MEET THE TEAM

At iThrive, we use our strengths to co-design with teens, educators, researchers, game studios, and organizations to create meaningful and equitable game-based learning experiences. 

“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

– Miss Rumphius

Susan Rivers, PhD

Executive Director & Chief Scientist

You know how every team has that person who just makes things work? That’s Susan. She leads the charge on iThrive’s strategy, navigating around and through all obstacles that come in the way of the team achieving our mission. 

Susan has a PhD from Yale, is a social psychologist, and comes to iThrive with a fascination for how environments can be designed to propel learning, foster social connections, and support identity formation. She passionately believes that game design and play are powerful tools for learning about the self, forging meaningful connections with others, helping emotional development grow in an authentic way, and making the world a better place for all humans. 

Susan loves a competitive game of Sushi Go or UNO with her three kids and husband. 

TL;DR: Susan is a social psychologist who uses her powers to create the best-possible environment for iThrive’s team and ensures our strategy is on point.

Susan Rivers, PhD

Executive Director & Chief Scientist

“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.”

– Miss Rumphius

You know how every team has that person who just makes things work? That’s Susan. She leads the charge on iThrive’s strategy, navigating around and through all obstacles that come in the way of the team achieving our mission.

Susan has a PhD from Yale, is a social psychologist, and comes to iThrive with a fascination for how environments can be designed to propel learning, foster social connections, and support identity formation. She passionately believes that game design and play are powerful tools for learning about the self, forging meaningful connections with others, helping emotional development grow in an authentic way, and making the world a better place for all humans. 

Susan loves a competitive game of Sushi Go or UNO with her three kids and husband.

TL;DR: Susan is a social psychologist who uses her powers to create the best-possible environment for iThrive’s team and ensures our strategy is on point.

Michelle Bertoli, MA

Senior Director of Learning

Have you ever been totally disarmed by someone’s sheer talent for transfiguring research into digestible resources? We have. Let us expelliarmus this out for you: Michelle is our Senior Director of Learning with an MA from Yale and she draws on a decade of experience in social and emotional learning to lead our efforts in the education space to co-design game-based learning experiences with and for teens. 

Michelle believes adults often underestimate teens, and advocates that they’re doing exactly what they should be: preparing to venture out and become new leaders. Michelle helps them do that by integrating gameplay into their development and inviting them to cast a spell on their emotional growth.

When it’s time to relax, Michelle loves to kick back in the Ravenclaw common room and earn some house points in Lego Harry Potter. 

TL;DR: Michelle uses her magic to bring together games and learning for teens to thrive.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

Michelle Bertoli, MA

Senior Director of Learning

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

Have you ever been totally disarmed by someone’s sheer talent for transfiguring research into digestible resources? We have. Let us expelliarmus this out for you: Michelle is our Senior Director of Learning with an MA from Yale and she draws on a decade of experience in social and emotional learning to lead our efforts in the education space to co-design game-based learning experiences with and for teens. 

Michelle believes adults often underestimate teens, and advocates that they’re doing exactly what they should be: preparing to venture out and become new leaders. Michelle helps them do that by integrating gameplay into their development and inviting them to cast a spell on their emotional growth.

When it’s time to relax, Michelle loves to kick back in the Ravenclaw common room and earn some house points in Lego Harry Potter. 

TL;DR: Michelle uses her magic to bring together games and learning for teens to thrive.

“None of us are free until all of us are free.”

– Janelle Monae

Susan X Jane, BA

Senior Director of Organizational Strategy

Life is a game, right? Susan X Jane, iThrive’s Senior Director of Organizational Strategy, likes to think so. She’s known for turning everyday activities into game show contests, and has inspired and mentored young people in Boston and beyond. In addition to being a huge fan of group games, she’s a social justice advocate and a diversity and inclusion specialist with years of experience working in youth organizations, non-profits, and education. 

Susan has many years of experience designing programming that encourages young people to think about the way identity shapes experiences, ideas, and beliefs about the world. Susan brings this expertise to iThrive where she partners with teens to create games and other experiences to amplify their voice and activate social change. 

