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Choices and Trends for Women "from Teens to Grandmothers"

12th Annual Games For Change Festival 4/21-25/15 *nyc


In addition to the wonderful keynotes, we are most looking forward to:

Thursday 04/23/2015  6:00pm – 6:30pm – NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts
Michael Abrash and Jacquelyn Ford Morie / The Future of VR
Oculus VR’s chief scientist Michael Abrash, a groundbreaking programmer, and All These Worlds, LLC’s founder and chief scientist Jacquelyn Ford Morie will share their vision of virtual reality as the platform for the future and explore the implications for games for change.
Thursday 04/23/20152:30pm – 3:00pm – NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts
Cultural Liberation Through Game Design
Meg Jayanth, writer of Time Magazine’s game of the year 80 Days, and Amy Fredeen, a leader on Never Alone’s development as CFO at E-Line Media and EVP of Cook Inlet Tribal Council, will speak with Barry Joseph from the American Museum of Natural History about amplifying the voices and stories of indigenous and marginalized peoples through games. Hear how two of the top games of 2014 not only provided remarkably engaging experiences but also inspired empathy for and piqued game players’ interest in under-represented cultures.

but all of the agenda and presenters will provide excellent thought provoking conversation.

games for change festival 2015

  • Tuesday 04/21/2015
  • Wednesday 04/22/2015
  • Thursday 04/23/2015
  • Saturday 04/25/2015
Senate Game & Networking
Games & Media Summit


