Meet Pixelles Ensemble at GDC20

Our GDC Scholarship program, Pixelles Ensemble, is returning to GDC this year with a whole new group of amazing nonbinary, genderqueer and women (trans/cis) game developers. We provide a GDC pass, need-based travel funds, and host 3 events to assist the Ensemble members in feeling welcome, safe, and empowered to pursue their professional goals. For many, attending this conference is not only an inspiration but also a career highlight.

Providing opportunities like this to marginalized developers directly improves the games industry and surrounding culture for years to come, by not only increasing the diversity of those who benefit from GDC, but improving GDC itself with their presence and experiences. Pixelles Ensemble is thrilled to be a part of this changing landscape and, of course, to provide knowledge-sharing, experiences, and a supportive community for all its members.

In 2020, the Pixelles Ensemble group is made up of mid-career developers, many of whom are parents, people of color or based in underrepresented countries. Many of these developers have never before had the chance to attend GDC, and we’re honored to assist them in achieving this career milestone.

Thank you to our sponsors
Meet everyone

Thank You to Our Supporters

Without your generosity and support, many of our scholarship’s talented game developers would not be able to attend GDC.

Platinum Sponsors
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Our Cohort

Andy Vatter
VR Gameplay/UI/UX Engineer, Environment Artist @ Monsterful; Lead Developer, Artist, Everything @ Proto Dome Games

I’m a generalist almost to a fault, and self-taught in basically everything that an indie game could use in development. I am also, it should not go unmentioned, great at parties.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

The self-taughtedness mentioned above has left me at a wee disadvantage relative to knowing, uh, anybody in the industry, so GDC is an A+ opportunity to show everyone what a nerd I am.

Ana Guajardo
Marduk Producciones Founder Partner, Board chair at MujeresEnVg & Marketing Specialist in IT-Talent Headhunter Senior TI. Senior TI

I organize anime and videogame events, giving developers space to show their work. I collaborate in marketing and communications strategies. I love traveling, I stepped on the 5 continents before the age of 35 and one of my goals is to go through all the Assassins Creed locations. I have a dog named Kara.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

What excites me most about GDC is being able to meet people from all over the world who have the same passion for video games as me, exchange ideas and seek mutual support to continue growing in the industry.

Arundhati (Aruna) Sriraman
Narrative Designer/MBA. Currently Job Hunting!

I’m a Narrative Designer and have worked on games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars. I currently freelance, but have recently earned an MBA with the hopes of going into Production or Project Management. I love games as a storytelling medium and hope to keep working on narrative-heavy games!

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

Reconnecting with the devs I’ve met before. There is no place better than GDC to connect with friends and peers from around the world! I’m also looking forward to meeting new folks and learning from them.

Camila Torrano
Freelancer Concept Artist

I’m a Brazilian Concept Artist who also work with Illustration and have some published comics. I’ve done a bit of everything art-related in Games (from Character Design to UI), but my true love and main goal is to work in a Horror game.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

To meet other women/NB folks who work with GameDev and exchange experiences, the good and the bad stuff we’ve gone through and bring useful intel to my fellow Brazilians game devs.

Christina Qi
Concept artist at OtherSide Entertainment, Organizer at Women in Games Boston

I’m a concept artist and illustrator from Hong Kong (+ many other places) currently working in the US. I feel really lucky to get to design big monsters and other crazy things for a living…and hopefully will continue to do so for a long while! I am passionate about diversity and working with students.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

Looking forward to learning tons of new things from talks and hanging out with other devs from all over the world.

Cid Oliveira
Game Designer @ Rio PUC Games / Design Student @ Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro

Hello, I’m Cid! Being queer and in the autism spectrum while growing up in Rio de Janeiro, I’ve found comfort in the many lives I’ve lived in digital and analog games. Nowadays, my main objective as a game developer is to create safe and empowering experiences for those in need.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I’m looking forward to meeting all the amazing people from all over the world! Hope to make new friends, especially other Latinx and queer developers. :)

Crystal Sciarrino
Lead character artist/animator, UI artist, Game Designer @SkyReach Entertainment.

