Hello. I’m Jess. Welcome to my blog – my occasional repository of media musings, graduate school endeavors, and insights on fandom/gamer culture.
I’m a Ph.D. Candidate at Indiana University in the The Media School. I received my Master’s degree in Media Arts in the Department of Art at the University of South Carolina, Columbia in May 2014. My academic background includes courses in anthropology, sociology, history, journalism, and popular culture studies. I am specifically interested in game studies and research. My thesis qualitatively explored historical representations in video games in service of learning, persuasion, and awareness. Along with my Master’s thesis, I designed and developed a historically-contextualized game.
Currently, I’m interested in understanding game development in the context of a globalized industry, the design and depiction of game characters, and how video games affect self-perception and identity using social-psychological theories. I’ve explored how player-identification with game characters affects self-perception and user experience, as well as how video game fandoms creatively disrupt dominate codes of gender in games. I’ve also interviewed 19 game character designers and have begun analysis of the interview data.
You may learn more about my academic and extra curricular activities on my Media School bio webpage.
Other than video games, I’m a fan of comic books (especially Thor!); science-fiction and fantasy stories (Star Wars and Game of Thrones); as well as zombie-apocalyptic narratives (Resident Evil and The Walking Dead). My gaming guilty pleasure is Dynasty Warriors and my alter-ego is an armored Mandalorian.