G4C15 will feature innovative creators who are changing games and making change





  • Michael Abrash
    Chief Scientist, Oculus
    Michael Abrash is the author of several books, including “Zen of Code Optimization” and “Michael Abrash’s Graphics Programming Black Book”, and has written columns on graphics and performance programming for several magazines, including Dr. Dobb’s Journal and PC Techniques. He was the GDI programming lead for the original version of Windows NT, coauthored Quake at Id Software with John Carmack, and worked on the first two versions of Xbox. He recently worked on R&D projects, including wearable computing, at Valve, and is now Chief Scientist at Oculus VR.
  • Gyda Arber
    Executive Producer, Game Play Festival
    Gyda Arber is a writer/director best known for the transmedia theatrical experiences “Suspicious Package” (ITBA Award Winner—Best Unique Theatrical Experience), “Suspicious Package: Rx”, and the ARG-inspired “Red Cloud Rising”. She is also a core member of team “Cupcakes and Rainbows,” the winner of the first ever transmedia StoryHack, sponsored by the NYC Transmedia association StoryCode. Named “Person of the Year” by, Arber is the director/creator of the interactive play “Q&A: The Perception of Dawn”, the writer/director of the short film “Watching (Bride of Sinister Six)”, and the director of The Brick’s sold-out hit “Theater of the Arcade: Five Classic Video Games Adapted for the Stage”. Also an actress, Arber has appeared at Lincoln Center, The Public, 59E59, the Edinburgh Fringe, and most frequently at The Brick, where she also serves as the executive producer of the Game Play festival, a celebration of video game performance art.
    Twitter: @gydaarber
  • Charles Battersby
    Founding Member, PressXY and Writer, Theater For Nerds
    Charles Battersby is a journalist and game designer who has written for websites including Joystiq, Complex, Explosion, and He is the writer of the “Fallout Lore” webseries for Shoddycast and a writer for the Fallout: Lonestar project. Charles is one of the founding members of Press XY, an organization that explores transgender issues in the video game industry. Charles has also presented panels on the history of transgender comic book characters at the New York Comic Con. When not working within the field of games, Charles is a playwright and theater critic known for his plays “That Cute Radioactive Couple” and “The Astonishing Adventures of All American Girl & The Scarlet Skunk”.
  • Alon Benari
    VP of Creative & Innovation, Interlude
    Alon Benari is Vice President of Creative and Innovation at Interlude and an award-winning director for projects as varied as television dramas and comedies, short films and music videos. At Interlude, he has collaborated on numerous projects for clients such as ESPN, the Tribeca Film Festival, Sony Music Entertainment and Disney Music Group, as well as Bob Dylan’s wildly acclaimed interactive music video for “Like A Rolling Stone.” As a pioneer in interactive video, Alon began his career in software development. He later earned an MFA from the Tel Aviv University in film and television.
  • Jessica Berlinski
    Chief Impact Officer, Adaptive Health Systems
    Jessica Berlinski serves as chief impact officer of Adaptive Health Systems, a double bottom line company focused on supporting students through evidence-based social emotional learning (SEL) games. She has over a decade of experience leading and growing organizations dedicated to supporting the “whole child” through academic and SEL programs. Prior to Adaptive Health Systems, as Co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of If You Can, Berlinski supported EA’s founder in creating the first consumer SEL game (IF…) to launch as the #1 kids app and #1 education app on iTunes. She also created innovative cross-sector collaborations for scaling impact in SEL, among them “Emotional Smarts: Conversations on Parenting” with and the Boys and Girls Club of America’s first SEL workshop for parents. Berlinski has also served as Managing Director of GameDesk, a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded non-profit focused on educational transformation through play and making, and as National Director of Character Counts.
    Participating in: Thursday Morning Mini-Talks
  • Elena Bertozzi
    PhD. Associate Professor, Digital Game Design & Development & the EGG Lab Visual and Performing Arts, Quinnipiac University
    Elena Bertozzi has taught and developed programs and curricula in game design and development for many years. Her research focus is on play and gender and how they relate to technophilia, technophobia, and competence. She is the Director of the Engender Games Group Lab which develops games that incorporate science, medicine, and learning in novel ways. EGG Lab is currently working on a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that combines a game and a gamification platform aimed at teaching youth in Mexico City about behavioral changes that will reduce their likelihood of acquiring HIV.
  • Michael Block
    Project Lead, Culture Shock Games LLC
    Michael Block started We Are Chicago, an interactive documentary experience, in order to explore the potential games have to impact how society discusses important issues. We Are Chicago looks specifically at those issues facing many residents of Chicago’s South and West side such as: high unemployment, lower quality education, and the dangers of living amidst gang violence. Michael has worked in the games industry for five years on console, PC, and mobile games from Gears of War 3 to Organ Trail. The past two years working on We Are Chicago have been an eye opening experience, both through talking to people who live on Chicago’s South and West side and through a growing understanding of the intended and often unintended impact that games have on society.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
    Twitter: @Mikamikem
  • Matt Boch
    Creative Director, Harmonix Music Systems
    Matt Boch is creative director at Harmonix Music Systems, guiding the direction of some of Harmonix’s premier titles. Matt began at Harmonix six years ago, with a Visual and Environmental Studies degree from Harvard University. From 2007-2010, he worked as a hardware designer, developing the look, feel and functionality of Rock Band‘s iconic set of instruments. Matt then moved from the world of plastic guitars to the arena of game design when he began prototyping what would become Dance Central, utilizing his love for both music and dance. Most recently, he directed Harmonix’s newest innovation in music gaming, Fantasia: Music Evolved, a collaboration with Disney to bring the classic film into the 21st century. In his spare time, Matt is the lead singer for the Main Drag, a VJ and video artist, and makes video game remixes through his music project, AniGif.
  • Caty Borum Chattoo
    executive, AU School of Communication and principal investigator & creative director, Center for Media & Social Impact
    Caty Borum Chattoo is Executive in Residence in the AU School of Communication, and Principal Investigator & Creative Director of the Center for Media & Social Impact. Working at the intersection of social-change communication strategy, documentary production and impact research, her work has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, Business Week, Huffington Post, and PBS Media Shift. In addition her documentaries have aired on the Sundance Channel, Pivot, NDTV (India), PBS World, Link TV, and KCET. As a social-change communication strategist and media producer, she has been engaged as a senior strategist, documentary producer and research director with media companies, nonprofit organizations and foundations like: Participant Media, Link TV, KCETLink and Working Films. She was an invited juror for the 2014 BRITDOC Documentary Impact Awards and is an advisor to Girl Rising.
    Twitter: @CatyBC
  • Ralph Bouquet
    Outreach Coordinator, NOVA Labs
    Ralph Bouquet is the NOVA Labs Outreach Coordinator and an advocate for inquiry and games/interactives in STEM classrooms. NOVA Labs is a new digital platform from the producers of PBS’s NOVA that engages teens and lifelong learners in games, interactives, and videos that foster authentic scientific exploration. At NOVA, Ralph is responsible for working with educators and partner organizations to grow and support the NOVA Labs’ educational community through the creation of curricular resources, professional development opportunities, and collaboration with educators. Before NOVA, Ralph taught high school biology and chemistry in Philadelphia with Teach For America and later developed web and mobile apps with the Canary Calendar team. Ralph received his B.A. from Harvard University and studied secondary science methods and urban education while completing his M.Ed. at UPenn.
    Twitter: @theNOVALabs
  • Asi Burak
    President, Games for Change
    As President, Asi Burak 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.
    Twitter: @aburak
  • Laura Callanan
    Senior Deputy Chairman, National Endowment for the Arts
    Laura Callanan became the Senior Deputy Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts in November 2014. From 2008-2013, Callanan was a consultant with McKinsey & Company, where she led work on social innovation and authored “Learning for Social Impact: What Foundations Can Do”, “From Potential to Action: Bringing Social Impact Bonds to the US”, and “Leaders Who Scale What Works”. Prior to joining McKinsey, she had been a senior adviser at the United Nations Development Programme, executive director of the Prospect Hill Foundation, and associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation. Most recently, Callanan was a senior fellow with the Foundation Center and scholar-in-residence at UC-Berkeley/Haas School of Business’ Center for Nonprofit and Public Leadership where she authored case studies on James Houghton, founding artistic director of Signature Theatre in New York; Theaster Gates and his community development activities on the South Side of Chicago; and Deborah Cullinan, executive director of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Callanan recently completed a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship and a visiting fellowship at the American Academy in Rome to research and write “The Surprise Social Entrepreneur”, a book about artists as social innovators.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Marjee Chmiel
    Manager of Publishing and Technology, Smithsonian Science Education Center
