GMG’s inaugural Fellowship concluded on August 1, 2017. 31 Fellows spent three weeks teaching at GMG summer camps across the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Redmond. As part of the Fellowship program, GMG’s partners hosted exclusive mentorship and networking events at Double Fine Productions, Xbox, Sony, and Google. Learn more about the Fellowship program here.
We would like to give a special Thank You to our partners who made this program possible!
Thank you to ReedPop for providing PAX West/East passes, and to UBM for donating GDC 2018 passes.
I'm a computer science major who's been playing video games since I can remember (way back when they had gameboy colors and gamecubes). I'm excited to be studying game design and really hope to share that excitement with the next generation of young game developers.
I am a graduate from the Academy of Interactive Entertainment just starting my career in the game industry as a 3D modeler and environment artist.
Brittany “Bri” Williams is a perpetually tired millennial ready to take on the world of video games. Her passion for games started young when she secretly played Mortal Kombat with her cousins and openly played Spyro the Dragon with her mom. Bri would continue to play all forms of games as she grew up, even when she headed to New York to get her BS in Film Production. However, she decided to change her focus from cinematography to video games after going on an hour long ugly-cry rant to her mother after watching the 2013 trailer for Kingdom Hearts III. This lead her to American University in Washington D.C., where she got her Masters in Game Design from the AU Game Lab. The studies and projects she did there gave her a focus in narrative design, artificial intelligence, and UX design which she hopes to pursue farther in the games industry. Bri has a penchant for both the occult and the cute, with her love of ghosts and skeletons battling with her weakness for pastels and baby animals. When Bri isn’t making or playing games, she is doodling in one of her thousands of sketchbooks, running tabletop RPGs, reading graphic novels and manga, and listening to cool podcasts.
If you’d like to know more about her work, please go to her website at oneoffpixel.com. And if you’d like a daily dose of anime and memes visit her twitter @renegadehanar.
Catherine Litvaitis is a multimedia artist and game developer who graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in May. Her interests lie in cartooning, narrative, and educational media, but ultimately, her goal is to create fun things for people to enjoy. In addition to Portal 2 (the game that got her interested in game dev), her favorite games include Rhythm Heaven, Persona 4, and Undertale. She does things outside of games and art, like playing ukulele and guitar. Catherine's also very good at petting cats.
Passionate gamer and immersed in the video game industry. I love working with kids and I am excited that I will be able to watch them learn how to code their own video games.
Efren Avellanosa Jr.
My name is Efren Avellanosa Jr. I'm a graduate at Academy of Art University. I studied Visual Development where I focused on designing concept art for video games and animation. I'm fascinated with designing characters, props and environments. I practice drawing in both traditional media such as sketchbooks as well as digital media like PhotoShop. I'm a very passionate gamer who loves multiple genres of games such as Action/Adventure, Fighting, Strategy, Puzzle, and Simulation games. Nintendo is my all time favorite gaming company and I hope the designs I bring to the table can be as wholesome and family friendly as the games they dish out!
Emily is an aspiring artist with a passion for video games from Long Island, NY. She recently graduated college with a degree in Illustration and is interested in working in the video game industry as a game artist. Emily has been drawing all her life and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Animals and other cute creatures are her favorite things to draw. She also enjoys creating characters and doing scenery studies. She hopes to one day be able to use her skills to create art and assets for a video game. Emily has also been playing games for a long time and enjoys a variety of genres. Some of her all time favorite games include Mass Effect, Skyrim, The Last Of Us, and Super Smash Brothers. She also loves to collect video game and animation art books and is always mesmerized by the artwork in them. Emily grew up playing video games with her brothers and knows what it’s like to be the only girl that was into video games. Because of this she is very excited for the opportunity to teach young girls how to make games and hopes to inspire them to pursue a career in the video game industry.
As a game developer Garrett has a passion for simplicity and elegance in design. Garrett’s career began at the University of Advancing technology where he studied game design. Throughout his time at University he always had a passion for small team projects which allowed rapid prototyping and agile game development. In 2012 he began to pursue his passion more seriously through his first commercial project, Merchant. In 2014 the fruits of his labor came to fruition and Merchant was released on the Google Play app store. Since it’s release the title has accumulated over 800k downloads to date. With the success of Merchant, Garrett began working on it’s sequel in early 2016 with hopes of release in early 2018.