A passionate mother, veteran and game developer looking to make a difference in the world of game development and create amazing games and compelling stories along the way.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I am most excited to meet others with a dream-like myself. Passion is so contagious and hearing the stories of everyone’s journey thus far will be great!

Danuta “Danka” Psuty
Level Designer at People Can Fly, Poland

Danka has been in the industry since 2012. She entered only having a vague idea what ‘level design’ is but she improved since then. She loves video games, especially FPSs and RPGs. Besides video games, her other passions are writing and dancing.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

Her goal for GDC is to expand her knowledge from top industry veterans. She will never pass on the opportunity to learn more about design.

Desiree Cifre
Writer and Narrative Designer @ Studio Drydock

I previously attended GDC as a Gold Winner in the 2017 Student Game Narrative Review competition, for my review of Life is Strange. I’m currently a writer at Studio Drydock, working on an unannounced narrative-driven game that features a diverse cast and explores real-world themes. I love sharing my passion for games with my kids, especially by playing cooperative games like Forbidden Island, Unravel 2 and 39 Days to Mars.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I can’t wait to meet the rest of the Pixelles Ensemble in person, attend the Narrative Summit, and reconnect with old friends from the NYU Game Center!

Sofi Lamont-Cardinal
Senior game designer @ Behaviour Interactive

I’m a game designer with more than 10 years of experience. I’ve worked at indie, AA and mobile studios on many different types of games, and I’m currently specializing in AI design! I also teach game design to future level designers. I love to read and to solve puzzles, making detective novels my favourites!

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

Learning a lot of things at different conferences.

Emilie Deschamps
Lead Programmer @ Behaviour Interactive

I am a game dev from Montreal, currently working as a lead programmer at Behaviour. I previously worked as a game programmer mostly on mobile games, both at Gameloft and EA. I started in the industry about 12 years ago. Other interests include traveling, skiing and running. I also recently became the mom of a little boy. :)

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I am looking forward to pretty much everything at GDC, as it will be my first time there. I love to learn new things so I am really excited to go!

Farah Brixi
Narrative Designer @ Behaviour Interactive

Farah Brixi is a Montreal-based Narrative Designer with five years’ experience in video games. She is currently working on Behaviour’s Dead by Daylight, an asymmetrical horror game. Her previous project was Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six Siege, a classic tactical FPS. 

Her love for creating rich, multilayered characters can only be matched by her passion for traveling. She’s lived on 4 continents and written in 7 countries.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I can’t wait to meet passionate developers and discuss underrepresented aspects of game development. Specifically, how to create more accessible games with fresh, ingenious designs. Also, I’m looking forward to sharing best practices on representation and diversity in video and mobile gaming.

Jo Gauthier
Art Director @ Thunder Lotus

I’m a highly anxious plant nerd who draws a bunch and loves to dabble in different mediums to create. Some would say… too many at once. :’D

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

The things I’m most looking forward to at GDC this year are the conferences that explore underrepresented aspects of game development. Accessibility best practices, Addressing Ethics & Content Responsibility as Game Devs, etc. I’m also obviously really looking forward to some post-mortems, especially those centered around art direction.

Juno Morrow
Independent game designer/developer and game design professor

Juno Morrow is a multidisciplinary artist, independent game designer, photographer and educator living in Brooklyn. Morrow has presented games and spoken at sites such as SXSW, GDC, MAGFest and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her unusual games, often infused with dark humor, feature distinctive aesthetics and novel premises.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I’m really looking forward to connecting with like-minded folks, and being inspired and energized by all the amazing work folks are doing!

