Keynote Speakers


Constance M. Yowell

Dr. Constance M. Yowell is the senior vice chancellor for educational innovation at Northeastern University. Prior to joining Northeastern, Yowell served as executive vice president of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) where she oversaw community engagement and outreach and founded LRNG, a nonprofit and technology platform that helped cities and communities build learning ecosystems for low income youth. She also served as the director of education at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, where she oversaw a $250 million program in digital media and learning. She led a community of entrepreneurs, researchers, designers and educators who designed and launched the Open Badge movement, created game-based schools, established partnerships with the game industry to create first-ever game-based assessments, and launched new approaches to the public library and museums in the 21st century.

Yowell started her career as an associate professor at the University of Illinois after serving as a policy analyst in the New York City school system and the U.S. Department of Education. Her research and policy work have focused on the deep disparities in local and federal education systems, particularly for African American and Latinx students, and she has written prolifically on the impact of educational policies and equity on student outcomes.

Sustainability & Resilience

Igor Mayer

Igor Mayer is a professor applied university (lector) of Serious Games, Innovation & Society at Breda University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands. He is also an endowed professor “Playful Organizations and Learning Systems” in the department of Organization Studies, faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Tilburg University. He is co-founder and has been a board member of SAGANET– the Netherlands’ Simulation and Gaming Association – as well as GaLA, the European Network of Excellence in Serious Games and the European Serious Game Society. He is an associate editor of Simulation & Gaming and Water. His main research and professional interests are the development, use and evaluation of gaming-simulation, serious games and more recently also virtual, mixed and augmented reality for policy analysis, organization and management. One featured research is the MSP Challenge ( with pending EU / Interreg funded projects in the North Sea, Baltic, Celtic and Mediterranean regions, and invited game-play sessions around the globe.


Kimberly Hieftje

Kimberly Hieftje, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and co-director of XRPeds at Yale, an initiative that focuses on the development, evaluation, and implementation of theory and evidence-informed health and clinical applications for youth and young adults using augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) and game technology. Over the past 13 years, Dr. Hieftje has developed health interventions for youth that have focused on topics such as e-cigarettes, tobacco use, marijuana, HIV/STIs, alcohol, bystander intervention, LGBTQ bullying, partner communication, and health relationships, infection control, and teen patient advocacy. Dr. Hieftje is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Games for Health Journal, the premier journal in the field of serious games for health. 

Social Justice

Kishonna Gray

Dr. Kishonna L. Gray (@kishonnagray) is an Associate Professor in the Writing, Rhetoric, Digital Studies program at the University of Kentucky. She is an interdisciplinary, intersectional, digital media scholar whose areas of research include identity, performance and online environments, embodied deviance, cultural production, video games, and Black Cyberfeminism.

 Dr. Gray is the author of Intersectional Tech: Black Users in Digital Gaming (LSU Press, 2020). She is also the author of Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live (Routledge, 2014), and the co-editor of two volumes on culture and gaming: Feminism in Play (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018) and Woke Gaming (University of Washington Press, 2018).  Dr. Gray has published in a variety of outlets across disciplines and has also featured in public outlets such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The New York Times.

 Follow Dr. Gray on Twitter @KishonnaGray 

Social Program

Boston and its surrounding area offer a range of exciting social activities to pursue. We recommend visiting Cape Cod (while avoiding the sharks) or Acadia National Park in Maine (and challenge yourself with the Precipice or Beehive trail). As part of the conference program, we provide three social program options to choose from.

Option 1

Boston Best – Freedom Trail
Take a walking tour through the historic city of Boston and enjoy a Boston cream pie.

Option 2

Boston Finest – Museum of Fine Arts
Visit the 20th-largest art museum in the world and tour the campus wall art.

Option 3

Option 3: Wicked Boston – Duck Boat Tours
See the Boston skyline from the watah (and work on your Boston accent).

Conference Program

The ISAGA 2022 conference highlights each day a timely and relevant social impact sub-theme. A high-level overview of the conference program is provided below.

Monday July 11 - Education & Training Day
  • 8:30 Registration  ISEC 101
  • 9:00 Welcome to the 53rd International Simulation and Gaming Conference at Northeastern University

    Casper Harteveld: Conference Chair
    Brooke Foucault Welles: Associate
    Dean of Research at CAMD

  • 10:00 Keynote 1 ISEC 102
  • 11:00 Coffee break ISEC 101
  • 11:30 Session 1 [90 min]
  • 13:00 Lunch 
  • 15:00 Session 2 [120/90 min]
  • 17:00 Coffee break ISEC 101
  • 17:30-19:30 Reception ISEC 101
Tuesday July 12 - Resilience & Sustainability Day
  • 8:30 Registration ISEC 101
  • 9:30 Keynote 2 ISEC 102
  • 10:30 Coffee break ISEC 101
  • 11:00 Session 3 [90 min.]
  • 12:30 Northeastern’s Immersive Media Lab Tour
  • 14:30 Session 4 [90 min.]
  • 16:00 Coffee break ISEC 101
  • 16:30 Session 5: Posters and Games [120 min.]
  • 19:00 Game Night at Northeastern University: Grab your dinner and join us for a night of gaming
  • 19:30 Gaming Night of Fun at Versus, a bar with retro-modern arcade games [optional, “going dutch”] Location: 42 Province St, Boston, MA 02108
Wednesday July 13 - Health Day
  • 8:30 Registration ISEC 101
  • 9:30 Keynote 3  ISEC 102
  • 10:30 Coffee break ISEC 101
  • 11:00 Session 6 [90 min.]
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 14:30 Social Program
    • Boston Best
    • Boston Finest
    • Wicked Boston
  • 18:00 Gala Dinner at Turtle Swamp Brewing Location: 3377 Washington St, Boston, MA 0213

Thursday July 14 - Social Justice Day
  • 8:30 Registration ISEC 101
  • 9:30 Keynote 4 ISEC 102
  • 10:30 Coffee break ISEC 101
  • 11:00 Session 7 [90 min]
  • 12:30 Closing
    Award Ceremony
    ISAGA 2023 Presentation
  • 14:30 Tree planting ceremony
  • 17:00  ISAGA afterparty “The Last Spin”, ISAGA afterparty at SPIN, a bar with table tennis [optional, “going dutch”] Location: 30 Melcher St,
     Boston MA 02210