Amanda In a Nutshell
I love games and I love learning. It turns out that games and the practices that frequently occur around them are good for learning. So that’s what I do research on. More specifically my research explores the intersections of games, culture, and the design process, investigating kids’ first exposure to programming and prototyping to the long-term learning trajectories of experienced game designers. My primary motivation is for my research to foster diversity and inclusivity in games, for both players and designers. I really like my work, and I love games.
Amanda In More Detail
I recently moved to Los Angeles and began a new position as a postdoctoral research association at the University of Southern California’s Pullias Center for Higher Education. There I’m working on a research project assessing the impact of a game an intervention designed to teach underserved California high school students about the processes of applying for college and financial aid. Before moving to LA I was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison finishing my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Digital Media. I also recently served as the co-chair for the Games+Learning+Society Conference.
I am fascinated by learning trajectories—how a person’s sociocultural experiences over time affect their interests and their emergent identities in ways that shape the types and kinds of learning they pursue. My dissertation research was an investigation the learning pathways and professional trajectories of women in the game industry. I analyzed Twitter conversations about women’s experiences in games and conducted interviews with women from a variety of roles from across the game industry.
Before beginning graduate school, I worked on the press side of the games industry as an editor for IGN’s Green Pixels site, which focused on creating content for mainstream gamers. I also did freelance writing for IGN’s family-focused site, What They Play. One of my projects was a series of interviews with parents who play video games with their children. I also did a series of features on fitness games and families.