Katherine Boutin
Community Coordinator @ Gameplay Space

Having recently started my new role at Gameplay Space, a co-working space dedicated to indie video games in Montreal, I’ve always been passionately vocal about the sense of community video games bring to people all around the world. One of my biggest dreams is to see this industry evolve with my own two eyes, and contribute to its ever-growing communities in any way that I can. Aside from that, I am an avid fan of sweets, kaiju, and Sony’s Aibo robot dog!  

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

As this will be my first GDC, I simply look forward to taking it all in, one step at a time.

Katie Benson
Independent game writer

Katie’s the name and writing’s my game. Game writing, that is. I live in Aarhus, Denmark and I design and write interactive fiction. I create my own projects and collaborate with indie studios, and my games industry background stretches back to 2007. I love chocolate, running and making new friends.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I am looking forward to learning from others, especially my fellow Pixelles Ensemble attendees. I may have been making games for a while, but I have so much to learn. Attending GDC is guaranteed to help me be a better games writer and a better human being.

Leene Künnap
Indie Game Developer / 2D Artist / CEO of Placeholder Gameworks

I’m a full-time indie dev from Estonia. I studied Media Design and am obsessed with making awesome looking things. Currently, I am living in indie dev co-working/co-living space in Sweden with my fiancé and we are making a game called Death and Taxes that will be released a bit before GDC2020!

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I am looking forward to meeting all the awesome people at GDC! I am also looking for inspiration to start a new game project and know that these types of events are perfect for it!

María Ambrosoni
Lead Artist @ ARF Game Studio

I’m an animator and illustrator from Uruguay. As part of ARF Game Studio, I’ve worked on several games for Cartoon Network, and also work as a freelance illustrator for educational board games.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

This is my first GDC and I am planning to attend as many talks as humanly possible and meet devs from all over the world!

Marie-Andrée Forest
Game designer, 3D artist and indie game developer @ Studio Invisible

After working as a lead designer in a somewhat big studio, I taught myself most of the other crafts necessary to create games on my own.
From short narratives based on nightmares to experimental VR and accurate architectural simulation(my current day job), I am passionate about the perceived realities and how we can best share them. I also spend quite a bit of time creating ambient noisescapes.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I hope to find inspiration in other creator’s personal approaches and diverse views on what games can be. I am especially looking for underrepresented voices, challenging views and of course, mind-blowing ideas and people.

Melissa Ramsden
Tech Designer at EA Motive

I’m a designer of levels, tech and boss fights, originally from Chilliwack, BC who loves all things shiny, dark and spooky! Through hard work and a bit of luck, I’ve been able to be part of some truly amazing teams on such projects as Mass Effect Andromeda and StarWars Battlefront 2! When I can, I love drawing comics to give friends a good chuckle.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

This will be my first conference (both as a dev and ever!) I’m super excited to meet more like-minded folks in the industry, as well as learn and absorb all the talks about art, design, and everything else! I love learning, and even though I’m nervous, I love meeting new folks! I can’t wait to see you all there 😊

Mylène Lourdel
Marketing & Communication Specialist, Freelance

I’ve been working in the industry for nearly 10 years, almost 3 of them as a freelancer working for independent games. I love being a “jack of all trades”, never doing the same thing and working for games I believe in! I’m also treasurer of the association Women in Games France.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I can’t wait to meet the people behind the games that made me dream, especially in 2019! I also hope to meet inspiring people and, why not, set up future projects together!

Mariana Botero
Sound designer @ Criterion Games

I work as a sound designer at Criterion Games where I create, record, and implement audio for different AAA games. Before joining Criterion, I worked as a sound engineer, location audio specialist and audio editor for post-production in different visual media protects. Currently, I live in the United Kingdom and, in my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and playing video games. I love lasagne, ginger beer, and dogs.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

