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Karen Brennan (Scratch, MIT)
Karen Brennan is a graduate student and research assistant at MIT Media Lab in the Lifelong Kindergarten group. The group designs technologies that enable people of all ages to develop as creative thinkers. Currently, Karen's research in the group focuses on Scratch, a new programming language that makes it easy to create and share your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. Her primary research interests include communities of support for educators, curriculum development, computer science education and gender equity.
Prior to joining Media Lab, Karen completed degrees in computer science, mathematics, and curriculum studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She has worked in industry as a software engineer, and in academia as a research assistant in the areas of computer science and education. She has 10 years of teaching experience, in secondary and post-secondary computer science and mathematics, and post-secondary teacher education, including curriculum and instructional methods.
Sara de Freitas (Serious Games)
Dr Sara de Freitas is Director of Research at the Serious Games Institute at the University of Coventry where she leads an applied research team working closely with industry. The Institute is the first of its kind in the UK and it is envisaged that it will play a leading role in future developments of game-based learning. Formerly Sara worked as Lab Manager, Project Manager on development programmes and Senior Research Fellow at the London Knowledge Lab. The Lab is a collaborative venture between Birkbeck College and the Institute of Education, University of London focusing upon technology assisted learning. Sara continues to hold a visiting senior research fellowship at the Lab.
Sara also worked with the UK Joint Information Systems Committee e-Learning Development Programme in the Innovation strand, exploring the applications and developments of innovative technologies upon post-16 learning. Sara's report Learning in Immersive Worlds reviews the uses of game-based learning and presents a set of case studies of practice. Sara is also working with TruSim (Blitz Games), the Vega Group PLC and the University of Birmingham on a £2 million UK Department of Trade and Industry co-funded Serious Games research and development project which will develop highly immersive learning games to solve business training needs.
In 2003 Sara founded the UK Lab Group, which brings the research and development community together to create stronger links between industrial and academic research through supporting collaborative programmes and for showcasing innovative R&D solutions for the knowledge economy. Sara publishes in the areas of: pedagogy and e-learning; change management and strategy development for implementing e-learning systems and educational games and electronic simulations for supporting post-16 training and learning.
Eileen Brown (Microsoft)
Eileen Brown moved into IT after spending 10 years as a navigating officer in the Merchant Navy. She moved into IT at a containership company, migrating the company from their Mainframe email system to MSMail. She joined Microsoft in 2001 and now works in the Developer and Platform Evangelism group, managing the team of Technical Evangelists. She is technically responsible for Unified Communications technologies and maintains a successful blog.
As the only technical woman in her group she is keen to promote the advancement of women in IT and to this end has started the "Connecting Women in Technology initiative" collaborating with other IT companies which compete in areas of business, but work together to celebrate the advancement of women in the enterprise, provide inspirational role models and mentors to women who wish to further their careers.
However, her life isn't spent entirely at her laptop. Away from work, she makes jam and chutney in awesome quantities, tends her flock of chickens, and grows organic vegetables and fruit and races around the countryside in her home built 6.6 litre cobra replica car. As much as possible, whenever she encounters warmer waters, she scuba dives as much as possible to get away from the phone...
Karen Clark (Bioware)
Karen Clark, Project Manager at BioWare, has worked in the software industry since 2001. After graduating from the University of Montana with a Bachelor's Degree in Japanese, she worked in Education for a year before joining the software firm Xinet, Inc. in Berkeley, California. Working in Technical Support, Quality Assurance and project management, she decided to move into the video game industry and apply the technical skills she'd learned to projects there.
Karen was happy to join Linden Lab to work on Second Life in 2005, where she was project manager for projects involving low-level network programming, physics engines, scripting languages, real-time 3D rendering, and the user-created content asset pipeline. After a short stint at GarageGames working on InstantAction.com in 2007, she moved to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she currently serves as Project Manager for the In-Game and Cinematic Animation teams on the upcoming title Dragon Age.
Karen is a Certified Scrum Master and an advocate for, and practitioner of, Agile methodologies including Scrum and Extreme Programming. Mentoring and career advancement in the video game industry is very important to Karen. Her involvement in Women in Games International lead her to create the WIGI Mentoring program with Sheri Graner Ray, and she serves as the Mentor Program Coordinator for that group.
Paulina Bozek (Sony)
Paulina Bozek is the Executive Producer of the innovative and highly successful SingStar® music game series for PlayStation®.
Paulina started her career in games at Ubisoft - Montreal, Canada. She joined SCEE London Studio in January 2003 as the Producer of SingStar.
Since its release in May 2004, the SingStar series has been instrumental in establishing video games as a social pastime enjoyed by mainstream audiences of all ages
December 2007 saw the SingStar franchise move onto the next-generation PLAYSTATION®3 platform, breaking into a new business model of downloadable content via the SingStore and launching a new platform of user-created content and sharing at My SingStar Online.
Paulina holds a Bachelor's degree in Cultural Studies and an MSc in Media & Communications from the London School of Economics. Paulina was awarded the BAFTA Interactive New Talent Award in 2004. SingStar was awarded the BAFTA for Originality in 2005.
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