RESEARCH

About Me

I've held writing residencies in playwriting, puppetry, and art history. I've made educational games (both physical and digital) that have been showcased in classrooms, science museums, and World Maker Fares, and one that is now played in 36 states and three countries. I've worked in journalism, theatre production, mixed-media studio art, e-transit and urban design, fundraising, and academia. I've received awards for my writing and awards for my research in the design of interactive experiences that teach environmental science principles to young kids. I've performed natural language processing and machine-learning topic modeling, and I've also taught kids swimming. I am passionate about people, animals, the planet, and the stories that we share. Most of all, I want everybody to be happy, and I want people to learn to listen to each other a little better. That can be hard, sometimes. Maybe a lot of the time. Right now, I'm applying to PhD programs that can help me learn more about the ways in which our stories and our technologies can come together to make the human world a bit happier, more efficient, and more accepting. 

Earlier in my career, I was driven to create artistic works, such as plays, poems, and short stories, and I was recognized with numerous awards, residencies, and scholarships for this work. But eventually, I became frustrated with the limitations of these traditional forms of storytelling. I wanted to create, and study, stories with which people interacted, that were responsive to individual users, that had an intelligence and reactivity in and of themselves. And while I knew that such stories existed, or were beginning to exist, I felt unprepared to approach them; at the time, I didn't know how to code, and I had few applicable technical skills that would make me eligible for a new media program, for example. So for the next 10 years, I worked slowly toward this goal. I was offered a two-year research residency with art historian, Professor Emeritus, and Former President of California College of the Arts (CCA) Dr. Stephen Goldstine. At CCA, I gained immersive, first-hand experience in written and audio transcript analysis, the recording and handling of historical media artifacts (e.g., original penny post-cards from Marcel Duchamp), and other work related primarily to art history. At the same time, I worked as a Studio Assistant to San Francisco mixed-media artist Lynn Marie Kirby, gaining numerous skills in image and video editing and the creation of mixed-media art both physical and digital. For four years, and while conducting research with CCA, I worked as a Grant Writer and Development Director for the San Francisco Playhouse, where I learned about both the industry of performance and the technical background of production staging. Still frustrated with the limitations of formal art forms, but now having a foundation in the discourse of media both old and new, I moved to New York to pursue a master's degree focused on narrative media systems. 

 

I was particularly drawn to video games and other immersive experiences using technology, studying programming, creative computing, game design, and other related subjects. I also studied learning psychology, especially as it related to games and UI/UX design. I made my first physical and digital games, and gained experience working with teams of individuals to realize final products such as these. I began to apply lessons that I had learned as a playwright to my work in games, observing that the same iterative, experimental, and collaborative principles applied in this new field. And most of all, I began to understand how user interaction and storytelling can work both in unison and conflict, and how both cases can be used to affect user experiences. I studied both formal narratology and contemporary ludology, interaction design, and choice architecture. For my graduate thesis, I conducted a comprehensive study of media forms both new (e.g., intelligent systems) and old (e.g., plays) in order to create a novel classification system with which to describe, deconstruct, and reconstruct these media in novel ways (see below for thesis summary). I learned that diverse media forms share common characteristics that are rarely discussed, but that deeply impact our experiences of these media, so I began to pursue additional study in how we interact with media and how these interactions impact us as both individual users and members of society. 

After graduating with a master's degree, I joined a psychology research lab at Harvard University to gain more practical analytical, quantitative, and practice-based skills in scientific study and experimentation. I applied my previous skills in transcript analysis alongside qualitative coding to better understand how people talked about suicide on social media. I gained new skills in qualitative text and data analysis, and eventually taught myself Python in order to conduct my own machine learning topic models and analyses. I learned about data visualization, natural language processing, and other forms of analysis that I look forward to applying in a new graduate program.