J. Alison Bryant, Ph.D.
Dr. Alison Bryant founded PlayScience – a research, consulting, and innovation firm – to break down the walls between industry innovators, academics, and consumers. She leverages her academic research expertise, deep understanding of consumers, entrenched industry knowledge, and strategic vision to partner with organizations looking to create, develop, and launch new products, ideas, and perspectives. She has spent over a dozen years helping clients, colleagues, and students navigate the ever-changing media landscape and understand the lives and lifestyles of youth and families.
President & Founder
Alison has spent her adult life moving seamlessly between the academic and industry worlds (and usually sitting in both concurrently). Prior to founding PlayScience, she was the Chief Strategy Officer for Smarty Pants, a research and consulting firm focused on kids, teens, and families. Alison was also previously Senior Research Director of Digital Research and Brand & Consumer Insights for the Nickelodeon/MTV Networks Kids & Family Group, where she led Nick’s efforts to understand the digital lives of consumers, conducting research on a variety of platforms: online, console and handheld gaming, interactive television, and mobile among them. She also served as the research and strategic insights mastermind behind the 18 websites and the Virtual World and Game Studios under the Nickelodeon umbrella, managing brands from Addicting Games to Nick to Neopets to Shockwave. Before joining Nickelodeon, she was an assistant professor of communication at Indiana University.
Alison has published and presented extensively, including two edited books –The Children's Television Community and Television and the American Family (2nd Ed). She is presently associate editor for the Journal of Children & Media and Chair of the Children, Adolescents, & Media division of the International Communication Association.
Alison is also driven by a personal passion to tackle issues surrounding youth, service, and civic engagement. Her co-edited book, Integrating Service-Learning into the University Classroom, was published in April 2010. She is currently working on her next project, The Generation C Handbook: 101 Challenges for Change, a guide book for young people on how they can create change.
Alison’s Ph.D. is from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California, and she holds Masters degrees from USC and the University of Alabama. She started her academic life at Davidson College in North Carolina, majoring in German and Political Science and minoring in gender studies and international studies.
Alison splits her time between her condo in Brooklyn, looking out at the Empire State Building, and her cabin in western North Carolina, looking out at the Blue Ridge Mountains. She can be reached at alison [at] playsciencelab.com.
Riwanon has over 15 years experience in the international research world. She brings a combination of top-notch research chops and in-depth cross-cultural awareness to every project she works on. In addition, her broad perspective on the impacts of digital media on products and consumers across the ages helps us think about our projects more strategically.
Global Research Lead
Riwanon specialises in crafting and implementing research that drives consumer-centric strategies, enabling our partners to translate insights into actionable recommendations and tailor products and messages more effectively. She has conducted ethnographies on most continents and commissioned, conceived and organised dozens of multi-country studies. She managed not only the largest ever study by MTVNI, looking at the true impact of globalization on the lives of young people around the world in 14 countries; but also very culturally sensitive one-country projects in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Earlier in her career, after stints in IP Network and EuroNews, she was a decade-long, central component of MTV Networks’ international research team, covering kids and youth brands across all platforms and across all markets and responsible for managing all research and insight activities for more than twenty brands on both a global and a local level. She is a keen globe-trotter who has travelled in 40 countries (and counting). She has a Law degree and is finishing her M.S. in Marketing.
Carly is passionate about the magic that happens when fun, research, and education converge, and is dedicated to working on quality children's products that inspire thought and creativity. She brings over 10 years experience in the children’s media and toy industry. Most recently, Carly led numerous industry-focused initiatives at The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, with a particular focus on consumer trends, informal learning and mobile devices. In her 5 years with the organization, she researched and authored a number of renowned reports including D is for Digital, Pockets of Potential and the iLearn series.
Throughout her career, Carly has worked with a host of children's media and entertainment groups. As a native Canadian, she started her career in the kids world with 5 years doing marketing and product development at Spin Master Toys. Carly holds a Master's degree in Technology, Innovation, and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she studied how media and technology can be used to educate children effectively. She also holds a Bachelor in Commerce from McGill University. Carly frequently tweets, blogs, and speaks at conferences worldwide on the topic of children's informal learning through technology.
Todd has the unique ability to move seamlessly between his left and right brains. He can help solve a complex research scenario one minute, and then animate a television series the next. He provides a good dose of creative "umph" for the PlayScience team, as well as managing our Creative Services department
Todd joined PlayScience after spending several years as a Research Manager for OTX, an online research firm. He has a wide range of research experience from running long-term syndicated research studies to developing innovative technology-based platforms to gather research insights.
Todd has a M.A. in Telecommunications & Film from the University of Alabama, and a B.S. /B.A. in Biological Anthropology and Philosophy from Emory University. He can be reached at todd [at] playsciencelab.com
Rosalie began her professional career as a teacher and became very interested in the potential of games for learning. She believes that children should be taught through play and that all domains should be addressed equally. She also believes that media and technology have the ability to transform education and better prepare students for the 21st century. Therefore, she have made it her mission to help create meaningful products and experiences that educate the whole child.
