Educational Games Leader Named 2018 Rensselaer Entrepreneur Of The Year

Dr. Tobi Saulnier, the 2018 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year

September 19, 2018

Educational Games Leader Named 2018 Rensselaer Entrepreneur Of The Year

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumna Tobi Saulnier to be honored on Oct. 3

The Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship and the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have named alumna Tobi Saulnier, Ph.D., founder and CEO of 1st Playable Productions, as the 2018 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year. Dr. Saulnier will be formally honored in a ceremony on Oct. 3.

Established in 1990, the William F. Glaser ’53 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year award is given to a Rensselaer graduate who has achieved success as an entrepreneur and serves as an important role model for current students. The recipient of the award brings the world of entrepreneurship into the classroom by sharing their experiences in their career with current students.

After earning a bachelor’s degree (1984), master’s degree (1989), and doctoral degree (1994) in electrical engineering from Rensselaer, Dr. Saulnier worked in research and development at General Electric before joining a gaming startup company. These experiences sparked her passion for entrepreneurship and the startup culture.

Dr. Saulnier went on to become the founder and CEO of 1st Playable Productions, the first certified B-Corp game development studio in the United States and the first company to gain certification in New York’s Tech Valley. The company focuses on the creation of games to educate, transform, and change minds.

Combining her passion for educational gameplay and social entrepreneurship, Dr. Saulnier works to improve the world around her. 1st Playable Productions not only creates games to get students excited about learning, it creates games that help patients undergoing respiratory therapy, seniors experiencing cognitive decline, and emergency room doctors training to prevent unnecessary death.

“We are proud to honor Dr. Tobi Saulnier as this year’s William F. Glaser ’53 Entrepreneur of the Year. Thanks to the generosity of Bill Glaser, we are able to recognize graduates who embody the entrepreneurial spirit of Rensselaer,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School of Management. “Tobi is a most deserving honoree. Her dedication as a social entrepreneur exemplifies the Rensselaer commitment to push boundaries and find solutions to the complex problems of an evolving world.”  

“I am honored to join the impressive list of alumni who have been selected as Entrepreneur of the Year,” said Dr. Saulnier. “I came to RPI to learn to be an engineer; I never imagined the experiences I had as a student, learning to improvise and adapt to adversity, would be the perfect foundation for the adventure of entrepreneurship.”

The 2018 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year ceremony will take place on Oct. 3 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Howard P. Isermann ’42 Auditorium located in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies on the Rensselaer campus. The event is free and open to the public. To RSVP, visit

Alumnae like Dr. Saulnier embody The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer. The foundation for this vision is the recognition that global challenges and opportunities are so great they cannot be adequately addressed by even the most talented person working alone. The New Polytechnic is transformative in the global impact of research, in its innovative pedagogy, and in the lives of students at Rensselaer.


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Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit