I am a professional lecturer in Game Design at DePaul University where I chair the Human Centered Design PhD Program and co-chair the Game Design program. I research the intersections between LGBTQ lives, latine cultures, and games. Using game design as research praxis, I develop games that comment on systemic structures, employing intersectionality and queerness as critical lenses. I have published in Convergence, Technical Communications Quarterly, The Journal of Popular Culture, The Video Game Art Reader, Queer Studies in Media and Popular Culture and Widerscreens. I have presented my research at Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA), National Women's Studies Association (NWSA), Southwest Pop American Culture Association (SWPACA), the Chicago Colloquium for Digital Humanities and Computer Science (DHCS), GaymerX, and Digital Frontiers.
I am a scholar-practitioner who uses game design as research praxis to explore different ways of presenting my research. Through my experimental games, I consider the intimacies between queerness and play. I approach games as structured and shared experiences through which we create meaning. I believe that play reflects queerness by offering ways to disrupt our assumptions about the world around us and reshape the way we imagine systems. I recently published Golden Mart: Expanded Edition, a solo-tabletop roleplaying game about working customer service during a magical apocalypse, with Carly Kocurek after a successful Kickstarter campaign. This game exemplifies my experimental design practice as it uses M&Ms the randomizer. Bulge Lab, an Alternate Reality Game (ARG) I developed as part of my dissertation, comments on masculinity, body image, and viruses. This ARG has been showcased at The Queerness and Games Conference 2018, Play Make Learn 2018, Different Games Conference 2018, and Melbourne Queer Games Festival 2018. Some of my other games are available on my itch.io page.
I earned my PhD in Technology and Humanities from Illinois Institute of Technology. My dissertation focused on games marketed to gay men to interrogate how designers of these media encode gender and sexuality into their artifacts. Here, I consider how games may be designed to challenge normalized understandings of gender and sexuality. As a PhD student, I participated in the HASTAC Scholars Program, a community focused on rethinking digital education, research and academia. In 2016, I was awarded a fellowship through the Game Changer Design Lab through the Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry & Innovation at the University of Chicago.
I also enjoy playing games and designing game pieces. The header image for my website is one of the miniatures I painted for Dungeons & Dragons.