Applied Psychology from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development at NYU, supported by the Monroe Stein Memorial Scholarship. Prior to entering the field of applied psychology, Gerad was the assistant band director at the Boston Arts Academy and founded Four Square Records in Boston, MA. Gerad has been playing games for 30 years, and his favorite titles include Shining Force, Toejam & Earl, Final Fantasy VII, Limbo, Castle Crashers, and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
  • Liz Ott
    Account Director, Threespot
    Liz brings over 10 years of client service, design, and technology experience to her role as an Account Director at Threespot. Her in-house and agency tenures allow her to excel in managing both the big picture and the minute details. She is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships and delivering strategic guidance for a diverse roster of clients including The Pew Charitable Trusts, Planned Parenthood, U.S. Department of State, and The Brookings Institution. Prior to joining Threespot, Liz worked as a marketing consultant for and at The Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Technology in Education (CTE), managing a team that was responsible for CTE’s online presence. Liz holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in marketing from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. She is also on the advisory board of the DC chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design.
  • Jude Ower
    Jude is a games industry veteran having spent 13 years in the industry creating games for training, education and social impact. Jude founded Playmob to ‘scale’ good across the games industry, with a goal to raise $1b for causes by the end of 2016. Jude is a BAFTA games judge, voted top 100 Women in Tech in Europe, top 100 Women in Games in Europe, Red Magazine’s shortlisted Red Hot Women Awards and a Young Gun 2012.
  • Shelley Pasnik
    Center for Children and Technology, EDC
    Shelley Pasnik directs the Center for Children and Technology, a part of the Education Development Center. Her work is devoted to understanding how emerging technologies can support teaching and learning, especially in areas where there is high concentrations of poverty and inequity. Among others, she has collaborated with the US Department of Education, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Intel Foundation, the American Museum of Natural History, WGBH, Carnegie Hall, Sesame Workshop, and IBM. She has helped shape national policy, developed public education campaigns, and guided the production of children’s educational services, both in the United States and abroad. She also has written for a range of organizations and companies, including PBS, for which she created their first Parent’s Guide to Children and Media, and speaks frequently to national and local news outlets.
    Twitter: @cct_edc
  • Paolo Pedercini
    Game Developer, Artist and Educator, Molleindustria / Carnegie Mellon University
    Paolo Pedercini is a game developer, artist and educator. He teaches digital media production and experimental game design at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 2003 he works under the project name “Molleindustria” producing provocative games addressing issues of social and environmental justice (McDonald’s videogame, Oiligarchy, Phone Story), religion (Faith Fighter) and labor and alienation (Every Day the Same Dream, Unmanned).
  • Pheonix Perry
    Adjunct Professor,
    Phoenix Perry is an Adjunct Professor at NYU teaching game development and design, visual design and web development. From digital arts practitioner to Creative Director, she has extensive experience in new media, design, and user interfaces. A consummate advocate for women in game development, her speaking engagements include The Open Hardware Summit at MIT, Indiecade, Comic Con, Internet Week, Create Tech and NYU Game Center among others. Perry’s creative work spans a large range of disciplines including drawing, generative art, video, games, interfaces and sound. Her projects have been seen worldwide at venues and festivals including the GDC, E3, Come out and Play, Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science, Lincoln Center, Transmediale, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LAMCA, Harvest Works, Babycastles, European Media Arts Festival, GenArt, Seoul Film Festival and Harvestworks. In 2011 she co-authored the book, Meet the Kinect with Sean Kean and Johnathan Hall.
    Twitter: @phoenixperry
  • Rajal Pitroda
    Rajal Pitroda is an entrepreneur and author based in London. Rajal’s passion is in the intersection of media, technology and education. She is particularly interested in the relationship between gender and content creation, marketing and consumption. Rajal is currently working on a platform combining storytelling and gaming to engage 9-11 year olds in math and science. Prior to her time in the UK, Rajal started a company to create and manage marketing campaigns for independent feature films and documentaries in Los Angeles, where she focused heavily on social and mobile media marketing. She has also worked in the Bombay movie business, where she was responsible for international branding and marketing activities for the entire Indian film industry. Rajal has written a novel set in Bollywood, published by HarperCollins. She was a recent recipient of the UK Woman of the Future Award for her focus on education and gender diversity. Rajal graduated with an Economics degree from the University of Michigan and holds an MBA from London Business School, where she was a Forte Foundation Fellow.