    Marjee Chmiel has been working at the intersection of science education and digital media for eighteen years. A former high school chemistry and physics teacher, Marjee is a co-founder of Games, Learning, and Society, a collection of scholars, educators, and developers who focus on new media and its role in the learning sciences. She completed her doctoral degree in educational research and evaluation in 2013. Marjee has developed award winning games, applications, and curriculum during her career with learning media companies such as PBS (Public Broadcasting Services) and National Geographic’s The JASON Project. Marjee currently serves as the Manager of Publishing and Technology at the Smithsonian Science Education Center where she leads a team of educational, subject matter, and technical experts to envision and develop the next generation of science education curriculum.
    Participating in: Thursday Morning Mini-Talks
    Twitter: @mchmiel
  • Naomi Clark
    Game Designer, Brooklyn Game Ensemble and freelance Game designer.
    Naomi Clark is a long-time game designer, producer and writer. She has created games for the web and mobile devices, games on social networks, and works as a freelance creative director. She usually works on multiple projects at once.
    Participating in: Twine for Change
    Twitter: @metasynthie
  • Matthew Conn
    CEO, MidBoss
    Matthew Conn has a passion for social justice and equality on the digital forefront, specifically in gaming. He is best known as the founder of GaymerX, the first major video game convention focused on creating a safe space for LGBTQ identified geeks and gamers. Matt Conn is the CEO of MidBoss, a company that produces many projects in the queer gaming world, including GaymerX and the documentary “Gaming In Color”. Matt is also the executive producer on Read Only Memories, a cyberpunk adventure game which seeks to include queer characters in a realistic, seamlessly integrated fashion, which launches in 2015.
    Twitter: @mattconn
  • Adriaan De Jongh
    Founder and Game designer, Game Oven
    Adriaan de Jongh is game designer and business guy at Game Oven, a Dutch studio best known for their finger-rubbing-game Fingle, and the more recent Bounden, a game made in collaboration with the Dutch National Ballet to make two people dance, together, by holding the same phone.
  • Julia Detar
    Creative lead, Untame
    Julia Keren-Detar is a game designer and developer based out of Brooklyn NY. She is currently working on Mushroom 11 with Itay Keren, Simon Kono and Kara Kono, contributing to the game design as the Creative Lead for Untame, a husband and wife household studio. She’s worked on several casual and indie titles including Untame’s award-winning mobile game Rope Rescue and Arkadium’s hit Facebook game Mahjongg Dimensions Blast. At Arkadium, she was a senior developer in the R&D department, prototyping and designing dozens of games. Julia is also an avid quilter and a hobby game historian.
    Participating in: Thursday Morning Mini-Talks
    Twitter: @quiltingcrow
  • Kristin DiQuollo
    Producer, Cyberchase, Thirteen/WNET
    As an Emmy-nominated producer and brand strategist in Children’s & Educational Media at THIRTEEN, Kristin DiQuollo develops broadcast and digital content for the award-winning PBS KIDS math series Cyberchase, including the Webby-nominated tablet game Cyberchase 3D Builder and augmented-reality app Cyberchase Shape Quest. She also leads marketing efforts for digital properties including Mission US, a roleplaying history game, and Oh Noah!, an online world integrating video and gaming to introduce Spanish. She’s currently producing the tenth season of Cyberchase and partnering with Teachers College to research how gesture and narrative in mobile games can help math learning. Previously, Kristin worked in film and print media. She has a B.A. in English from Providence College.
    Twitter: @cyberchase
  • Ellen Doherty
    Executive Producer, Cyberchase, Thirteen/WNET
    Ellen Doherty is an Emmy Award-winning producer and writer with more than twenty years’ experience in children’s and family media. As Executive Producer of the popular math-themed PBS KIDS series Cyberchase, she is currently overseeing production of its tenth season. She also leads creation and development of Cyberchase digital content, including the Webby-nominated tablet apps Cyberchase Shape Quest and Cyberchase 3D Builder. Before joining Thirteen/WNET, Ms. Doherty was a freelance producer and writer, with projects ranging from educational documentary series to concert specials. She began her career on the celebrated PBS KIDS series Reading Rainbow and has a B.A. in Communications from Boston College.​​
    Twitter: @ebdoherty
  • Cecilia Dolk
    Co-founder, Berättelsefräm- jandet; Producer, Lecturer, Consultant, & Marketing director, Odyssé
    Cecilia Dolk is the marketing director of Odyssé. She is also a frequent speaker on subjects like productivity, structure and creating participation in games and other projects. Her passion for LARP (Live Action Role Playing) and gaming in general lead to her NYU Game Center PRACTICE 2013 conference talk on LARP game design. As a producer on the critically acclaimed LARP experience The Monitor Celestra, based on the BattleStar Galactica TV series, she is an expert in creating immersive living worlds where every detail is exactly as it should be.
    Twitter: @frkgeek
  • August Early
    Visual Lead, Horse Volume
    August and Ty Underwood founded the studio Horse Volume to create The Sun Also Rises, a different kind of game about war that focuses on intercultural communication, unique dialogue mechanics and multiplayer systems; planned to be released late 2015.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Ken Eklund
    Creative Director / Game Designer, Writerguy
    Designer of a new breed of collaborative and socially relevant games, Ken Eklund is a leader in the emerging genre of alternate reality games (ARGs), especially those that create playful “what if?” spaces that invite massive public participation. Ken created World Without Oil, the groundbreaking collective imagining of our next oil shock, for ITVS, and was Community Lead for EVOKE, the World Bank Institute’s innovative social entrepreneurship initiative. Ken launches massively participatory narratives that encourage viewers to interact directly with real-world challenges and have fun collaborating democratically on positive solutions and action.
  • Rutger Engels
    CEO, Trimbos Institute
    Rutger Engels is CEO of the Trimbos Institute; the Netherlands institute for mental health and addiction, and professor in Developmental Psychopathology in Nijmegen. His fundamental and applied research focuses on early stages of substance use, depression and anxiety in children and adolescents. In 2010, the health council of NWO awarded his team a center of excellence grant, which is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between institutions and universities to improve prevention and care for anxiety and depression. In 2011, he received the Huibregtsenprijs, an annual national award, by NWO and Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) for outstanding research with evident societal impact. Together with Isabel Granic and Adam Lobel, he published a review of the mental health benefits of playing video games in American Psychologist in 2014. He collaborates intensively with Isabel Granic in various endeavors, amongst others in an NWO-funded international consortium on developing and testing games for improving and promoting mental health in children and adolescents, and in the development of MindLight, a neurofeedback game to help children with anxiety.
  • Martin Ericsson
    Senior Content Designer, CCP
    Martin Ericsson is a participatory storyteller at Odyssé. He is a recognized figure on the European cross / transmedia scene and has worked as a game creator, interactive script writer, actor and event producer in numerous commercial media and games projects. He is also a well booked speaker and has won an Emmy for “The Truth About Marika” a TV format mixing online puzzle solving, character interaction and real world events for public broadcaster SVT.
  • 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 organizations 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
  • Steven Fox
    Media Director, Buffalo Laboratory Theatre
    Steven is a media artist from Buffalo, New York and recent MFA graduate from the University at Buffalo’s department of Media Study. When not working as a freelance motion-graphics and video editor, he can be found designing games and serving as a professor in the Department of Digital Media and Communication at Hilbert College. Steven is perhaps best known as the Media Director for the award-winning Buffalo Laboratory Theatre. This summer he will be traveling with the B.L.T. to Valdez, Alaska to participate in the 2015 Last Frontier Theatre Conference, where they will be staging a production of “The Mystery of the Silver Chalice”, an original comedy piece that puts the audience in control of the action on stage.
    Twitter: @Steven_Fox
  • Amy Fredeen
    chief financial officer, E-Line, and executive vice president & CFO, Cook Inlet Tribal Council
    Amy Fredeen is of Inupiaq heritage. In addition to serving as the Chief Financial Officer at E-Line Media, Amy also currently serves as the Executive Vice President and CFO of Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC), an innovative nonprofit that provides educational and social services to Alaska Natives and American Indian people in the Cook Inlet Region of Alaska. Amy also holds several other active roles including the president/chair for the Board of International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, serves on the board of directors for Cook Inlet Native Head Start and the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and is an active member of Rotary.
  • Mat Frenz
    Partnership Development, Glasslab
    After working as a Producer on two groundbreaking games at GlassLab, Mat now develops strategic partnerships and defines sustainability strategy for the organization. With the addition of Game Services to GlassLab’s work as a nonprofit aiming to transform learning and assessment through digital games, Mat’s focus lies in identifying the most innovative companies in the learning games space and collaborating with them to create a seamless pathway into classrooms for their products. He also manages and cultivates the GlassLab District Network, as well GlassLab’s reseller channel – both instrumental components in the effort to reach students, teachers and administrators the world over. Prior to GlassLab, Mat was the owner of Precision Response, a software as a service company, and did mobile application consulting work for non-profit organizations. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida.
    Twitter: @MatFrenz
  • Vali Fugulin
    Filmmaker, National Film Board of Canada