Susan loves to write and blog, and is occasionally a pundit on pop culture, race, and the apocalypse. She’s a huge dog lover and loves to spend time with her dog, Amon Ra. 

TL;DR: Susan’s mission is to mission no matter where she goes.

Susan X Jane, BA

Senior Director of Organizational Strategy

“None of us are free until all of us are free.”

– Janelle Monae

Life is a game, right? Susan X Jane, iThrive’s Senior Director of Organizational Strategy, likes to think so. She’s known for turning everyday activities into game show contests, and has inspired and mentored young people in Boston and beyond. In addition to being a huge fan of group games, she’s a social justice advocate and a diversity and inclusion specialist with years of experience working in youth organizations, non-profits, and education. 

Susan has many years of experience designing programming that encourages young people to think about the way identity shapes experiences, ideas, and beliefs about the world. Susan brings this expertise to iThrive where she partners with teens to create games and other experiences to amplify their voice and activate social change. 

Susan loves to write and blog, and is occasionally a pundit on pop culture, race, and the apocalypse. She’s a huge dog lover and loves to spend time with her dog, Amon Ra. 

TL;DR: Susan’s mission is to mission no matter where she goes.

Jane Lee, BA, PMP

Senior Director of Operations & Mental Health

We’re really, really PMP’d about Jane, our Senior Director of Operations & Mental Health with a B.A. in psychology from Syracuse University. If you’re ever trapped in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Jane is the person you want with you: trust us. Jane keeps our team surviving and thriving by designing systems, informing strategy, solving problems, and directing the team to produce excellent programs. 

Existing systems tend to only encourage a small percentage of teens to thrive: Jane’s mission is to disrupt those systems with new technology and design environments where all teens can thrive. Part of Jane’s role at iThrive is to direct the production of game and program assets, and she’s an asset in so many more ways.

An active gamer, Jane is thrilled that iThrive allows her to combine two passions: games and psychology. She believes games can strengthen skills like pattern literacy, logic, teamwork and creative problem solving.

TL;DR: Jane solves problems and makes sure things get done.

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

John A. Shedd

Jane Lee, BA, PMP

Senior Director of Operations & Mental Health

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for.”

John A. Shedd

We’re really, really PMP’d about Jane, our Senior Director of Operations & Mental Health with a B.A. in psychology from Syracuse University. If you’re ever trapped in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Jane is the person you want with you: trust us. Jane keeps our team surviving and thriving by designing systems, informing strategy, solving problems, and directing the team to produce excellent programs. 

Existing systems tend to only encourage a small percentage of teens to thrive: Jane’s mission is to disrupt those systems with new technology and design environments where all teens can thrive. Part of Jane’s role at iThrive is to direct the production of game and program assets, and she’s an asset in so many more ways.

An active gamer, Jane is thrilled that iThrive allows her to combine two passions: games and psychology. She believes games can strengthen skills like pattern literacy, logic, teamwork and creative problem solving.

TL;DR: Jane solves problems and makes sure things get done.

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty ‘Yes’ to your adventure.” 

Joseph Campbell

Nicole Taylor, MA

Senior Director of Communications

Do you see every day, every moment, as ripe with the possibility of a grand adventure? We know someone who does. Nicole Taylor, our Senior Director of Communications, brings that lens of creativity and wonder to her approach at iThrive. Whether it’s online or in-person, Nicole lives to create spaces that support her fellow humans in claiming their joy, healing and innate ability to thrive. 

With a BA in Journalism from Rider University and an MA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University, she leads communications for iThrive by synthesizing big ideas into strategic communications. She makes sure every work aligns with our mission of supporting teens in building the voice, choice, and agency they need to create the world they want to live in.

Nicole loves to spend time in nature with her husband, Ambrose. She writes, teaches yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, and is an avid reader.

TL;DR: Nicole creates spaces for joy, healing, and thriving. 

Nicole Taylor, MA

Senior Director of Communications

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty ‘Yes’ to your adventure.” 

Joseph Campbell

Do you see every day, every moment, as ripe with the possibility of a grand adventure? We know someone who does. Nicole Taylor, our Senior Director of Communications, brings that lens of creativity and wonder to her approach at iThrive. Whether it’s online or in-person, Nicole lives to create spaces that support her fellow humans in claiming their joy, healing and innate ability to thrive. 