    Twitter: @rajalpitroda
  • Linda Polin
    Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University
    Dr. Linda Polin teaches courses in learning, technology, and design, as well as in research design. Her research interests focus on learning and knowledge sharing in online communities. Her current research interests focus on knowledge coconstruction and sharing, such as learning in informal online communities. Dr. Polin is studying informal yet selforganized learning communities in massively multiplayer online gaming and literaturebased roleplaying communities on the Web.
    Twitter: @Lindax
  • Zoran Popović
    Professor & Director, Center for Game Science, University of Washington
    Zoran Popović is an Associate Professor in computer science at University of Washington. He received a Sc.B. with Honors from Brown University, and M.S. and Ph.D in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Zoran’s research interests lie in computer graphics and interactive games research, focusing on scientific discovery through game play, learning games, high-fidelity human modeling and animation, and control of realistic natural motion. He recently lead the team that produced Foldit, a biochemistry games whose outcomes are now published in Nature. His contributions to the field of computer graphics have been recently recognized by a number of awards including the NSF CAREER Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award.
  • Benjamin Poynter
    The mission is no longer escapism, but excavation. Benjamin Poynter is a practitioner of digital media and independent video games in the contemporary art world. Dreams he has within of immersive landscapes are at the labor of belonging in a world all society knows. The art work he creates, venturing from intensive game art to animated tales, often dimensionalizes when propelled by the themes of virtual reality and experimental narrative. Ben’s existence and work explores how reality dissolves into a representation of its own being through the accumulation of new media and prosthetic ability to escape within it. Benjamin is finishing up a Masters of Fine Art candidacy at the University of Nevada Reno (USA). Exhibitions of Benjamin’s work include the International Mobile Gaming Awards and a nomination for Best Serious Game, a showing at the E3-Indiecade showcase in LA, and more.
  • Erin Reynolds
    Creative DIrector,
    Erin Reynolds is the Creator and Creative Director of the biofeedback-enhanced game Nevermind. She graduated from USC with a BA in Fine Arts in 2006, then worked in the game industry as a Game Designer for several years until returning to USC to explore the potential of positive games, earning her MFA in Interactive Media in 2012. She has diverse experience spanning the past 10 years in developing games within a variety of environments, including as a developer (handheld, social, PC, and mobile), publisher, academic, and indie. She is passionate about the potential games have to empower, educate, and inspire players of all kinds and to make the world a better, more playful place. To this end, she founded the game studio Flying Mollusk to further pursue these ambitions.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Mattia Romeo
    Co-Founder, Gigantic Mechanic
    Mattia Romeo is a game designer and programmer based in New York City. Prior to founding Gigantic Mechanic with Greg Trefry, Mattia was a Senior Game Designer at Gamelab – one of the largest indie game studios in New York. While at Gamelab, Mattia consulted on and designed for projects on a diverse range of platforms that included board games, live-events, PC casual games, the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DS. Some of the notable projects he worked on include Arcadia Remix, Top Chef: The Game, Egg vs. Chicken, Miss Management, Gamestar Mechanic and the blockbuster casual title Diner Dash. As well as more traditional forms of games, Mattia also designs and develops big games – large-scale games played in real-world spaces – and worked on some of the seminal examples of the genre, including Pac-Manhattan and Conqwest.
  • Tim Rosko
    Sound Designer
    Tim Rosko is a composer and sound designer from Birmingham, AL. He has an undergraduate degree in Music Composition from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. At the Entertainment Technology Center, Tim has been focusing on sound design, music composition, and voice acting.
