Speakers

Alexis Kelley

High School Student, Arizona State University

Alexis Kelley

High School Student, Arizona State University

Alexis is a high school student graduating in the class of 2025. She has been working on developing the video game 2175 since October 2022 and has since taken the leadership role of Co-Director. Alexis played a key role in aligning the narrative with the game logic and programming to promote critical connections to our climate. She plans to study environmental engineering and values finding unique avenues to impact her community.

Amy Patterson

Chief Program Officer, Urban Arts

Amy Patterson

Chief Program Officer, Urban Arts

Dr. Amy Patterson serves as Chief Program Officer at Urban Arts (@UrbanArtsOrg), where more than 260,000 students have learned the art and science of game development through computer science, coding, animation, music and storytelling. Amy’s work focuses on educational arts and technology programs, and she oversees three U.S. DOE grants that bring Urban Arts’ computer science and game design programs to schools in NYC and beyond.

Andreea Medvedovici Per

Executive Director at the Romanian Game Developers Association and VP of the European Game Developers Federation

Andreea Medvedovici Per

Executive Director at the Romanian Game Developers Association and VP of the European Game Developers Federation

Andreea developed ‘Games in Schools Romania  with the help of Video Games Europe, the European School Network and Unicredit Bank, a free course for teachers organized in partnership with the Romanian Teachers Training Center. The course is a part of About Video Games, a portal she developed for Romanian parents, guardians and tutors on the benefits of games and parental control education. She is also co-founder of Women in Games Ro and received an excellence award from the Romanian Copyright Office for promoting intellectual property inside the game dev community.

Andrew Navaro

Founder & Creative Director, Earthborne Games

Andrew Navaro

Founder & Creative Director, Earthborne Games

Andrew Navaro is the Founder of Earthborne Games and Creative Director of its flagship title, Earthborne Rangers. Prior to founding Earthborne, he was a key member of the creative team at Fantasy Flight Games where he served in a multitude of roles ranging from Graphic Designer to Head of Studio. His work appears in 8 titles currently found in BoardGameGeek’s Top 100, including Twilight Imperium 4th Edition, Arkham Horror The Card Game, and Marvel Champions.

Andrew Schartmann

Professor of Music, New England Conservatory

Andrew Schartmann

Professor of Music, New England Conservatory

Andrew Schartmann is a Professor of Music at New England Conservatory in Boston and serves as Audio Director at Yale’s XR Pediatrics Lab. He is the author of several books, including Koji Kondo's Super Mario Bros. Soundtrack (2015) and Analyzing NES Music: Harmony, Form, and the Art of Technological Constraint (2025). He has partnered with the CBC, the BBC, and the WSJ on radio documentaries about video game music, and is a founding board member of the Journal of Sound and Music in Games.

Anjali Bhimani

Actor/Producer/Author

Anjali Bhimani

Actor/Producer/Author

Anjali Bhimani is an award-winning actress whose career spans across all media. She is best known for her roles as Auntie Ruby on Ms Marvel, Symmetra in Overwatch, Rampart in Apex Legends, and her many tabletop gaming appearances with companies like Critical Role and Dimension 20. Her book. I Am Fun Size and So Are YOU!, was a bestseller on the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Amazon and Barnes & Noble's lists. She recently launched the Character Select Podcast with Julia Bianco Schoeffling, devoted to sharing the process of creating great characters in video games from all aspects of game creation.

Anthony Q. Casasnovas

Borough Instructional Technology Specialist, NYC Public Schools | Division of Instructional & Information Technology

Anthony Q. Casasnovas

Borough Instructional Technology Specialist, NYC Public Schools | Division of Instructional & Information Technology

A Bronx-born & raised Nuyorican and proud product of NYC Public Schools, Anthony is focused on innovative and engaging experiences in (and out of!) the classroom for all students. As a former Career & Technical Education Teacher - with a prior career in media/magazine content creation & publishing - this was apparent through his implementation of Design Thinking; Project-Based Learning; Computer Science; Gaming and authentic real-world experiences for his South Bronx high school students. Through his current role with the Division of Instructional and Information Technology, he continues to partner with organizations such as Games for Change, Urban Arts, Mouse, etc. to ensure such learning opportunities reach every corner of NYC. Along with his like-minded colleagues and the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment Anthony played a large role in establishing the inaugural Minecraft Battle of the Boroughs Esports competition!

Arana Shapiro

Chief Operating and Programs Officer, Games for Change

Arana Shapiro

Chief Operating and Programs Officer, Games for Change

Arana Shapiro is an educator and social entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience developing innovative approaches to learning using games and game design. With deep expertise in education and change management as a parent, teacher, school leader, educational technologist, curriculum designer, and nonprofit leader, Arana is a leading voice on education transformation. As Chief Operations and Programs Officer at Games for Change, she oversees programs and partnerships for schools, organizations and families, and supports a growing global community of educators using games in the classroom.

Asher Marks

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Co-Director, Yale Center for Immersive, Yale University School Of Medicine

Asher Marks

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Co-Director, Yale Center for Immersive, Yale University School Of Medicine

Asher Marks is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Yale School of Medicine and practicing pediatric hematologist and oncologist. He is the director of Pediatric Neuro-Oncology and also serves as the director of the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) cancer program for Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital and co-director of XRP at Yale. While his clinical research frequently focuses on the care and treatment of pediatric patients with brain tumors, his role as the director of the AYA program has led to the development of a virtual reality-based support group for adolescents and young adults with cancer. In collaboration with Foretell Studios, a clinical trial was launched in the fall of 2019, with pilot data complete and an expanded clinical program forthcoming. This program aims to provide patients unable to attend support groups in person access to this valuable intervention. Recent publications have focused on topics including racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic survival disparities in adolescents and young adults with brain tumors as well as the clinical application of digital technologies in adolescent and young adult oncology supportive care.

Ava Volandes

Director, Social Impact, Minecraft Franchises, Mojang Studios

Ava Volandes

Director, Social Impact, Minecraft Franchises, Mojang Studios

Ava Volandes is a social impact marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, focusing on cause-related partnerships. She is currently the Director of Social Impact at Minecraft, where she leads the team to build a better world through the power of play. Prior to joining Minecraft, Ava held senior marketing positions at various organizations, including UNICEF USA, Incite Impact, Loyalty Exchange Partners, and BMG Entertainment. She also founded her own consulting firm, developing partnership strategies and campaigns for organizations in the health, education, and environmental fields.

Benjamin Stokes

Founder of the Playful City Lab, American University Game Center

Benjamin Stokes

Founder of the Playful City Lab, American University Game Center

Benjamin Stokes is a game designer and researcher with a focus on cities. His 2020 book is "LOCALLY PLAYED: Real-World Games for Stronger Places" from MIT Press. He is a co-founder of Games for Change. His designs for cities have been featured in the Smithsonian and the Guggenheim, from repurposed payphones to crowd-mapping by bicycle. Benjamin is based in Washington, DC, where he directs the Playful City Lab at American University and teaches game design in the AU Game Center.

Berkley Egenes

Chief Marketing Officer & Chief Growth Officer, Xsolla

Berkley Egenes

Chief Marketing Officer & Chief Growth Officer, Xsolla

Berkley Egenes leads Xsolla's global marketing as the Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Growth Officer, specializing in crafting and marketing video game commerce solutions that expand market reach and boost revenue. With over 23 years of marketing and product integration experience, Berkley has a proven track record of creating successful partnerships, collaborations, and campaigns that enhance brand visibility and consumer engagement worldwide.

Brian Carl Quinones

Clinical Director, Gaming Approaches Towards Education

Brian Carl Quinones

Clinical Director, Gaming Approaches Towards Education

Dr. Quinones is a professional with a desire to provide education and proper mental health services to help diverse populations of our community. He strives to continue his own education, training, and supervision while aiding in training future professionals in assisting the Autism population in their homes, schools, and communities. He is currently a fully Licensed Professional Counselor in NJ and working towards full licensure as a psychologist. Dr. Quinones continues to consult with other professionals to aid their companies and programs in giving back to their communities. Gaming Approaches Towards Education allows him to partner up with family support organizations, libraries, schools, and other providers to offer children, adolescents, and adults free community events where they can try games and play together.

Caitlin Shell

Chief Business Officer, Brandible Games and Tilting Point

Caitlin Shell

Chief Business Officer, Brandible Games and Tilting Point

Caitlin is the Chief Business Officer of Brandible Games and also a BD Director at Tilting Point games. Prior to this she was part of the executive board at the mobile fashion game Drest where she led Product Content and Business Development. Prior to living in London, Caitlin was in SiliconValley where she was the Head of Business Development for Glu Mobile, overseeing all studios. Before the acquisition by Glu, she ran partnerships for Covet Fashion and Design Home at Crowdstar. Preceding this career in lifestyle gaming Caitlin lived in New York City where she worked in fashion for nearly a decade. She worked in partnerships and sales across a variety of both small and large designers such as Vince Camuto and Ben Sherman. Her unique experience in both the fashion and lifestyle gaming industries makes Caitlin a clear leader of the next generation of entertainment products that blend together brands, games and commerce, redefining the player experience.

Cameron Kostopoulos

Founder of Kost Inc. and Creator of Body of Mine

Cameron Kostopoulos

Founder of Kost Inc. and Creator of Body of Mine

Cameron Kostopoulos is an award-winning immersive creator. Their debut experience “Body of Mine” was the recipient of the PGA Innovation Award, and won prizes at SXSW, BAFTA, Games for Change and more. They are the Founder & CEO of Kost, a storytelling collective aimed at helping us better understand ourselves, the world around us, and our fellow human beings. They hold a BFA from the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts and an MA from ASU’s Narrative & Emerging Media Program.