As a gamer Garrett has a deep love for eSports and competitive gaming. In late 2009 Garrett began playing (what was then) a small indie title called League of Legends. Over the next 5 years Garrett continued to play as he watched League grow into the world renown title it is today. Although he can’t devote as much time to the game today the friendships, experiences, and designs insights made through the game still remaining. Garrett hopes to recreate similar experiences for gamers of the next generation throughout the future of his development career.
Hannah Walker is a tech loving nerd girl who was fortunate enough to have a father and mother who always encouraged her curiosity and learning. Her first experience with technology was destroying her father’s Macintosh Classic II at the age of three as she was trying to figure out how it worked. Hannah has loved technology ever since, especially computers and video games. Hannah is now an MIT educated software engineer who has been in the games industry for almost three years. Her focus and passion is educational video games as she hopes to one day create a video game that can successfully teach others how to develop and utilize empathy.
She’s currently working at two startups - one she founded by herself to create media and video games that are educational as well as representative of all types of people, and another that she cofounded with her uncle to change consumers’ online shopping experiences.
Hannah’s also passionate about diversity and representation in media, and she believes the best way to accomplish this is through increasing the diversity of creators. As a result Hannah loves helping with Girls Make Games and other similar diversity initiative camps and tutoring experiences to help give underrepresented and underprivileged kids access to such opportunities.
Hira Jamshed is the Art Director at Tintash. With more than 5 years of working experiences and a multiple of published Game Titles, she has worked on the 2D Art Asset Creation, Technical Art, 2D Animations, 3D Modeling, Website Designs, Unity Shader and Unity particle system with an extensive knowledge in Art workflow management and asset technical implementation.
And she is an amateur Candid Short-Film Maker, Garageband Music Composer and a struggling Ukulele player. Also a great admirer of tasteless caffeine and the GIRL POWER!
Jennifer Thai is a rising junior at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying computer science and information systems. Planning is her favorite thing to do – which is why she is so excited to be a camp coordinator! As a previous White House Information Technology Intern, she has experience in application support, and helping users better understand the technology they use on a daily basis. Her future goals are vast, but she’s interested in software development engineering as well as the information technology field. In the future, she hopes to make an impact on the world and improve lives through app productivity, and she sees the Girls Make Games camp as a great opportunity to make an impact on the girls’ lives by allowing them to delve into the wonderful world of coding. In her free time, she likes to adventure to unfamiliar places, eat at the best places recommended by Yelp, practice her photography skills, and spend time with family and friends. During the school year, she spends most of her free time with the Vietnamese Student Association, where she served as webmaster and historian last year, Bitcamp, UMCP’s largest hackathon, where she is a logistics organizer, and with her honors program, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.
Durham Camp Coordinator. Recent graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Simulation and Game Design. Obsessed with cats and video games. :)
Joe Marchuk is a human flesh monkey grown organically, with no artificial flavoring. He can be found in the wild working as a freelance independent videogame composer and sound designer. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, he is currently a student at Berklee College of Music, where he runs the Sound Design Network club, and anticipates graduation in the spring of 2018. Most of his work has been in mobile games, though he was most recently involved as assistant sound designer on Earplay’s interactive audio stories, The Orpheus Device, and Pugmire. Joe is an alumnus of the MassDiGI Summer Innovation Program for 2016 where he was responsible for music and sound design on their mobile games, Comet Cats, Takeover Trail, Smash Crusaders, and Colosseum Coach. In 2017, Joe was selected to attend GDC as an IGDA Scholar. He also dislikes descriptions of himself in third person.
Josh decided at a very young age that he needed to become a video game developer when he got out of school. Having just recently finished studying Computer Science and Visual Arts & Technology at Stevens Institute of Technology, he is now hoping to soon break into the gaming industry and finally fulfill that goal. At school he also found a great passion for teaching and leading others and is very excited to combine these two passions to educate more aspiring game developers like himself.
In his studies, Josh has been especially interested in the different techniques used to deliver compelling narratives which are unique to video games. Over the past year, he collaborated with other students on a tool for the Unity3D game engine which would allow for the easier creation of cooperative, visual-novel style games.
Outside of playing and making games, Josh has been heavily involved in theater, loves to (poorly) play soccer, and plays piano whenever he finds the chance.
I am working to become a 3D Generalist Artist. For 3D, I mostly focus on characters, but I also do hard surface modeling and texturing. Despite my love for 3D, I come from a 2D illustrative background, and I can with confidence, bring all my knowledge of design, and drawing with me. I am currently employed at Blue Sky Art Academy so I am very experienced with working with kids, and giving art direction! I hope to share what I know with the girls and enrich their lives.
My name is Kathy, and I am from Indiana. I love puppies, running, board games, food, and programming. I first discovered computer science in high school, and I fell in love with it. I have since taught myself different aspects of technology. Among my favorites include programming iOS applications and making Arduino projects. I also love to share my passion for programming with others. I have led multiple community service groups and programs that introduce girls to computer science and encourage them to pursue STEM. In addition to my love for games and programming, I also love drawing and painting. I am also very passionate about giving back to my community and have been a part of many community organizations including the Carmel Mayor’s Youth Council and Indianapolis Museum of Art Teen Arts Council. Next year, I will be a freshman at Stanford University, where I will (maybe) major in product design or symbolic systems. I am so excited to be a part of the inaugural group of GMG fellows. I am especially excited to be working with an amazing group of girls as they create their own game!
Kaylin joins us for the first time as a counselor at Girls Make Games. He is an independent game developer and music producer with credits in games such as the upcoming Alicorn Princess Blast for PC and Xbox One and Ghostlight Manor for PC. He grew up during the Super Nintendo era of gaming and has kept a love for retro and arcade games. Kaylin began making games in early 2010 using Flash and Stencyl and soon after graduating to using Unity. Though he has professed that he will play anything from high quality AAA games down to fan games, his all-time favorite games are Fire Emblem (all of them really), the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and the Super Mario series of games. When he gets the chance, he loves exploring strange concepts and new ways to surprise the player and adores games that manage to surprise him. When Kaylin isn't talking passionately about making or playing games, he’s using his musical skills, knowledge and sometimes even his voice to help other projects sound awesome. He considers himself friendly and many of his friends have called him charismatic. Kaylin hopes to inspire others to see the same magic that he saw as a child when making games for kids and adults.
Kelsey is a game designer and researcher passionate about getting more girls in game development. A lifelong tabletop and video games nerd, she studied Organizational and Mass Communication in her undergraduate work in Montana and never really considered a career in game development. It wasn’t until moving to Seattle and working on her Master’s degree in Human Centered Design and Engineering at University of Washington that the possibility of making games occurred to her thanks to some wonderful classmates and guest speakers. After that realization she quickly began focusing both her studies and her professional pursuits on games. While she was finishing up her Master’s degree, Kelsey also worked with the User Research team at Bungie for two years, working on Destiny and the upcoming Destiny 2 - professionally watching people play games in order to make them even better. Now Kelsey is pursuing independent projects and brushing up on her own game development skills, as well as creating artwork for some in development indie tabletop games. Kelsey is thrilled to be working with Girls Make Games and cannot wait to geek out about games for three weeks to help even more girls and women get involved in game development!
Ken started his education at Golden West College in Huntington Beach right after graduating high school. He started taking computer science classes where he learned the basics of C++ and his love for coding has never stopped growing. Ken graduated from Golden West College with a degree in Liberal Arts: Emphasis in Mathematics and transferred to California State University Long Beach where he is now studying Computer Science.
When Ken is not studying he is making games with his school club called the 'Video Game Development Association (VGDA)'. Every semester he works with a group of 40+ students putting their collective minds together to design, make, and publish a video game by the end of the semester. He has contributed to four VGDA games that have been completed and published to the Google Play Store. He is currently the Technical Lead in VGDA where he makes sure the semester project isn't broken and also advises and guides his team of programmers with using Unity Engine and GitHub for source control. His previous roles include Assistant Technical Lead and UI Feature Team Lead in which he lead a group of interdisciplinary students to make a complete, interactive, and polished user interface.
