Guest Speakers

Rebekah started her career as a technical writer and product manager in the photography software industry. She moved into games in 2008, managing the finances and porting partnerships for Semi Secret Software. Rebekah contributes to Finji’s internal design efforts, as well as providing financial services to other startups and working with nonprofits. She is a writer, an avid distance runner, and mom to two exuberant (read: chaotic unlawful) boys.

Rebekah Saltsman

CEO, Finji Co

Adam entered the game industry in 2006 as a freelance 3D modeler and released his first notable independent game, Canabalt, in 2009. His Flash game dev library Flixel remains a popular tool for both commercial and personal game releases. Adam serves as an advisor to Femicom Museum and the NYU Game Center Incubator, as well as helping organize GDC, Fantastic Arcade, Juegos Rancheros, the fridge, and the Duplo. He is currently working on a new survival-strategy game called Overland.

Adam Saltsman

Director, Finji Co

Named in 2013 as one of the five most powerful women in gaming by Inc. magazine, and in 2011 by Fast Company as one of the most influential women in technology. Heather Kelley is an award-winning experimental game designer, artist and curator, and professor at Carnegie Mellon University The latest project from her game collective KOKOROMI is the retro-futuristic VR puzzle game SuperHyperCube.

Heather Kelley

Professor and Experience Designer, Carnegie Melon University | KOKOROMI

Isla’s work reenacts forms of popular media, play, and systems of production, recreating ways in which bodies connect to technologies in the world around us. Her work sets in motion new and sometimes crude means of image-making in order to break down or convolute processes of technological mediation.

Isla Hansen

Department of Art, Ohio State University

Akash Thakkar is an award-winning composer, sound designer, and public speaker within the video game industry. He is a graduate from the Berklee College of Music where he was both an instructor and leader of the game audio community. He has worked on everything from full orchestral pieces to explosion sound effects for dozens of video game projects such as Hyper Light Drifter.

Akash Thakkar

Composer & Sound Designer, Independent

Kristin Solid is a St. Paul-based animator, producer and instructor. She has animated and supervised on over 20 Hollywood feature films, and on games including Guild Wars 2 and Medal of Honor.

Kristin Solid

Animator, Allen Interactions

Norah Zuniga-Shaw, Department of Dance, The Ohio State University. Norah’s creative and research interests center on choreographic knowledge as a locus for interdisciplinary and intercultural creativity.

Norah Zuniga-Shaw

Department of Dance, Ohio State University

Andrew Reiner has been with Game Informer for nearly 20 years and carries the full weight and experience all that time in the industry can bring. Aside from his editor responsibilities, Reiner also serves as the host for most of Game Informer’s video content including Replay and Test Chamber.

Andrew Reiner

Executive Editor, Game Informer

Aubrey Scott is a Gameplay Engineer at Monster Games, a Master of Entertainment Technology from Carnegie Mellon University, a Randy Pausch Scholar, a GGJ Judge’s Choice Award Winner, and aims to improve the world through games.

Aubrey Scott

Gameplay Engineer, Monster Games

Alan Price designs and creates real time animation, games, and virtual environments. He teaches at The Ohio State University Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design.

Alan Price

Instructor , Ohio State University

Andrew Fischer is a game designer who has worked on RPGs, miniatures games, and app-integrated board games for over seven years. He has worked on properties including Star Wars and Warhammer 40,000.

Andrew Fischer

Game Designer, Fantasy Flight Games

Ty has worked in the games industry for just under a decade, most recently at Owlchemy Labs creating Job Simulator and Rick & Morty VR - as well as working on EleMetals for his own company, Wallride.

Ty Burks

Pixel Farm

Mark LaCroix is an artist, filmmaker, and developer from Minneapolis, whose diverse work has appeared around the world, from municipal utility boxes to national television, from Netflix and Amazon to Xbox Live. A storyteller and a technocrat, Mark is currently developing games and software as Noble Robot.

Mark LaCroix

Game Developer , Noble Robot

Keisha is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. She currently researches Cognitive processes in science learning, Scientific visualizations and student learning outcomes, and Teacher knowledge development and effective teaching practice.

Keisha Varma

Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology

Scott is well known for the Chipmunk Physics Engine, a fast 2D physics engine. In recent years, Chipmunk has become a big part of Howling Moon Software’s business and expertise. Scott is a big fan of chiptune music. His personal webpage is at

Scott Lembcke

Co-Founder, Howling Moon Software

Martin Grider has been making video games since 2006. He is an organizer for the IGDA Twin Cities chapter, and writes about mobile game development and game design on his blog at

Martin Grider

Abstract Puzzle LLC

Kyoung Lee Swearingen is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Department of Design faculty, she worked on numerous animated feature films and shorts at Pixar Animation Studios and DNA Productions as a Lighting Technical Director.

Kyoung Lee Swearingen

Assistant Professor , Ohio State University

Dev Jana: Pres. of Code and Noises at DevNAri & Director of Instruction at Prime Digital Academy. Former Proj. Mgr. at Image Metrics, Tech. Dir. of R&D at Preferred Interactive, Tech. Dir. at BioLucid

Dev Jana

President of Code and Noises, DevNAri

Yu-Chi Wang is a UMN PhD student researching social and emotional benefits of playing non-digital games. This research evolved from working in a psychology of video games lab at UMD.

Yu-Chi Wang

PhD Student, University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology

Benji Inniger is a composer, sound designer, and recording engineer working primarily in theatre, opera, video games, and digital media. He is also an Associate Professor at Bethany Lutheran College.

Benji Inniger

Composer and Sound Designer, Hear Benji

Thea DeSilva is a full time computer hobbyist and artist. In addition to working with openbsd and other unix systems she finds the time to make demos for the Sega Genesis using unix tools and also tools that she wrote.

