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 Game Artist
Alice Chin Kaminski HR and Operations Manager
Alice is responsible the human resources and operations functions of the Institute, specifically designing creative, innovative ways to support employees, partners and programs across all Institute labs. 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.
Jen Clarke Development Director
Jen is responsible for diversifying and developing new sources of funding for the Institute from various communities including foundations, corporations and individuals. She brings to the Institute over 15 years of experience in the public, private, and non-profit sectors in Canada and the United States. Jen has experienced both sides of the funding equation as part of a corporate sponsorship team, a program management team in a public funding agency, and as the lead of a corporate and foundation relations team in higher education. Jen is skilled in development, strategic planning, program management and board development. She has spent more than 20 years volunteering for non-profits including serving on several boards. Jen is passionate about food policy, community, and cycling.
Seth Corrigan Director of Education & Evaluation
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.
Ben Dapkiewicz Technology Lead
Ben is responsible for ensuring the delivery of all software components of GlassLab products, as well as contributing to the development of the games, back-end services, and assessment tools. He holds both Bachelor's and Master's degrees 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.
Shula Ehrlich Lead 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.
Jeremy Engle Learning 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
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
Lee Frohman Quality Assurance Analyst
Lee is responsible for assuring the quality of GlassLab's digital products, including debugging and other quality assurance processes. He brings to GlassLab thirteen years of experience in quality assurance, including time at industry leaders such as Sony and Sega. Prior to his career in QA, Lee worked for thirteen years in hotels in restaurants, working his way from busboy to chef, and earning several local cooking awards. His family owns and operates Alcazar Audioworks, an online children's audio book business and website.
Erin Hoffman Game Design Lead
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
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.
Liz Kline Product Manager
Liz represents the voice of the customer at GlassLab, gathering user insights from teachers, students, administrators and parents to help inform product development efforts at the lab. Liz began her career in education as a Teach for America corps member. Since leaving the classroom, she has worked in marketing, market research, and product management positions at school publishing and ed tech companies, including Pearson Learning, National Geographic School Publishing, and Scientific Learning. Liz is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master’s degree in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford.
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.
Michael Louie Graphic Designer
Michael is responsible for creating visual assets and maintaining the visual integrity of GlassLab products as part of GlassLab's artistic and game design team. He has established a professional background in quality assurance working for AAA game developers, including Electronic Arts and Crystal Dynamics. Michael is leveraging his experience as a Quality Assurance Tester to develop a new career path in game art and independent game development, and is excited to begin at GlassLab.
Tamas Makany Learning Designer
Tamas is responsible for defining, developing and bringing to life the key learning and pedagogical considerations in GlassLab’s products. As a learning consultant and researcher, he worked in the past with several corporate training and academic institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the United Kingdom. During his post-graduate research at Stanford, Tamas helped design and evaluate mobile game prototypes for students in low socio-economic areas to improve their literacy and math levels. He holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Southampton, UK with a special focus on learning strategies.
Uma Menon Software Development Manager
Uma is responsible for GlassLab's online infrastructure and outsourced team management. She has been building simulation games in roles varying from R&D engineer to Tech Lead to Art and Engineering Manager for over a decade, including leadership roles on the Sims team at EA. Over the past year Uma has focused on online learning and search applications. Educational games are the sweet intersection of her skills and passion and she's thrilled to be working with a dedicated team at Institute of Play to create a next generation learning experience.
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.
Alice Namer Fiscal 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 Lead Learning Designer
Daniel is responsible for the implementation and ongoing refinement of the Institute’s unique game-based integrated learning model, with a focus on developing multi-dimensional teachers and learning designers, meaningfully integrating technology, and developing blended collaborative spaces. He brings to the Institute 8 years experience as a middle school mathematics teacher. Daniel studied instructional technology 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.
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.