    After completing her Communications and Film studies in Montreal at Concordia University, and a specialization in directing at INIS in Montreal, Vali Fugulin directs a few fiction shorts, and numerous documentary segments for both interactive, television and the screen. Recently she is the filmmaker in residence at the National Film Board of Canada where she co-directed Toi, moi et la Charte, an interactive piece on the impact of Quebec’s proposed Charter of Values, winner of a NUMIX price for best interactive original documentary in 2014. She is now completing her own residency project: an interactive docu-game for kids about social innovation, entitled I love potatoes, produced with Montreal’s renowned indie game company Minority Media. She has directed several documentary series for television: Théâtre des Opérations (ARTV) ; Cas de Conscience (RDI) ; Naufragés des Villes (SRC); Histoires D’hiver (TV5) ; La vie en Vert (TQ). Her films include Zed in Tokyo, a creative homage to Francois Girard’s Tokyo mise en scène for the Cirque du Soleil ; Tupperware : a bowl of success an uncanny piece peaking inside the modern Tupperware sellers and their difficult quest for work-family balance ; S’envoyer en l’air, a incursion in the lives of sexual leisure aficionados ; Les Laboratoires Crête, a docu-doubt following the strange experiments on actors brains of Montreal stage director Stéphane Crête and a documentary about the six degrees of separation theory, produced by the National Film Board of Canada. In the last few years, she collaborated on interactive pieces such as GDP (NFB) and Bar Code (NFB, ARTE). Her work has been recognised by several nominations and prizes in Canada’s television, film and digital media industries. She is known for her creative, original and humanist approach to filming life’s subjects.
  • 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 director of the USC Games program. Her research center, the Game Innovation Lab, has produced several influential independent games, including Cloud, flOw, Darfur is Dying, The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, andThe Night Journey, with artist Bill Viola. She is currently working on Walden, a simulation of Henry David Thoreau’s experiment at Walden Pond supported by grants from the NEA and NEH. Tracy is the author of “Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games,” a design textbook used at game programs worldwide, and holder of the Electronic Arts Endowed Chair in Interactive Entertainment. Prior to USC, she designed 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
  • Michael D. Gallagher
    President & CEO, The Entertainment Software Association
    Michael D. Gallagher is president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. Mr. Gallagher joined ESA in 2007. Under his leadership, the association is transforming the perception of video games by demonstrating the influence of entertainment software on areas of daily life such as education, health, and the workplace. Mr. Gallagher also manages ESA’s outreach to federal and state government officials, helping to foster a vibrant operating environment for the video game industry and serving as the industry’s voice on issues including intellectual property, content protection, and e-commerce. In 2011, Mr. Gallagher spearheaded the video game industry’s defense of its First Amendment rights in the U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. EMA/ESA. The ruling struck down a 2005 California law that would have regulated the sale and rental of computer and video games based on their content and affirmed that games are expressive works entitled to the same constitutional protections as other forms of entertainment and art. Mr. Gallagher frequently appears as the public face of the industry at various events and forums and regularly serves as an expert resource for major media outlets, including CNN, Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, C-SPAN’s “The Communicators,” NBC News, and CBS News. He previously served as the chief telecommunications and internet policy advisor for the Department of Commerce’s Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information. Mr. Gallagher has also held leadership positions at Perkins Coie LLC, Verizon Wireless, and AirTouch Communications. Mr. Gallagher holds degrees in Economics and Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Los Angeles. He serves on the Advisory Board for the Guildhall at Southern Methodist University and Spectrum Bridge, Inc. Mr. Gallagher also serves on the Boards of Directors for the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences and the Publishing Advisory Board of Sesame Street.
  • Melissa Gilliam
    professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, assoc. dean for Diversity and Inclusion, Biological Sciences Division, Director of Ci3, University of Chicago
    Dr. Gilliam is professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Pediatrics, chief of the Section of Family Planning & Contraceptive Research, and associate dean for Diversity and Inclusion in the Biological Sciences Division, as well as Director of Ci3 at the University of Chicago. Dr. Gilliam’s research builds on her clinical experience as a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist to understand and find innovative approaches to the issues that affect the health and well-being of young women. Her community-based research seeks to identify adolescent attitudes towards sexual activity, pregnancy and contraception. Recognizing that the complex interplay of systems that affect sexual and reproductive health, Dr. Gilliam has long engaged with partners from many disciplines. She created the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health (Ci3) at the University of Chicago to facilitate collaborative programming, and make significant improvements in the sexual and reproductive health of vulnerable communities.
    Participating in: Thursday Morning Mini-Talks
  • Ron Goldman
    Co-Founder & CEO, Kognito
    Ron Goldman is an innovator, tech executive and social entrepreneur. Ron co-founded and has served as CEO of Kognito since 2003 where he has pioneered the use of gaming and simulation technology for learning experiences in health, behavioral health and education. Ron has spearheaded and commercialized ground-breaking simulation technology integrating The Kognito Conversation PlatformTM with principles of neuroscience, social cognition and game mechanics. He has been a principal investigator and co-author of 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 frequently requested speaker at conferences about the intersection of gaming and health, the efficacy of role-play conversations and behavior change with virtual humans. He has spoken, by invitation, at the White House, the CDC, SAMHSA, VA, Dod, Health 2.0. mHealth, and other industry conferences.
  • Tina Gong
    Founder, HappyPlayTime
    Tina is a UI / UX designer and a fervent doodler. She graduated with a BA in individualized studies from Gallatin NYU in 2011 with a concentration in linguistics. Inspired after having her first taste of startups in technology, she is passionate about creating novel experiences using art, design and technology in to facilitate change and good cheer.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
    Twitter: @milkmusket
  • Lindsay Grace
    Director, American University Game Lab & Associate Professor, Film and Media Art
    Lindsay Grace is a professor, game designer, programmer and artist. He directs the American University’s Game Lab and Persuasive Play Studio. He has published more than 40 academic writings and exhibited his creative work at over 35 venues on 4 continents. His game designs have received awards and recognition from the Games for Change Festival, Meaningful Play Conference, ACM SIGGRAPH Digital Arts Community and others. Lindsay’s career includes teaching 81 courses over 10 years and more than 30 presentations in Asia, the Americas and Europe. In 2014 his work has been featured on PBS Media Shift, Al Jazeera, and other national and international outlets. He serves on the Board of Directors for both the Global Game Jam and the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA). For more than 7 years he has been promoting diverse game experiences, including social impact games and alternative play.
    Twitter: @mindtoggle
  • Isabela Granic
    Professor & Chair of the Behavioural Science Institute, Developmental Psychopathology, Radboud University Nijmegen
    Isabela Granic is currently CEO of the PlayNice Institute and Professor and Chair in the Behavioural Science Institute, Developmental Psychopathology department at Radboud University Nijmegen. She is driven to bridge developmental science and game design in order to create a suite of evidence-based games that can be mobilized through international distribution channels (e.g., schools, social media) and ulitmately slash prevalence rates of anxiety and depression for the next generation of youth. Her research identifies what sorts of programs help anxious, depressed and aggressive youth improve, why they often fail to help, and how to strengthen interventions in innovative ways. The mental health benefits of gaming is currently her main research focus. She and her colleagues recently published a review of the mental health benefits of playing video games in the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association, in American Psychologist.
  • Jen Gunnels
    Theater Editor/Drama Critic, New York Review of Science Fiction and Assistant Editor, Tor/Forge Books
    Jen Gunnels earned her PhD in Theatre History and Criticism at the University of Texas at Austin and currently serves as Theatre Editor for the Hugo nominated New York Review of Science Fiction and has just published Geek Theater, an anthology of science fiction plays. Her reviews can be found in Foundation and Science Fiction Studies. She has contributed essays to Practicing Science Fiction (2010) and Popular Entertainment in Theatre, Film & Television. She has also been a guest editor for a special performance issue of the Journal for the Fantastic in the Arts. In addition to her writing, she has been a keynote speaker for the Stage the Future Conference for Science Fiction on Stage as well as for Visions of the Future Flair Symposium for the Ransom Center for the Humanities. She is also the creator and administrator for the Facebook Forum for Science Fiction in Theatre.
    Twitter: @jengunnels
  • Rami Ismail
    Chief Executive Business & Development, Vlambeer
    Rami Ismail is the business and development guy at Vlambeer, a Dutch independent game studio. Through his work at Vlambeer, Rami has come to realize that the marketing & business facets of many independent game developers could use some help. As such, he created the free presskit-creation tool presskit(). Believing sharing knowledge openly is the cornerstone of independent development, Rami has spoken on a variety of subjects at dozens of game events around the world, ranging from the Game Developers Conference to Fantastic Arcade & from University seminars to incubator mentorship.
    Twitter: @tha_rami
  • Lauri Järvilehto
    Fun Learning Expert and Evangelist, Rovio