With a BA in Journalism from Rider University and an MA in Creative Writing from Arcadia University, she leads communications for iThrive by synthesizing big ideas into strategic communications. She makes sure every work aligns with our mission of supporting teens in building the voice, choice, and agency they need to create the world they want to live in.

Nicole loves to spend time in nature with her husband, Ambrose. She writes, teaches yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, and is an avid reader.

TL;DR: Nicole creates spaces for joy, healing, and thriving. 

Eghosa Asemota, MPA

Manager of Marketing

Have you ever met someone so dedicated to their genius that it comes through in everything they say and do? That’s Eghosa, our Manager of Marketing. She shines when she is storytelling and using personal stories to generate awareness, ignite action, and mobilize support for social justice-oriented causes.

With a B.A. from Binghamton University and an MPA from Cornell University, Eghosa was drawn to iThrive because of its mission.  She believes that creating a more just and more loving world cannot happen without the sustained investment in the emotional and social wellbeing of teens.  In her work at iThrive, Eghosa is obsessively detail-oriented, ensuring that innovative tactics are applied, thoroughly analyzed and fine-tuned so that we are amplifying teen voices and promoting our work as effectively as possible. 

When it’s time to relax, you’ll find Eghosa sipping chamomile tea and watching nature documentaries, or maybe running, writing, painting, museum trips with friends and Family Feud marathons with her family. 

TL;DR: Eghosa uses storytelling to generate awareness and ignite action.

“The little grassroots people can change the world.” 

Wangari Muta Maathai

Eghosa Asemota, MPA

Manager of Marketing

“The little grassroots people can change the world.” 

Wangari Muta Maathai

Have you ever met someone so dedicated to their genius that it comes through in everything they say and do? That’s Eghosa, our Manager of Marketing. She shines when she is storytelling and using personal stories to generate awareness, ignite action, and mobilize support for social justice-oriented causes.

With a B.A. from Binghamton University and an MPA from Cornell University, Eghosa was drawn to iThrive because of its mission.  She believes that creating a more just and more loving world cannot happen without the sustained investment in the emotional and social wellbeing of teens.  In her work at iThrive, Eghosa is obsessively detail-oriented, ensuring that innovative tactics are applied, thoroughly analyzed and fine-tuned so that we are amplifying teen voices and promoting our work as effectively as possible. 

When it’s time to relax, you’ll find Eghosa sipping chamomile tea and watching nature documentaries, or maybe running, writing, painting, museum trips with friends and Family Feud marathons with her family. 

TL;DR: Eghosa uses storytelling to generate awareness and ignite action.

People will forget the things you do, and people will forget the things you say. But people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

Tabia Batts, BA

Manager of Teen Engagement

The Renaissance may have ended in the 17th century, but its spirit of joy in creation lives on in iThrive’s Manager of Teen Engagement, Tabia Batts. She attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where she pursued her passion for fashion. She continued her education at Beulah Heights College majoring in Urban Economic Development and Leadership Administration. Whether she is singing, dancing, cooking, or creating abstract art, her goal has always been to empower and motivate individuals to see their true potential.

At iThrive, Tabia engages teens creatively and thoughtfully in an effort to produce social and emotional learning-centered games. Over more than 15 years of experience in youth development, she has acquired valuable knowledge in building meaningful relationships with teens and communities. 

A native of North Carolina, she holds southern hospitality and values dear to her heart. With respect and kindness, Tabia brings a unique blend of creativity and passion for change to the iThrive team. 

TL;DR: Tabia is the queen of inspiring creativity, motivation, and greatness within everyone around her.

Tabia Batts, BA

Manager of Teen Engagement

People will forget the things you do, and people will forget the things you say. But people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

The Renaissance may have ended in the 17th century, but its spirit of joy in creation lives on in iThrive’s Manager of Teen Engagement, Tabia Batts. She attended the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale where she pursued her passion for fashion. She continued her education at Beulah Heights College majoring in Urban Economic Development and Leadership Administration. Whether she is singing, dancing, cooking, or creating abstract art, her goal has always been to empower and motivate individuals to see their true potential.

