Elonka Dunin, CSM/PMP (Certified Scrum Master, Project Management Professional) is a lifetime member of the International Game Developers Association, Chairperson Emerita and a founding member of the IGDA’s Online Games SIG, and a co-Director of the Global Game Jam from 2011–2014. For over two decades she was General Manager and Executive Producer at Simutronics in St. Louis, Missouri, making award-winning multiplayer, social, casual, and mobile games such as GemStone, DragonRealms, Modus Operandi, Alliance of Heroes, CyberStrike, Tiny Heroes, and One Epic Knight. In late 2014, she started at Avatar Software in Nashville, Tennessee to build a new game studio, Black Gate Games, where she is now Chief Operating Officer and Studio Director.
Born in Los Angeles, Elonka studied Astronomy at UCLA, and then joined the United States Air Force. She was stationed at RAF Mildenhall in the United Kingdom, and Beale Air Force Base in California, where she worked on the SR-71 and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft. Along with her other achievements, Elonka is a world-traveler who speaks several languages, and has visited scores of countries around the world. She has visited every continent including Antarctica, which she traveled to in 1999.
Elonka’s lifelong interest in cryptography became public when in 2000 she was awarded a prize for being the first person to crack the PhreakNIC Code, an up-until-Elonka unsolved puzzle created by the hacker group se2600. After the attacks of September 11th, Elonka helped out with the war on terrorism by teaching government agents about cryptography and what types of codes that Al Qaeda might have been using. In 2012 she was invited to be on the Board of Directors for the building of a new National Museum of Cryptology. In 2015 she was elected as (volunteer) Chairperson of the Nashville 2600 Organization, a Tennessee 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Corporation.
Elonka is co-founder and co-leader of a group of cryptographers who are working hard to crack a code on the famous Kryptos sculpture at CIA Headquarters, and led the international team that cracked the related KGB Cyrillic ProjectorCipher in 2003. She maintains a list of the World’s most famous unsolved codes on her elonka.com site, and in 2006, published The Mammoth Book of Secret Codes and Cryptograms. As of 2014, her www.elonka.com website has had nearly 5 million page views. In 2009, author Dan Brown honored Elonka by naming one of the characters in his Da Vinci Code sequel, The Lost Symbol, after her. “Nola Kaye” is an anagrammed form of “Elonka”. In 2009, she authored two articles in Secrets of the Lost Symbol, a collection of works by academics and other experts discussing the fact and fiction of Brown’s latest novel. Elonka is also an avid Wikipedian, having been elected to administrator status in 2007, and written or expanded over 500 articles on Wikipedia.