D. Fox Harrell, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Digital Media at MIT. He is appointed in both the Comparative Media Studies Program and the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He founded and directs the Imagination, Computation, and Expression Laboratory (ICE Lab) at MIT. His research explores the relationship between imagination and computation. He develops new forms of computer gaming, social media, and related digital media based in computer science, cognitive science, and digital media arts. He has been awarded multiple grants from the National Science Foundation for studying virtual identity and to help middle and high school students become excited about computer science. His recent book, Phantasmal Media: An Approach to Imagination, Computation, and Expression, was published in 2013 by the MIT Press. Learn more here: http://groups.csail.mit.edu/icelab

Sneha Veeragoudar Harrell, Ph.D. is a learning scientist who is dedicated to getting young people excited about computing as a means of empowerment, problem solving, and self-expression. Her research centers on fostering transformative computer-based learning experiences for marginalized youth. She has directed research projects in California and Georgia, leading computational literacy interventions with an alternative school for students expelled from the mainstream and a year-long critical ethnography with an independent school for refugee girls. She completed her Ph.D. in Cognition and Development at the University of California, Berkeley, where her dissertation was a finalist for Best Dissertation of the Year in the Graduate School of Education and completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship with TERC, a Cambridge-based non-profit STEM education research think tank. She proudly serves as Co-Chair of the Social Sciences Advisory Board for the National Center for Women in Information Technology.

Dominic Kao is a Ph.D. Candidate at MIT in the Electrical Engineering Computer Science Program, interested in writing his dissertation at the intersection of learning and computing. A key component of his dissertation work is Mazzy, a central gaming component of the MazeStar system to introduce students to computing while supporting their own identities. Dominic comes to MIT from Princeton where he studied Computer Science.

Maya M. Wagoner is a Master’s student in Comparative Media Studies at MIT who is interested in building digital platforms with principles of social justice, collaborative design, and critical pedagogy in mind. Prior to studying at MIT, she grew up all around California, worked as a UX designer and usability researcher for major tech companies, and was an organizer of both the African/Black Student Alliance at the University of California, Santa Cruz and Code for San Francisco, a civic technology volunteer group. She currently lives in Somerville and fosters wayward cats in her home.

Pablo Ortiz is a Ph.D. Candidate at MIT in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department. Prior to MIT, he studied Computer Science at UC Santa Barbara. He currently studies the intersection between machine learning, games, and role-play.

Laurel Carney is a writer from California. She is currently a graduate student in MIT's Comparative Media Studies/Writing program, and earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of California, Davis. A lifelong gamer, she is interested in moderating and hacking, interactive fiction, online role-playing games, and communities formed around rule-breaking in virtual worlds.

Danielle Olson is a Ph.D. Student in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science at MIT. Danielle graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering from MIT in 2014. While at MIT, Danielle founded Gique Corporation, an educational nonprofit 501(c)(3) that exists to inspire & educate Boston-area youth in STEAM. Following her graduation from MIT, Danielle worked as a Program Manager at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center and Summer Program Coordinator for the MIT Online Science, Technology, and Engineering Community (MOSTEC).

Aziria Rodriguez is a political science graduate from the University of Puerto Rico, community organizer, and web developer. In Puerto Rico she worked for two major non-profits, tackling problems of government transparency, technology accessibility, capacity building and economic development. She is currently a graduate student in MIT's Comparative Media Studies/Writing program, where she studies collective cultural and media creation, with an emphasis on the development of participatory and collective tools that promote empowerment, equality and justice.

Sofia Ayala is a sophomore undergraduate student at MIT studying Computer Science and Comparative Media Studies. She is currently helping to develop a curriculum that teaches aspects of virtual identities. She has a background in animation and game design, and hopes to create games professionally in the future. Other projects she has worked on include small digital games, board games, and a VR demo.

Jacob Higgins is a Sophomore at MIT studying Comparative Media Studies. They are interested in building tools to empower people to understand and participate in their communities. Because of this, they have spent a lot of time asking people “What makes you you?” and “Why do you do what you do?”, but they strive to combine Design, Computer Science, and Sociology to understand people better.

Raul Boquin is a senior in the Department of Mathematics with Computer Science and serves as part of the leadership of the MIT Latino Cultural Center. Originally from Miami, Florida, he grew up with a love for mathematics and education. At MIT, he discovered the breadth of educational research that, combined with his background, gave him a passion to research education in unique ways. Raul hopes to go into graduate studies in computer science and education after MIT.