Game Design Associates

Graduating Class of 2021

Aarya Agarwal

One of the greatest issues for us today is promoting intergenerational communication. With rapid changes to technology and the way we interact, keeping ancient traditions and culture alive has become increasingly difficult. For me, preserving and sharing my Hindu culture has always been important however, Hinduism is largely preserved through stories and teachings from elders. This is what has made Games for Seva so personally important to me. I learned our Vedic heritage through many years of weekend classes. My work with Games for Seva has made it possible for me to share these same learnings with people of any age group. Our games make intergenerational communication a much less arduous task. And on top of its greater importance, Games for Seva is a lot of fun. After a long day of work, unwinding with the team over a pie of pizza and then staying up late for a movie night is unmatched. Rathi Aunty’s kit kat bribery and numerous teaching moments pushed us all to new levels of efficiency and taught us all valuable work ethic skills and tips for the future.

Haritha Lakshmanan

I believe that a situation needs to be analyzed from all angles. I find that many people in today’s fast-paced society tend to make rash, untimely decisions. I am a junior at Herricks High School and someone who is not afraid to ask questions and speak up about my thoughts to confirm my decisions. As someone who wants to become a doctor in the future, I understand that strong principles and a learning mindset are required. I enjoy anything that helps me grow as a student – whether it be learning new languages or researching diseases – and religion has been at the core of my development. I started in fourth grade in the YICG Tamil class, joined Vedic Class in my freshman year of high school and joined Games for Seva since my sophomore year. Through my experience in Games for Seva, I learned how to better myself and keep challenging myself while staying true to my beliefs. Meeting like-minded people and working on projects to help share my ideas with others has truly been a learning experience for me. Through Games for Seva, I am able to apply and teach the lessons I learned through my strong bondage with my culture to others. YICG has taught me how to analyze a situation properly and make the correct decisions. I believe that the lessons I have learned through YICG will help me be a better doctor in the future, most certainly one that does not make rash decisions.

Japesh Shah

Creating games comes naturally as I’m a hard-working, driven person who likes to succeed. Through games for seva, I am able to hone my skills in creating games online using various coding platforms. Using my passion to bring awareness to my culture has been an amazing experience and continues to be rewarding, mentally, and physically. As a student at The Wheatley School, I constantly strive to challenge myself by working with robots, computer science classes, and learning different coding languages. My interests also include investing in the stock market, keeping track of the economy, and music. Games For Seva has taught me many skills such as collaboration, marketing, creativity, and most importantly patience. Our games start off as ideas on a notepad. As we brainstorm, our idea grows and becomes completed as we work out the different components. Seeing the games come to life, from a notepad, is one of my favorite moments.

Khushi Shah

I’ve been an aspiring writer since before I could even read chapter books. In kindergarten, I used to write stories on paper in crayon while my classmates played with magnets or drew pictures. As a current junior at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, I’ve kept writing as an outlet that affords me freedom in nearly any situation. I discovered that I had an eye for grammar and structure that helped me stabilize my work. After joining Games for Seva at its start as a seventh grader, I worked on multiple parts of the game design process, such as brainstorming and playtesting, and quickly learned that I held a certain affinity for editing our material. I found that I was able to accommodate both lengthy writing and short, concise material as my love for editing grew alongside my age-old love for writing. One of my favorite projects, Ganga Quest, featured my love for storytelling in a gaming context. Not only has Games for Seva fostered my love for words of any kind, it has also given me a cultural channel to express myself and spread knowledge of my culture through entertaining games and laughter-filled development sessions. I have learned to think openly about marketing, collaboration, perseverance, and real-world application. Games for Seva has given me an opportunity to give back to my community by embracing my Indian heritage and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Preesha Modi