Candice (Hongxian) Li

Student, CMU

Candice (Hongxian) Li

Student, CMU

Candice is a junior 3D artist and designer at the Carnegie Mellon University Entertainment Technology Center. She has a keen interest in life drawing, creative digital photography, interior design, and sound design. She likes to implement real-world issues, encompassing not only environmental but also humanistic psychological concerns, from macro to micro, in her games.

Cecilia D'Anastasio

Video game reporter, Bloomberg News

Cecilia D'Anastasio

Video game reporter, Bloomberg News

Cecilia D'Anastasio reports on the video game industry for Bloomberg News, where she covers the business of video games, digital safety and labor. Previously, she wrote for WIRED and Kotaku. Her reporting on sexism at Riot Games helped form the basis for a class-action lawsuit and won several awards, including the Writer’s Guild Award for digital news.

Chandana Ekanayake

Creative Director, Outerloop Games

Chandana Ekanayake

Creative Director, Outerloop Games

Chandana Ekanayake is co-founder and Creative Director at Outerloop Games, a minority led, fully distributed indie game studio that creates accessible games with depth about underrepresented culture and themes. Chandana is currently game directing Thirsty Suitors, an immigrant story-based RPG action game about fighting exes and disappointing parents along with cooking and skating. Prior to starting Outerloop, Chandana was an art director, game designer, and producer for over twenty years at various game studios.

Charles Gasper

Senior Consultant, TCC Group

Charles Gasper

Senior Consultant, TCC Group

Charles is a thought leader on the use of media to support efforts to affect positive social change. A sought-after speaker on evaluation of the impact of media as well other sectors, he has presented creative and innovative methods for collection, analysis, and reporting of critical information to inform strategic and tactical decision making. With close to 30 years of experience, he has served in leadership roles in foundations, nonprofits, and currently collaborates with many different organizations to answer sticky and challenging questions.

Charlie Hall

Senior Editor, Tabletop, Vox Media, Polygon

Charlie Hall

Senior Editor, Tabletop, Vox Media, Polygon

Charlie Hall is a journalist, editor, and photographer with more than 11 years’ experience at Polygon. After spending time as a freelance writer (Ars Technica, Paste Magazine, Gamers With Jobs) covering PC games, board games, and Dungeons & Dragons, he became Polygon’s first dedicated features writer in 2013. Over his career, Charlie has hosted and produced several podcasts on games and gaming, and has created multiple million-plus-view videos on YouTube. His areas of expertise include simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games as well as gaming and public policy. Charlie became Polygon’s tabletop editor in 2021 — the first tabletop editor named to a major entertainment media website in the United States. Charlie has been attending Gen Con, the nation’s largest tabletop gaming convention, since 2007, and has served as a judge for both E3 and the Origins Awards. He’s been invited to speak at GDC, PAX, and Gen Con. His work has been featured on NPR, the BBC, online with Smithsonian Magazine, and in the collection of The Peabody Essex Museum. He makes his home in far northern Illinois.

Clay Ewing

Associate Professor, University of Miami

Clay Ewing

Associate Professor, University of Miami

Clay Ewing is the director of NERDLab, an academic game studio at the University of Miami with a focus on mentoring students in design and development of social impact games. An award winning game designer and developer, Professor Ewing’s games have tackled issues such as vector borne diseases, the cost of health care, social safety nets and labor practices. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Design & Technology from Parsons School of Design.

Clayton Banks

CEO, Silicon Harlem

Clayton Banks

CEO, Silicon Harlem

Mr. Banks, CEO of Silicon Harlem, advocates for universal broadband and tech equity. With a passion for democratizing access to technology, he spearheads initiatives in research, future advanced technology, and community education. A renowned advocate for impact-driven innovation.

Corinne Dey

Director of Technology, Games Squad, PBS KIDS

Corinne Dey

Director of Technology, Games Squad, PBS KIDS

Corinne Dey is Director of Technology for the Games Squad at PBS KIDS. Corinne currently leads all engineering efforts around PBS KIDS’ gaming ecosystem, including SpringRoll and the PBS KIDS Games App. Overseeing a team of both internal and external engineers, Corinne has advanced innovations to improve how games are built, QA’d, and served to their audience. She is also a Posse Scholar and graduate of Sewanee: University of the South with a BS in Computer Science and minors in Mathematics and Physics/Astronomy.

Courtney Cogburn

Associate Professor, Plus Media Solutions

Courtney Cogburn

Associate Professor, Plus Media Solutions

Dr. Courtney D. Cogburn is an Associate Professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work. She studied the ways we characterize and measure racism, examines the effects of racism on health and also works at the intersection of emerging technologies and social justice. Her most recent work is exploring connections between imagination and health. She is the lead creator of “1000 Cut Journey,” an immersive virtual reality experience examining racism that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018.

Dan Ackerman

Editor in Chief, Micro Center News

Dan Ackerman

Editor in Chief, Micro Center News

Dan Ackerman is Editor in Chief of tech news publication Micro Center News (microcenter.news). Previously, he was Editor in Chief of Gizmodo, Editorial Director at CNET, and a long-time in-house tech expert on CBS Mornings. Dan’s non-fiction gaming history book, The Tetris Effect (Hachette/PublicAffairs), has earned rave reviews from The New York Times (“The story shines”), Fortune, and WIRED, and he regularly shares his expertise via newsletter at danackerman.substack.com.

Daniel Kelley

Director, Strategy and Operations, Center for Technology and Society, ADL

Daniel Kelley

Director, Strategy and Operations, Center for Technology and Society, ADL

Daniel Kelley (he/him/his) is the Director of Strategy and Operations and Acting Head of the ADL Center for Technology and Society (CTS). CTS is a research-driven advocacy center that works to end the proliferation of antisemitism and all forms of hate and harassment online. Daniel was the second employee of the center after its founding in 2017 and has lead tech company engagement for ADL since that time. Since 2019, Daniel has been the lead author of ADL’s annual nationally representative survey of hate, harassment and extremism in online games. He also leads CTS’ tech accountability research efforts, such as its Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial Report Card, which look at ways to create research grounded advocacy products to inform the public about the nature of hate and harassment online and to hold tech companies accountable.  He has spoken publicly on these issues at the Game Developers Conference, RightsCon, Games for Change and has been consulted on issues related to hate and extremism in gaming by numerous federal US agencies, US legislative offices as well as government agencies in the UK, France and Germany.

Darcelis "Darcy" Gutierrez

Alumni & Faculty, Urban Arts

Darcelis "Darcy" Gutierrez

Alumni & Faculty, Urban Arts

Darcy Gutierrez is a Latinx game developer, accomplished illustrator, and passionate games educator. Darcy's creative journey began with a profound fascination for the intersection of art and technology. Undergoing a traditional illustration their dedication led to the achievement of winning the PSArt competition. As a result, their artwork was showcased at The MET Museum for a multi-month display. The piece resonated with audiences through depictions of Latinx culture and personal experiences. However, Darcy's interest in tech led to creating experimental work as a game developer. Their game Report on the Death of Robert Evergreen weaves together digital and physical media where the player uses a cassette player and tapes. This project was awarded the title of "Most Anticipated Game of 2023" at the Unreleased Game Arcade, and was nominated for the Live Action Spotlight award at IndieCade. Beyond their artistic and game development endeavors, Darcy is a games educator, dedicated to nurturing the next generation of game developers. Born and raised in the projects of Brooklyn, New York their commitment to diversity and inclusion in the gaming world is key to their goals within the industry.

Deborah Mensah-Bonsu

Founder & CEO, Games for Good

Deborah Mensah-Bonsu

Founder & CEO, Games for Good

Deborah is the Founder of Games for Good, which focuses on harnessing the power of video games for social impact. She consults for studios, NGOs and the United Nations Environment Programme. She thrives on collaborating to create healthier cultures, products and communities and has worked with some of the most influential names in games and entertainment. She is a Special Effect Ambassador, TEDx Speaker, BTA Gaming Award 2024 Finalist and named one of the Top 100 Women in Games.

Dr. Celia Hodent

Game UX Strategist

Dr. Celia Hodent

Game UX Strategist

Celia Hodent, PhD in psychology, is recognized as a leader in the application of user experience and cognitive science in the game industry. Through her 16-year experience in game studios (Ubisoft, LucasArts, & director of UX at Epic Games), she has contributed in advancing the topics of UX strategy, inclusion, and ethics in games. Author of the critically acclaimed book The Gamer’s Brain, Celia is the founder of the Game UX Summit & Ethical Games, and works today as an independent consultant.

Dr. Matthew Harrison

Senior Lecturer (Learning Intervention), The University of Melbourne/Next Level Collaboration

Dr. Matthew Harrison

Senior Lecturer (Learning Intervention), The University of Melbourne/Next Level Collaboration

Dr. Matthew Harrison is an experienced teacher, researcher and digital creator with a passion for utilising technology to enhance social capacity building, belonging and inclusion in education. He has taught in Australia, South Korea and the United Kingdom at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Matthew is currently a member of the Learning Intervention team and is the Director of Professional and Continuing Education at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Education. He was awarded the Dyason Fellowship in 2020, and the GEM Scott Teaching Fellowship and the International Society for Technology in Education 'Making IT Happen' award in 2023.