    Lauri Järvilehto, PhD, is an insight enthusiast and a Sherlock Holmes fan. He is the founder and chairman of the Academy of Philosophy in Helsinki and the author of several bestselling books on thinking, work engagement and learning. He is also the author of Learning as Fun, the book outlining the philosophy behind Rovio’s Fun Learning concept. Lauri has worked with dozens of Finnish major corporations in bringing applied philosophy to businesses. He is also a popular lecturer, having given talks on the philosophy of the mind, positive psychology, motivation and learning at universities worldwide. His academic research focuses on intuitive thought, flow and the relationships between thinking, learning and well-being.
  • Meg Jayanth
    Freelance writer & game-maker
    Meg Jayanth is a freelance writer and game-maker. She won a Writer’s Guild of Great Britain Award for her work on the steampunk adventure 80 Days, which was named TIME’s Game of the Year 2014 and is a current nominee for four BAFTAs, three IGF and two Game Developer’s Choice awards. Her other work includes creating Samsara, a richly fantastical tale of dream-walking on Storynexus, and guest-writing on lush story-driven game Sunless Sea.
  • Ben Johnson
    Principal Game Director, Dozen Eyes
    Ben Johnson has worked professionally as a game developer for over a decade on games including Dead Space, The Simpsons Game and The Sims 2. Most recently he is the founding principal game developer for the Brooklyn- and Utrecht-based game studio Dozen Eyes, which developed Choosing My Way with the Center for Applied Linguistics. Outside of game development, Ben has worked as an organizer with the influential video game art collective Babycastles since 2010. Ben holds a Masters of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie-Mellon University.
  • 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. He is one of the co-founders of Games For Change.
    Twitter: @mmmooshme
  • merritt kopas
    merritt kopas is the author of games like Consensual Torture Simulator, HUGPUNX, and Take Care and is the editor of Videogames for Humans, a Twine anthology published by Instar Books. Right now she’s on a mission to tenderize videogames and is making work about Polish grandmothers, Christian mysticism and public sex in the 1990s.
    Participating in: Twine for Change
    Twitter: @m_kopas
  • Nicholas Kristof
    author and journalist, New York Times
    Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for The New York Times since November 2001, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner who writes op-ed columns that appear twice a week. In 1990, Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, previously a Times journalist, won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square movement. Kristof won a second Pulitzer in 2006 for what the judges called “his graphic, deeply reported columns that, at personal risk, focused attention on genocide in Darfur.” Kristof and WuDunn are authors of three best-selling books: China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power in 1994; Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia in 2000; and Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide in 2009.
    Twitter: @NickKristof
  • Frank Lantz
    Director, NYU Game Center
    Frank Lantz is the director of the NYU Game Center, he has taught game design for over 12 years at NYU, SVA, and Parsons and his writings on games, technology and culture have appeared in a variety of publications. Frank is a game designer who has worked in the field of game development for the past 20 years. In 2005 he co-founded Area/Code, which created cross-media, location-based, and social network games as well as the popular abstract puzzle game Drop7. Before starting Area/Code, Frank worked on a wide variety of games as the director of Game Design at Gamelab, Lead Game Designer at Pop & Co, and Creative Director at R/GA Interactive.
    Participating in: Frank Lantz / eSports
    Twitter: @flantz
  • Elizabeth LaPensée
    Writer & Researcher
    Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish designer, writer, and researcher whose focus is Indigenous game development. Her design, writing, and art are informed by cultural values and teachings.
    Twitter: @odaminowin
  • Joey J. Lee
    Research Assistant Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University
    Dr. Joey Lee is an Assistant Professor of Technology and Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He also directs the Real-World Impact Games Lab, part of the TC Games Research Lab. Dr. Lee designs, develops, and studies innovative approaches to education and addressing real-world problems like sustainability, and motivation and engagement for learning. He earned his PhD in Information Sciences and Technology from The Pennsylvania State University.
    Twitter: @professorfun
  • Justin Leites
    Vice President for Games, Amplify
    Justin Leites is Vice President for Games at Amplify. His team is making unprecedented investments in educational games, as part of a larger effort to re-invent curriculum for students across grades K-12. They are sponsoring work by leading commercial game designers from across the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Latin America. Several of these games are unprecedented in the extent to which they are integrated with an e-reader and virtual library; that library includes more than six hundred books, from authors including Roald Dahl, Neil Gaiman, Mary Renault and Lemony Snicket. Justin’s experience with game design and game designers began at age twelve, working with the creative giants at Simulations Publications, Inc. (SPI).
  • Brad Lewis
    Grants Management Specialist, Knowledge Management Corporation for National and Community Service
    Bradford H. Lewis, MSW is a gamer and government-type who served on the Design Team for the award-winning game InterroBang, a problem-solving service and learning game created by Microsoft US Partners in Learning. InterroBang won 2nd place in the 2010 Games for Change popular vote and was a finalist in the 2011 Games for Change competition. At the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), an independent federal agency where he has served since 1994, he works on grant-making, youth voice, and technology initiatives. Mr. Lewis was also a guild leader in an MMORPG; has been a panelist at Games for Change and Games for Health; and serves on the CNCS Social Media Workgroup. Mr. Lewis received his Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University in 1983 and then worked in New York City and Connecticut for the next 10 years, prior to coming to Washington.
    Participating in: Thursday Morning Mini-Talks
    Twitter: @BfordLewis
  • Karina Lynch
    SVP of Product, BrainPOP
    Karina oversees the BrainPOP family of products, from the GameUp platform to the company’s award-winning mobile learning apps, downloaded more than 10 million times. Karina has presented at numerous education conferences, including ISTE, NSTA, FETC, TCEA, CUE, AEP, SITE, Games for Change, Meaningful Play, Digital Kids EDU, and Games, Learning and Society. Karina was the keynote speaker at the “Full STEAM Ahead for Education Early Learning Institute”; and participated in the first Student Data Privacy Boot Camp in D.C. She also led a team participating in the first White House Game Jam, which was as awesome as it sounds. Prior to BrainPOP, Karina was a lead NYC Teaching Fellow. While teaching, Karina was a recipient of a Japan Fulbright Memorial Scholarship and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholarship. She holds an M.Ed from Lehman College and a B.F.A. from NYU.
  • Sanna Lukander
    VP of Learning, Rovio
    Sanna Lukander is the Vice President of our Learning unit. She joined the company already in summer of 2011 to lead the Book Publishing unit, an enthusiastic team of publishing professionals who have compiled a delightful – and sometimes surprising – list of publications that are set to entertain readers and fans alike. She has since then also initiated activities in the area of Learning, which will bring Angry Birds Playground to the world. Sanna Lukander is an experienced veteran in book and educational publishing and is based at Rovio’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland.
  • Colleen Macklin
    Associate Professor of Media Design, School of Art, Media, and Technology, and Co director, PETlab
    Colleen Macklin is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Design and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City and director of PETLab (Prototyping Education and Technology Lab), a lab focused on developing games for experimental learning and social engagement. PETLab projects include a curriculum in game design for the Boys and Girls Club, a set of statistical games for the Red Cross Climate Centre, and big games such as Re:Activism and the “fiscal” sport Budgetball.
  • Colleen Mahar-Piersma
    Associate Director, Immigrant and Refugee Integration, Center for Applied Linguistics
    Colleen Mahar-Piersma is the associate director of immigrant and refugee integration at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL). An avid strategy board gamer for some years as well as a refugee resettlement professional, Colleen has been CAL’s point person for the development of the game Choosing My Way, a video game designed to help refugees resettling in the United States learn about the opportunities and challenges they may encounter after their arrival. Colleen’s other responsibilities include coordinating the development of publications about refugee populations coming to the United States (such as Iraqis and Congolese), maintaining a website of refugee-related background and orientation material, facilitating the exchange of information and best practices among overseas and domestic service providers, and designing and facilitating trainings. Colleen holds an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Washington.
  • James Marion
    Lead Game Designer, TANK&BEAR
    James Marion is a game designer and artist based out of Brooklyn, New York, whose interested in the theatricality and emotional experiences games can provide. His work tends to focus on simplicity and elegance, but I’m certainly not afraid to dabble in the lovably stupid. James has also been a teacher for more than seven years, in subjects ranging from Game Design, Code, and 3D Modeling to Acting, Stage Management and Technical Theater.
  • Cindy Miller
    Lead Designer, Culture Shock Games
    Cindy is an independent game developer currently working on “We Are Chicago”. We Are Chicago is a narrative driven experience with a focus on telling real life stories about growing up on the South Side of Chicago through a video game. She has worked in game development for the last 6 years, 4 of which was at Disney Interactive Studios. She has worked on games for PC/OSX/PS3/Xbox360/iOS/Android/Wii/WiiU, most notably Disney Infinity. Cindy is one of the founders of Voxelles, a Chicago based group for women in game development.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
