Our Team

Laura Staniland

“Laura Staniland, 22, a Duquesne University senior majoring in digital media arts, co-created Your Place, USA, a project that was one of only 19 selected from around the world to be awarded $30,000 by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Your Place teaches kids ages 9 to 13 about civic-decision making and regional planning. Staniland is co-founder and creative director of Pittsburgh-based CivicsLab.” (From the Tribune-Review).

Ben Gelt

Ben Gelt is an entrepreneur with a focus on media and politics. He is currently CEO of CivicsLab, LLC a civic gaming firm based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. CivicsLab has been recognized for its project Your Place, USA a game about regional planning, by the Grable Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additionally, Ben is a principal at Logoco Media where he does media and political consulting. Ben is also a founder of, a high school sports statistics company. Ben is a published writer and researcher, his work having appeared in The Denver Post, The Rocky Mountain News, and several other Colorado publications. Ben has also been quoted and written about in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone magazine and a variety of other nationally read publications. He has made several national television appearances, having appeared on all the major news networks and on several well known political talk shows since 1999. Ben is an alumnus of The University of Colorado and a Denver native, where he attended Denver East High School.

Aaron Cohen

Coming soon!


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About author

Focusing on the Southwestern Pennsylvania region, CivicsLab puts elementary and middle school students in virtual control of decision-making in their communities to encourage civic participation, critical thinking, and sense of place. In CivicsLab, players will assume positions of power in the community from an urban, suburban or rural perspective and explore how decisions-based on social need and demand, proper planning (as defined by our civic experts), political pressure, and most importantly, their imaginations-might impact the community. Through manipulation of real mapping information and current data sets, students navigate social and political pressures to explore the cause and effect of civic investment and public policy as they attempt to create a sustainable future for their region.







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