Edward Metz

ED SBIR Program Manager, US Dept of ED

Edward Metz

ED SBIR Program Manager, US Dept of ED

Edward Metz is a developmental psychologist, education researcher, and a program manager of the U.S. Department of Education and Institute of Education Sciences’ Small Business Innovation Research program, a $14M annual ‘seed fund’ for the R&D, evaluation, commercialization of new education technology products. Millions of students and educators use products developed though ED/IES SBIR each year. Many products have been acquired and raised investments to enable scale up. Since 2013, Ed has produced the ED Games Expo, an annual showcase of game-changing education technology innovations developed across more than 50 programs in the U.S. government. Prior to IES, Ed performed research examining the impact of school-based service learning on student’s civic engagement. Ed is a former American Association for the Advancement of Science and Society for Research in Child Development (AAAS/SRCD) Executive Branch Fellow.

Elizabeth D. Kilmer, PhD

Qualitative Researcher in Game Studies, Take This

Elizabeth D. Kilmer, PhD

Qualitative Researcher in Game Studies, Take This

Dr. Kilmer is a licensed clinical psychologist dedicated to education and research in the use of applied games and resilient gaming communities. She currently serves as a qualitative researcher in game studies for Take This, focused on developing resources to help the games industry cultivate resilient online communities. Additionally, Dr. Kilmer’s work includes development of and education on the therapeutic applications of popular games like D&D and Minecraft.

Elizabeth Hargrave

boardgame designer

Elizabeth Hargrave

boardgame designer

Elizabeth Hargrave is an award-winning board game designer inspired by the magic of the real world. Her first game, Wingspan, won the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres and has sold nearly 2 million copies worldwide. She has since released games about migrating monarch butterflies (Mariposas), Victorian flower language (Tussie Mussie), the Russian fox experiment (Fox Experiment), and trading relationships between trees and mushrooms (Undergrove).

Elizabeth M H Newbury

Director, Serious Games Initiative, The Wilson Center

Elizabeth M H Newbury

Director, Serious Games Initiative, The Wilson Center

Dr. Elizabeth M H Newbury is the Director for the Serious Games Initiative for the Wilson Center, leading the Wilson Center's use of games in engaging the public around policy research. As lead of the Serious Games Initiative, she leverages games as a tool for the public communication of science and policy research.  Under her leadership, SGI is pursuing how public policy and science can come together in an interactive platform to increase public dialogue and engagement around timely and critical issues of today. Outside of the Wilson Center, she helps coordinate across federal agencies to help support the ecosystem of games used for social good, through chairing the Federal Games Guild, an informal community of practice with over 100 agency participants united by the purpose to see how they can leverage gaming technologies to meet mission goals.

Eric Martin Lang

Game Designer

Eric Martin Lang

Game Designer

Born in Montreal, Eric has been a game designer for almost 30 years. Among his 100+ designs are tabletop board and card games with big IPs (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Marvel) to originals (Blood Rage, Quarriors, Life in Reterra). His life's passion is to elevate play for the broadest possible audience - primarily with games.

Erika Croxton

Chief of Staff, Agog

Erika Croxton

Chief of Staff, Agog

Erika Croxton is a versatile nonprofit executive and philanthropy professional with 25 years of experience working on issues spanning health and human services, social justice, the arts, climate change, and international development. Prior to joining Agog, she led her own consultancy which provided management, fundraising, and strategic support to nonprofits and philanthropic organizations. Previously, Erika was the Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood Great Northwest, Hawai‘i, Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, where she oversaw fundraising, marketing, and communications for one of the largest Planned Parenthood affiliates in the country. Over the course of her career, Erika served in leadership roles at cause-driven organizations such as the Ms. Foundation for Women, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, Landesa, Grist, and more.

Evan Hirsch

CEO and Co-Founder, PlayNice LLC

Evan Hirsch

CEO and Co-Founder, PlayNice LLC

Evan Hirsch is a design and business executive who co-founded PlayNice, a developer of fun, evidence-based games for adolescents with anxiety and depression. He was recently VP of Design and UR at Anthem.Ai and founded the AMA’s innovation lab, Health 2047. At Engine Co. 4, a design strategy studio whose clients included the American Medical Association, the US Navy, Trimbos Institute, Ubisoft and Disney. His portfolio includes patented designs for products such as the first Microsoft Surface, Centrum Vitamins, and numerous video games including Madden Football and FIFA.

Fran Blumberg

Professor, Fordham University

Fran Blumberg

Professor, Fordham University

Fran Blumberg is a developmental psychologist and a Professor in the Division of Psychological and Educational Services within Fordham University’s Graduate School of Education. Her research concerns the study of children’s problem-solving skills in the context of formal and informal learning settings such as digital game play. Her work has been recognized via funding from the National Science Foundation, Spencer Foundation, and the Center for Curriculum Redesign. She is an editorial board member for journals such as Computers in Human Behavior, Psychology of Popular Media Culture, and Technology, Mind, and Behavior. She was recently part of the organizing team for the January, 2024 Ethical Games Conference (with Celia Hodent and Sebastian Detterding) and is a Senior Associate Editor for a special ACM Games issue that will reflect select papers from the conference. She is co-editor with Patricia Brooks of Cognitive Development in Digital Contexts (Academic Press, 2017) and lead author of the Society for Research in Child Development Social Policy Report, Digital games a context for children’s cognitive development: Research recommendations and policy considerations (2019).

Gabo Arora

Founder & CEO, lightshed.io | whosefuture.org

Gabo Arora

Founder & CEO, lightshed.io | whosefuture.org

Gabo Arora is a multi-award winning creative and technology leader, working across product, design & storytelling to invent the next-generation of interactive and immersive experiences. His personal mission is to augment creativity and empathy with sustainable technology. Gabo is currently the Head of Creative Innovation for Accenture Song, Emerging Content Experiences. (XR, Generative AI, future of creativity). He is also the founder of LIGHTSHED.IO, a creative technology and research studio exploring the future of post-reality experiences and Whosefuture.org, an initiative that brings emerging technology education to the under-served.

Gerard Williams

Gaming Media Personality, HipHopGamer / Grandma's Boy Ent LLC / HOT97

Gerard Williams

Gaming Media Personality, HipHopGamer / Grandma's Boy Ent LLC / HOT97

Gerard "HipHopGamer" Williams born and raised in east new york brooklyn started playing video games at the age of 4. His Grandmother Margaret Williams was a hardcore gamer and passed along the passion to her grandson. Growing up in the hood it was very very easy to get in to trouble within the environment so gaming wasn't only a hobby but it was a life saver for Gerard. Margaret Williams AKA HipHopGranny taught Gerard about life through video games making him understand that in life you will be faced with challenges, objectives, and many harsh battles in order to achieve your goal of winning just like in the video games that Gerard loved to play. As Gerard "HipHopGamer" Williams grew up he was discovered in 2008 by Torrence Davis who owned a website called thebitbag.com which allowed Gerard to put his weekly HipHopGamerShow on the site and also taught him the game of journalism to become a professional in the gaming industry. After attending E3 in 2008 Gerard never looked back, he learned the business, built relationships, and changed the game forever with his unique energy and style and skillset to deliver news , interviews , and information like no one else and broke barriers within the industry to open up the door for many black content creators to have a voice and platform. Today HipHopGamer is labeled as THE GOAT OF THE GAME with a unmatched resume from interviewing the biggest stars in all of entertainment, from being a character and making music in different AAA titled videogames, and for impacting the school system with his Playmakers program and signature quote "Character Is Your Currency". Gerard HipHopGamer Williams is truly a one of one and the rise will continue. In the words of Gerard "HipHopGamer" Williams 1 LOVE & GOD BLESS In Jesus Name We Pray AMEN.

Glenn Gillis

CEO and Co-Founder, Sea Monster

Glenn Gillis

CEO and Co-Founder, Sea Monster

Glenn is the co-founder and CEO of Sea Monster, and the chairperson of Games for Change Africa. Glenn is a seasoned entrepreneur with 25 years of experience as a senior executive and consultant in the creative industries. He is an expert on the role that technology plays in storytelling and a thought-leader on how impact games and immersive technologies (AR & VR) can be used to build brands and drive effective learning outcomes in Africa and beyond. Prior to Sea Monster, Glenn served as the General Manager at two of South Africa’s leading film and animation companies: Moonlighting Film Services and Clockwork Zoo - Africa’s largest animation studio at the time.

Grace Collins

CEO, Snowbright Studio

Grace Collins

CEO, Snowbright Studio

Grace is the Founder/CEO of Snowbright Studio, an award-winning LGBTQ+ game studio dedicated to publishing heartwarming games. They previously led games and education policy at the US Department of Education and later coordinated game policy across the executive branch. Prior to serving at the Department, they developed educational game projects at the Smithsonian Institution. Grace is the 2023 Games for Change Vanguard Award winner and has been featured in the New York Times, AP, and more.

Heather Jackson

Managing Director, Astra Logical

Heather Jackson

Managing Director, Astra Logical

Heather Jackson is the Managing Director of Astra Logical, a mission-driven indie game publisher focused on trailblazing thinky games that empower all types of players to engage in creative problem-solving. Prior to joining Astra, Heather was a graduate of Harvard Business School, and joined Amazon Games to build unique publishing strategies focused on household gaming. When she’s not sinking hours into indie games, she’s probably hiking in Seattle or curating a really good Spotify playlist.

