DMA’s Stanford Teen Director Reaches Finals of Major App Competition

By Phill Powell

DMA people make cool things happen – from the scholars who receive our Made By Girls scholarships to our fantastic instructors and super camp administrators.

If you’re a teen student at our flagship camps at Stanford University, you may already be familiar with a guy named Joshua Cruz. He’s our Teen Director at Stanford this summer – as well as an energetic pro who tackles big tech projects all year long.

Joshua Cruz DMA Teen Director at Stanford University
Josh of All Trades: As Teen Director at DMA’s Stanford tech camps, Cruz utilized his Photoshop skills to create award certificates and present them on Staff Appreciation Day!

When he’s not coordinating the tech-camp activities of our Stanford teen students, Josh serves as the Chief Technical Officer at Pew Pew Studios.

In that role, he recently led an app development team that just participated in an international app-development contest…and nearly won it!

A Contest with a Powerful Purpose

The Games for Change (G4C) contest is sponsored by the PoLAR Partnership, G4C and our friends at Autodesk (makers of amazing, industry-leading software) – and it seeks to use tech to inspire a serious change in the way people think about climate change and its many effects.

The goal of the contest: Design a game that could potentially reach young people about this important subject and change opinions positively. Project teams came together and created their own games, taking the project from inception to final designed game.

One of those teams was sponsored by Pew Pew Studios and led by Joshua! In late June, four finalists were announced – including Josh’s team – and brought to a final event in New York City at the Games for Change Festival, where a jury selected the winner of a $10,000 grand prize.

Meet the Carbon Runner

It was an amazing achievement for Josh’s team to reach the contest’s final four. (More than 50 submissions were entered.) Josh’s team created an action game titled Carbon Runner.

In it, players control a character called the Green Ninja, as he navigates a challenging game environment and make decisions that can affect the actual environment.

The Green Ninja faces the same types of challenges that we as consumers face everyday, encountering items that are either good or bad for the environment. In our case, we choose either to purchase those items or not. In the game, the Green Ninja must either collect or destroy those items. Check out the game Josh’s team created:


The Green Ninja is not just a cool game; it makes a key point about the decisions we consumers make everyday.

Cruz Control

The 2016 Games for Change contest may have ended, but Josh Cruz remains in constant motion – especially now that our summer camp season is in full swing at prestigious Stanford University!

He believes firmly in seizing upon opportunities that can have a positive impact on the global community, and we’re proud to number him among our own!

Way to go, Josh!