We envision a next generation of engaged citizens, who experience the world as a game-like system they can modify and transform. The work we do together aims to make this vision a reality.
Katie Salen Executive Director
Katie is responsible for overseeing all that the Institute is and does. She is an active game designer and, as one of the Institute’s founders, a pioneer in applying game design principles to challenges outside the field of commercial game development. Katie is a Professor in the School of Computing and Digital Media at DePaul University. She lectures widely and writes extensively on game design, design education and gamer culture. She has co-authored or edited several books, including Rules of Play, a textbook on game design, The Game Design Reader and The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games, and Learning. Also, Katie was co-lead designer on Gamestar Mechanic, an award-winning online game with built-in game design curriculum. She has been involved in the design of slow games, online games, mobile games and big games in the commercial and independent games sectors around the world.
Brian Waniewski Managing Director
Brian is responsible for organizing operations in support of the Institute’s vision, mission, values and work; for the cultivation of key strategic relationships; and for the generation of new opportunities. Since 2010, Brian has worked with the Institute at the forefront of design for twenty-first century learning and engagement. His focus has been on complex multi-stakeholder projects and on the design and support of learning communities, distributed across disciplines, places and institutions. He is skilled in facilitation and institutional design and interested in emergent means of organizing human potential. Brian comes with over fifteen years' experience as a strategy, communications and management consultant. He has worked with top organizations—such as Philips, Unilever, PepsiCo, Fidelity Investments, Johnson & Johnson, Deepak Chopra and The Grace Foundation. He has taught at The College of William and Mary and the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop and is a partner at the future forecasting firm, Popular Operations.
Greg Bliss 2D Artist, GlassLab
Alice Chin Office Projects Manager
Alice is responsible for maintaining the efficient operation of the Institute's offices, coordinating the Human Resources function and managing select projects. She brings to the Institute experience in project management, operations and human resources with various organizations, including Newsweek, IDEO and Miami Ad School. A graduate of Barnard College, Alice is a passionate proponent of women's education and educational equity. Her academic work focused on language-based educational access in New York City public schools.
Seth Corrigan Director of Education & Evaluation, GlassLab
Seth is responsible for bridging learning and assessment goals through the co-design of game-based assessments, as well as the design of student- and teacher-facing instructional materials. He has worked in educational measurement, assessment and evaluation for over ten years and has taught elementary, middle and high school science and mathematics in Brooklyn, Oakland and Berkeley. Seth joins GlassLab after contributing to the Lawrence Hall of Science, where he designed and led implementation of assessment systems for the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading and Wireless Generation New Curriculum products, as well as the Ocean Science Sequence curricula. His graduate training is in program design and evaluation at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Andrew Dapkiewicz Junior Technologist, GlassLab
Andy is responsible for software and web development for GlassLab's assessment tools. After graduating from RIT with a degree in Computer Science, he worked at MyWebGrocer in Vermont, where he honed his web development skills using the most up-to-date technology.
Ben Dapkiewicz Junior Technologist, GlassLab
Ben is responsible for creating software that will become part of GlassLab’s game-based assessment tools. He holds both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Game Design and Development from the Rochester Institute of Technology. During his time at RIT, Ben worked on numerous game development projects, including mobile games, casual games, educational games, simulation projects, and even ambitious projects with the bar set for Triple-A quality.
Jeremy Engle Curriculum Designer
Jeremy assists with the development of Quest to Learn's innovative curriculum with a team of game designers, curriculum designers, and teachers. He has been a classroom teacher, professional developer and educator for over 15 years. He was a humanities teacher at Central Park East Secondary School, a literacy coach for Teachers College Columbia University, and a documentary-making instructor at the Educational Video Center. Additionally, he has taught media-making workshops to youth and adults across the country.
Mat Frenz Producer, GlassLab
Mat is responsible for creating the conditions that allow GlassLab's diverse team of experts to work together as one cohesive, collaborative unit. He pulls from his diverse experience in software entrepreneurship, hospitality, and project management to ensure that the team has everything it needs to achieve its objectives, and works to remove any barriers that stand in the way. He also works with the team to define the processes and structures that commercial game companies and learning experts can use to adapt GlassLab's unique collaborative
Erin Hoffman Game Design Lead, GlassLab
Erin is responsible for leading the day-to-day game design work for GlassLab products. She is a decade-plus veteran of online game design and the author of the Chaos Knight fantasy series from Pyr Books. She has worked on titles for PC, Nintendo DS, casual downloadable and social platforms, with design credits including Kung Fu Panda World, Shadowbane: The Lost Kingdom, and FrontierVille. She writes for the award-winning online magazine The Escapist, and has published fiction and poetry in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Electric Velocipede, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more.