Mohit Sadhu Junior Game Programmer
Mohit is responsible for writing quality code for multiple platforms, with an emphasis on gameplay, as well as creating client side data features such as telemetry and data visualization for GlassLab products. He completed his masters from Carnegie Mellon University where he was involved with inter-disciplinary teams to create entertainment experiences, mainly games. Mohit has worked on various projects including a social application for windows mobile, physics based educational game and a data visualization application for iPad. He is excited to start his career at GlassLab.
Arshaan Sarang Junior Game Designer
Arshaan is responsible for creating and iterating game designs for GlassLab's learning and assessment products. A recent MFADT graduate of Parsons The New School for Design, after previously earning his BFA in Graphic Design at American University in Dubai, his work is an integration of design, technology and play. 'Hidden,' a game he collaborated on, was showcased at E3 2013 as part of the IndieCade booth. Growing up and working in different parts of the world has given Arshaan an understanding of design across many different cultures, and he is excited to apply that diverse experience to GlassLab's work.
Lara Schenck Design Assistant
Lara is responsible for supporting the development of game-like curricular materials and works closely with the game designers and educators at Quest to Learn. Originally from Pittsburgh, Lara also works as a freelance web designer/developer and teaches web development to both adults and teens. Lara discovered a passion for games and education through her research and artwork in college, and is especially interested in using embodied learning principles to teach technical skills. She is very excited to be in New York and part of the team at Institute of Play.
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 overseeing the design, development, testing and packaging of engaging programs, services and products that align with and expand the Institute’s innovative game-like integrated learning model. Eliza comes to the Institute with over 15 years of experience in education. Eliza began her career in education as a high school science teacher in Massachusetts and northern California. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Teacher Education from Stanford University Graduate School of Education. While at Stanford, she taught in the Stanford Teacher Education Program and researched beginning science teachers’ use of scientific inquiry in the classroom. Prior to joining the Institute of Play, Eliza worked at WestEd and Relay Graduate School of Education.
Liza Stark Game Designer
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.
Shonté Stephenson Visiting Assessment Fellow
Shonté is responsible for describing pathways and patterns in student learning through use of gameplay data and a variety of analytic techniques that include Bayesian networks and data mining. Shonté began her career in math education as a Teach for America corps member. Since then, she has earned a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis on quantitative measurement from the University of California, Davis. She has pursued additional training in measurement as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in the area of quantitative methods and evaluation. When not thinking about big data, Shonté finds inspiration from going the distance on the golf course as well as playing Tiger Woods PGA on the Wii!
Joseph Sutton Principal Platform Engineer
Joseph is responsible for leading the platform vision and architecture that facilitates learning and assessment in digital games. Over the course of his fifteen years of experience developing client/server-side technology, Joseph founded, operated, and sold two web development companies, taught computer science in the California State University system, and earned his Masters in Computer Science from the University of Southern California. While at Electronic Arts, Joseph designed and led several innovative projects, one of which showcased at Google I/O in
2012. GlassLab provides Joseph the opportunity to unite his passions for education, games and building scalable platforms.
Liz Tedesco Administrative Assistant
Liz is responsible for providing administrative support for the Institute in human resources, operations and fiscal management. She is currently studying for her Masters at The New School in Nonprofit Management with a specialization in finance for the nonprofit sector. Prior to attending graduate school, she received her Bachelor's degree in Art History & Criticism from Stony Brook University and has worked and volunteered at various nonprofit organizations throughout New York City.
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.
Pieter Wessels Game Artist
Pieter is responsible for the creation and iteration of original works of 2D art and visual elements for original tablet educational games at GlassLab, focusing on character and environment design. Prior to joining GlassLab, Pieter graduated from the online art education school TAD (The Art Department) where he majored in 2D Entertainment Design. He has also received training from such institutions as The Illustration Academy and The Fine Arts League of the Carolinas as well as earning an undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina, Asheville. He enjoys making illustrations, conceptual designs, and storyboards in his free time. Originally from South Africa, Pieter brings an "international" perspective to the GlassLab team. He is fluent in both English and Afrikaans, his native language.