The Play 4 Change Team

Led by creative director Doris C. Rusch and comprised of DePaul undergrad and grad students as well as recent alumni, the Play 4 Change team is dedicated to the creation of personally and socially impactful, transformative projects. We emphasize aesthetic and conceptual coherence across every game aspect, leveraging narrative elements, game mechanics, systems-, level-, and sound design, voice acting as well as art to produce meaningful experiences that are bigger than the sum of their parts. As a team, we do not solely concentrate on the end-result, crunching towards a “ship date”, but also on the journey: we mentor each other, seek exchange with experts outside the lab, collaborate, strive to learn, grow, expand our minds, empower our players, build community, push the medium, and have fun. We are family. We play for change.

Doris C. Rusch

Doris Rusch

Doris C. Rusch is a game designer, researcher, play aficionado and holds a position as assistant professor for game design at DePaul University in Chicago where she founded the “Play for Change” lab. Before that she did post doctoral work at GAMBIT Game Lab, MIT, and Vienna University of Technology (Austria). Rusch’s work is focused on the theory and practice of game design, particularly in regard to games that model the “human experience”, create empathy and can be used for mental health activism. She was the lead designer and vision holder of award winning and featured projects such as “Zombie Yoga” for Kinect, “Elude”, a metaphorical game on depression, and “Akrasia”, a game that models addiction. Having completed studies in Literature, Philosophy, Comparative Media Studies and English at Vienna University, she received her Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and Interactive Systems in 2004.

Barbara Harris

Barb Selfie

Barbara Harris is an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at DePaul University.  She received a PhD in nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Master of Science in psychiatric mental health nursing, also from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Dr. Harris teaches psychiatric mental health nursing and is interested in the simulation of illness experiences as an educational or therapeutic tool.  She is currently researching the impact of auditory hallucination simulation on nursing students’ attitudes toward persons with mental illness and receptivity to recovery approaches to mental health care in practice.

Mona Shattell

Mona Selfie

Mona Shattell, PhD, RN, FAAN is a registered nurse, scientist, professor, and author. She currently is the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development in the College of Science and Health, and Professor in the School of Nursing, at DePaul University. She studies mental health-related issues including patient-provider relationships, psychiatric treatment environments, and the mental health of vulnerable populations. She is Associate Editor of Advances in Nursing Science and Issues in Mental Health Nursing, a regular blogger for The Huffington Post, and the author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters.

Anuradha Rana

Anu Headshot

Anuradha Rana’s passion for finding and telling stories has inspired her work as a Journalist, TV Producer, Social Worker, Writer, and Filmmaker over the past 15 years. Her films have screened internationally and focus on themes of representation, identity, and varied perspectives. Her short doc Ring Laila was used as a means of inspiring girls and young women in rural, underserved villages around India. Her most recent films include Variations, a portrait of three virtuoso artists as they challenge myopic views about disabilities, and Preserves, a poetic journey into one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, the Yasuní rainforest in Ecuador. She has produced, directed, and wielded camera on social issue documentaries filmed in India, Ecuador, Japan, South Africa and the USA. She received her MFA in Film and Video from Columbia College Chicago and her MA in Mass Communication from the University of Pune, India. She currently teaches Cinema and Interactive Media at DePaul University, Chicago.

Core Staff