What degree did you receive from Illinois and when?
Graduated with a Masters degree in TESL in 2018
What have you been doing since you graduated? What is your current title/position? How long have you worked there?
After graduation, I transitioned into a PhD program here at the U of I in the Informatics department. I work as a research assistant and organizer for the Playful by Design initiative, part of Games@Illinois. I also work part-time with the Siebel Center for Design where we're working on creating games to help students learn design thinking.
What are you working on right now?
In the MATESL program, my research focused on creating interactive fiction (IF) for English language learners to improve their reading and vocabulary skills. This focus has broadened to developing games and simulations for learners in other domains. I'm working with the Siebel Center for Design on a game that will help students better understand the design thinking process.
For work, I am part of Playful by Design as an event-organizer and overseer. We are a multidisciplinary organization that brings together people who are interested in using games as part of teaching, research, and more. Yearly, we put together a large symposium in the spring to showcase projects and bring in recognized designers and speakers.
Outside of work I'm involved in enriching campus and community organizations including: Students Advising on Graduate Education (SAGE), TIER-ED, and CUDO Plays!. Through these groups I can both share my knowledge and learn from many others.
How has your degree from Illinois helped you in your career?
The University of Illinois has a vast array of resources, including clubs, the extensive library system, webstore, etc. that are useful no matter your position. My time as a MATESL student allowed me to make valuable, cross-campus connections and meet many folks who have become important research partners and friends.