Hugo Obi

Founder, Maliyo Games

Hugo Obi

Founder, Maliyo Games

Hugo Obi is the CEO and Founder of Maliyo Games. He is an accomplished leader and entrepreneur with a passion for the African gaming industry. He is a visionary on a mission to build the continental gaming industry; one game and innovation at a time. Coupling his strategy and business acumen from his time in the industry, Hugo ventured into the world of gaming; when he founded Maliyo Games in 2012.  Maliyo Games has since pioneered talent development initiatives within the African games industry. In 2021, Hugo spearheaded GameUp Africa, a five-month bootcamp for entry-level and aspiring game developers from across the continent. The programme has attracted over 5,000 applicants from across the continent. Following on from the success of GameUp Africa, Maliyo Games launched the Game Art Training Program in 2023, upskilling game artists in an accelerated 3-month modular course, delivered virtually and free-of-charge. It is aimed at both entry-level and semi-professional artists, giving them an opportunity to fine-tune their art skills for a career in the games industry.   Hugo is committed to bringing unique storytelling to millions of African mobile users, fostering a culture of innovation and creativity under the Maliyo Games banner. In 2024, Maliyo Games made history as the first ever African-based developer to collaborate with Disney Games on a tie-in for the Disney Iwájú Rising Chef mobile game which on both the Android & iOS appstores globally, on February 28. Other major titles from the studio include Aboki Run, a virtual fantasy title based on Nigerian folklore, and Whot King, an ode to West Africa’s favourite card game.   Hugo is also a global speaker and expert on major trends, opportunities, and challenges within the African games industry. In 2023, he was a featured speaker at Nordic Game in Malmö, Sweden. He is on the Advisory Board of Africa Games Week,  a conference held annually in Cape Town, South Africa. Hugo was a featured panellist at the BIG Festival, Brazil’s premier convention for indie game developers, in São Paulo, in June 2023. He also took the stage, once more, in August, at GamesCom held in Cologne, Germany. He will be speaking on his experience building talent pipelines for the African games industry at the Game Developer Conference (GDC)  in San Francisco, USA in March 2024.  Hugo Obi and his team launched the first comprehensive report on the African Games Industry with the release of the 2024 Africa Games Industry Report which was formally presented to audiences during the Africa Games Week event in Cape Town at the end of 2023. The report has circulated widely both within and outside the games industry at home and abroad.  He has been lauded as a trailblazer within the industry after being awarded the prestigious Games Industry Africa ‘Person of the Year’ accolade twice in 2021 and 2023.

Jason Gonzalez

Tech & Gaming Officer, Global Corporate Partnerships, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Jason Gonzalez

Tech & Gaming Officer, Global Corporate Partnerships, International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Jason Gonzalez is the first-ever Tech & Gaming Officer at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian nonprofit that assists people facing the aftermath of conflict and disaster in 50+ countries. Jason partners with gaming and technology companies, influencers, and communities to enhance the experience of players, employees, and broader audiences by fostering welcoming and inclusive communities for people whose lives have been disrupted by humanitarian crises.

Jason Rausch

Senior Vice President of Programs, Project Lead The Way, Pathogen Patrol

Jason Rausch

Senior Vice President of Programs, Project Lead The Way, Pathogen Patrol

Jason Rausch serves as the Senior Vice President of Programs at Project Lead The Way (PLTW) with the goal empowering students through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science. He has a passion for teaching, learning, design thinking, educational technology, and gamified learning. In his role, Jason is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of PLTW's high school curriculum and program offerings.

Jenny Xu

CEO, Talofa Games

Jenny Xu

CEO, Talofa Games

Jenny Xu is a long-distance runner, fitness instructor, Forbes 30 Under 30: Games recipient, and CEO of Talofa Games. She started making games and running at age 12, and in her 14 years in the gaming industry, she’s shipped 10 titles on the mobile app stores with over 10 million downloads. She was the grand prize winner of the Niantic Beyond Reality Contest in 2019, right after she graduated from MIT studying Computer Science. She's also previously worked at Google, N3TWORK, and EA.

Jess Jacklin

Filmmaker, Quad Gods Director

Jess Jacklin

Filmmaker, Quad Gods Director

Jess Jacklin is a filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. Her debut feature film will premiere at in competition at the 2024 Tribeca Festival and air on HBO. Her other credits include Waterman (PBS) and Hacking Health (Topic/First Look Media)

Jess Rowlings

Researcher/CEO & Co-Founder, University of Melbourne/Next Level Collaboration

Jess Rowlings

Researcher/CEO & Co-Founder, University of Melbourne/Next Level Collaboration

Jess Rowlings is a qualified speech pathologist and co-founder/CEO of Next Level Collaboration, a social enterprise that runs strength-based programs to support collaborative skill development and social connection through cooperative video games. Jess is also a researcher at the University of Melbourne, specialising in the design and analysis of video game-based intervention to build social capacity. Jess’ work is informed by her lived experience of receiving autism and ADHD diagnoses as an adult as well as her lifelong love of games, and she is passionate about the use of digital games-based learning to promote inclusion and belonging.

Jesse Schell

CEO, Schell Games

Jesse Schell

CEO, Schell Games

Jesse Schell is the founder and CEO of Schell Games -- one of the largest full-service educational and entertainment VR and game development coompanies in the US. He wrote the critically acclaimed book The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, and also serves as Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University. Before Schell Games, Jesse was the Creative Director of the Disney Imagineering Virtual Reality Studio.

Jessica Lindl

VP and Global Head of Social Impact / Education, Unity Technologies

Jessica Lindl

VP and Global Head of Social Impact / Education, Unity Technologies

Jessica Lindl is the global head of social impact and education at Unity Technologies, running both an internal business unit with a P&L and a Corporate Donor Advised fund. In addition, Jessica is responsible for Unity’s ESG and sustainability, social impact, education, and upskilling strategy and teams.

As an accomplished CEO and General Manager, Jessica has raised both venture capital and philanthropic funds to launch new business ventures. She has over 20 years of experience running various business ventures and P&Ls, consistently exceeding her targets. She has experience in launching both B2B and B2C businesses with expertise in strategic partnerships, digital user acquisition, product strategy, and product development. Industry experience includes SaaS, technology, gaming, education, and media.

Over her career, she has focused on empowering millions of learners building careers and businesses with technology. In her work at Unity Technologies, Common Sense Media, GlassLab and LRNG (now part of Southern New Hampshire University), Scientific Learning, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, she has worked to improve learning outcomes and earning potential for all learners worldwide by blending effectiveness with ground-breaking engagement.

Jessica is an Aspen Institute-Pahara Fellow focusing on the global connection between learning and earning opportunities. She is also an advisory board member for GSV Ventures, an early-stage venture fund, that partners with exceptional entrepreneurs and their companies in the $75 billion learning and talent technology sector. Additionally, she’s an advisory board member for California State University Entertainment Alliance Advisory Council, the largest four-year public university system in the U.S. with nearly 500,000 students. 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.

Joost Raessens

Full Professor and Chair of Media Theory, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Joost Raessens

Full Professor and Chair of Media Theory, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Prof. Joost Raessens holds the chair of Media Theory at Utrecht University and is the scientific director of the Utrecht Center for Game Research, The Netherlands. Inspired by UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, his research focuses on the understanding of how green media such as Games and XR drive systemic social change. Raessens is the project coordinator of the Horizon Europe project STRATEGIES (Sustainable Transition for Europe’s Game Industries, 2024-2028) and co-editor of Ecogames: Playful Perspectives on the Climate Crisis (AUP 2024).

Jose C. Perez

Director of Instructional Technology, New York City Public Schools

Jose C. Perez

Director of Instructional Technology, New York City Public Schools

Jose is a seasoned educator with 13+ yrs at NYC Public Schools, currently directs instructional technology in Queens. Jose champions the empowerment of teachers and students.He co-founded NYC's Battle of the Boros: Mayor’s Cup Competition, merging esports with sustainability education, aligning with UN’s SDGs and NYC's climate plan, fostering student engagement in shaping the city's future.

Julie Davitz

Founder and CEO, Plus Media Solutions

Julie Davitz

Founder and CEO, Plus Media Solutions

Ms. Davitz is an internationally recognized impact leader in impact. She founded +Media to seamlessly bridge the intention/action gap and measure impact. Prior to +Media, she was Head of Impact at a large global bank, also CEO of global impact consulting firm.

Justin Berry

Creative Producer / Project Director, Yale Center for Immersive Technology in Pediatrics

Justin Berry

Creative Producer / Project Director, Yale Center for Immersive Technology in Pediatrics

Justin Berry is an artist, educator, researcher, and game designer whose work has been presented internationally in magazines, conferences, and museums. While faculty at the Yale School of Art, he led teams from multiple departments as Principal Investigator for the Blended Reality program. His current role is Creative Producer and Project Director for the Yale Center For Immersive Technologies in Pediatrics exploring ways immersive technologies can improve quality of life and health outcomes.

Karen (Kat) Schrier

Full Professor/Director of Games & Emerging Media, Marist

Karen (Kat) Schrier

Full Professor/Director of Games & Emerging Media, Marist

Karen (Kat) Schrier is Full Professor and Director of Games & Emerging Media at Marist. She is also a game design consultant for World Health Organization and CEO of PlatyPlay, LLC, which designs games for care, health, and inclusion. Dr. Schrier is the author/editor of over 100 published works, including We the Gamers (Oxford University Press) and Knowledge Games (JHU Press). She has over 20 years of experience in game development, and worked for Nickelodeon, Scholastic, and BrainPOP. See more at: https://www.karenschrier.com/, and https://www.linkedin.com/in/katschrier/.

Katja Iversen

CEO, Museum for the United Nations - UN Live

Katja Iversen

CEO, Museum for the United Nations - UN Live

Katja is an award winning, executive adviser, author and global advocate on leadership, sustainability, global health and gender equality. She became the CEO at UN Live in September 2023. She has a background as a leader in civil society, the United Nations and as a cross-cultural leadership trainer of Fortune 500 executives. Prior to that, she was the President/CEO of the global advocacy organization Women Deliver. As high-level adviser to private sector executives and institutions such as the G7, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations Katja has helped drive worldwide change.

