Alumni Briefs

September 1, 2019

Austin KraussFrom Call of Duty to Candy Land 

Fatherhood is pushing this game developer in some unexpected new directions

There was a time when video game developer Austin Krauss’ (’05 M.S.) dreams pretty much consisted of making “really cool explosions.” 

Nine years working as one of the lead engineers on Call of Duty certainly gave him plenty of opportunities to do that. 

Nowadays, Krauss, who’s a father of a 3-year-old, is channeling his talent in more family-friendly directions. Along with a couple of partners, he recently launched a new startup that he describes as “virtual reality meets board games.” 

“Ironically, we try to limit screen time at our house, so we’re finding ourselves playing a lot of analog board games,” Krauss said. “The classics, like Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders, still hold up and have a real nostalgic appeal. And there’s a whole new generation of board games that are so fantastically designed. We think virtual reality can open up their potential even more and give them a whole new audience.”



Kay McGowanDoing What’s Right

UM-Dearborn alumna takes active role in fighting social injustice

“Pick up your basket and you go on.” 

Kay McGowan (’82 B.G.S.) lives by those words of wisdom passed down from her grandmother, a woman of Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee heritage. 

So when McGowan — who helped write the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples — sees injustices, she continues to pick up the basket. 

As a teen, McGowan noticed unfair treatment among retail clerks where she worked. She helped organize efforts for equity. 

As a young adult, she saw many instances of female abuse. She founded the Downriver Anti-Rape Effort and a domestic violence shelter. 

Today, the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame inductee and 2019 Susan B. Anthony Community Award winner continues to work on behalf of the United Nations. In addition to drafting the landmark Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, McGowan continues to represent indigenous people from around the world at UN meetings. 

“Do what’s right regardless of who doesn’t like it,” shared McGowan. “Pick up your basket and, when needed, help others with theirs.”