  • Marc Ruppel
    Senior Program Officer,
    National Endowment for the Humanities
    Dr. Marc Ruppel is a Senior Program Officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Public Programs, where he specializes in digital media and transmedia storytelling. Before joining the Endowment, Marc worked on several transmedia/digital-experiential learning + gaming projects, including the Tribeca-funded Robot Heart Stories. He holds a Ph.D in Digital Studies from the University of Maryland College Park, and has held positions with the Maryland Institute in Technology for the Humanities (MITH) and NASA. His dissertation, titled ‘Visualizing Transmedia Networks: Links, Paths, Peripheries’ , explores the possibilities of network or graph-based analyses of transmedia practices, particularly as they relate to the interconnected development of fictional narratives and the media and learning modes that support them. Marc has also written widely about transmedia and digital practices in venues such as The International Journal of Learning and Media and Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies, and in edited collections such as The Mobile Story: Narrative Practices and Locative Technologies.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Angela Santomero
    Creator of Blues Clues, Super Why and the new animated Mr. Roger’s show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
    Angela Santomero has worked in children’s television since she graduated from college. She has always believed in bringing the best possible educational entertainment to kids. She is the co-Creator, Executive Producer, and Head Writer of Blue’s Clues for the award winning Nick Jr series which was the first to start the “interactive television” craze of preschool TV shows. She is also the Creator, Executive Producer & Head Writer of the award winning show Super Why for PBS Kids which helps build preschool literacy skills through fractured fairy tales and interactive games. Her latest project, which began airing in October 2012, is a Mister Rogers spinoff, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.
    Twitter: @angelasclues
  • Jesse Schell
    CEO, Schell Games & Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology, Carnegie Mellon University
    Jesse Schell is the CEO of Schell Games, a leader in creating transformational games. Since starting his company in 2002, he has grown it into the largest and most successful game development company in Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, Schell Games has produced an amazing array of innovative, transformational and award-winning entertainment experiences for some of the world’s most respected brands, such as Disney, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Amplify, Yale University, Lionel LLC and The Fred Rogers Company. Jesse currently serves as Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), where he teaches game design. He authored the critically acclaimed book, The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, which captured Game Developer magazine’s coveted “Front Line Award” for 2008. Prior to starting Schell Games, Jesse was the Creative Director of the Disney Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio, where he worked and played for seven years as designer, programmer, and manager on numerous projects for Disney theme parks and DisneyQuest.
    Twitter: @jesseschell
  • John Sharp
    Associate Professor of Games and Learning, School of Art, Media & Technology, Parsons The New School for Design
    John Sharp is the Associate Professor of Games and Learning in the School of Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design where he is co-director of PETLab (Prototyping, Education and Technology Lab). John is a game designer, graphic designer, art historian and educator. His research is focused on game design curriculum, videogame aesthetics, the history of play, and the early history of computer and video games. John is a member of the game design collective Local No. 12, which creates games from and for cultural contexts and conventions. He is also a partner in Supercosm LLC, a consultancy for non-profits and organizations in the arts, education and entertainment fields.
    Twitter: @JohnSharp99
  • Paul Siefken
    Vice President of Broadcast and Digital Media,
    The Fred Rogers Company
    As Vice President of Broadcast and Digital Media, Paul Siefken oversees content production and management for The Fred Rogers Company. Previously, he worked as the Director of Children’s Programming for PBS, where he managed the development of several PBS KIDS series, including The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Sid the Science Kid, WordGirl, Wild Kratts, Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman, and most recently Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Prior to joining PBS, Paul worked at Cartoon Network, producing interactive content and managing sponsored promotions and media relations. While at Cartoon Network, he participated in the launch of several new shows and franchises, including Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Ed, Edd n Eddy, and Adult Swim. Before entering children’s media, Paul worked as a high school English teacher in both Georgia and North Carolina. He holds a BA in English from Duke University.
  • Wendy Smolen
    Sandbox Summit
    Wendy has been an astute player in the children’s toy and media industry for nearly 20 years. She tests, evaluates, and critiques products and brands, and often blogs about the best of them on She has helped numerous companies strategize about new products and frequently names them. Because her office is wall-to-wall toys, she refers to her business appointments as “playdates.” Wendy has held senior editorial positions at Nick Jr. Family Magazine, Parents, and Toy Wishes. At all three publications, she established synergistic relationships with the magazines’ online counterparts. She has appeared on numerous television shows, and has been interviewed by national publications discussing both parenting, play and media.