Michael John Game Director, GlassLab
Michael John (“MJ”) is responsible for all creative product development at GlassLab, leading a diverse, highly distributed team of game designers and developers, technologists, researchers and learning and assessment experts to produce superlative outcomes. As an employee of Electronic Arts and an industry veteran who has designed commercial video games for close to twenty years, MJ brings to the Lab extensive leadership experience and a wide range of design credits, including the original Spyro the Dragon games on Playstation 1 and the PSP classic Daxter. He has consulted for Sony, 2K Games and others and is a regular speaker at conference and academic venues like GDC, DICE, USC, Carnegie Mellon, UC Santa Cruz and the University of Washington. He has a special fondness for mentoring young designers.
Criswell Lappin Creative Director
Criswell is responsible for the Institute's design practice and for overseeing the quality of its creative outputs. He brings to the Institute experience in the commercial and cultural sectors. At the innovation consultancy Fahrenheit 212, Criswell developed and designed new commercial products for companies like Samsung, Charles Schwab, Lowes and Outback. At Metropolis magazine, for over a decade, Criswell served as Creative Director. He also worked at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Other design clients include The New York Times, Rhode Island School of Design, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation, Harter and PwC. Criswell’s work has been featured in AIGA365, Print Regional Design Annual, Art Directors Club and the Gold Case awards. His work has been nominated for the Society of Publication Designers’ magazine of the year award and the American Society of Magazine Editors’ award for general excellence. Criswell serves on the board of directors of the Society of Publication Designers.
Jessica Lindl General Manager, GlassLab
Jessica is responsible for overseeing GlassLab. She has spent over 15 years leading teams that design, develop, market and sell learning games to the global education market. In her work at organizations like Scientific Learning, Riverdeep (now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and The Learning Company, she strived to improve learning outcomes for all children by blending effectiveness with engagement. She also serves on the board of Education for Change, a Charter Management Organization serving Oakland, California’s most disadvantaged youth. Jessica is a graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, where she received a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on entrepreneurship and education. She loves testing new learning games with her husband and two sons.
Claudio Midolo Senior Game Designer
Claudio is responsible for leading the design and successful implementation of game-based learning materials and experiences. Born in Italy, Claudio has led or participated in many projects at the intersection of digital technology, creativity and communication around the world. In 2008 he presented the soundFishing project at the Mobile Music Workshop in Vienna, and in 2009 he implemented the StopStockouts mobile advocacy campaign in Zambia as an Open Society Institute Fellow. Claudio teaches in the Design and Technology program at Parsons The New School for Design.
Don Miller Learning Designer
Don is responsible for leading curriculum development teams at Quest to Learn, working with teachers and game designers. He also supports technology integration and professional development for teachers. Don brings with him a wide range of experiences as an educator and artist. He serves as the Director of Playpower, a non-profit organization that brings low-cost learning games to developing countries, and he is a recent teaching resident at Eyebeam Art+ Technology Center's Digital Day Camp. Don has also taught as an adjunct professor of creative coding and multimedia at the City University of New York and is a graduate of New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program.
Alice Namer Finance Manager
Alice is responsible for implementing and monitoring the Institute's fiscal policies and procedures, as well as the grants management function. She brings to the Institute over 18 years of experience in accounting and human resources, including extensive experience working with non-profit organizations in supervisory positions. She was the Chief Financial Officer of the Bronx House, and specialized in working with non-profits while at Robert Half. Alice devotes her free time to her local little league, where she volunteers as a baseball coach and umpire.
Nancy Nowacek Director for Mobile Programs
Nancy is responsible for design and execution around select informal learning programs at the Institute, with a focus on adult learning. Nancy brings with her many years experience as a social practitioner and as a designer. Her practice has spanned the commercial and cultural sectors and included brand and identity, publication, exhibition, fashion, interactive, editorial and strategic applications. She has worked with a broad range of clients, including Gap Inc, Bruce Mau Design, RGA Interactive and Metropolis Magazine. Her work has been featured in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial, AIGA and Print magazine awards and San Jose Art & Technology Biennials. Nancy is a visiting critic at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program and Adjunct Professor at Pratt's Graduate Visual Communications program.
Daniel O'Keefe Curriculum Designer
Daniel is responsible for developing curriculum according to the Institute’s unique game-based integrated learning model, with a focus on math and technology. He brings with him over seven years’ experience teaching and creating math curricula and programs in New York City. He has worked at the Saint Thomas Choir School, the Calhoun School and GoProjectNYC. And he has studied various forms of meditative athletics and martial arts, as well as Mridangam playing in Southern India, which continue to influence his pedagogy. Currently Daniel is studying technology and education at Teachers College Columbia University.
