In the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab (affectionately known as the GEL), I wore many hats. My official title was Lab Manager and Executive Producer, but like many management positions, my responsibilities included “anything to keep us running smoothly”.

During my five years as Lab Manager I have been a part of over 20 different games and projects. I was the project manager on most, but also as the lead designer or producer on a number of games. I worked alongside lab director Brian M. Winn, where we brought in new projects and clients and continued to grow the lab. I was also responsible for helping coordinate, plan, and execute the international Meaningful Play conference in 2014, 2016, and 2018.

Over the years I have created games across many different platforms and subject matters. I have experience developing for virtual reality, mobile, home computer, arcade, and the web. As a primarily grant funded lab, our games are based on all sorts of subjects and themes.  Games focusing on financial literacy, exercise training and research, jewish studies, nuclear science, and naturally, pirates and the high seas!

Another large component of this job was the mentorship of my student employees. The GEL is a special place, staffed by the best and brightest students in the game design and development program at MSU (during their final year before graduation). Each year the lab employed over 15 undergraduate and graduate students, giving them their first opportunity in the game design industry. Here I did my best to facilitate their transition from students to industry professionals.

I was responsible for interviewing and hiring the best candidates for the job. We looked for students to fill each position on a game development team. However, since our employees were only with us for their senior year, this became an annual process. I gained significant experience evaluating talent, contributions and soft skills across many different disciplines. Not only was it about finding the right talent and skill to help our team, but also being able to identify personalities and values that fit with our lab culture.