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Kathryn Hymes


Kathryn Hymes is a technologist, computational linguist and game designer.  She works in humanitarian tech as a Director of Product and Innovation at Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Previously she was the head of international product expansion at Slack and an advisor at Airtable. She is a nonresident senior fellow at The Atlantic Council's Geotech Center.

Kathryn is a co-founder of Thorny Games (, a design studio that explores the stories behind the language we speak. Her studio is a multi-time “Game of the Year” award winner (Silver Ennie Game of the Year at Gen Con, Tabletop Game Prize at Indiecade Europe). Kathryn regularly speaks about technology, language and play at conferences (SXSW, GDC), at museums (Museum of the Moving Image, Planet Word), and universities (Stanford, University of Chicago). As a former fellow at the Berkman Klein Center’s Institute for Rebooting Social Media, she studied how play can contribute to a better, more humane digital life.  She is a current game design fellow at Carnegie Mellon's Center for Transformational Play.

Kathryn holds an MS in Computational and Mathematical Engineering from Stanford, an MA in Linguistics from Stanford, and a BS in Math from UCLA. She was a Fulbright Fellow for math in Budapest, Hungary. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies at Oxford University's Internet Institute.