Ilena Parker Communications Manager
Ilena is responsible for strategic communications to grow support for the Institute's mission, vision and projects. A writer, content strategist and project manager, she brings to the Institute experience in collaborative communications planning and a healthy respect for the power and possibility of words. At innovation consultancy Fahrenheit 212, Ilena managed content development and distribution channels, partnering with thought leaders across the company to articulate and disseminate new ideas. At The Partners, a branding agency, she helped clients develop frameworks for articulating their ideas, working on positioning, messaging and design programs with a broad range of global companies.
Shula Ponet Game Designer
Shula is responsible for designing and supporting the successful implementation of game-like learning materials and activities. In addition to her experience as a game designer, Shula has many years of experience in education and psychology and has worked on numerous projects at the intersection of design, technology, education and play. She recently finished a year-long project in which she researched and designed effective communication design techniques around middle school anti-bullying efforts.
Rebecca Rufo-Tepper Director of Integrated Learning
Rebecca is responsible for overseeing the implementation and ongoing refinement of the Institute’s unique game-based integrated learning model, with a focus on developing multi-dimensional teachers who make important contributions to the learning community. Rebecca brings to the Institute over ten years’ experience in New York City public schools, as a teacher and staff developer. She has also served as literacy coach at East Side Middle School and as a professional development facilitator for the Holocaust Educators Network and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Rebecca is a regular presenter at national conferences and has taught at Hunter College. Her research interests center on professional development and school reform. She holds a PhD in Urban Education from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York.
Arana Shapiro Co-Director of School, Quest to Learn
Arana is responsible for the continued evolution and refinement of the first instance of the Quest learning model and, in collaboration with the Principal, overseeing and guiding the school's activities and aspirations day-to-day. Arana brings to the Institute over ten years’ experience in education, as a teacher, technologist, curriculum developer and school leader. She collaborated on the development of new curriculum for The School at Columbia University, where she served as a founding faculty member. And she served as Lead Educational Technologist at the Ross School and the Ross Global Academy Charter School. Arana is a regular presenter at national conferences. Currently she is pursuing her masters in school leadership from Bank Street.
JR Sheetz Documentarian
JR is responsible for leading visual documentation of the Institute’s work for a variety of uses – including internal and external communications, recruitment, fundraising and research – with the goal of generating compelling high-quality results-driven stories. JR brings with him several years' experience in documentary filmmaking and photography, both independently and for organizations like the Pearson Foundation and the National Writing Project.
Amna Siddiqui Community Manager
Amna is responsible for cultivating and supporting the Institute’s core online communities, notably around Gamekit, Playforce, Playtime Online, and SimCityEDU. She also oversees the Playtime Online program, which serves to amplify and share the Institute's work and ideas. Amna earned her MFA in Design Criticism at the School of Visual Arts, and brings to the Institute several years of experience in production, communications, and critical writing. Amna was a fellow for the non-profit organization America: Now and Here, and has contributed to publications like Surface, Curbed NY, and Flavorpill.
Eliza Spang Learning Director
Eliza is responsible for the long-term advancement of the game-like integrated learning model pioneered by the Institute—its continued evolution in existing learning contexts and its expansion and adaptation in new contexts. Eliza comes to the Institute with over 13 years of experience in education, as a high school science teacher, teacher educator, educational consultant and researcher in New York, Massachusetts and California. She presents at national conferences regularly and was an adjunct professor at Hunter College. Eliza’s research interests are teacher education, professional development and the use of scientific inquiry in classrooms. She holds a PhD in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University School of Education.
Liza Stark Senior Design Assistant
Liza is responsible for designing and supporting the successful implementation of game-like learning materials and activities. With a deep interest in the intersection of learning, making, and games, she has taught game design in Abu Dhabi and New York City, as well as led numerous soft circuit and computational craft workshops for a range of ages and skill levels. Currently, she teaches in the MFADT program at Parsons The New School for Design and facilitates creative collaboration between teachers and technologists with EDesign Labs.
Greg Trefry Lead Game Designer
Greg is responsible for acting as game design lead on key Institute projects. He has served as lead game designer in a wide array of studio settings and on many different kinds of projects, including web-based MMOs, hit casual games and alternate reality games. Greg was Senior Game Designer at Gamelab, an independent game design studio that produced casual games and web-based games like Gamestar Mechanic. And he co-founded the game design studio Gigantic Mechanic to explore the interaction of mobile games and the real world. Currently Greg serves as Director of the Come Out & Play Festival, an annual gathering around street games in New York City. He teaches game design and development at New York University and is the author of Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us.
Brendon Trombley Game Designer
Brendon is responsible for designing and supporting the successful implementation of game-based learning materials and activities. Brendon brings to the Institute several years’ experience designing and developing online learning tools and experiences, independently and at the e-learning firm, Kognito. He is currently engaged in the movement to popularize Chamball, a new sport described as “dodgeball meets martial arts,” and in the design of Brothers in Farms, a strategy game to teach kids sustainable farming techniques.