    Twitter: @pigglebutts
  • Jacquelyn Ford Morie
    Founder & Chief Scientist, All These Worlds
    With degrees in both art and computer science, Dr. Morie has 25 years experience in developing innovative techniques for rich, emotionally evocative virtual reality (VR) environments. As part of this pioneering work, she invented a scent collar to bring the emotional power of smell to immersive experiences, and developed new types of functions for VR, such as connections to multiple sensor and feedback systems to make VR more effective. Dr. Morie spent 13 years as a Sr. Research Scientist at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), which she helped found. While there, she created novel VR telehealth care activities using her deep understanding of art, computer animation and human behavior to enhance patient engagement with these programs. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Morie started comprehensive computer animation training programs at Walt Disney Feature Animation combining art and technology topics, which she later expanded to the special effects industries at studios such as Rhythm and Hues. Prior to that, Morie worked at UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training, where she developed techniques to make VR environments more immersive and emotionally compelling, and helped lead a group of innovative students called The Toy Scouts. She has been expanding her VR research to include neuroscience and avatars, developing methods to determine how such technologies can effect positive change in those who use them. She is currently the Founder and Chief Scientist of All These Worlds, LLC, which creates custom virtual environments for health and stress relief.
  • Jim Munroe
    Executive Director, Hand Eye Society
    Jim Munroe is a “pop culture provocateur” according to the Austin Chronicle, and an “independent press icon” to Time Out Chicago. Primarily he is an indie culture maker in various mediums: post-Rapture graphic novels, lo-fi sci-fi feature movies, and award-winning text adventure videogames. He’s also helped found and run various arts organizations, notably the North American touring circuit The Perpetual Motion Roadshow and The Hand Eye Society, an incorporated videogame culture not-for-profit. He lives in Toronto’s historic Junction neighbourhood.
  • Miguel Oliveira
    Team Lead, Odisseu Interactive Productions
    Miguel is an alumnus of USC’s Interactive Entertainment program, and has had a lifelong passion for literature, film, and interactive media. Born and raised in Portugal, he came to the US with the strong belief that interactive media has the potential to be as introspective and capable of exploring the human condition as all other established art forms. Along with a team of 7, Miguel is currently attempting to explore the medium’s inherent artistic power with Thralled, an interactive tale about a runaway slave in colonial Brazil.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
  • Matt Parker
    Professor, NYU Game Center
    Matt Parker is an Assistant Professor of the Arts at the NYU Game Center. He is a game designer and media artist. In addition to traditional screen-based games and media, Professor Parker’s work attempts to explore interactions and forms of play that can be created when technology is used as a facilitator, referee, and accomplice for real world experiences. He also organizes conferences, exhibitions, festivals, workshops, and game jams. His work has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History, SIGGRAPH Asia, the NY Hall of Science, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Museum of Math, Games for Change, FILE Games Rio, Sony Wonder Technology Lab, and many other venues. Professor Parker is the Founder and Chair of IndieCade East. His game Recurse debuted at the inaugural No Quarter exhibition, was finalist for IndieCade 2010, and won the “Play This Now!” award at Come Out and Play 2012.
    Twitter: @madparker
  • Bjarke Pedersen
    Owner and creative lead, Odysee
    Bjarke Pedersen is the creative director of Odyssé. His primary work is designing participatory events and experiences with a focus on storytelling. In the last 15 years he has done projects ranging from transmedia storytelling for television to real life participatory games with more than 10.000 people playing at the same time. Bjarke has done lectures on participatory design and culture at New York University, Bard College, Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten and at multiple conferences and art festivals in Europe and USA.
    Twitter: @Bjarcore
  • Stephanie Pfirman
    Professor of Environmental Science, Barnard College & Columbia University
    Dr. Stephanie Pfirman, Hirschorn Professor of Environmental Science at Barnard College and Columbia University is the principal investigator of the Polar Learning and Responding Climate Change Education Partnership funded by the National Science Foundation. Prof. Pfirman is a leader in environmental education with a background of research on the changing Arctic environment. She recently served as co-chair of the 2014 National Academy of Sciences study “The Arctic in the Anthropocene: Emerging Research Questions,” and is past president of the Council of Environmental Deans and Directors, Pfirman received her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program.
  • Erin Reynolds
    Founder and Creative Director, Flying Mollusk
    Erin Reynolds is the founder of Flying Mollusk and creative director of the biofeedback-enhanced horror game Nevermind. She has diverse background spanning the past 10 years in game development within a variety of different environments, including as a developer (handheld, social, and mobile), publisher, academic, and now indie. Erin 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. Flying Mollusk recently received funding from Intel to develop Nevermind for their upcoming RealSense technology, and completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to help bring Nevermind to Oculus Rift, Xbox One, and other platforms moving forward.
  • Toni Rocca
    President of GaymerX, MidBoss
  • Mac Rogers
    Playwright/Screenwriter, Gideon Productions
    Mac Rogers is an award-winning playwright. His plays include SOVEREIGN (New York Times and Backstage Critic’s Pick), BLAST RADIUS (New York Times Critic’s Pick), ADVANCE MAN (Backstage Critic’s Pick and New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Premiere Production), FRANKENSTEIN UPSTAIRS (New York Magazine Approval Matrix and nominated for the NYIT Award for Best Premier Production), LIGATURE MARKS (CityBeat Critic’s Pick), ASYMMETRIC (Philadelphia’s acclaimed New City Stage Company), VIRAL (Outstanding Play at FringeNYC 2009 and Best Off-Off Broadway Play from the New York Independent Theater Bloggers), UNIVERSAL ROBOTS (Winner of Best Off-Off Broadway Play from the New York Independent Theater Bloggers), HAIL SATAN (Outstanding Playwriting Winner at FringeNYC 2007), and FLEET WEEK: THE MUSICAL (Outstanding Musical at FringeNYC 2005).
    Twitter: @macwrites
  • 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.
  • Marco Rosa
    Managing Director, Formula D Interactive
    Marco Rosa is a managing partner at Formula D interactive and has a passion for technology, education and gaming. In his position as Managing Director he gets the chance to work with teams of super talented experts in all of those fields to create solutions that impact people in a meaningful, positive and FUN way.
  • 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.
  • Doris C. Rusch
    Assistant Prof, De Paul University
    Doris C. Rusch is a game designer, researcher, play aficionado and holds a position as assistant professor for game design at DePaul University in Chicago where she founded the “Play for Change” lab. Before that she did post doctoral work at GAMBIT Game Lab, MIT, and Vienna University of Technology (Austria). Rusch’s work is focused on the theory and practice of game design, particularly in regard to games that model the “human experience”, create empathy and can be used for mental health activism. She was the lead designer and vision holder of award winning and featured projects such as “Zombie Yoga” for Kinect, “Elude”, a metaphorical game on depression, and “Akrasia”, a game that models addiction. Having completed studies in Literature, Philosophy, Comparative Media Studies and English at Vienna University, she received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and Interactive Systems in 2004.
    Twitter: @D_Carmen
  • Elizabeth Sarquis
    Founder & CEO, Unlock Good: Global Gaming Initiative
    Elizabeth Sarquis is the Founder and CEO of Unlock Good: Global Gaming Initiative. Global Gaming Initiative creates games that give back. By playing Sidekick Cycle by GGI, an addictive, downhill cycling racing title, the player unlocks benefits provided by the World Bicycle Relief and Free Bikes for Kids. By playing Winning Kick, a single-player soccer game, 50% of gaming proceeds provide soccer balls to impoverished children across the developing world in conjunction with “Charity Ball.” With 1.2 billion people engaging with mobile games around-the-world, GGI is the leader of pervasive change through passive playing. Outside of GGI, Elizabeth has worked extensively with a large scale non-profits United Way and The National Eating Disorders Association as an innovation specialist. She sits on the board of Games for Change, which released the massively successful ‘Half the Sky’ game in 2012. Elizabeth focuses on next-generation solutions to systemic issues and believes whole-heartedly in the power of technology to make a social impact. She holds bachelors degrees in Political Science ad Human Physiology and a Master’s Degree in Child Development. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota where GGI is headquartered.
  • Jesse Schell
    CEO, Schell Games & Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology, Carnegie Mellon University
    Jesse Schell is the CEO of Schell Games, a leader in 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 Entertainment, Amplify, Yale University, 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. In 2014, Jesse published an updated second edition of this book. 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
  • Russell Shilling
    executive director of STEM , U.S. Department of Education
    Russell Shilling is the executive director of STEM at the U.S. Department of Education, overseeing the Department’s policies to drive innovation in STEM education and enhance interagency coordination. Previously, Shilling served as a Navy Captain, retiring after 22 years of service as a Navy Aerospace Experimental Psychologist focusing on education, training, and psychological health. Shilling held a variety of leadership positions including program officer at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Shilling was an early pioneer in the “serious” games movement and was responsible for award winning games for STEM education, medical training, and psychological health. He was the original sound designer on the America’s Army video game starting in 2001. He developed programs with Sesame Street Workshop that have helped military children adapt to traumas caused by deployments, injury, and grief. These programs have won numerous awards including Emmy nominations and Parents Choice Awards.
