Killer Snails creates imaginative game-based science learning experiences that capture the excitement and challenges of being a scientist. Founded by a scientist, an educational psychologist, and an MBA, our vision is to empower learners to use scientific skills to make a positive, tangible impact in our world. The mission of Killer Snails is to create the next generation of changemakers and to bring science out of the laboratory and into the hands of learners globally. Killer Snails has created award-winning games including: three tabletop games, two digital games, one augmented reality experience, two virtual reality experiences and one hybrid digital/virtual reality experience. Our partners include the American Museum of Natural History, The New York Hall of Science, Google, and C&A Scientific. Killer Snails has been featured by Bloomberg BusinessWeek , Forbes, and the National Science Teachers Association and was named the 2018 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Recipient of the Year. We teach classes on integrating learning games into classrooms, on producing learning games and using emerging technology in the classroom for clients such as Sacred Heart University, the New York Film Academy, and Playcrafting.
Mandë Holford, PhD
Dr. Mandë Holford is an Associate Professor in Chemistry at Hunter College and CUNY-Graduate Center, with scientific appointments at the American Museum of Natural History and Weill Cornell Medical College. Her joint appointments reflect her interdisciplinary research, which goes from mollusks to medicine, combining chemistry and biology to discover, characterize, and deliver novel peptides from venomous marine snails as tools for manipulating cellular physiology in pain and cancer. Her awards include being named a New Champion Young Scientist by the World Economic Forum, the prestigious Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, an NSF CAREER Award, and named a 21st Century Chemist in the NBC-Learn, Chemistry Now series. Dr. Holford received her PhD in Synthetic Protein Chemistry from The Rockefeller University.
JESSICA OCHOA HENDRIX, MBA
Jessica Ochoa Hendrix, CEO of Killer Snails, has worked in K-16 education since 2003. Ochoa Hendrix was awarded the 2019 TED Residency, an in-house incubator within TED for breakthrough ideas and gave a TED Talk on incorporating Virtual Reality into the classroom. Ochoa Hendrix serves as the Principal Investigator for Small Business Innovation Research Grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the Institute of Educational Sciences. Ochoa Hendrix was recently named the SBA New York 2022 Small Business Person of the Year. Prior to co-founding Killer Snails, she worked as an educational consultant whose clients included Relay Graduate School of Education and the Charter Network Accelerator. Previously, she worked for Uncommon Schools as the Director of Organizational Learning as the network grew from sixteen to thirty two schools. Additionally, she served as an Education Pioneer at the New York City Department of Education and worked with Brooklyn Prospect Charter School to launch the first Brooklyn Prospect in 2008. Ms. Ochoa Hendrix received her MBA with a concentration in Social Enterprise from Columbia Business School and was awarded the prestigious Board of Overseers Fellowship and the Nathan Gantcher Prize for Social Enterprise. Prior to business school, she worked in marketing for the Harvard Business Review and The Economist, and taught for four years for The Princeton Review. She holds a BA from the University of Texas at Austin, is a proud alumna of Project Entrepreneur and serves as a member of the World Economic Forum's Expert Network in Future of Education, Gender and Work, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Entrepreneurship.
LINDSAY PORTNOY, PHD, Member Emerita
Dr. Lindsay Portnoy, PhD, Co-Founder of Killer Snails, is a cognitive scientist and associate teaching professor at Northeastern University with nearly two decades of experience studying human development and learning, and the assessment of teaching and learning from birth through adolescence. A former public school teacher, her research on the science of learning drives her work to create immersive learning experiences across the curriculum. She has presented at national conferences from the Association for Psychological Science and the American Educational Research Association to the Psychonomic Society and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. She has published in both academic journals such as the Journal of Educational Research and Assessment and on widely-read media outlets including EdSurge and Getting Smart. Portnoy is a 2015 ASCD Emerging Leader, and former Assessment Fellow at Hunter College, CUNY.
Corinne Brenner is a researcher and learning scientist currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Communication and Technology at NYU. Corinne's research interests include applying quantitative methods to understand human behavior, impact evaluation, and examining the affordances of immersive technology for education and entertainment.
Christopher Pollati is a game programmer with a long history of game and web development. He has worked on several different types of games ranging from casual web games, AAA console first-person shooters, to mobile puzzle game. Along with game development, he has also worked for one of the world's largest educational publisher developing tools, games and application for higher education. Pollati also teaches classes in game programming and development at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. If he had any spare time, he would probably still program games just for fun.
Noelle Posadas Shang is an award-winning game designer with over 10 years of experience designing educational games, tabletop games, XR, and mobile apps. She has worked with brands like Sesame Street, Disney, the NFL, and the American Red Cross to create popular mobile apps. She studied Communications Design with a focus on Illustration and Children's Media at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and strives to assist future and recent graduates entering the game industry. In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with her dog, Mabel, inventing new recipes, and adding to her personal library.
Varun Saxena is a narrative writer, game designer, and educator currently based in Brooklyn, NY. He holds an M.F.A. in Game Design from New York University. Originally from Mumbai, India, he draws inspiration from having grown up on the other side of the globe to explore themes of culture, diversity, and human intimacy in his work. When not working, you can find him hiking or visiting art galleries and film festivals.