I have been a gamer all of my life, ever since my Dad introduced me to Mortal Kombat at the age of four. While I did participate in sports and had plenty of friends, games were always an integral part of my life. They gave me wonder, imagination, and endless adventures with my loved ones. A dream of mine was to create a game of my own. However, I found myself having way too many passions including music and passing on knowledge, and I never thought about games that weren't entertainment games. I was a Youth Pastor's kid, so I had the amazing opportunity of going on missions trips all over the country, and sometimes in other countries. I taught at all of these missions trips starting in 6th grade and found myself teaching some amazing people in Belize three separate times. Teaching was so much fun, especially when the learner wanted to listen to what you were saying.
In high school, I flip-flopped between music, technology and education until I finally went for my undergrad in music for saxophone. It was an amazing experience. I got to play lead Alto Saxophone at festivals in New Orleans, Italy, and Switzerland. I also played briefly with a band called Time Relapse in my hometown. During my music degree I found out about the program for a Master of Science in Instructional Technology. Merging technology and education sounded like the icing on the cake! It wasn't until I was in the program that it dawned on me that learning games and gamification were a thing. I knew this was the niche I had to focus on. Learning happens so seamlessly in games. I'm horrible at retaining history but I can tell you everything there is about the lore and history of Elder Scrolls. I was fired up knowing I could teach important topics in a fun and engaging way to those that just think they are bad at learning.
At Bloomsburg University, I connected right away with Dr. Karl Kapp and became his protégé. Through his class I created my first learning game, Jazzy Cat, and I was honored to be recognized with an award from DemoFest at DevLearn in 2017. Karl Kapp and I are continuing to work together. We are currently working on articles and speaking opportunities and are also completing a card game together called Zombie Sales Apocalypse. I have been working on the card designs and have also been play-testing with Karl. We are making multiple versions of this game including one for the Educational Technology community and the Instructional Design community.
I have always been a social and bubbly person (I take after my mom) so I was that person in speech class who loved public speaking. I have been thrilled to have the opportunity to speak professionally since graduating in 2017. In October of 2017, I had the amazing opportunity of facilitating a "Gaming for Learning Lab" at Elliot Masie's Learning 2017 at the Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida. The lab I facilitated took twenty-five people through the process of coming up with a gaming solution based on a need and developing the mechanics and elements of their game into a rapid paper prototype. In November 2017, I spoke about Jazzy Cat at an eLearning Guild webinar with about 240 attendees. The webinar was held to allow winners of DemoFest to present their creations to a wider audience. The attendees were great at providing valuable feedback.
I am currently a full-time Instructional Systems Designer at E-PAGA, INC. and am loving every second of being with this company. I get to take on many different roles depending on the project, turning my weaknesses into strengths and my anxiety into motivation. My favorite role is course development and I have been so privileged to be able to develop for E-PAGA's clients.
A long-term goal of mine is to make learning games for a living and actually utilize innovative technologies to drive the most engaging experience possible.
If you want to know a little bit more about me personally, then keep reading! I am a pun-loving nerd who loves Guinness more than most things and wishes that my cats could play Tennis with me. If I could spend every day by the beach, I would. I am a Lord of the Rings nut with multiple tattoos as tribute. I am constantly conflicted between going on an adventure outside or binge-watching something on my couch. I recently moved to North Carolina because honestly, two months of winter sounds better than six, and I could use more sun. I love meeting new people, so please reach out to me, I'd love to hear from you!