    Participating in: Thursday Morning Mini-Talks
  • Morgan Spurlock
    Host & producer of the show ʺInside Manʺ and Co-founder, Cinelan
    Morgan Spurlock is an award-winning writer, director and producer and president and founder of full-service New York-based production studio Warrior Poets. His first film, Super Size Me, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the inaugural Writers Guild of America Best Documentary Screenplay award as well as garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary. Since then he has directed, produced and distributed multiple film, television and digital projects. In addition to his film and television work, Spurlock has been on the forefront of digital content creation as his company Warrior Poets led Hulu’s push into original programming with their first series, A Day in the Life and helped ignite Yahoo’s original content strategy producing three separate series over the last few. Their upcoming digital projects include Connected, the first long-form series for AOL, and Smartish, a new premium branded content channel for (Maker Studios). Spurlock is also a co-founder of the short-film content marketing studio Cinelan.
  • Constance Steinkuehler
    President, Learning Games Network and Executive Director, Video Game Alliance,
    Constance Steinkuehler is the president of the Learning Games Network, executive Director of the newly formed Higher Education Video Game Alliance, on Faculty at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, and an Associate Professor in the Educational Communication & Technology program in the Curriculum & Instruction department at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. From 2011 to 2012 she took public service leave and worked as a Senior Policy Analyst in the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) at the White House Executive Office, advising on policy matters about video games and learning. Steinkuehler is also a founding fellow and Co-Director of the Games+Learning+Society (GLS) and chairs the annual Games, Learning & Society Conference held each summer in Madison, Wisconsin. In 2009, she served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Games.
    Participating in: Thursday Morning Mini-Talks
    Twitter: @constances
  • Benjamin Stokes
    Researcher, University of Southern California
    Benjamin Stokes is a co-founder of Games for Change. This fall he will join the faculty at American University; he is now at the UC Berkeley School of Information completing a postdoc. His research investigates real-world games, civic engagement and neighborhood empowerment. Previously at the MacArthur Foundation, Benjamin was a program officer in their $50M portfolio on Digital Media and Learning. Benjamin received his PhD at the USC Annenberg School. Prior industry experience includes leading teams in educational technology at NetAid/Mercy Corps, and building virtual field trips at ProQuest/Bigchalk.
    Twitter: @bgstokes
  • Thomas Toynton
    Associate Professor Creative Arts and Technology, Bloomfield College
    Tom Toynton is an associate professor of Creative Arts & Technology and the coordinator for the Game Development program at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. His students have worked at all levels within the games industry – starting their own indie studios or working for triple-A (AAA) studios such as Kaos and Naughty Dog. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Education in Instructional Technology and Media at Teachers College at Columbia University, with a focus in game-like learning and designing experiences that actively engage students in the process of self-discovery, collaboration, and learning towards conceptual mastery. His artistic passion is dynamic storytelling through interactive technology and game environments, and he continues to work on both modding and pen-and-paper role-playing game (PnP RPG) projects in his spare time. Tom is a member of the Education Special Interest Group (SIG) of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) and an advisory panel member of the Northern NJ Chapter of the IGDA. His current professional projects include development of a board game that facilitates PnP RPG experiences, an educational board game that teaches the concept of The Commons, two game projects for the PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership being funded by the National Science Foundation, and a gamified education platform for teachers.
  • 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
  • Ty Underwood
    Design Lead, Horse Volume
    Ty and August Early founded the studio Horse Volume to create The Sun Also Rises, a different kind of game about war that focuses on intercultural communication, unique dialogue mechanics and multiplayer systems, planned to be released late 2015.
    Participating in: Pitch Event
    Twitter: @tyunderwood
  • Peter Vesterbacka
    Mighty Eagle, Rovio Entertainment
    Peter Vesterbacka is the Mighty Eagle, Special Projects and the grandest brand ambassador of Rovio Entertainment, the creator of the wildly successful Angry Birds Franchise and over 50 other games. Prior to Rovio, Peter worked for HP in several communications-­‐industry related roles. While at HP, Peter founded the HP Mobile E-­‐Services Bazaar, a global innovation and corporate partnership program that Booz Allen Hamilton declared an industry benchmark. Peter is also Co-­‐founder and the original initiator of MobileMonday as well as the founder of Some Bazaar, a new approach to building and growing new businesses. In 2011 Time Magazine recognized Peter as one of the most influential people in the World in their TIME 100 Listing.
  • 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.
  • Dan White
    Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Filament Games
    Dan White is passionate about what makes a good learning game. This passion drove him to co-found Filament Games – with a goal to develop learning games that exceed the status quo. An alumnus of both Cornell University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dan’s career path was inspired by legendary games researchers, Drs. Kurt Squire and James Gee. He holds Filament Games to a high standard in every way. Dan serves on the advisory board for Games for Change and is a founding member of the GLS (Games Learning Society) organization at UW-Madison. Previous to his role here, Dan was designer of instructional technologies at the University of Wisconsin’s Division of Information Technology and the Academic ADL Co-Lab. White also worked as a producer on the Cornell Theory Center’s NSF-funded SciCentr Project, a series of innovative online virtual worlds for informal science and technology outreach.
  • Jake Witherell
    COO, Schell Games
    Jake Witherell is Chief Operating Officer of Schell Games, where he oversees the operations and business development efforts of the company. Finance, marketing, legal, human resources, IT, and facilities management are among the departments he manages in this position. Jake has over 20 years of experience in founding, managing, advising, and investing in companies within the technology, telecommunications, retail, and business services industries. He was previously a co-founder and Managing Partner of M Park Capital, a private investment firm focused on acquiring and operating lower middle market companies. Prior to M Park Capital, Jake served as Chief Operating Officer of a division of PGi (NYSE:PGI), a leading global provider of collaboration software and solutions. Prior to PGi, Jake held the position of Chief Operating Officer of Netspoke, Inc., an integrated web and audio conferencing service provider. Netspoke was twice named to the prestigious INC 500, a list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. Before Netspoke, Jake was co-founder and President of iMeet, Inc., an internet communications service provider. There he grew it into a $10MM company and oversaw its successful merger with audio conferencing provider Netspoke, Inc. Jake also was the VP of Marketing and Business Development at internet start-up SneakerLabs, Inc. Recently Jake was appointed to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Investment Commission (ELIC), a group that advocates for quality early childhood education and care. He currently serves on the board of the Mattress Factory Museum of Contemporary Art and HeartPrints Center for Early Education. In the past, he has been a Director of iMeet, Netspoke, and M Park Capital. Jake holds a BA in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. He also earned a certification from the Entrepreneurial Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University.
  • Sheryl WuDunn
    senior managing director, Mid-Market Securities and writer
    Sheryl WuDunn, the first Asian-American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize, is a business executive, lecturer, and best-selling author. Currently, she is a senior managing director with Mid-Market Securities, an investment banking boutique, helping growth companies, including those operating in the emerging markets. She also worked at The New York Times as both an executive and journalist: in management roles in both the Strategic Planning and Circulation Sales departments at The Times; as editor for international markets, energy and industry; as The Times’ first anchor of an evening news headline program for a digital cable TV channel, the Discovery-Times; and as a foreign correspondent for The Times in Tokyo and Beijing, where she wrote about economic, financial, political, and social issues. She is co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
    Twitter: @WuDunn
  • Mary Jo Zefeldt
    Curriculum Technical Coordinator & Graduate Student, DePaul University
    Mary Jo Zefeldt is a user experience researcher and filmmaker. She is currently pursuing both a M.S. in Human-Computer Interaction and a M.F.A. in Animation at DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media. Mary Jo also previously obtained a J.D. from DePaul University as well as a B.A. both Theater and Communication from Florida State University. Prior to returning to DePaul, she managed the production of graphics and animations for use in litigation.
    Twitter: @MJZef
  • Eric Zimmerman
    game designer, entrepreneur, author,and teacher, 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. Eric is an internationally recognized creative force, design scholar, and pundit on game design and game culture.
    Participating in: Pitch Event