  • Ailea Sneller
    FHI 360
    Ailea is a Project Manager and game researcher at FHI 360. Her work focuses on using media and technology to support civil society and democratic engagement around the world. Her favorite thing is applying innovative gameful design concepts to solve international development problems. She also has a background in journalism, press freedom advocacy, and online marketing.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Esteban Sosnik
    Executive Director, Co.Lab
    Esteban Sosnik is Executive Director of co.lab, an ed-tech accelerator working with startups in the intersection of games and education. co.lab was founded by and the NewSchools Venture Fund. Prior to joining co.lab, Esteban was co-founder and CEO of social game developer Atakama Labs (acquired by DeNA in 2011). After Atakama was acquired by DeNA, Esteban became VP with roles in studios, corporate development and alliances. Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of Wanako Games, developer of console games. Wanako earned Game of the Year for Xbox Live Arcade and was acquired by Vivendi Games in 2006. After Wanako’s acquisition Esteban became VP of Business Development at Sierra Online. Previously, Esteban has worked in venture capital, private equity and investment banking.
    Twitter: @esosnik
  • Abby Speight
    Senior Product Manager,
    Abby Speight is the Senior Product Manager of, an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to the idea that social games are a platform for social good. works closely with Zynga, Inc., a leading provider of social game services, to engage millions of game players in social impact through content and campaigns integrated into games. In addition, works with other game developers to leverage games to raise awareness and funds for nonprofits. In 2013, collaborated with Games for Change to produce Half the Sky: The Game, which has amassed more than 1 million players since its launch in March 2013. To date, has developed more than 150 in-game campaigns, raising more than $17 million for nonprofit organizations worldwide. Before joining, Abby was a Marketing Manager on Yahoo’s corporate social responsibility team, leading programs like Yahoo’s consumer-facing disaster response process as well as managing the Yahoo Employee Foundation. Previously, as the Programming Director for FORGE, a nonprofit working with refugee communities in East Africa, she oversaw the organization’s projects in four field sites in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Abby has a B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University. She lives in San Francisco, California.
  • Constance Steinkuehler
    Co-Director, Games+Learning+ Society Center, Wisconsin Institute of Discovery
    Constance Steinkuehler is an Associate Professor in Digital Media at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and co-directs the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) center at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery and chairs their annual GLS Conference. Her research is on cognition and learning in commercial entertainment games and games designed for impact. In 2011-2012, she served as Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where she advised on national initiatives related to games. Policy work there included the coordination of cross-agency efforts to leverage games toward national priority areas (e.g. childhood obesity, early literacy, STEM education) and the creation of new partnerships to support an ecosystem for more diversified innovation in commercial and non-commercial games. She also played a central role in recent meetings through the Vice President’s office on videogames and violence. Constance’s current research interests include neuroscience and games (particularly in the areas of attention and emotional and social well-being), learning analytics (informal scientific reasoning, problem-solving, and the role of failure), and mixed methods (game community discourse and literacy). Her work has been funded by the MacArthur Foundation, the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. She has published over twenty peer reviews publications on games and learning, three edited books three special issues of peer reviewed academic journals focused on the intellectual life of games, and the 2009 National Academies of Science report entitled Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations, and Education. Current game titles under development include Tenacity and Crystals of Kaydor. Constance has a PhD in Literacy Studies, an MS in Educational Psychology, and three Bachelor Degrees in Mathematics, English, and Religious Studies. Her dissertation was a cognitive ethnography of the MMOs Lineage I and II where she served as siege princess for the LegendsOfAden guild.
  • Benjamin Stokes
    Researcher, University of Southern California
    Benjamin Stokes is a researcher at USC, where he is completing his PhD on civic learning, participatory mapping and real-world gaming. Previously, Benjamin served at the MacArthur Foundation as a program officer in their $50M portfolio on Digital Media and Learning. Benjamin is a co-founder of Games for Change, the branch of the serious games movement which seeks to advance social change. Benjamin has also led design teams on games and e-training, reaching more than 150,000 youth at the nonprofit MercyCorps/NetAid. In educational technology, Benjamin produced virtual field trips and research tools for their network of more than 43,000 high schools at the ProQuest/Bigchalk educational publishers.
    Twitter: @bgstokes
  • Bronwyn Stuckey
    Researcher,The Massively Minecraft Project, Fellow, ASU Center for Games & Impact
    Bron has been engaged in educational community and games in learning development for the past 15 years. She is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Arizona State University Center for Games & Impact and has been a global lead for the Quest Atlantis program for 10 years. She has worked to explore virtual worlds, games in learning and how we can cultivate identity, agency, citizenship, leadership, and community for students and teachers. Her role in the global communities of PLANE, Massively Minecraft and Quest Atlantis has lead to some breakthrough understandings about how gaming and digital citizenship need to be treated as a lived curriculum.