It completely boggles my mind how just 26 letters come together to form thousands of words and a practically infinite amount of sentences. I am a junior at New Hyde Park Memorial High School with a passion for science, and changing the world through writing. The science driven part of me likes to learn about how and why things work the way they do. Games for Seva has helped me apply that interest to my culture. In this journey at Games for Seva, I have learned many intriguing stories about Hinduism, and more importantly discovered the morals it teaches. I found that all religions, especially Hinduism, are successful because they teach morals necessary to better individuals, and eventually society. I love having the opportunity to take Hinduism, and transform it’s stories and values into a game meant to excite people of all ages about religion. For me, the best part is putting my ideas into words, and agonizing about some of the moral dilemmas the games have put me through. In my many hours spent writing at Games for Seva, I have learned diligence, marketing skills, teamwork, and most importantly, improved my moral compass.

Saniya Gaitonde

I believe that each individual has a unique sense of creativity that can be harnessed for good. As a student it is easy to lose touch with our innate creativity, but at Games for Seva we have the opportunity to nurture our creative interests in an individualized way for an important cause. Exploring the intersectionality between design, Vedic history, and gameplay has had a profound influence on the development of my values aswell as my professional skills in writing, design, and interpersonal relations. I am a student at W. Tresper Clarke High School (c/o 2021), where you can find me leading Model UN meetings or working on my research. I am passionate about politics, wealth disparity, criminal justice, and race issues. I have been attending YICG since I was seven years old, beginning with Bharatanatyam and picking up Hindi, Public Speaking, and Vedic classes along the way. YICG has given me a platform to explore many different facets of my culture, and enabled me to solidify my identity as a young Indian-American in the 21st century.

Sanjna Kedia

Being an avid reader and writer since I was young, I longed to extend my creative energies into other channels I am passionate about. Watching my Indian-American peers unable to communicate with their grandparents because of a language barrier and losing touch with their heritage, I sensed the need to make a change. Games for Seva provided me with a perfect platform to creatively preserve the values of my heritage and participate in building fun and interactive tools. The moral discussions, values, and big questions which I absorbed through Games for Seva opened my perspective on life deeply. From simple memory games to thought provoking dilemma based games, it is amazing to see how a thought can be harbored into such a bonding experience. As a current junior at Manhasset High School, my creativity also morphs in areas of science research, music, and creative writing. Being a part of YICG for over 10 years has made me very connected with my Indian-American identity. I feel so lucky to be able to share these games with our community, and I feel so rewarded when someone smiles while playing a game I designed. Games for Seva has taught me to further harness my skills of collaboration, creativity, efficiency, and most importantly has given me a voice in my community which I will carry into the future. 

Tanya Shah

My time at Games for Seva has been revolutionary towards my life. From the moment I joined in the 8th grade, I knew I was a part of something larger than myself. Growing up, I vividly remember listening to my mom narrate key stories of ancient Vedic scriptures which taught me core Indian values. Being a part of GfS, I’m able to make sure my brother, who is generally not interested in the stories, learn the essential values I was taught. By creating games that teach these lessons, I know that the younger generation, infamous for their short attention span, will learn, understand, and connect to traditional Indian values such as Dharma, Ahimsa and Karma through visuals and gameplay.The games allow the kids to learn in a fun and enjoyable way. The first time my brother played one of the games I created, I saw him interact with it for nearly 90 minutes. I was astonished to see his commitment and excitement towards something I forever doubted he would have interest in. Since then, I’ve continued to produce games and content for Games for Seva. Knowing that what I create allows children to learn essential and core values reminds me how grateful I am for this .

Graduating Class of 2022

Pranati Patnam

I am currently a sophomore at Herricks High School. In my free time, you can find me reading or playing basketball. I involve myself musically as well, as I play piano and am in the Chamber Choir at my school. Since I was young, I have continued to show my passion for STEM through school activities. As I am participating in science research, I hope to better the world with my computer programming skills and my creative side. Games for Seva definitely strengthens my abilities as an artist and creative thinker, as well as my analytic capabilities with computer science, but most importantly it has exposed me to my Indian heritage. Developing and designing games that represent a big part of me is something I love to do, especially when I get the chance to share them with my community.