I graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts in Film and Digital Media. My concentration was in Digital Media, with projects specifically focused on game studies, and I also completed minors in Photography and Marketing. The most influential courses I took at Loyola were Game Studies, Critical Ethnography, R/Evolution of Communication Technology, Observing and Measuring Communication Behavior, and Photography. These courses established the importance of storytelling, play, research, and communication for and within our communities. During my last year at Loyola, I was a Research Assistant at the Social & Interactive Media Lab (SIMLab) in Loyola’s School of Communication. My research focused on issues of gender, inclusivity, and accessibility in games and within gaming communities.
Currently I am working as a Children’s Services Associate at a public library. I am taking graduate courses through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign‘s online Leep programin pursuit of my long term professional goals: obtaining a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science (MSLIS) and developing educational gaming programs for libraries.
I run a gaming group, RNG Gaming, with my husband, Greg (see our game-themed wedding here). The group gets together a couple times a month to play board games. Our Legacy/Campaign contingent has played Pandemic Legacy: Season One, part of Pandemic Legacy: Season Two, Gloomhaven, and Thunderstone Quest. The whole group gets together at least one Saturday a month to play anything from our game library. Greg and I also play a lot of two-player games, including various campaigns such as Folklore: The Affliction, 7th Continent, TIME Stories, Charterstone, Sword & Sorcery, and (soon) Stuffed Fables.
My website, To Play Is Human, houses game reviews and articles. The articles will focus on topics related to educational gaming, community building, and the adventures of my own gaming experiences, as well as my adventures in library school. I have an ongoing series, DIY Crafty Gamer, that features interviews with creative gamers who make things to enhance their gameplay (miniatures painting, terrain custom upgrades, dice towers, etc.).
I co-host Playability, an interview-based podcast at the crossroads of gameplay and accessibility. Our goal with the show is to get the gaming community talking and thinking more about accessibility in games, so we want to talk with designers/artists/developers about how they’ve addressed accessibility in past or current games. When we discuss accessibility, we mean anything to do with physical, visual, cognitive, emotional, and social (inclusivity, etc.) accessibility. Episodes run 15-20 minutes — something people can listen to during a commute, a lunch break, a walk, etc. Full transcripts are posted with each episode.
I am a moderator for the World of Women Network (WoW). WoW is an international community of gamers. We have a Discord server that is just for women-identifying and non-binary folks. We also have a Facebook group that is for anyone who believes that gaming is for everyone – men are welcome to join and support us here. Gaming brought us all together, but you’ll find channels for all sorts of hobbies on the Discord server. We value our community and building supportive relationships. You can read my blog post about WoW here.