National STEM Video Game Challenge Announces Winners of Fourth Annual Competition

 STEM Challenge logo 2013

New York, NY, June 29, 2015 –The National STEM Video Game Challenge announced today the winners of the fourth annual competition. The winners were recognized at a family gaming celebration on June 27 at the Fred Rogers Studio at WQED in Pittsburgh. The top original video games and game design concepts were selected in 13 categories from nearly 4,000 entries. The STEM Challenge, presented by the Smithsonian in partnership with E-Line Media and the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, aims to motivate interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among students in grades 5-12 by tapping into their enthusiasm for playing and making video games.

The winners are:

Middle School (grades 5-8)

Name Game Title Platform (Category) City, State
Matthew Bellavia Gravity Galaxy Gamemaker Sammamish, WA
Lance Dugars, Jr. The Brink Walker Gamestar Mechanic Katy, TX
Ethan Pang Science Survivor Open Platform San Jose, CA
Cole Nugteren Pyromania Scratch St. Louis Park, MN
John Korhel and John Ripple The Cube’s Journey Team Open Platform Parker, CO
Brooklyn Humphrey Maze Kraze Unity Auburn, WA
Sanja Kirova Ezcape Written Portage, IN


High School (grades 9-12)

Name Game Title Platform (Category) City, State
Zack Harmon Gongbat Gamemaker Litchfield, OH
Olivia Thomas Colorless Gamestar Mechanic Boise, ID
Thomas Cannon Peg Leg Patrick’s Buoyancy Adventure Open Platform San Jose, CA
(No winner named)  N/A Scratch  N/A
Thariq Ridha and Umair Zaidi BLOB Team Open Platform Beaverton, OR
Gabriel Rocero In Search of Purpose Unity Temple, TX
Lexi Schneider Body Builders Written Dresher, PA


Each winner receives a cash prize of $1,000, as well as game design and educational software. Each winner’s sponsoring organization receives a cash prize of $2,000.

“The National STEM Video Game Challenge helps unlock the incredible potential of the next generation of game designers,” said Michael H. Levine, Executive Director, The Joan Ganz Cooney Center. “We are thrilled to honor the great work of these students who demonstrated creativity and the 21st century skills needed to build engaging and educational games.”

The STEM Challenge is held in partnership with founding sponsor the Entertainment Software Association, corporate sponsor Bayer, and the generous support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), The Grable Foundation, AARP and Mentor Up (an AARP Foundation program).

This year the STEM Challenge conducted more than 40 game design workshops across the country. IMLS sponsored a series of workshops at libraries and museums. A series of featured workshops conducted in the Pittsburgh area supported the work of the Remake Learning Network, a collaborative professional network of educators and innovators working together to inspire a generation of lifelong learners in the Pittsburgh region. The Pittsburgh spotlight was generously supported by the Grable Foundation and managed by The Sprout Fund. AARP and Mentor Up also supported a series of community workshops to encourage intergenerational learning and game design.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge was inspired by President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate Campaign.”  Previous winners have showcased their games at the White House Science Fair, the Smithsonian Institution and Games4Change Festival.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center investigates the potential of digital media to help children learn, and collaborates with educators, media producers, policymakers and investors to put this research into action. An independent nonprofit organization, the Center addresses issues of digital equity and aims to strengthen connections between formal and informal learning environments. Learn more at

E-Line Media is a publisher of game-based learning products and services that engage, educate and empower, helping to prepare youth for lives and careers in the 21st century. E-Line works with leading foundations, academics, non-profits and government agencies to harness the power of games for learning, health and social impact. Find out more at



Jodi Lefkowitz
Sesame Workshop

Mark German
E-Line Media