    Twitter: @bronst
  • Shannon Sullivan
    Executive Producer, Globaloria
    As the Executive Producer of Globaloria, Shannon Sullivan has defined the content offerings, curriculum and learning materials, set the editorial tone, and led the technical production teams since the launch of the blended learning platform in 2006. For more than 15 years, Shannon has been a director, producer, writer and editor of innovative multimedia programs that entertain, educate and inspire action. Her body of work includes online communities, websites, video games, creativity tools, interactive learning programs, broadband video shows, CD-ROMs, mobile phone applications, print products, and museum exhibits for companies and organizations such as MTV, MaMaMedia, Knowledge Adventure, and Davidson and Associates. She holds a Med in Instructional Technology from the University of Virginia, and a BA in Journalism and History from the University of Southern California.
    Twitter: @globaloria
  • Thomas Tighe
    President & CEO,
    Direct Relief
    Thomas Tighe is President and CEO of Direct Relief, a nonprofit humanitarian medical organization based in Santa Barbara that provides medical material assistance to locally run health programs around the world and in all 50 U.S. states. Tighe previously served as Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer of the Peace Corps, overseeing day-to-day operations of the agency’s worldwide programs, and also as lawyer in the U.S. Senate conducting oversight and developing legislation related to veterans’ mental-health care, special disability programs, drug and alcohol treatment, and services for homeless veterans as well as U.S. foreign aid and the Peace Corps. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Tighe received a J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of Law and an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer teacher in rural Thailand. Tighe is a Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, on the editorial advisory board for Pacific Standard Magazine, a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, an adviser to the Clinton Global Initiative, and is a former member of the Board of Directors of InterAction and Antioch University Santa Barbara. He is a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara’s graduate program in Global and International Studies.
  • Katharina Tillmanns
    Co-President, Games for Change Europe
    Katharina Tillmanns is a transmedia researcher, writer, producer and founding member of the Superglue Games Collective Cologne in Germany. In her studies and work with the Cologne Game Lab of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, she is focussing on the expressive qualities of digital games as a means of art and activism. Katharina is co-president of Games for Change Europe, a community that discusses and experiments with the transformational power of social impact games, making them available to the European public and thus fostering a dialogue across target groups. She is festival director of the bi-annual Notgames Fest a critically acclaimed experimental games exhibition and frequently organizes events and workshops for up-and-coming game makers.
  • Chris Totten
    Assistant Professor of Mobile Game Development
    Chris Totten, Assistant Professor of Mobile Game Development, has contributed to several independent game productions as an artist, animator, level designer, game designer, and project manager. He is currently the art director for e4 Software, a DC-area indie mobile game developer. Totten is an active writer in the game industry, with articles featured on, GameCareerGuide, and Gamasutra. He has also published a book entitled Game Character Creation with Blender and Unity with Wiley Publishing and is completing another book on Game Design. Totten’s writings on interdisciplinary approaches to game design have earned him guest speaking appearances at GDC China, Dakota State University’s Workshop on Integrated Design in Games, and East Coast Game Conference.
    Twitter: @totter87
  • Greg Trefry
    Co-Founder, Gigantic Mechanic
    Greg Trefry has wide array of experience designing games—everything from web-based MMOs to hit casual games to alternate reality games. He co-founded the game design studio Gigantic Mechanic to explore the bounds of game design through mobile games that interact with the real-world. He serves as director of the Come Out & Play Festival, a festival of street games in New York City. Greg teaches at New York University and recently wrote the book, Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us.
    Twitter: @gtrefry
  • Peter Vigeant
    Senior Designer, ESI Design
    Pete Vigeant is a game, media and experience designer that creates live-action and digital interactive experiences. As a Senior Designer for ESI Design, Pete draws upon his passion and expertise in game and youth-focused design to lead and develop interaction, media, concept, and game design for numerous ESI projects. Pete also leads the ESI Game Lab where he has created and launched a series of immersive live-action group experiences to promote collaboration through play, spectacle, and narrative gameplay. He has introduced ESI Game Lab experiences such as Field Frogger, The 100 Games Everyone Should Play, and Field TD in public spaces, city wide festivals, and conferences around the country and the world. Pete is the activity expert for iD Tech Camps and has created training, activity, and gaming content for thousands of staff members and over 100,000 campers in the last five years.
