Dorothy Batten, President, D.N. Batten Foundation

Dorothy Batten drives the overall strategy and direction for iThrive. Through the foundation, she makes grants to support innovative approaches to tackle mental health and environmental conservation issues, as well as supporting community programming in Charlottesville, VA. Ms. Batten serves on the board of the Women’s Initiative, the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation, the Amazon Conservation Association, the Alumni Board of Trustees and the Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia. She served for 10 years as a Director of Landmark Media Enterprises LLC. Previous board experience includes involvement with the University of Virginia Arts Council, University of Virginia Art Museum, Norfolk Academy, Peabody School, and the Paramount Theater. She received her master’s degree in counseling from Capella University, her MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration at the University of Virginia, and her B.A. in Economics and Business from Hollins University.

Susan Rivers, PhD, Executive Director & Chief Scientist

Susan oversees the strategic direction for iThrive. Adopting a creative leadership style, she supports the talented and passionate iThrive team in their collective efforts to use evidence-based games to help teens thrive. A social psychologist, she uses her expertise in emotional intelligence and designing social and emotional learning interventions to inform the development of game-based interventions and establish a collaborative and innovative network of teens, game developers, psychologists, affective scientists, funders, and investors. She has published extensively in scholarly journals and books, is the co-author of several curricula on social and emotional learning, and speaks at national and international conferences and events.


Jane Lee, Director of Production & Ambassador of Fun

Responsible for production of iThrive assets and products, Jane is in charge of making sure iThrive’s core activities are accomplished on time and within budget, utilizing principles of project management. With a background in research and evaluation, Jane has worked with youth on several grant-funded programs studying substance abuse and teen pregnancy prevention. Her research interests include adolescents and “Third Culture Kids.” An active gamer, Jane is thrilled to combine two of her passions. Jane was born in Australia, attended high school in Singapore, and received her B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University.

Heidi McDonald, Creative Director & Head Troublemaker

Heidi has her fingers on the pulse of the gaming industry, forges connections with prominent leaders and movers in the gaming world, and is a developer who has made award-winning games so knows what goes into creating them. She directs iThrive’s efforts to create engaging games for teens. She also plans iThrive’s events that bring game developers together to learn how to include positive psychology concepts into their work. She is a sought-after speaker at gaming conferences, with a wide following—and some of the highest speaker ratings at the 2016 Narrative Summit at the Game Developers Conference.

Michelle Bertoli, M.A., Director of Content & Lead Science Writer

Michelle delves into the scientific literature and translates research on positive psychology and adolescence into video game narratives, project proposals, and guides for game developers and others who are invested in teen thriving. Michelle brings to iThrive years of experience researching and writing about psychology, social and emotional learning, and positive youth development in peer-reviewed scholarly outlets, grant proposals, presentations, and educational curricula.

Isaac Handley-Miner, Senior Research Associate

Isaac contributes to iThrive’s research efforts by conducting literature reviews, supporting testing, and assisting with survey design. He loves nothing more than mining through the psychology literature and is particularly interested in positive psychology. Drawing on his experience in advertising, he also assists with communication strategy and develops social media content. He received his B.A. in economics from Hamilton College.