At iThrive, Tabia engages teens creatively and thoughtfully in an effort to produce social and emotional learning-centered games. Over more than 15 years of experience in youth development, she has acquired valuable knowledge in building meaningful relationships with teens and communities. 

A native of North Carolina, she holds southern hospitality and values dear to her heart. With respect and kindness, Tabia brings a unique blend of creativity and passion for change to the iThrive team. 

TL;DR: Tabia is the queen of inspiring creativity, motivation, and greatness within everyone around her.

Trynn Check, PMP, MFA Candidate

Game Designer in Residence

You know those completionist gamers who just have to get every side quest done, max out every stat, and collect every item in the game? We happen to know a real, actual Queen of Completion, our game designer in residence: Trynn Check.

She has an eye for structure in a way that allows her to take a deep dive into our game design process while maintaining full transparency and efficiency. She approaches game design with the twin pillars of research and follow-through. As an advocate for thoughtful design and promoting mental wellness in games, Trynn appreciates contributing to iThrive’s cache of resources.

Trynn is currently pursuing her MFA in Game Design from DePaul University and recently launched Intrynnsic Entertainment, her own novelty experience game design studio. She was recently nominated and showcased at the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge and has presented at the Meaningful Play Conference, IndieCade and Game Developers Conference. 

TL;DR: Trynn is the Queen of Completionists- a game design wizard to be reckoned with.

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

– Benjamin Button

Trynn Check, PMP, MFA Candidate

Game Designer in Residence

“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”

– Benjamin Button

You know those completionist gamers who just have to get every side quest done, max out every stat, and collect every item in the game? We happen to know a real, actual Queen of Completion, our game designer in residence: Trynn Check.

She has an eye for structure in a way that allows her to take a deep dive into our game design process while maintaining full transparency and efficiency. She approaches game design with the twin pillars of research and follow-through. As an advocate for thoughtful design and promoting mental wellness in games, Trynn appreciates contributing to iThrive’s cache of resources.

Trynn is currently pursuing her MFA in Game Design from DePaul University and recently launched Intrynnsic Entertainment, her own novelty experience game design studio. She was recently nominated and showcased at the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge and has presented at the Meaningful Play Conference, IndieCade and Game Developers Conference. 

TL;DR: Trynn is the Queen of Completionists- a game design wizard to be reckoned with.

“Never have a wishbone where your backbone should be.”

Sarah McMane

Jamal Hamilton

Teen Engagement Specialist

How do people feel encouraged to make positive changes in their communities and in the world, and motivate the younger generations to do the same? Jamal Hamilton, our teen engagement specialist, works to answer this question. He is a Boston-born and raised multi-talented educator, youth advocate, and art activist. Jamal has strong interests in promoting education, breaking the school-to-prison pipeline for Black adolescents, and de-stigmatizing mental health for the youth in his programs.

Jamal has aligned himself with countless organizations that focus on empowering marginalized identities and providing them with the resources to succeed. Whatever he sets his mind to, he works diligently until it is complete to this point that it can thrive. Every initiative, student, or mentee he has had the pleasure of working with has undoubtedly benefited from his keen eye and personable, friendly work ethic.

Jamal loves to write and perform music. He spends his time raising his one-year-old son, reading, supporting his local artist community, eating healthily, and maintaining healthy exercise practices.

TL;DR: Jamal produces music, safe spaces, and innovative ideas.

Jamal Hamilton

Teen Engagement Specialist

“Never have a wishbone where your backbone should be.”

Sarah McMane

How do people feel encouraged to make positive changes in their communities and in the world, and motivate the younger generations to do the same? Jamal Hamilton, our teen engagement specialist, works to answer this question. He is a Boston-born and raised multi-talented educator, youth advocate, and art activist. Jamal has strong interests in promoting education, breaking the school-to-prison pipeline for Black adolescents, and de-stigmatizing mental health for the youth in his programs.