    Twitter: @greenghoulie
  • Fatima Villaneuva
    The Code Liberation Foundation
    In 6th grade Fatima consistently visited, perusing through their jobs and ogling at their swanky flash graphics of her beloved Resident Evil characters. Pursuing the game developer path has always seemed like a pipe dream to her, because that line of career was not encouraged. And not until she attended Code Liberation’s Introduction to C++ workshop has she really thought of game development and computer science as a niche for her future. She is currently working on “Domus.” The purpose of this game is to succinctly transpose the dire feeling of what it is like to be homeless; constructively creating an introspective atmosphere for self-reflection and empathy for others who are less fortunate.
    Twitter: @Zovfreullia
  • Jamin Warren
    Kill Screen
    Jamin Warren is the co-founder of videogame arts and culture company Kill Screen, which publishes a website, produces a magazine, and runs a store. With mentors in the New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Observer, NPR, and Wired, Kill Screen is dedicated to asking the question of what games mean to those who play them and those who make them. Jamin spent four years at the Wall Street Journal as an arts and entertainment reporter and previously was a music critic for Pitchfork Media. He’s spoken at Harvard and New York University and his writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, New Yorker, Paris Review, Fast Company, Slate and others. He graduated from Harvard University in 2004 with a focus on cultural theory and lives in Brooklyn.
    Twitter: @JaminWar
  • Ken Weber
    Executive Director,
    Ken Weber is Executive Director of, a nonprofit organization working to promote and facilitate the use of social games for social impact. Ken is responsible for harnessing the generosity of Zynga’s 300 million monthly active players to generate new resources for social causes. also works with other gamemakers, as well as partners like Games for Change, to develop games that raise awareness and financial support for results-driven nonprofits. Though popular games such as FarmVille, CityVille, and Words With Friends,, has contributed more than $13 million to leading global charities like Save the Children, World Food Programme, and has also driven nearly $2 million to local (Bay Area) organizations, including UCSF Children’s Hospital, the San Francisco SPCA, and The Edible Schoolyard.Ken has spent his career working with innovative companies and nonprofits to leverage private capital and business approaches to create social change on a global scale. From 2005 to 2011, Ken was COO of The ONE Campaign (, a global grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization founded by Bono, Bob Geldof, Bobby Shriver and others. Working in partnership with the Gates Foundation and many of the world’s most effective international development NGOs, DATA, ONE and Product (RED) helped achieve groundbreaking policy change and dramatic increases in funding for poverty alleviation and global health issues, particularly in Africa. Prior to the ONE Campaign, Ken was founding President and COO of Network for Good (, a leading provider of fundraising and volunteer services to individuals and nonprofits backed by AOL, Cisco and Yahoo! Since inception in 2001, Network for Good has processed more than $730 million for more than 100,000 U.S.-based nonprofits. From 1996 to 2001, Ken was EVP and Senior Director of Commerce One’s global nonprofit practice, where he helped more than 200 national and international NGOs deploy new technology – often for the first time – for communications, advocacy, and fundraising.
  • Pontus Westerberg
    Digital Projects Officer, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat
    Pontus Westerberg is digital projects officer at the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-Habitat. In this capacity he supports various digital initiatives, including coordinating the Block by Block project, in which UN-Habitat and Mojang use Minecraft to engage citizens in urban planning projects. He has previously worked with ICTs and digital media for NGOs in Europe, Africa and South America. He holds an MA in Global Media and Communications from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and resides in Nairobi, Kenya.