His other hobbies include playing Magic: The Gathering with his friends, making scale models, and of course playing video games.
Kristin grew up in Illinois and moved to California in 2016. She has a BA in English with a minor in Psychology from Western Illinois University. Kristin’s previous jobs include writing tutor, elementary school teacher, and software engineer. During her elementary school teaching days, she realized her love of technology and saw how engaging it was for her students. She started and supervised a computer coding club for 5th graders and a FIRST Lego Robotics League for middle school students. In 2015, she attended a web development bootcamp to learn more about software development. Kristin enjoys going to conferences to learn new things. In 2016, she attended Google I/O in Mountain View, CA. During that conference, she was inspired to focus on developing virtual and augmented reality games using Unity. Kristin is a guest blogger for Sweetcode.io, writing about virtual reality development. She is also a student mentor for Udacity’s Virtual Reality Developer Nanodegree. In February 2017, Kristin’s game, Future Fix-up, Past Patch-up, won first place in Udacity’s VR jam. Currently, she is starting an indie game studio and developing cross-platform VR games for Oculus and HTC Vive.
LeSean Payne graduated from the Academy of Art University with a degree in Game Design, working on several collaborative projects and leading smaller teams to create games himself. Passionate, driven, excited, he will oft lend a hand and make sure every player is on the same level, weather it's to compete in a class or in Super Smash Bros.
Megan Villablanca is a full-time lover of food, adventurer, world traveler, rock climber, and—of course—game developer. Currently finishing a Bachelor’s of Science in Game Development with a concentration in design and just starting a Master’s in Experience Design at DePaul University in Chicago, IL, you can often find her either working on current development projects at various hole-in-the-wall coffee shops or dining at restaurants too expensive for her broke college student lifestyle. Minus fine-tuning her sense of humor and sarcasm, Megan hopes in the future to develop games that are more inclusive of underrepresented communities within the larger gaming community and that address more serious subjects such as mental health. Originally a Pacific Northwest native, she hopes to eventually return to the mountains—or at least the West Coast—to start her career as a professional game developer while also continuing her habit of eating at expensive restaurants—a habit at that point she will hopefully be able to afford.
Melanie Jane Pascual
Hi! My name is MJ and I’m a junior studying towards a computer science and psychology double major with an education studies minor at Middlebury College. My coding journey started about 4 years ago through Girls Who Code (woo Twitter class of 2013!!). As much as I like learning about code, I’m really passionate about doing computer science outreach initiatives, especially for underrepresented minorities. I ran MIDDSTEAM, a STEM+Arts spring break camp for middle school girls in my freshman year of college, but I’m involved with other organizations such as Made With Code and NCWIT. This school year, I was a Stanford she++ ambassador and president of the college’s women in computer science club. I also won the Google Women Techmakers scholarship and the BOLD women’s leadership scholarship to help fund the rest of college. I like to attend tech conferences and hackathons to meet other people passionate about coding and to learn about emerging technologies. I’m a strong believer in incorporating technology with social good issues, but am interested in working in the forensic sciences. Currently, I’m interning at DotLab, a women health tech startup that made the first non-surgical test to diagnose endometriosis, where I do front end development and product management. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and Bank of America. Outside of all things tech related, I play rugby in college, drink too much mango boba, and watch crime scene or sci-fi shows on netflix (but only in the summer or else I’d never get homework done).
Hello there! My name is Aleida Olvera, and I am a student at Georgetown University aspiring to be a cybersecurity professional and leader in technology education. On campus, I am a Student Web Developer Intern for Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, Microsoft Student Partner, and Georgetown Community Scholar. I am hoping that through Girls Make Games, I can help ignite a passion for computing in young girls.
In the past, I have held office as the 2015 - 2016 Texas Technology Student Association Vice President, founded my high school’s first Girls Who Code Club. Along with this, I traveled to the White House as an Entertainment Software Association LOFT Innovation Fellow and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to present SmartGuard: an innovative safety application to tackle my community’s safety issues. While attending Intel ISEF, I was selected as 1 of 6 students internationally to participate in WebValley Summer School - a program based in Italy that conducted research to better treat patients with mental disabilities.
