2016 IGDAF WIG Ambassadors

We are very pleased to present our 2016 IGDA Foundation Women in Games Ambassadors.

allen_jodeeJoDee Allen recently graduated with a master’s degree from Concordia University. Her thesis contributed original research on the politics of representation of popular dances in video games, modes of digitally visualizing and notating dance, as well as the philosophical problems of gamifying movement. Parallel to this examination she developed a methodological approach to designing control schemes that employ gesture recognition. JoDee is currently working for MERJ as a designer on a mobile Breakdance game called Floor Kids. (Photo by Karina Thibault)

auyoung_michelleMichelle Auyoung is a software developer with a passion for game audio design and programming. She is pursuing her Master’s in Music Technology with a focus in Game Audio at New York University and holds a B.S. in Computer Science from UCLA. She discovered a keen interest for game audio and wanted to learn more on the technical side with a background in programming. Prototyping and exploring new ideas related to interactive audio motivates and excites her to work with emerging technologies like VR/AR. In the near future, Michelle looks forward to working on the technology that improves audio experiences in games. Additionally, she is an advocate for diversity in engineering as well as games and is thrilled to represent women in the small field of game audio.

4a991815-7f04-4b82-bffa-5cd324a70267Tonia Beglari is an Interactive Media & Game Design MFA student at the University of Southern California where she looks for innovative ways to diversify the purview interactive entertainment. While working as a web developer in San Francisco, Tonia combined her web skills with her social justice background and affinity to arts and culture to co-found Browntourage, a media agency that collaborates with artists and brands to produce media that fosters diversity in aesthetics, supports diverse culture makers, and anticipates socio-cultural trends. She likes games where participants engage untold stories and explore new ideologies.

photo_caroline_bitterly (1)Caroline Bitterly is a final-year student of a Master’s Degree in Game Design and Management at Supinfogame Rubika School in France. She aspires to pursue a career in Narrative Design. Over the last five years, Caroline created fun games delivering meaningful messages and experiences that make players question their perspectives. She also developed games supporting causes such as pacifism and education. She loves working with teams, being creative and pushing herself, which she did the last two summers at Ubisoft’s headquarters in Paris. Her passions include Quantum Mechanics, Art, drawing and travelling. She’s a big fan of Naughty Dog’s games.

brantberg_toveTove Brantberg likes to keep busy. Besides working towards a MA degree in Game Design at Aalto University, Finland, she is minoring in Costume Design and Architecture History. She is also a board member in one student association and active in several others. She is a treasure trove of unexpected information, and is proud of her interdisciplinary mix of skills, from programming to 3D art. She has recently travelled around Europe teaching kids about game development, and has previously worked on educational games and gamification of education. When she has any time over, she likes to play board games.

budgell_meagan - CopyMeagan Budgell is a game designer from Toronto, Canada. She is currently pursuing a postgraduate degree in Game Design at George Brown College where she is the Chair of her local academic IGDA Chapter. An active volunteer and community builder, she spends her free time organising 200+ attendee events like the recent GBC Toronto Global Game Jam. When not creating video games or running events she likes to relax by designing escape rooms and running even more events!

cao_andreaAndrea Cao is a junior studying Interactive Media and Games and Theatre at the University of Southern California. Within games, she aims to know a little bit about everything from producing to sound design and lead by vision and support. Aside from her work in games, Andrea creates films, visual art, performances, and music. Regardless of medium, she tells stories that tackle issues such as gender, sexuality, race, and human relationships with an experience goal of making audiences slightly uncomfortable. Additionally, she is the Philanthropy Chair of USC’s professional cinema fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha.

cole_allisonAn alumnus of Concordia University’s TAG and mLab research centers, Allison Kyran Cole is currently at NYU obtaining her MFA in game design.She has collaborated with an array of artists through Tweed Couch Games to create a collection of games that provoke thought around the themes of identity, gender, and sexuality. She has an eclectic collection of life experiences including: giving tours of historic jails, working as a professional Canadian in Disney World, and organizing a weekend long LARP set during a magical Cold War. She hopes to bring them all into her work with games.

compton_kateKate Compton is a long-time designer/coder of games and interactive art. She wrote the first paper on procedural platformer levels, generated planets for Spore, and worked on the latest SimCity fire system. Her specialty is inventing deceptively simple tools that help others realize their creative visions, such as the twitterbot language Tracery and the earliest demonstrated smartphone-based VR. She is now a PhD candidate at UC Santa Cruz developing artificial intelligence to augment human creativity with generative art. She likes laser cutting, 3D printing, unusual interfaces, founding companies, and baking.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESChristina Curlee is a senior undergraduate pursuing a BFA in digital arts and media at The University of Texas at Austin. Working in art and technology with a focus on game and level design, her work mainly focuses on immersive, psychological themes in fine arts and video games. Active in the local and university game community, her future goals are to be pro-active in expanding programs to support and grow interest in game development and STEM education among women and minorities. Currently she is investigating graduate programs to continue researching game design with an emphasis on meaningful and transformative gameplay.