Kelly McNeil

Learning Experience Designer, Digital Promise

Kelly McNeil

Learning Experience Designer, Digital Promise

Learning Experience Designer with Digital Promise supporting Peer to Peer Professional learning communities and Global Youth Voice and Innovation. Leadership and Innovation EdD student at ASU studying playful professional learning with digital games. Former STEAM Curriculum and Technology program manager at ASU for Verizon Innovative Learning Lab schools and K12 Computer Science and Makerspace teacher.

Kieran Donovan

Co-Founder and CEO, k-ID

Kieran Donovan

Co-Founder and CEO, k-ID

Kieran Donovan is the CEO and founding member of k-ID, a first-of-its-kind global compliance engine that makes it easy for game developers and parents to ensure the safety and privacy of kids and teens online. In his role, Kieran uses his decade of experience working at the frontier of data protection and online safety regulation to manage the company and technology overall.  The only person to have ever been named Privacy Lawyer of the Year multiple times, Kieran has advised some of the world’s most well-known online platforms on how to architect solutions to efficiently navigate emerging regulatory challenges across the world. Some of the most popular games in the world today feature family portals and youth onboarding flows designed by Kieran. He has been recognized by Chambers, Legal 500, Asian Legal Business (ALB), and more as one of the world’s leading technology and data protection lawyers.

Kimberly Hieftje

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, XRPediatrics at the Yale Center for Immersive Technologies in Pediatrics

Kimberly Hieftje

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, XRPediatrics at the Yale Center for Immersive Technologies in Pediatrics

Kimberly Hieftje, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Yale University and co-director/co-founder of XRPediatrics at Yale and the Yale Center for Immersive Technologies in Pediatrics. For the past 15 years, her research has focused on the development, evaluation, and implementation of health and clinical interventions for youth that utilize XR and game technology. Dr. Hieftje is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Games for Health Journal, the premier journal in the field of serious games for health and clinical applications.

Kimberly Voll

Co-Founder, Thriving in Games Group (formerly Fair Play Alliance)

Kimberly Voll

Co-Founder, Thriving in Games Group (formerly Fair Play Alliance)

Dr. Kimberly Voll is a veteran game designer and developer with a passion for creating inclusive online gaming experiences. Her background in cognitive science and computer science (AI) informs her work, blending technical expertise with a player-centric design approach. Formerly a principal designer at Riot Games, Kimberly is now CEO of Brace Yourself Games, and is the co-founder of the Fair Play Alliance, a global coalition dedicated to healthier game communities.

Kirk Musngi

Senior Community Manager, Unity Technologies

Kirk Musngi

Senior Community Manager, Unity Technologies

Kirk Musngi (say ha’ng’ing - then say Mus’ñg’i!) is the Senior Community Manager for Unity Learn, Education, and Social Impact. He’s formerly a game designer and community organizer based in Cary, North Carolina, USA. Kirk is a co-founder and acting board member of the Triangle Interactive Arts Collective. He's also collaborated with awesome organizations such as Games for Change, RVAGameJams, and Game Devs of Color. If he’s not making games or helping with a cause, you can find him playing with his dog Winston or taking kids to school at a basketball court near you!

Kumi Naidoo

Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University

Kumi Naidoo

Payne Distinguished Lecturer at the Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University

Kumi Naidoo is a South African human rights and environmental justice activist, who currently is the Payne Distinguished Lecturer at Stanford University. He is the former Secretary-General of Amnesty International (2018-2020) and also the first person from the Global South to lead Greenpeace International (2009-2015). He is an advisor for the Community Arts Network. He serves as a global ambassador for Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity. His family has started the Riky Rick Foundation for the Promotion of Artivism to build on the positive legacies left by popular South African rapper Rikhado “Riky Rick” Makhado through his music and life’s work. Kumi is the author of award-winning Letters To My Mother: The Makings of a Troublemaker. Kumi is also the host of the podcast Power, People and Planet.

Leanne Loombe

Vice President, External Games, Netflix

Leanne Loombe

Vice President, External Games, Netflix

Leanne is the Vice President of External Games at Netflix, overseeing all externally developed titles and bringing them to Netflix’s more than 247M members. Prior to joining Netflix, Leanne created and oversaw Riot Forge, the external publishing division of Riot Games, making a variety of League of Legends story games that helped expand the reach of one of the biggest gaming franchises. Before that, she bridged her love of cars and games at Electronic Arts, leading multiple Need for Speed titles and spearheading the franchise’s transition to live service. Leanne began her career in the UK working on titles such as Scrabble, Risk, and Magic the Gathering and also worked in third-party publishing in Japan for multiple years. Leanne is a passionate ambassador for Women In Games and focuses on encouraging women to join the industry and creating diversity in teams through mentorship, panels and events.

Levi Braslow

Social Impact Strategy, Data and Technology Consultant

Levi Braslow

Social Impact Strategy, Data and Technology Consultant

Levi Braslow is a data, technology, research and strategy consultant with twenty years of experience designing and leading engagements to achieve policy change, political wins, and social impact. Levi supports non-profits, governments, multilaterals and corporations to integrate impact thinking throughout their work, from product and process design through program implementation, analysis and reporting. They help organizations build and maintain the tools and processes that enable them to understand, communicate and maximize their impact on the issues that matter most. Throughout their career, they have always looked for innovative ways to answer challenging questions, solve hard problems, and help make the world a better place.

Lien Tran

Assistant Professor, DePaul University

Lien Tran

Assistant Professor, DePaul University

Lien B. Tran is an Assistant Professor of games and design at DePaul University's Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media. She is director of Matters at Play, a transdisciplinary design lab partnering in the creation of interactive advocacy solutions for positive social transformations (particularly in the areas of social justice, public health, and the environment). Her portfolio includes game-based tools for organizations such as Open Society Foundations, World Bank, and United Nations.

Lindsay Grace

Knight Chair & Director of the MFA in Interactive Media, University of MIami, Higher Education Video Game Alliance

Lindsay Grace

Knight Chair & Director of the MFA in Interactive Media, University of MIami, Higher Education Video Game Alliance

Lindsay Grace is Knight Chair & Interactive Media MFA Director at the University of Miami. He is also Vice President for the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA). He authored or co-authored more than 95 publications on games and design, including his 2019 book, Doing Things with Games, Social Impact through Play. His creative work has been selected for exhibition on 5 continents. He is a consultant on design and education for varied agencies, international non-profits, media arts organizations and commercial organizations.

Lorena Lopez Hechavarria

Lecturer of Interaction Design, University of Miami

Lorena Lopez Hechavarria

Lecturer of Interaction Design, University of Miami

Lorena Lopez Hechavarria is an interaction and immersive experience designer born in Havana, Cuba, and based out of Miami, FL. She is a Lecturer of Interaction Design at the University of Miami’s Interactive Media program in the School of Communication, as well as the Director of Interactive at the New Experience Research and Design Lab (NERDLab). Lorena is driven by a keen desire to fuse the digital and physical realms into captivating, educational experiences. Her design focus revolves around leveraging the use of user experience design, extended reality, and physical computing to not only entertain but also inform, with a particular emphasis on transforming user experiences within museums, theaters and educational spaces.

Lynn Fiellin

Founder, Playbl

Lynn Fiellin

Founder, Playbl

I am the founder of Playbl, a digital behavioral health company I spun out from my academic research program, the play2PREVENT Lab. I am also a physician-researcher who has been on faculty at Yale for over 30 years and just joined the faculty at Dartmouth College. At Playbl, we harness the power of play to help adolescents live happier and healthier lives by marketing and distributing our 5 evidence-based highly engaging and accessible digital health games that target critical health outcomes in adolescents around mental health, substance misuse, and sexual health.

Makeda Mays Green

SVP, Digital and Cultural Consumer Insights

Makeda Mays Green

SVP, Digital and Cultural Consumer Insights

Makeda Mays Green is Senior Vice President, Digital and Cultural Consumer Insights at Nickelodeon. In her role, she evaluates the most effective ways to reach diverse target audiences through innovative research methodologies across Nickelodeon’s platforms. Previously, she served in a leadership role for the Education & Research, Digital Media division at Sesame Workshop (the creators of Sesame Street), where she examined the potential of current and emerging digital media platforms to provide quality educational material to children and families. She has delivered several keynote addresses, headlined at numerous national conferences and guest lectured at Harvard University, New York University and Temple University. She is the author of Makeda: Moving Up in Media and has appeared on The Learning Channel, CNN.com, MSNBC.com and Good Morning America Now. Green is also a proud advisory board member of Raising Good Gamers, an initiative developed to create positive change in the culture and climate of online video gaming for youth; Determined to Educate, a non-profit designed to support underserved youth through mentoring programs, and The Ferguson Public Library. She holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.A. and Ed.M in Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University. Green resides in Stamford, CT with her husband and three children.

Marc Almanzor

Owner/Founder, Make Gaming About Fundraising

Marc Almanzor

Owner/Founder, Make Gaming About Fundraising

Marc is the founder of Make Gaming About Fundraising, where he blends 15+ years in nonprofit fundraising with his charity stream success on Twitch. An influential member of the NJ Extra Life Guild Advisory Committee, he has earned four Extra Life medals for his efforts with Children's Specialized Hospital NJ. As co-chair of the Esports Trade Association’s Fundraising Committee, Marc fosters partnerships between nonprofits and the esports industry. He is currently collaborating with Easterseals to raise awareness for accessibility in gaming.

Marc Ruppel, Ph.D.

Senior Program Officer/Program Lead, Digital Projects for the Public, National Endowment for the Humanities

Marc Ruppel, Ph.D.

Senior Program Officer/Program Lead, Digital Projects for the Public, National Endowment for the Humanities

Dr. Marc Ruppel is a Senior Program Officer and program lead for the Digital Projects for the Public grant line at the National Endowment for the Humanities, Division of Public Programs. His portfolio supports games, virtual reality, mobile apps, and web experiences rooted in the humanities, and he also leads the Endowment’s civics education initiatives.