Being the only minority present at WebValley Summer School shocked me and only continued to inspire me to strive to be a role model for other Hispanics within the field of computing. Because of this aspiration, I have been blessed to represent the National Center for Women and Information Technology as a Technolochica and a 2015 National Aspirations in Computing Awardee, as well the Hispanic Heritage Foundation as a National Hispanic Heritage Youth Awardee for Innovation and Technology.
Hi! My name is Parker Anderson and this is my first year with Girls Make Games. I was born and raised in Bellevue Washington, and I graduated from the International School of Bellevue in 2016. Since then, I have been attending college at Washington State University where I am majoring in Computer Science. I love teaching young adults, and Girls Make Games is an immensely helpful and important organization in opening an industry to bright and talented young women. I have been a lifelong video game fan, and having a productive outlet to put that passion, not just for me but all the campers, is a very special thing. I love all types of video games, but among my favorites are RPGs like The Elder Scrolls, The Witcher, and Knights of the Old Republic. I am looking forward to what is going to be an amazing summer camp!
Quinn Spence is a game artist and designer based in Seattle, WA. They recently transplanted from New England where they completed a BFA in Digital Media and a minor in Art History at Maine College of Art. Their minor’s thesis focused on representation in games, as well as how social power structures impact game design. During their studies they also developed several of their own small games, dabbling in just about every aspect of game development.
In their personal work, Quinn concentrates on the crossroads of identity and the game space and researches the application of art theory in video games. Quinn is interested in how the medium can be utilized to profoundly affect others, be it via identity exploration, education, narrative, or stress relief. They also just love 3D modeling very, very much.
Quinn’s other passions include board games and intersectional social justice, and in their spare time they’re the game master for a tabletop roleplaying group comprised of fellow queer artists. Their favorite games (digital and otherwise) include Dungeon World, Kentucky Route Zero, Portal, and Settlers of Catan.
A summer camp veteran, Quinn has been involved with various camps across 10 summers as either a camper or a staff member. This is their first summer with Girls Make Games and they are very excited to be here.
Russell Wiley is a game developer and student from Dallas, TX, currently studying Arts and Technology at the University of Texas at Dallas. He has previously worked as a Software Engineer at physical therapy company Physmodo, and is a former Microsoft Student Partner for the UT Dallas campus. With a strong background in C# development, he is currently programming for small game projects using the Unity game engine.
Yo! I'm Sam and I love animals, Pokemon GO and making silly and/or cute games! I've produced and drawn art for mobile and PC games over the past two years, and I couldn't be more excited to work with others getting started in game development! Feel free to say hi to me on twitter @flarechess :)
Sarah Spiers is a Boston based game producer and narrative designer who has worked in both educational and commercial gaming industries. She recently received her Bachelors degree in Interactive Media from Emerson College, where she founded and led the college’s official game development club. Over the past four years, Sarah has worked on many different mobile, console, and PC games, and was named a Forbes Under 30 Scholar and IGDA 2017 Scholar. Currently, Sarah works with Boston Festival of Indie Games as the college outreach coordinator, a position that lets her engage with emerging talent and help them get the resources they need to succeed. Sarah’s very excited to join the Girls Make Games family through the fellowship program and looks forward to helping attendees grow a love for gaming and the gaming industry.
Hello! My name is Stephanie Tam and I am a third year Computer Science major at UC Irvine. I grew up in San Francisco with my parents and three younger sisters. At school, I am involved with the Women in Information and Computer Sciences (WICS) as the corporate chair and Hack at UCI in logistics. Over the past year, I was a mentor for freshmen girls who were are interested in majoring in Computer Science and I also taught high school girls how to program using Scratch, Processing, and Makey Makeys. I am an aspiring programmer who wants to close the gender gap within the tech and gaming industry.
I love video games and I have been playing them for as long as I can remember. One of the earliest type of games I remember playing are flash games on PC and Kingdom Hearts on the PS2. Several of my favorite series of games are Animal Crossing, Uncharted, and Pokemon. The game that I currently play a ton of and still love is Overwatch! When I am not playing video games, I like making arts and crafts, listening to music (mostly KPOP), and watching TV shows (The Flash, Riverdale, Korean dramas).