11238229_10206319042873488_6203766482151509301_nLaureen Dessing, an Arts and Economics student at the University of the Arts Utrecht, has a passion for community management and has extensive knowledge and experience in the Dutch Games Industry. Previously she has worked as a marketing intern at award winning studio Abbey Games and has worked at Dutch Game Garden organizing events for the Dutch Game Industry and improving the incubation program for young game studios.

due_mirandaMiranda Due is a senior at the University of Southern California where she studies Interactive Entertainment and International Relations. She grew up in Oklahoma and is proud member of the Pawnee Nation. Miranda is passionate about creating games with indigenous narratives. Miranda has a background in production design, graphic design, game design and programming. She is very involved in many campus organizations and loves traveling and swimming. She has previously worked at 7 Generation Games and is currently interning at GameCake Studios.

cg_jan2016_small_sq2 (1)Caitlin Goodale is a designer of many talents, working across UI, UX and graphic design to create compelling, pixel-perfect game experiences. Her final year research at the Computer Arts program at Abertay University centres on the application of UX techniques to experimental games design. Throughout her studies she has worked in different roles in the games industry, first on Minecraft Console Editions, later at Microsoft with HoloLens and creative apps, and finally as a freelance UI and UX designer.

image1Raheel Hassim is a South African game developer who recently graduated in Digital Arts Engineering (majoring in Game Design) from the University of the Witwatersrand. She is currently working as a junior software developer at Luma Animations. Her plan is to start up community programmes which will encourage children of underrepresented groups to make games. She believes games can bring about social change and wants her games to be a part of that.

TeriannKhargie_Profile200Teriann Khargie is a graduate of the Video Game Design & Animation program at the Toronto Film School at RCC Institute of Technology. A traditionally-trained-gone-digital artist, her road to game development was as difficult as stating her school’s name and program in one breath. She has artistically led all of her projects and was Project Lead and Art Director on her 9-month term game, Bathrobe Samurai. She enjoys normalizing stress levels by organizing student game jams and arcades, which led to her hosting her first Extra Life 24-hour charity livestream and jam that raised over $400 for Toronto SickKids. When she isn’t in a caffeine-induced frenzy at the heart of production and enjoying “taking life too seriously” she can be found concepting new characters/worlds or laughing at cat gifs.

marcy_arielAriel Marcy is an educational game designer, entrepreneur, and a current PhD student in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Queensland. Her game company, STEAM Galaxy Studios, emphasizes the creativity in STEM. In 2014, she successfully Kickstarter-ed her board game, Go Extinct!, which teaches players 8+ how to read evolutionary trees. Go Extinct! is now sold in science museums around the globe. Ariel’s philosophy for educational games emphasizes finding game systems that occur naturally in science and building a strategically-engaging experience around them. She looks forward to exploring avenues to adapt her board games into apps at GDC.

mcgraw_jacquelineJacqueline McGraw is an undergraduate senior who is currently pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Game Design and Development with a minor in Visual Culture at Rochester Institute of Technology. She is a 4th year active member of RIT’s Computer Science House and was elected to their executive board in 2013. While studying at RIT she has been presented with the Citrix Innovation Award for her Oculus Rift Racing Simulation, the Special Interest House Community Service Award for her role in raising over $3,000 for cancer research and most recently, the Audience Choice Award at RIT’s 2016 iOS App Challenge hosted by Apple. Her predominant focus, within the broad scope that is game design, targets the importance of video games and how they can be used as an alternative, therapeutic release for those with debilitating diseases that affects both a player’s physical and/or mental health. With her personal experience of battling bipolar disorder, depression, OCD and anxiety, along with the anguish of losing her mother to terminal breast cancer just last November, Jacqueline is determined to create a new genre of gaming that focuses on the healing, treatment and support of those who seek solace in regards to the virtual anonymity that is online gaming.

smith_victoriaVictoria Smith is a recent Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art) graduate from Media Design School. Although she loves all aspects of game development, her passion is 3D environment and prop art. Freelancing on game projects both during and after her studies, she is excited to continue her career in game development. She is an active member in her local community, volunteering at her local IGDA chapter and at other game development events. She has also helped run the annual Girls in Games day since its inception, and is proud to be part of an initiative designed to encourage young girls to pursue game development. When she’s not making games she loves to write about them, having recently had her first academic publication in First Person Scholar.

vincent_kiaraKiara Vincent is a recent graduate of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She completed her B.S in Interactive Media and Game Development. Having spent many years exploring the fantastic worlds of Wells, Lewis, Butler and Norton, she was inspired to develop and share her own. In college, Kiara learned that speculative fiction is not limited to space travel, alternate dimensions, and high tech weaponry. Worlds that portray alternative futures where communities have overcome issues such as poverty, homelessness, and overconsumption of natural resources bring new meaning to the word “fantastical”. Kiara works to bring these alternate futures to pass by mixing immersive experiences with issues pertaining to social justice. Cat She believes the future cannot be created if it has not been first imagined.

xu_jennyJenny Xu is a freshman at MIT and an Athlertisprogamer! She’s an athle(te)(a)rtis(t)pro(grammer)ga(me-player)(far)mer. She’s a varsity athlete, artist, animator, game developer, programmer, and she also owns 5 chickens! She currently owns her own game development company, JCSoft Inc., and she has developed over 50 games so far for web and mobile platforms. So far, she has accumulated 2.5 million downloads on her 5 mobile games, and her game, Animatronic Jumpscare Factory, has over 1.5 million downloads on the Google Play store alone and was the #7 Simulation game in the United States. She recently completed an externship at Electronic Arts where she worked on NFL Madden 18. Jenny loves everything about game development, including the process of coming up with an idea, implementing it with code and art, and finally being able to showcase it to a large audience. She is very interested in the intersection of games and education and wants to explore how games can impact schools and children around the world by providing an alternate source of learning.