Director of Curriculum & Design
Rosalie has developed the complete curricula for a variety of transmedia properties based upon the Common Core State Standards as well as other National Curricula. She has also designed hundreds of digital and non-digital activities that incorporate this curricula and consulted with producers and developers about how to appropriately integrate the curricula into informal learning products.
In addition to curriculum development, Rosalie truly understands how children use and comprehend digital interfaces. She has conducted hundreds of usability sessions with parents and children ages 2-12 on all digital platforms and she has curated multiple User Experience Best Practices Guides.
Rosalie has an M.A. in Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media with a specialization in Serious Game Design from Michigan State University. She also completed her undergraduate work at MSU where she received a B.S. in Child Development. Rosalie is a highly qualified educator of Early Childhood, K-5 All Subject Areas, and 6-8 Language Arts. She can be reached at rosalie [at] playsciencelab.com.
Having directed the strategy, planning, development, execution and marketing of innovative projects in the fields of gaming, non-digital and digital toys, art and interactive entertainment, Ria has a unique ability and passion for understanding what motivates different people and how that translates to behavior, learning, and play. Her analytical mind combined with an enthusiasm for creating cross-platform experiences makes her a key part of the PlayScience team.
Ria has a strong background in analytics, UX, UI, product development, and interactive design. Over the years, she has collaborated with startups to Fortune 500 companies. She holds patent-pending designs for innovative ways to connect online and offline play, as well as a Webby nominee.
Ria is a graduate of the City University of New York at Hunter College where she received a B.A. in Biochemistry. She grew up in the Philippines speaking three languages and is also a Muay Thai kickboxer.
Emily has a knack for getting on a kid’s level and engaging in their interests to better understand their motivations for learning. With experience in developmental research, classroom settings and the media industry, Emily is able to provide insights into what makes products cognitively appropriate and entertaining for today’s youth. She is especially interested in cross-cultural differences in development and learning.
Research and Curriculum Associate
Prior to joining PlayScience, Emily conducted research with preschoolers in cognition, memory, and language development while working as a teacher’s assistant for a three- and four-year old classroom. Through her conversations with kids, she took an interest in their activities outside of the classroom; namely, their use of media in informal education settings. Emily followed this curiosity and spent time at Nickelodeon and Scholastic working in formative evaluation and production of both educational TV shows and video games.
Emily has an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation and Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She completed her undergraduate work at Skidmore College where she studied Psychology and Early Childhood Education. She loves all things over-sized and yellow, like giraffes and sunflowers. She can be reached at Emily [at] playsciencelab.com.
Brittney has a gift for understanding how children think and learn. Having experience as both a researcher and educator, Brittney is able to delve into what makes kids tick. She has a passion for children’s research, and is devoted to developing content and products that make sense for today’s kids.
Research and Curriculum Manager
Prior to joining PlayScience, Brittney worked on research teams in hospital and educational settings. Here, she honed her analytical skills and gained experience in qualitative and quantitative research methodology, designing assessments, and psychometric analysis.
As she became more interested in the role of media in education, Brittney also spent time working at Sesame Workshop as a freelance researcher. Here, she was involved in conducting user experience and consumer insights research and product research and development for iPad, digital games, and Sesame Street.
Brittney is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Fordham University. She earned her M.S.Ed with a specialization in Counseling from Fordham University, and holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rochester. She can be reached at Brittney [at] playsciencelab.com
From newsroom to boardroom, Katie boasts wide-ranging experience in business development, strategy and production for mobile, online, and broadcast. Katie's journalism roots and newsroom experience, combined with her expertise of emerging platforms, gives her a unique perspective of the media business.
Before her gig at PlayScience she was the Manager of Mobile/Corporate Strategy at National Geographic. In her early career, she broke into the news business with ABC and PBS affiliate stations in her native Nebraska and moved on to Jim Lehrer's NewsHour. She later worked as a coordinating producer for ABC News then as producer and talent for Reuters Television in Washington, DC. Moving behind the camera, she worked as head of mobile in North America for one of the world's largest news agencies, Agence France-Presse.
Juhl has taught graduate-level journalism and media courses for Syracuse University's Newhouse School, Radio Free Asia, and VOA TV to Africa. She is also a classically trained pianist and has taught piano for 15 years. She lives, works, and plays in the Atlanta area with her husband, her retired racing greyhound Milhouse, and her two greatest accomplishments: her daughter (born in 2011) and her son (born in 2012).
Mieke van der Salm
After honing her skills in the New York office, Mieke brought PlayScience to Europe where she now is the head of our European division. She brings a fresh perspective on youth and cross-cultural insights to the PlayScience team. Her experience in quantitative and qualitative research on the lives of children and youth – especially as it relates to the ecology of kids’ mediated world, cognition and affect in children, and social media – broadens the perspectives of the PlayScience team.
Research Associate and Netherlands Manager
Prior to joining PlayScience, Mieke worked at the University of Applied Sciences - Leiden in the Netherlands and conducted research for organizations such as the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. She has her MSc in Communication Science, specializing in Youth and Media, from the University of Amsterdam. She can be reached at Mieke [at] playsciencelab.com.