Thea DeSilva


Chuck Olsen is an entrepreneur and storyteller working at the intersection of culture, technology and social good. He enjoys exploring the world with a 360 camera and is the Co-Founder of Visual.

Chuck Olsen

Co-Founder, Visual

Games and learning sciences researcher and Educational Psychology PhD student at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer Doll

PhD Student, University of Minnesota, Educational Psychology

President of Visuals and Playtime at DevNAri, and 3D Artist at Axonom

Ari Carrillo

President of Visuals and Playtime, DevNAri

Scott Davis is the CEO and Lead Developer of QONQR, a location-based mobile game that allows players to battle for control of their hometowns. QONQR has been played in every country in the world.

Scott Davis

CEO and Lead Developer, QONQR

Talan Memmott is a hypermedia writer/artist, his hypermedia work is generally Web-based and freely accessible on the Internet. Memmott holds an MFA in Literary Arts/Electronic Writing from Brown University and a PhD in Interaction Design from Malmö University. Memmott was a co-editor for the Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 (ELO), and the ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature.

Talan Memmott

Professor of Mass Communications, Winona State University

Evva Kraikul is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of GLITCH. With nearly a decade of experience, Evva has worked alongside over 50 major technology and gaming industry partners such as Microsoft, Blizzard Entertainment, Riot Games, and PBS Kids to develop games, design programming, and launch international initiatives. She studied Neuroscience & Psychology at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Evva Kraikul

Executive Director | Creative Director , GLITCH

Scott Swearingen is an Asst. Prof. of Design at The Ohio State Univ. where he teaches game design. Between 2003-13 he worked in the video game industry as a game designer, level designer, and artist.

Scott Swearingen

Assistant Professor , Ohio State University

Nicolaas VanMeerten is the Senior Programs Director and Co-Founder at GLITCH. Nic is currently a PhD student at the University of Minnesota, a data scientist by trade, and has over a decade of research experience.

Nicolaas VanMeerten

Sr. Programs Director & Co-Founder, GLITCH

Davin Heckman serves of the Board of the Electronic Literature Organization ( and is Professor of Mass Communication at Winona State University.

Davin Heckman

Professor, Winona State University

Chaz Evans is an artist, educator, art historian, curator, and the Director of Exhibitions for the Video Game Art Gallery. He has taught courses on creative programming, web art, and games. Evans’ writing has been published in The Journal of Games Criticism, the A.V. Club, and Routledge.

Chaz Evans

Co-Founder & Director of Exhibitions, VGA Gallery

Martha Megarry is a web and game programmer and artist. She is currently working on the crab fighting game Claw Breaker and is co-host of the game development podcast Nice Games Club.

Martha Megarry

Co-Host, Nice Games Podcast

Omar started out making flash games on Newgrounds in 2008. He’s published over a dozen web games and one desktop title, Move or Die. As a graphics programmer, he’s most easily amused by shiny things.

Omar Shehata

Independent Game Developer

Currently studying in Japan, Brumley’s work focuses on using mixed reality systems to promote collaboration in physical space. He has been a DJ, an improviser, and a practitioner of gamelan music.

John Brumley

Riley is a PhD student in CS at UMNCSE, currently working on reSyNCh, focused on diversity.

Riley Hanson

PhD Student, University of Minnesota, Computer Science

A game designer for Escape Industries, Stephen is currently working on Fingeance, a 4-player cooperative shoot-em-up with RPG elements. Stephen has been seen previously as a QA analyst at Concrete Software and also Midwest Game Developers Facebook group.

Stephen McGregor

Co-Founder and Game Designer , Escape Industries

Shanti Pothapragada is a programmer who worked on the MMORPG Neverwinter and is currently developing a four player cooperative adventure game, Chimera Genesis.

Shanti Pothapragada

Founder, North Games, LLC

Hunter Jonakin has been using game engines to create art since 2004. He is an adjunct professor at MCAD and a lecturer at the University of Minnesota. His work has been featured on the Creators Project (Vice), Italian Public Television, Boing Boing, The Atlantic, New York Observer, and Huffington Post.

Hunter Jonakin

Professor, Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Brice Puls is an interactive designer, artist, and event organizer in Chicago, IL. He is the co-founder and logistical director for Bit Bash Chicago, as well as exhibitions manager for VGA Gallery.

Brice Puls

Co-Founder & Logistical Manager, Bit Bash Chicago

Using the moniker ‘Cabbibo’, an homage to the late physicist Nicola Cabibbo, Isaac Cohen has published an eclectic array of works ranging from audiovisual fact-learning apps, interactive experiences made from recursive algorithms, to a real-time procedural music blogs where users traverse a universe of sound. His work has been featured in various exhibitions and written about in such blogs as Intel’s Creator’s Project, Google Experiments, The Wild Magazine, Mashable, The Future of Storytelling and Vice’s Thump. In addition to creating a plethora of experiences, Cohen is also responsible for a number of open source tools to help others create stunning real-time graphics.

Issac Cohen

VR Designer, Independent

Matt Bertz has been covering interactive entertainment since 2001. Upon graduating high school, Matt turned his love for entertainment into a career, pursuing degrees in print journalism and creative writing from the University of St. Thomas and specializing in entertainment writing.  He has contributed as a freelancer to Newsweek, AOL, Inked, Laptop, and Men’s Fitness, among other publications.

Matt Bertz

Content Manager, Game Informer

One of the original game journalists, Andy McNamara started his career in 1991 writing reviews of NHL Hockey and Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis in the magazine’s premiere issue. Named editor-in-chief in 1994, McNamara turned the quarterly newsletter into the number one monthly video game publication in the world, with over 7 Million subscribers and counting.

Andy McNamara

Editor in Chief, Game Informer