Maria Burns Ortiz

Maria Burns Ortiz

Co-founder/CEO

7 Generation Games

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Higher-ed tech startup 7 Generation Games creates culturally reflective video games for students in Latino, Native American, and rural and underserved communities. Learning gaps, particularly in math, grew even more pronounced during the pandemic, and CEO Maria Burns Ortiz worked to secure a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to create a learning platform for students and educators in six states including Minnesota and the Dakotas. “When students don’t see themselves in the curriculum, they think, ‘Why am I there?’” says the former ESPN columnist and New York Times bestselling author, who had been looking for a mission-driven challenge at the intersection of storytelling, technology, and business. In recent months, the company, with headquarters in Minneapolis and software developers around the country, has trained more than 600 teachers and brought 280 classrooms online.