Maria Tamellini

Co-founder and COO, GamerSafer

Maria Tamellini

Co-founder and COO, GamerSafer

Maria is an award-winning entrepreneur and the co-founder of GamerSafer, a SaaS company that works with multiplayer games, esports platforms, and online communities to deliver safer, fair, and welcoming experiences for players. Before GamerSafer, she led a successful social impact and B Corp-certified business for many years. She is a UC Berkeley Skydeck and a Stanford LBAN alumna, an AWS Impact Fellow, and was awarded by Headstream Innovation for building better digital spaces for youth. Maria has also collaborated with research and other impact initiatives from the Anti-Defamation League, Take This, Stanford Reach Lab, WeProtect Global Alliance, and Fair Play Alliance. She was born and raised in Brazil, currently lives in California, and advocates for women, Latinas, and other underrepresented groups in tech and games.

Matt Daigle

Co-creator and Co-writer, "Harmonium, The Musical", The Odd Gentlemen

Matt Daigle

Co-creator and Co-writer, "Harmonium, The Musical", The Odd Gentlemen

Matt Daigle is the co-writer and co-creator of "Harmonium, The Musical" He is an illustrator, cartoonist, instructor of ASL and an author. He is the co-creator of the popular webcomic "That Deaf Guy". He has published four books, "In Deaf Culture...", "Extreme Interpreting", "That Deaf Guy, A Family Portrait", and "That Deaf Guy, A Wild Ride". He has won numerous awards for his logo designs and graphic design work. He lives in Burbank, California with his wife and son.

Matt Korba

President/Creative Director,The Odd Gentlemen

Matt Korba

President/Creative Director,The Odd Gentlemen

Matt Korba is a game designer/writer and the President of The Odd Gentlemen, a multi-award-winning narrative game company creating accessible games with positive messages and diverse stories. The studio is uniquely structured to broaden inclusivity and increase accessibility in games. They created King’s Quest (2015) and the upcoming Harmonium: A Sign Language Musical. Korba founded the studio in 2008 to craft games that tell interactive stories on par with the best animated film studios.

Melanie Harke

Interactive Producer, Fred Rogers Productions

Melanie Harke

Interactive Producer, Fred Rogers Productions

During her 19 years in the game industry, Melanie has served as designer and director for projects ranging from interactive connected toys, massively multiplayer online games, VR experiences, theme park rides, and dozens of early childhood educational games. As an Interactive Producer at Fred Rogers Productions, she focuses on creating early childhood educational games and interactives for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Donkey Hodie.  She is especially interested in social emotional learning and how games can be used to encourage a kinder and more thoughtful world.

Michael Preston

Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

Michael Preston

Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

Michael Preston is the Executive Director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, a research and innovation lab that works to advance children’s learning and well-being in the digital age. His work has focused on using technology to improve teaching and learning, supporting student agency and interest, and creating models for systemic change. Previously, he co-founded CSforALL, the hub for the national Computer Science for All movement, and led digital learning initiatives at the New York City Department of Education and at Columbia University. He earned a PhD in Cognitive Science in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA from Harvard University.

Mike Washburn

Director of Learning Experiences, Logics Academy

Mike Washburn

Director of Learning Experiences, Logics Academy

Mike Washburn is an educator, community builder, and is the Director of Learning Experiences for Logics Academy. Mike has worked with leading EdTech organizations to connect educators through community building and professional learning, enabling them to share their passions and knowledge. Mike was the co-host of the hit education podcasts OnEducation and the Minecraft: Education Edition podcast. With almost 500,000 career podcast downloads, Mike is a standout voice for technology in education.

Nicholas Pilarski

Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Nicholas Pilarski

Associate Professor, Arizona State University

Nicholas Pilarski creates interactive stories deeply rooted in community experiences and the complex challenges we encounter. Through emerging technologies, he aims to cultivate dialogue and solidarity rather than a culture of monologue. Pilarski’s work and approach have been recognized by entities such as Filmmaker Magazine, The New York Times, and The Smithsonian. As an Associate Professor of XR at ASU, Pilarski finds balance in the migratory bird songs of the Sonoran Desert, where he resides.

Nicholas Weller

Assistant Research Professor, Arizona State University

Nicholas Weller

Assistant Research Professor, Arizona State University

Nicholas Weller is an Assistant Research Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) at Arizona State University (ASU). Through his work, he promotes engagement among scientists, public audiences, policy makers, and cultural organizations. He conducts this work in service of creating a just, free, and sustainable future.

Nick Winter

CEO, CodeCombat

Nick Winter

CEO, CodeCombat

As CEO and cofounder of CodeCombat, Nick combines his expertise in technology, optimization, and language learning to teach coding to over 20 million learners. He previously cofounded Skritter, a top app for learning Chinese characters, and authored "The Motivation Hacker," a guide to extreme productivity.

Nicolas Meade

Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine

Nicolas Meade

Assistant Professor, Yale School of Medicine

Nicolas Meade, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine. He is an attending psychologist at the Yale Pediatric Gender Program, where he serves on an interdisciplinary team of professionals to support youth and their families in navigating their gender journeys. His research focuses on applications for novel technologies to support trans and gender expansive youth in finding affirmation, community, and gender joy.

Nikita Khalid

Research Manager, Scratch Foundation

Nikita Khalid

Research Manager, Scratch Foundation

Nikita Khalid is the Research Manager at Scratch, and is conducting research funded by the LEGO Foundation on the relationships between the use of digital technology and child well-being. She is also conducting research at the CUNY Graduate Center, on student emotional regulation during academic feedback, and on the relationship between praise and academic achievement. Nikita holds a Master of Science in Quantitative Methods and a Master of Philosophy in Educational Psychology.

idris brewster

Founder, Kinfolk Tech Foundation

idris brewster

Founder, Kinfolk Tech Foundation

idris brewster is a Brooklyn-born artist and creative technologist that disrupts traditional narratives through spatial experiences, all the while empowering others to do the same. idris’s work explores the liminal space between the historical archive, public space, and technology. idris is the Executive Director of Kinfolk Foundation, an augmented reality archive that puts the power of monument making and historical preservation into the hands of Black and Brown communities. Before Kinfolk, idris worked for Google, developing an educational program called Code Next that exposes Black and Brown youth to the world of computer science, allowing them to have the tools to build their own future. The goal of Code Next is to increase black and brown participation in STEAM. idris has received several awards and recognitions for his work, including Forbes 30 under 30, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, New Museum, Eyebeam, the United Nations, and the Museum of Modern Art.

Phil Birchinall

Head of Immersive, Discovery Education

Phil Birchinall

Head of Immersive, Discovery Education

Phil leads the award-winning immersive content team at Discovery Education, developing ground-breaking apps and content used in classrooms around the world. Phil has been an educator and EdTech innovation leader for over 30 years, creating and delivering high impact content into the classroom. In 2022 he was named as one of the pioneers of immersive learning.

Pia Breum Corlin

Snr. Design Strategist, The LEGO Group

Pia Breum Corlin

Snr. Design Strategist, The LEGO Group

Pia Breum Corlin, with nearly 20 years experience in digital design, co-created the LEGO Digital Design Principles for kids. This toolkit enables and empowers child-centric design by helping designers understand and convey the interplay between well-being, play, and creativity. In her role as Senior Design Strategist, she channels her creativity to craft experiences that ignite young minds' curiosity and imagination, fostering safe digital exploration and growth.

Onur Dizdar

Public Diplomacy Specialist & Instructional Designer

Onur Dizdar

Public Diplomacy Specialist & Instructional Designer

Onur Dizdar, a Public Diplomacy Specialist and Instructional Designer, has over a decade of experience in government and international relations, spearheading numerous educational and cultural exchange initiatives. During his tenure at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, spanning more than 5 years, he pioneered the integration of gaming into public diplomacy efforts to address critical global issues and strengthen people-to-people ties between the U.S. and Turkiye. His innovative approach led to the establishment of various impactful programs, including talks, seminars and workshops with American experts, serious games boot camps/hackathons, and an eSports club. For his contributions, Onur received the 2023 Excellence in Public Diplomacy Award granted by the Public Diplomacy Council of America. Prior to this, he played key roles in managing Istanbul's foreign relations for over 5 years and facilitated exchange programs at the Fulbright Commission in Turkiye for 2 years. Onur holds a degree in American Studies from Hacettepe University, a master's in History from Bilkent University, and a graduate certificate in Instructional Design and Technology from Purdue University Global.

Poonacha Machaiah

CEO, The Chopra Foundation

Poonacha Machaiah

CEO, The Chopra Foundation

Poonacha Machaiah, as the CEO of The Chopra Foundation, leads a mission-driven organization committed to enhancing health, societal, and environmental well-being. With a visionary approach, he co-founded groundbreaking enterprises like Cyberhuman.AI, a pioneering personal AI digital wellness companion, and Seva.Love, a transformative metaverse platform dedicated to well-being, in collaboration with esteemed mind-body medicine innovator and best-selling author Deepak Chopra, MD.

His leadership extends to spearheading initiatives like NeverAlone®, aimed at addressing mental health and suicide prevention, and Peak Living, which celebrates the synergy of wisdom and vitality across generations. Poonacha brings a wealth of experience from esteemed roles at industry giants such as Nortel, Iridium, Motorola, and Sasken, where he contributed to shaping technological landscapes.

Poonacha Machaiah's academic journey includes earning an MBA from the esteemed College of William and Mary, complemented by a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. His dedication to leveraging technology for holistic well-being, coupled with his strategic vision and commitment to social impact, underscores his invaluable contributions to The Chopra Foundation's mission.