    Event Details

    For more information about the G4C Festival, please click here.

    Below is a pricing chart for the G4C Festival.
    * Indie developers with limited resources can apply for subsidized tickets here.
    ** Interested in bringing a group of five or more? Please email us at for group discounts.

    • All Access (April 21-23): Attend all Festival events and programming, including the Games and Media Summit, and get 2 tickets to a select Tribeca Film Festival film screening.
    • 2-Day Conference (April 22-23): All talks, games, and networking at NYU Skirball Center (not included: Games and Media Summit day, 2 tickets to a select TFF film screening)
    • 1-Day Pass (April 21): Attend the Games and Media Summit (not included: events at NYU Skirball Center, 2 tickets to a select TFF film screening). This summit will explore the crossover territory of games, film and everything in between, and how these innovative new forms of storytelling, engagement, and interaction can serve the social good.


    Early Bird
    Until 2/20
    Regular Reg
    2/21 – 4/10
    Late Reg
    4/11 – Festival
    All Access $399 $499 $550
    2-Day Conference $299 $349 $399
    1-Day Summit $199 $249 $299
    All Access $319 $399 $450
    2-Day Conference $299 $349 $399
    1-Day Summit $199 $249 $299
    All Access $100 $150 $200
    1-Day Summit $80 $100 $125
    Apply here
    2-Day Conference $100 $150 $200

    ** No refunds or cancellations **

    Have questions about 2015 Games for Change Festival? Contact the organizer



March 25, 2015 - Posted by | ART, BUSINESS, CULTURE, ENTREPRENEURS, HOLIDAY GUIDES, LIFESTYLES, opportunity, TECHNOLOGY, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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