Yuxin moved to New York City from Beijing in 2015 to become a badass video journalist. She ended up falling in love with making video games instead. Despite having no clue whether she would be able to catch up with the skill set required to get the work done, she has managed to create a couple of small projects with friends.
Recently, she has been trying to figure out how narrative games could work. She wants to make fun, silly short narrative games. If lucky, one day she could touch people's hearts.
A big Thank You to our wonderful summer staff for making this summer a success!
Matt Kain Lewandowski
Matt is the co-founder and CTO at Team2Bit, a Bay Area game studio whose mission is to make unique games guided by personal taste. Team2Bit games have been exhibited at venues such as E3, GDC, PAX Prime, PAX East, and Indiecade and are available for variety of platforms including Xbox One, Steam, Google Play, the App Store, the HTC Vive, and the Oculus Rift. Matt is a graduating members of IGN's Indie Open House program and part of the winning team on season 1 of IGN's The Next Game Boss. Matt also served as lead developer and programmer on a suite of award-winning, STEM-themed educational games created by UC Berkeley that have exceeded over 1 million downloads. When he's not making games, Matt can be found doing yoga, hiking, biking, or climbing on something dangerous.
Jingqi is an undergraduate student at Tufts University majoring computer science and will be a sophomore in the fall. She was born in China and moved to the US when she was 3 years old. After graduating from Waltham High School in 2016, she thought she was going to major in chemistry but found that she was dead wrong about that. She has coached rhythmic gymnastics since 2013. Her unwavering life goal is to live in a tree house, and would also like to own a cat at some point in the future. She would like to become a software developer someday and hopes to move to the west coast. In her free time, she loves playing beach volleyball, watching animated shows, taking absurdly long walks, and exploring new places with friends. She likes milk chocolate and grape tomatoes and enjoys watching scifi movies about space. She dislikes humidity and using umbrellas. She's not coordinated enough to play many video games herself but she loves to watch others play. Her favorite games are Gone Home and The Beginner's Guide, though Poptropica holds a special place in her heart. She thinks storytelling is the best part of both making and playing video games.
Gail is a programmer, developer, writer, cosplayer, and jack of all trades trying to master some! In the past Gail has taught Intro to Java and Java Programming in Minecraft and has been a panelists on talks about cosplay, the creative process, and working as woman in tech. She enjoys writing, programming, sewing, and also actually really likes level grinding.
I'm Natalie Landsberg and I will be a junior at NC State University next year. I am from Raleigh North Carolina and love to play games! Some of my favorite games at the moment are Overwatch, Hyper Light Drifter, Borderlands, Minecraft, and many more. I really love cats and have three at home, and I also own a hedgehog named Mr. Texas. My major is Computer Science as I really enjoy programming, and I'm getting into networking at the moment. I can't wait to be a part of camp for my second year as a counselor!
A student of the Rochester Institute of Technology's Game Design & Development program. Aspiring game designer and writer. Avid reader, cat lover, and world traveler. Also really, really likes space.
Allie is a student at Lafayette College studying to earn her Computer Science degree with the class of 2019. She was born and raised just outside of Boston in a family of all girls. Having spent many years as a camp counselor, she knows the power of inspiring young women and girls to reach their full potential. Once a self-proclaimed English nerd, Allie typed her first lines of code two years ago in an Intro to Gaming class. Since then, she's never looked back. She is now the Vice President of the Women in Computing club at Lafayette, a member of ACM, and an enthusiastic student. Some of her favorite coding accomplishments include designing and creating a CPU simulator as well as a Grading Tool for the Computer Science professors at Lafayette. Allie's other passions include playing the piano, spending time with friends, and learning Spanish. She hopes to earn a Spanish minor and find an opportunity to combine Spanish and Computer Science in a future career. When she steps away from her laptop, Allie can be found playing tennis with friends or spending time with her sisters.
Francesca is a long time GMG champion and ambassador. She is the founder of Contigo Games, an indie game development company, based out of Boston. Her favorite games to make and play are cooperative multiplayer games that people can play together. She is also a graduate student at the NYU Game Center and hosts a gaming podcast called IndieComplete. She loves magical girls and dogs.