Walter Greenleaf, PhD

Neuroscientist, Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab

Walter Greenleaf, PhD

Neuroscientist, Stanford University Virtual Human Interaction Lab

Walter Greenleaf, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist and a medical technology developer working at Stanford University. With over three decades of research and product development experience, Walter is considered a leading authority in digital medicine, wearable sensors, and medical virtual reality technology. He serves on the Science Advisory Board for healthcare companies such as Abbott, Biogen, United Health Group, Penumbra, and Interaxon.  He is the neuroscience and technology advisor to several early-stage medical product companies and venture investment groups.

Zhiying Wei

Student, CMU

Zhiying Wei

Student, CMU

Current student at CMU ETC. Future direction focus on game designs.

William Nix

CEO, Creative Projects Group/Founding Member-Co-Executive Director SIE Society

William Nix

CEO, Creative Projects Group/Founding Member-Co-Executive Director SIE Society

CEO of Creative Projects Group, Producer, Co-Executive Director of SIE Society & LOHAS Partner.  William Nix is the CEO of Creative Projects Group® and a Producer with extensive experience in the entertainment, media, sports, and intellectual property fields. He is a founding member and Co-Executive Director of the SIE Society, and a Partner in the social and environmental impact investment firm of LOHAS. Will is a member of the Producer’s Council of the PGA. He is also a lifetime voting-member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, as well as a member of the Television and Recording Academies.  His production work involves both traditional media and multiple content delivery platforms, technologies and genres. With Producer Salma Hayek, he served as Executive Producer of an animated feature film, distributed by Universal and Netflix, based on Kahlil Gibran’s iconic work, The Prophet.  Among its ten award nominations were three Annie Nominations and inclusion in the Oscars Animated Feature Film Nomination ShortList. Drawing upon his substantial international background, his film Firedancer was the first Afghanistan submission for Academy Awards consideration.  William’s recent projects include two documentary features: Power, about a billion peoples’ lack of access to the global and local energy systems, and a historical overview of an important era of American musical and cultural history entitled This is Ragtime: The Birth of American Music. He is also producing a dramatic biographical limited series entitled Gibran: Beyond Borders, a theatrical stage musical entitled Broken Wings, based on Kahlil Gibran’s first novel, one entitled Trailblazers and the other, An Accidental Cuban. He and his partners are also developing projects to expand a family of racing brands, into an animated/live-action film, television video game, and multimedia entertainment franchise. He is currently developing a multicultural, multi-platform television series and immersive media experience entitled TRIBE-X WORLD, with Nikon Ambassador and acclaimed photographer, author and artist, Matthew Jordan Smith.  He is currently an Advisory Board member of Journeys in Film, a non-profit organization that develops and produces innovative curriculum, discussion guide and other educational materials for teachers/students to use in order to support the reach, understanding and legacy of films and television programs. In addition, he is an Advisory Board member of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Hollywood Health & Society, the Global Arts Corps, Producers Without Borders.

Tristan Marra

Vice President of Research & Reports, GLAAD

Tristan Marra

Vice President of Research & Reports, GLAAD

Tory Brown

Designer, Votes for Women

Tory Brown

Designer, Votes for Women

Tory Brown is the designer of Votes for Women, an award-winning board game about the American Suffrage Movement and the 19th Amendment. Published by Fort Circle Games, Votes for Women is her first foray into game design but not her first experience with social movements. Tory is a senior message &brand strategist with two decades of communications and organizing experience across the progressive movement for the rights and dignity of all people, no matter their ZIP code or skin color.

Timothy Grant

Program Director, Gaming Approaches Towards Education, LLC (GATE)

Timothy Grant

Program Director, Gaming Approaches Towards Education, LLC (GATE)

Timothy Grant is a co-designer of Venture Village, a game to be published by 9th Level Games. It is a game to be used in therapy, school, and at home, and it will be coming out later this year. He helps run groups in a two-facilitator model with a licensed professional, using games as a tool for therapeutic change. In addition, Timothy became a Mental Health Technician to help him understand how to create better therapeutic games and train others to use them as, tools for therapeutic and personal growth.

Tiffany Leones

Early STEM Education Researcher, Digital Promise

Tiffany Leones

Early STEM Education Researcher, Digital Promise

As an early STEM education researcher at Digital Promise, Tiffany collaborates with educators, families, and media/game designers to co-design developmentally appropriate and culturally rich early STEM innovations across school and home. Her research interests include early STEM teaching and learning and exploring how educational media and games can be inclusively designed to spark young learners’ STEM interest and engagement.

Tanya Thompson

Senior Director | Inventor Relations | Hasbro Games

Tanya Thompson

Senior Director | Inventor Relations | Hasbro Games

Tanya Thompson has over 18 years of toy and game experience and is now the Senior Director of Head of Inventor Relations and External Innovation for Hasbro Games.  Previously Tanya has led Inventor Relations, Product Development and Product Sourcing for companies including ThinkFun, Marbles the Brain Store and Mastermind Toys. Her passion is connecting with people, sourcing ideas, and playing board games and mechanical puzzles.  Tanya is an avid supporter of inventors and has partnered closely with many to bring hits to market like Life in Reterra, Fork Milk Kidnap, Twister Air, Clue Escape Series, Don’t Step In It and Gravity Maze to name a few. She is honored to be awarded the Heroes of the Realm Award in 2024, Women In Toys’ 2023 Wonder Women of the Year Award in Out Licensing, the 2023 I.D.I.O.T. (International Designer and Inventor of Toys) award given as a tribute to luminaries who have made outstanding contributions to the toy industry, the Mojo Nation Play Creators’ 2022 Inventor Relations Executive of the Year as well as included in the Mojo Nation Top 100 list of most influential people in the toy and game industry for the last five years, and the United Inventors Association Inspire Top 100 list.  Her proudest accomplishment is raising three beautiful children with her husband Chris!

Thomas Winkley

Technical Marketing Advocate, Unity

Thomas Winkley

Technical Marketing Advocate, Unity

Thomas is a Unity Certified Programmer and Instructor, fighting game commentator, community organizer, and an amateur pizza enthusiast. Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, he supports Unity’s work in the academic and non-profit space, from presentations to curricular implementation. If Thomas isn't prototyping a far-fetched game idea or playing the latest iteration of Street Fighter, you can find him figuring out the best way to cook a new pizza style, or diving in with students to help shape the future of real-time 3D.

Sonja R. O'Brien

Program Coordinator, Serious Games Initiative

Sonja R. O'Brien

Program Coordinator, Serious Games Initiative

Sonja is the Program Coordinator of the Serious Games Initiative at the Wilson Center, supporting a portfolio focused on science communication, education, and game-based approaches to critical policy topics such as disinformation, artificial intelligence, and plastic pollution. She is passionate about games and their ability to make information sticky while players have fun.

Stanley Pierre-Louis

President & CEO, Entertainment Software Association

Stanley Pierre-Louis

President & CEO, Entertainment Software Association

Stanley Pierre-Louis is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Entertainment Software Association, the voice and advocate for the U.S. video game industry. With more than two decades of entertainment and media experience, Stan leads ESA’s efforts to showcase the dynamic impact the video game industry has on business, entertainment, and culture. Stan’s experience also spans the film, television and music industries as well as service on corporate and nonprofit boards. He currently serves on the board of Games for Change.

Simay Dinc

CEO \ Founder, Reaction

Simay Dinc

CEO \ Founder, Reaction

Simay Dinc *Co-founder of Recontact Games *Founder of Women in Games TR *Co-founder of KıraARThane *Founder of REACTION   RECONTACT GAMES   Simay Dinc is an award-winning game producer of Recontact Game series, the co-founder of Recontact Games with the motto of making playable arts.   Simay is the founder of Women in Games TR with the motto of We Are in Games  Simay is the founder of REACTION Venture Studio, where she invest in impact focused games    She is the creator of C.A.T.S. of Small Village   C.A.T.S. of Small Village social impact project aims to raise awareness sustainable development goals through Gaming Industry. While providing Culture, Art, Technology, Science lessons from experienced lecturers, Women in Games mentors use gamification techniques to transform children’ ideas into a real game design. Project aims to reach village children in rural areas who dont have opportunity to meet new professions of the future of gaming   Simay is the co-founder of KıraARThane with the motto of Games are an Artform KıraARThane, unusual art gallery and co-working hub for gaming industry in a old town. Kıraarthane is providing free game design, coding, photography lessons to village children and organising international conferences, hackathons, events about the future of gaming. (Hacking the Future, Art Hackathon)

Silvia Lovato

Sr. Director and Head of Learning & Research, PBS KIDS

Silvia Lovato

Sr. Director and Head of Learning & Research, PBS KIDS

As Head of Learning & Research at PBS KIDS, Silvia Lovato leads the team responsible for PBS KIDS curriculum development, research and evaluation, and early childhood education strategy. Previously, she worked at PBS KIDS from 2000 to 2014 as a Content Manager and Sr. Product Director, managing the production of interactive features for PBS KIDS digital platforms, including games. A seasoned children’s media professional and researcher who is passionate about how media can help kids learn, Silvia holds a Ph.D. in Media, Technology and Society from Northwestern University.

Savannah Badalich

Senior Director, Policy, Discord

Savannah Badalich

Senior Director, Policy, Discord

Savannah Badalich is the Senior Director of Policy at Discord, a voice, video, and text communications platform for people to hang out and talk together around playing their favorite games. As Senior Director of Policy, she leads the team responsible for content and product policies, with a focus on building healthy platforms through responsible product development and safe user experiences. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the Digital Trust and Safety Partnership. Prior to joining Discord, Badalich worked at Twitter as a Senior Product Trust Partner in Trust and Safety and was a Director at Civic Hall, a collaborative innovation center and nonprofit that advances the use of technology for the public good.

