To play and to tell stories are two of the most human things a person can do. Games are a perfect marriage of the two.
The stories we tell are important: they reflect our interests and values; they document our experiences; they educate and entertain. Of the many media through which we tell stories, games are very important to me. Both video games and board games have had significant impacts on my life and I believe that both can be incredibly important tools for education and community building. My goal is to work within my communities to establish storytelling and play as vital acts; to demonstrate how we can tell our stories and our histories with games; and to develop educational gaming programs in our libraries.
This website houses gaming-focused articles 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 building, custom component upgrades, dice towers, etc.).
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 program in 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.
As of 2019, I am serving on the executive board for the Games & Gaming Round Table (GameRT) of the American Library Association (ALA). GameRT plans awesome gaming initiatives like International Games Week (see if your local public, academic, or school library participates!) and ALA Play (part of ALA’s annual conference).
I run a gaming group, RNG Gaming, with my husband, Greg (see our game-themed wedding here). We meet a couple times a month to play tabletop games. Our campaign contingent has played Pandemic Legacy: Season One, part of Pandemic Legacy: Season Two, Gloomhaven, and Thunderstone Quest. Our RPG contingent meets twice a month to play Dungeons & Dragons and Invisible Sun (and we are also looking forward to Humblewood!). The whole group gets together at least one Saturday a month to play anything from our game library. Greg and I also play two-player games, including various campaigns such as Folklore: The Affliction, 7th Continent, TIME Stories, Charterstone, Sword & Sorcery, and Stuffed Fables.
I co-host Playability, an interview-based podcast at the crossroads of gameplay and accessibility. Our goal is to get the gaming community talking and thinking more about accessibility in games, so we talk with designers, artists, developers, and gamers about how they’ve addressed accessibility in 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 just for women-identifying and non-binary folks. We also have a Facebook group 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.
My husband and I have FIVE of the most adorable cats in the world and they own us completely: Franklin, Charlotte, Aurora, Nox, and Bacchus. Yes, Bacchus, the youngest, has his own Instagram account so you can follow his shenanigans.