Jamal has aligned himself with countless organizations that focus on empowering marginalized identities and providing them with the resources to succeed. Whatever he sets his mind to, he works diligently until it is complete to this point that it can thrive. Every initiative, student, or mentee he has had the pleasure of working with has undoubtedly benefited from his keen eye and personable, friendly work ethic.

Jamal loves to write and perform music. He spends his time raising his one-year-old son, reading, supporting his local artist community, eating healthily, and maintaining healthy exercise practices.

TL;DR: Jamal produces music, safe spaces, and innovative ideas.

Sierra Martinez, BA

Communications & Operations Coordinator

If there’s one thing right off the bat that you should know about Sierra, it’s that she radiates kindness and curiosity. She’s a proud military wife, mother, dog owner, and runner and holds a BA in Journalism & Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina. She is also, apparently, a superhero because she has three young kids and still has time to be our communications and operations coordinator. 

Sierra comes to iThrive with a passion for writing, learning new things, and making the world a better place — which is good, because we’re passionate about those things, too. She was especially drawn to the part of our mission that involves meeting teens through the medium of games and empowering them to become who they want to be; she hopes to someday use her insight from iThrive to guide her children on their own journey!

TL;DR: Sierra is a communications and operations powerhouse who keeps iThrive on track.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.”

Anne Frank

Sierra Martinez, BA

Communications & Operations Coordinator

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.”

Anne Frank

If there’s one thing right off the bat that you should know about Sierra, it’s that she radiates kindness and curiosity. She’s a proud military wife, mother, dog owner, and runner and holds a BA in Journalism & Mass Communications from the University of South Carolina. She is also, apparently, a superhero because she has three young kids and still has time to be our communications and operations coordinator. 

Sierra comes to iThrive with a passion for writing, learning new things, and making the world a better place — which is good, because we’re passionate about those things, too. She was especially drawn to the part of our mission that involves meeting teens through the medium of games and empowering them to become who they want to be; she hopes to someday use her insight from iThrive to guide her children on their own journey!

TL;DR: Sierra is a communications and operations powerhouse who keeps iThrive on track.

Dorothy Batten, MS, MBA, PsyD

Founder

Success occurs when your dreams are bigger than your excuses.

– Anonymous

Dorothy is iThrive’s founder and President of its Board of Directors. She also is the president of the D.N. Batten Foundation through which she grants to support innovative approaches to tackle mental health and environmental conservation issues. She’s a mentor and source of inspiration for all of us at iThrive and we couldn’t ask for a better founder. Through the foundation, she makes grants to support innovative approaches to tackle mental health and environmental conservation issues. Spending time with her sons made her realize just how stressed teenagers are these days and that we can help them. 

Dorothy’s dreams are as big as her heart. She works tirelessly to support community programming in Charlottesville, VA, and serves on several boards including RARE.org, the Women’s Initiative, and the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation. She believes that the world could be designed better to help teens thrive, and her vision for iThrive is that designing meaningful experiences is one way to make that happen.

TL;DR: Dorothy believes video games can empower teens to thrive and her mission, our mission, is to make that happen.

Success occurs when your dreams are bigger than your excuses.

– Anonymous

Dorothy Batten, MS, MBA, PsyD

Founder

Dorothy is iThrive’s founder and President of its Board of Directors. She also is the president of the D.N. Batten Foundation through which she grants to support innovative approaches to tackle mental health and environmental conservation issues. She’s a mentor and source of inspiration for all of us at iThrive and we couldn’t ask for a better founder. Through the foundation, she makes grants to support innovative approaches to tackle mental health and environmental conservation issues. Spending time with her sons made her realize just how stressed teenagers are these days and that we can help them. 

Dorothy’s dreams are as big as her heart. She works tirelessly to support community programming in Charlottesville, VA, and serves on several boards including RARE.org, the Women’s Initiative, and the Focused Ultrasound Surgery Foundation. She believes that the world could be designed better to help teens thrive, and her vision for iThrive is that designing meaningful experiences is one way to make that happen.

TL;DR: Dorothy believes video games can empower teens to thrive and her mission, our mission, is to make that happen.

LOCATION

iThrive Games Foundation
PO Box 610026
Newton, MA 02461

Contact

contact@ithrivegames.org

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