Shuli Gilutz

Programme Officer of Child Rights & Digital Business, UNICEF

Shuli Gilutz

Programme Officer of Child Rights & Digital Business, UNICEF

Shuli Gilutz, PhD., Programme Officer Child Rights & Digital Business, UNICEF, is a global expert in child-centered design with over 20 years of experience working in industry and academia, leading UX research, design, and strategy of digital experiences for children and families. In the past decade, Shuli served as a Google Launchpad UX mentor, a teaching fellow at Tel-Aviv University, and a founding board member of the Designing for Children's Rights Association. Shuli holds an MA from Stanford's Learning, Design, and Technology program and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Columbia University

Sarah Ticho

Director, Hatsumi

Sarah Ticho

Director, Hatsumi

Sarah Ticho is a multi award winning artist, entrepreneur, and change-maker operating at the intersection of health, wellbeing, and embodied storytelling using cutting-edge, immersive technologies. She crafts transformative experiences that bridge the mind and body, deepening self awareness and compassion for one another. As the director of the XR Experience, "Soul Paint," narrated by actor and activist Rosario Dawson, Sarah has garnered accolades, including Unity for Humanity and StoryFutures XR Connect Awards and SXSW Special Jury Prize in the 2024 XR conception. Described as "epic and intimate in it's scope and potential" by the SXSW jury, "this finely tuned experience gives XR new possibilities for its applications across research and disciplines that explores and interrogates the human experience. This piece encourages us to engage in creative play while also inspiring us to actively discover and share our innermost feelings without judgement." Soul Paint is now expanding its reach across a range of industries to create impact from community settings including education to healthcare and public engagement via libraries to larger creative and cultural institutions. Sarah is renowned for her efforts in advancing immersive technology adoption in healthcare, evidenced by her research and consultancy, such as "The Growing Value of XR in Healthcare in the United Kingdom," which led to a £20m investment through the UKRI Mindset program. Co-directing the XR Health Alliance, she champions equitable co-creation and distribution of XR and games for health and wellbeing. In 2022, Sarah received the International Virtual Reality Healthcare Association's Hero Award for her leadership and dedication, particularly during the Nashville tornado in 2021. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, and has been seen on the BBC. She has delivered talks at esteemed festivals and institutions globally, including YouTube, MIT, Stanford University, Games for Change, Institution of Engineering and Technology, PAX, Harvard Medical School, and AWE. In her spare time, Sarah is training as an End of Life Doula, providing non-medical support to individuals navigating the end-of-life process.

Sarah Jacobstein

Project Manager (RITEC), Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

Sarah Jacobstein

Project Manager (RITEC), Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop

Sarah Jacobstein is the Joan Ganz Cooney Center’s project manager for Responsible Innovation in Technology for Children, a multistakeholder initiative that aims to create evidence-based, child-centered, practical tools for businesses and governments to put the well-being of children at the forefront of digital design.  Sarah is a child rights advocate who is dedicated to exploring how business policy and practice can be better for children, with a focus on children’s rights in the digital environment. She has spent most of her career nurturing partnerships in support of UNICEF’s work around the globe. This included building a child rights & business initiative for the U.S. market and advocating to improve the private sector’s impact on children in the marketplace, workplace, and environment.  Most recently Sarah served on the LEGO Group’s Government & Public Affairs Americas team, where she drove political engagement, public affairs advocacy, and thought leadership on issues including children’s online safety and wellbeing. She holds an MBA with a concentration in Sustainability & Innovation from the NYU Stern School of Business and a BA in Latin American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis.

Sam Liberty

Consultant, Applied Game Design, Northeastern University

Sam Liberty

Consultant, Applied Game Design, Northeastern University

Samuel Liberty is a serious game designer and gamification consultant for tech startups, the U.S. Department of Defense, and NGOs like the World Bank, Red Cross Climate Centre, and the World Wildlife Fund. He was lead game designer for digital therapies at Sidekick Health, and teaches game design at Northeastern University.

Raul Carvajal

Senior Project Manager, Agog

Raul Carvajal

Senior Project Manager, Agog

Raul Carvajal brings nearly a decade of VR experience and a stellar mix of project management, production, and narrative development to the Agog team. Out of long-held respect for craft and craftspeople, he has honed his approach to production to be empathy-driven and mission-oriented. Prior to joining Agog, Raul led production at Anima Interactive, an indie game studio committed to fostering positive cultural impact through innovative gameplay and storytelling. He served as the Director of Production at Games for Change, where he spearheaded the XR for Change initiative, expanding the organization's involvement in impact-oriented immersive media. Raul also has a background in film and television production.

Rebecca Kantar

Vice President of Education, Roblox

Rebecca Kantar

Vice President of Education, Roblox

Rebecca is responsible for growing Roblox’s education vertical into a self-sustaining ecosystem of outstanding educational content creators, bringing deeper learning curricular materials to educators and students. Roblox Education connects educational organizations with extraordinary Roblox developer studios through Roblox Community Fund grants. Rebecca is also a two-time founder, having sold her second company, Imbellus, a simulation-based assessment technology company, to Roblox.

Rae Ostman

Research Professor, Arizona State University

Rae Ostman

Research Professor, Arizona State University

Rae Ostman, PhD, is research professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, co-director of the Center for Innovation in Informal STEM Learning, and Director of the National Informal STEM Education Network. She plans, develops, and studies media, exhibits, programs, and other learning experiences designed for social impact, especially related to equitable futures.

Poulomi Basu

Artist, Filmmaker, Author, Activist, Just Another Production Company

Poulomi Basu

Artist, Filmmaker, Author, Activist, Just Another Production Company

Poulomi Basu is a critically acclaimed neurodiverse artist known for her exploration of the interrelationship between systems of power and bodies through work that exists at the limits of art, technology and activism. Basu’s diverse body of work is committed to multiplicity. Eschewing linear notions of history, her approach to investigating themes such as the shifting notions surrounding landscape and the conditions female experience are cyclical in nature. With roots in photography, her practice demonstrates a fidelity to no single artistic modality or creative process; rather, interdisciplinary pursuits that are in constant, active flux. Her evolving, embodied approach to artmaking is emblematic of the plurality of experiences and the myriad ways in which identity is constructed in contemporary culture. Basu often combines the real and the fantastical and has to date worked with photography, performance, installation, film annd immersive influenced by magical realism, and speculative futures. Her works are in permanent collections in V&A London, MoMA Special collections Library, Harvard Art Museums among others. She has exhibited in festivals worldwide like Tribeca, CPH:DOX, SXSW and many others.

Pia Breum Corlin

Snr. Design Strategist, The LEGO Group

Pia Breum Corlin

Snr. Design Strategist, The LEGO Group

Pia Breum Corlin, with nearly 20 years experience in digital design, co-created the LEGO Digital Design Principles for kids. This toolkit enables and empowers child-centric design by helping designers understand and convey the interplay between well-being, play, and creativity. In her role as Senior Design Strategist, she channels her creativity to craft experiences that ignite young minds' curiosity and imagination, fostering safe digital exploration and growth.

Rachel Kowert

Research Director, Take This

Rachel Kowert

Research Director, Take This

Rachel Kowert, Ph.D is a research psychologist, the Research Director of Take This, and visiting professor at the University of York (UK). She is a world-renowned researcher on the uses and effects of digital games, including their impact on physical, social, and psychological well-being. In her current work, she serves as one of the primary investigators on the first grant-funded project from the Department of Homeland Security about games and extremism. She has spoken about her work to thousands of people across the globe, including the United States Congress, United Nations, and Department of Homeland Security. An award-winning author, she has published a variety of books and scientific articles relating to the psychology of games and, more recently, the relationship between games and mental health specifically. She also serves as the editor of the Routledge Debates in Media Studies series and the series from ETC Press, The Psychgeist of Pop Culture. In 2020, she founded Psychgeist, a multimedia content production studio for the science of games and pop culture. In 2021, Dr. Kowert was chosen as a member of The Game Awards Future Class, representing the best and brightest of the future of video games. Dr. Kowert has been featured in various media outlets, including NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, New York Times, and Wired Magazine. To learn more about Rachel and her work, visit www.rkowert.com.

Phil Birchinall

Head of Immersive, Discovery Education

Phil Birchinall

Head of Immersive, Discovery Education

Phil leads the award-winning immersive content team at Discovery Education, developing ground-breaking apps and content used in classrooms around the world. Phil has been an educator and EdTech innovation leader for over 30 years, creating and delivering high impact content into the classroom. In 2022 he was named as one of the pioneers of immersive learning.

Onur Dizdar

Public Diplomacy Specialist & Instructional Designer

Onur Dizdar

Public Diplomacy Specialist & Instructional Designer

Onur Dizdar, a Public Diplomacy Specialist and Instructional Designer, has over a decade of experience in government and international relations, spearheading numerous educational and cultural exchange initiatives. During his tenure at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, spanning more than 5 years, he pioneered the integration of gaming into public diplomacy efforts to address critical global issues and strengthen people-to-people ties between the U.S. and Turkiye. His innovative approach led to the establishment of various impactful programs, including talks, seminars and workshops with American experts, serious games boot camps/hackathons, and an eSports club. For his contributions, Onur received the 2023 Excellence in Public Diplomacy Award granted by the Public Diplomacy Council of America. Prior to this, he played key roles in managing Istanbul's foreign relations for over 5 years and facilitated exchange programs at the Fulbright Commission in Turkiye for 2 years. Onur holds a degree in American Studies from Hacettepe University, a master's in History from Bilkent University, and a graduate certificate in Instructional Design and Technology from Purdue University Global.

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