Connecting with people in the industry and learning more about my craft

Javeria Ali
2D Game Artist / Illustrator

I’m a Pakistani self-taught artist, with a weakness for cute art & wholesome content. I’ve worn many hats in the past 5 years: from graphic design to concept art, to art direction – my most recent project involved working as a UI artist on a location-based gamified tourism app. Currently, I’m exploring emotional intelligence & body-positivity in games.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I’m eager to expand my knowledge about visual art & art direction at GDC. I hope to connect with other artists/developers who are passionate about body-diversity in games. Mostly, I’m looking forward to making new friends! :D


Elaine Gusella
Game Director @ Artifact 5

Elaine is the Lead Game Designer for Montreal-based indie studio Artifact 5. She has previously worked as a game design and discoverability consultant with multiple indie studios and community organizations, including MEGA 2017 and 2018, GamePlay Space, where she managed the IP Discoverability Engine, and the Pixelles Game Incubator. She holds a Postgraduate Certificate in Game Design from Université de Montréal, where she specialized in communications and social features in games. She is also the super proud mother of an amazing little girl.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I am most excited about meeting new people and catching up with friends I haven’t seen since the last conference. You may find me at the independent games summit or with the Pixelles Ensemble. I would especially love to meet other parent game devs.

Jacquelinne Marcano Morales
Freelance Programmer

A person with a big heart who tries every day to make video games a form of expression for education, art, and entertainment for everyone involved. Loves to teach, help, and work with everyone, and enjoys what she does very much. One of the founders of PRGDA, an association that helps boost the video game industry in Puerto Rico, and an avid fan of Unreal Engine, and Epic Games’ work in the video game industry.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

Creating amazing bonds with people who share common interests, and helping others with their self-doubts! Super excited to help this industry become a wonderful space for people~

Javiera Paz
Game designer @ Animal Shelter Senior QA @ Testronic labs Board chair @ Mujeres En VG

Javiera is a Chilean Game designer and QA. Right now, besides working in Testronic as Senior QA, she’s working as Game Designer for a casual mobile game where you manage an animal shelter (@animalshelterGame), from which she intends to donate monthly revenue to real-life animal shelters. She is co-founder of Mujeres en VG (Women in Videogames), an association of female-identified people in Chile who wants to give visibility and a safe space for collaboration to all who form part of this industry. Her prime movers are her kitten, her puppy and her husband.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

GDC is always refreshing for learning new things, staying inspired, sharing with a loud, diverse industry. I’m dying to reconnect with the friends I’ve made in previous years.

Jennifer Sunahara
Software Developer @ EA Montreal

Jennifer is a Software Developer at EA Montreal, with degrees in both Computer Sciences and Biology. Her dream is to one day make a game about ecosystems and ecology! She has been a coordinator for Pixelles for 4 years now and is currently focusing her energy on building partnerships between tech companies and Pixelles. If you have any questions about our programs or initiatives, or want to chat about a partnership idea, please feel free to reach out at!

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I am most looking forward to helping the participants of the GDC ensemble have a great GDC experience, as well as meeting new friends, networking and learning from my peers!

Stephanie Fisher
Research Officer, University of Toronto; Pixelles Director  

Stephanie is community organizer based in Toronto, Canada. She made her first (and only) game as part of the Hand Eye Society’s Difference Engine Initiative in 2012 and has been heavily involved in supporting collaborative, community-driven WIG initiatives and programs ever since. She joined Pixelles as a co-director in 2015.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I’m excited to talk about Pixelles’ future programming and plans with studios interested in supporting these initiatives. Get in touch with me!

Valentine Dessertenne
Associate Producer @ Behaviour

I help creative teams ship great, engaging games. I’m a support class game dev, striving to make production inclusive and efficient by leading teams through empathy and constant improvement of my practices. Part of this is helping more gender-marginalized game devs enter, and stay, in the games industry by volunteering for Pixelles.

What are you most looking forward to for GDC?

I’m looking forward to helping our Ensemble have the best experience possible!

Contact Us

If it’s your first time at GDC, we wrote up some handy guides to help you navigate San Francisco and the GDC experience.

We’d be happy to answer any questions by email:

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