Research & Curriculum Development

Mimi Ito, Ph.D.

Connected Learning Lab
University of California, Irvine

Mimi Ito is a cultural anthropologist, educational researcher, entrepreneur, and an advocate for connected learning—learning that is youth-centered, interest-driven, hands-on and social. She is the director of the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, and co-founder of Connected Camps, a nonprofit offering online project-based, social STEM learning for kids in all walks of life. Funded by the MacArthur Foundation, she led a three-year study examining youth new media practices in the US, focusing on gaming, digital media production, and Internet use.

Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Ph.D.

Connected Learning Lab
University of California, Irvine

Katie Salen Tekinbaş is a Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, a member of the Connected Learning Lab at UCI, as well as Chief Designer and co-founder of Connected Camps. She is founding Executive Director of the Institute of Play and led the design and implementation of Quest to Learn, a game-based public school in New York City. She has published widely on games, design and game culture.

Esports & League Play

Mark Deppe

UCI Esports

Mark Deppe currently serves as the Director of UCI Esports, where he led the effort to design and build the entire program. He collaborated with student leaders, administrators, faculty, and industry partners to create a program that is cost-neutral to the university and encompasses all aspects of the esports industry. Mark has a B.S. in Psychobiology from UCLA and an MBA from California State University Fullerton’s Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Edgar Dormitorio

University of California, Irvine

Edgar Dormitorio serves as Chief of Staff and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to his current role, he served as the Assistant Dean of Students. With over 20 years of experience in higher education, Dormitorio works closely with senior leadership to manage the Division of Student Affairs that includes 34 departments, approximately 1,100 employees and 2,000 student employees. The UCI Esports program is housed and supported within Student Affairs.

STEM Education

Anthony Saba

Samueli Academy

Anthony Saba is entering his 18th year in education and is currently the Executive Director of Samueli Academy, a high-performing STEAM charter high school in Santa Ana. A consummate believer in 21st Century education, he has seen first hand the positive impacts an Esports program can have on high school students and is eager to continue capturing students' love for gaming as a means to help ensure future college and career success. He is honored to work alongside so many forward-thinkers in the North America Scholastic Esports Federation.

Federation Formation & Overview

Gerald Solomon

Samueli Foundation

Gerald Solomon serves as the Executive Director for the Samueli Foundation, overseeing Samueli Philanthropy. Prior to this position, Mr. Solomon served as President & CEO of Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE) for seven years where he transformed the organization from an LA-centric provider of funding and services into national prominence.

Mr. Solomon offers a diverse executive leadership background, having served as President and CEO of several highly successful and nationally recognized non-profit and for-profit organizations. He currently serves as chair of the Orange County STEM Initiative, co-lead for the National STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative, and co-chair emeritus of the National STEM Funders Network.