    Twitter: @pontusw
  • Marco Williams
    Documentary Filmmaker & Associate Arts Professor,
    NYU Tisch School of the Arts
    Marco Williams, is an Associate Arts Professor of Undergraduate Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and a Peabody and Dupont award winning documentary filmmaker. He received a B.A. from Harvard University and a M.A. and M.F.A. from UCLA. Williams’ directing credits include: THE UNDOCUMENTED, INSIDE THE NEW BLACK PANTHERS, BANISHED, FREEDOM SUMMER, I SIT WHERE I WANT: THE LEGACY OF BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION, MLK BOULEVARD: THE CONCRETE DREAM, TWO TOWNS OF JASPER, MAKING PEACE; REBUILDING OUR COMMUNITIES, THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS: WITH ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, WITHOUT A PASS, IN SEARCH OF OUR FATHERS and FROM HARLEM TO HARVARD.
  • Eric Zimmerman
    Founding Faculty, NYU Game Center
    Eric Zimmerman is a game designer and academic who has been working in the game industry for nearly 20 years. Eric’s diverse activities have made him one of the New York Observer’s “Power Punks,” one of Interview Magazine’s “30 To Watch,” one of International Design Magazine’s “ID 40” influential designers and one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital 50” along with Stephen Spielberg and Will Wright. Eric has received a “VIP Award” by the International Game Developers Association for his years of work in the game creation community. Eric has been called “The Lou Reed of Games” by Stephen Johnson in his book Emergence and leading games scholar Dr. James Paul Gee has written that Eric “is surely one of the smartest and most creative humans I have ever met.” Eric was the Co-Founder and Chief Design Officer of Gamelab, a game development company based in New York City that was named one of 5 “Rising Star” design firms by HOW Magazine. Gamelab’s games, which include the casual game blockbuster hit Diner Dash, have won awards from the GDC Independent Games Festival, Games for Change, ID Magazine, Art Directors Club, ARS Electronica, as well as finalist nominations in the Webby Awards, the IGDA Developers Choice Awards, and the Zeebys casual game awards. Founded in 2000, Gamelab created innovative games for broad audiences, including singleplayer and multiplayer online games, as well as games in other media both on and off the computer. Gamelab worked with partners including LEGO, HBO, VH-1, Nickelodeon, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Disney, Mattel, PlayFirst, PBS, Fisher-Price, Leapfrog, and many, many others. Gamelab closed its doors in 2009. Gamelab spun off two successful companies, including Gamestar Mechanic, an online site that was funded by the MacArthur Foundation that lets kids create games. Gamelab also created the Institute of Play, a nonprofit that looks at the intersection of games and learning that has launched two schools in New York City and Chicago based on games and play as the model for learning. Eric’s game design work prior to Gamelab includes the critically acclaimed SiSSYFiGHT 2000 as the PC games Gearheads and The Robot Club. He sits on the board of the Institute of Play, the advisory board of Games for Change, and the Advisory for Digital Media for Global Kids. Since Gamelab closed, Eric has been exploring commercial and independent games in a variety of media. With architect Nathalie Pozzi, he has created a series of award-winning large-scale physical games exhibited in museums and galleries, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Eric co-founded experimental game collective Local No. 12 with Colleen Macklin and John Sharp, whose projects include the Metagame, a card game about aesthetic debate. He collaborated with Curious Pictures and Deepak Chopra to create Leela, a game for the Xbox Kinect about play as a form of meditation. With filmmaker David Kaplan, Eric created the award-winning short film PLAY. New projects include the Brooklyn Game Ensemble, a design collective working on an independent game inspired by the work of Argentinian author Luis Borges. Eric has taught courses at MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program, New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and Game Center, Parsons School of Design’s MFA in Digital Technologies Program, and School of Visual Arts’ Designer as Author MFA Program. He is a founding faculty at the NYU Game Center, where he currently works with the faculty and staff to shape the curriculum and teach game design as a full-time professor. Eric lectures and publishes extensively on games, including frequent keynotes at major industry events. He is the co-author with Katie Salen of Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, the definitive textbook on game design (MIT Press, 2004). He is also the co-editor with Katie Salen of The Game Design Reader (MIT Press, 2006) and co-editor with Amy Scholder of RE:PLAY – Game Design and Game Culture (Peter Lang Press, 2003). Eric trains Shaolin Kung Fu at the USA Shaolin Temple under Sifu Shi Yan Ming. Eric is an internationally recognized creative force, design scholar, and pundit on game design and game culture.
    Participating in: Pitch Event

April 19, 2014 - Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, LIFESTYLES, opportunity, TECHNOLOGY, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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