Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to working in game design?
I’m a goofy, nerdy senior digital project manager at Curious Media, one of Fred Rogers Productions’ partners. After going to school for marketing and advertising management, I began my career working as a video and audio producer for advertising agencies in Portland, OR. Later I transitioned into an ever-expanding role at a production and post house where I did many things, but mostly video production for clients like Freightliner, Providence Health System, Kaiser Permanente, and Oregon Lottery. Eventually I moved to Boise, Idaho and got my current position at Curious in 2019. I am very passionate about making edutainment games for kids and the vast number of kids that I get to help teach basic skills to in my job.
What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?
When I was growing up, I truly was a PBS kid! Starting at age 3, my dad would pick me up after school and take me to his company. I would sit under a desk with a 5” black and white TV and watch Sesame Street, Electric Company, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood while waiting for him to wrap up his work.
What goes into your role in the creation of digital content for Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood?
Since partnering with Fred Rogers Productions, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood app, Donkey Hodie’s award-winning website, six games for Donkey Hodie, and just completing a Daniel Tiger goes to the dentist game. In so doing, I work with the fantastic producers at FRP and PBS KIDS, and our creative director at Curious to understand the curriculum and focus, and design a game around it that meets the needs of all and will be fun and replayable for the target aged users. Once we have a concept, I write up a game design document and present that to both FRP/PBS and our internal teams. We do a kickoff meeting (we do one for each milestone internally), and one of our designers will make the first round of wireframes, which I will share with the client. We then incorporate their changes and make another round. Once we have the flow nailed down, we move on to designs, of which there are three rounds with client feedback. Then we move on to development, where Curious will make an Alpha, Beta, QA, bug fix verification build, then a Gold Master Candidate. Throughout all this, my role is to liaise with the client, making sure we’re fulfilling their vision while watching scope, budget, and timeline; in addition to directing those in Curious’ various departments (Illustration, Design, Animation, Development, Sound) with clear direction on what they need to do to deliver the best product on time and on budget.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I have a myriad of activities. I love spending time with my (almost adult now) kidlet, playing VR, or reading Norse mythology by the fire. I have a wonderful friend group here where we do all kinds of activities like game nights, trivia, gallivanting around our great city. I also love to cook for people and read—mostly Star Wars books and fantasy.