I am a research psychologist based in Ottawa Canada, with a PhD in psychology from the University of York (UK) and a MA in counseling psychology from Santa Clara University. I completed a 2-year post doc at the University of Muenster (Germany) where my work focused on examining the impact of online games on players’ offline social activities and abilities. I know serve as the Research Director of Take This, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing mental health information and resources to gaming communities and the video game industry.
I am a research psychologist, gamer, and mom of two young children. I have dedicated the last 15 years studying video games and those who play them. My goal is to provide a better understanding of the unique contributions that video games can bring to our everyday lives, particularly in relation to improving our mental health.
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: Complete at least one thing today that I did not complete yesterday.
Thought of the Day: Are the decisions I am making today helping me to create what I want for my (life/career/relationships) tomorrow?
Action of the Day: I prioritize doing something physically active every day (at least 30 minutes of activity), whether it be a walk or a full work-out session at the gym.
Deed of the Day: Extend kindness to someone I do not know.
Tip of the Day: A rejection is often a redirection to something better.
A Day in My Life:
What do you love most about Your City?
You do not have to rely on a car to be able to get around.
Favorite breakfast meal?
I eat peanut butter and honey on toast pretty much every single morning.
What are you doing at:
6:00 AM – Getting my children ready for school
10:00 AM – Answering e-mails, having my second cup of coffee
12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?
Lunch tends to be the leftovers from last night’s dinner.
7:00 PM – Cleaning up after dinner, getting the bath ready for my children.
11:00 PM – I am typically asleep by 10PM (with the only exception being if it is a Game of Thrones night).
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
Coffee – at least two!
Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?
Discord and Slack are my most used apps for staying connected with my friends and colleagues. My favorite Instagram account to follow is easily @TheHomeEdit
What should everyone try at least once?
Traveling alone to a city where you do not know anyone.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
In my research – I love it when one idea leads to another, which leads to another. I don’t enjoy getting physically lost anywhere as I was born with a terrible sense of direction and tend to get lost a lot.
My Pic of the Day:
My picture of the day is a drawing done by Randall Hampton of my Dunegons and Dragons tabletop gaming group – in character of course! I was only formally introduced to table top role playing games in the last year and they have changed my life (for the better) in so many ways.
My Native AdVice:
How did you get into the industry
When I was completing my MA in Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University, I had to do a clinical internship where I saw clients for individual and family counseling. This was in 2005 – 2006 which was the height of popularity for the Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game, World of Warcraft. There was a short span of time where I had seen several parents coming in concerned about the impact that playing World of Warcraft was having on their children. Was it making them anti-social? Was it going to make them violent? At the time I myself was playing a lot of World of Warcraft and after the third or fourth parent expressed the same concern, I myself became concerned about what impact playing may be having on me. It was then I decided to pursue a career in game studies research.
Career advice to those in your industry?
Meeting other scholars, researchers, and practitioners in the area is a great way to learn about this field of work – what it is we really do, how to get into a graduate program, and how to make a living doing what you love.
Any emerging industry trends?
There is a lot of movement now to use games as therapeutic tools. Organizations such as Game to Grow, G33ks Like Us, and The Bodhana Group are doing some incredible work regarding the therapeutic use of tabletop games.
How do you motivate others?
It is important to celebrate the small victories. A lot of times we save our praise for the big goals but it is just as important to highlight all the little steps that get us there.
My Native AdVantage:
My Biggest Success?
My biggest professional success has been acquiring my current position at Take This. I was a huge fan of the work that they were doing as a non-profit long before I joined the organization. Being able to contribute my experience and resources towards achieving their greater mission is truly a labor of love.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Finding the balance between personal, family, and professional life. It is something that I continue to work towards balancing each and every day.
Kindness grows – be the catalyst.
My Favorite People/Role Models?
I have many personal role models but my biggest has to be my mother. Even when she has little to give, she equally extends kindness and generosity to friends, family, and strangers. She has taught me what it means to be a good citizen of this Earth and what truly matters in life.
The professional role model that has impacted me most recently is Dr. B, the Clinical Director of Take This. He is the epitome of what you look for in a friend and a colleague. He has not only taken a lead role in pushing the mission of Take This forward, expanding its role in the field of game studies and its integration within the gaming community, but he always always carries himself with a sense of professionalism wherever he goes. He has shown me that while our work is critical, taking care of our community is the priority.
What Else to Know?
I will be presenting a panel this weekend at SXSW entitled “The Psychology of the Legend of Zelda” on Sunday, March 17 at 2:30 PM in the Discovery Theatre. I will also be on six panels at the end of the month at PAX East in Boston, ranging in topics from lootboxes to the use of video games in therapeutic practice. To learn more about me, you can visit my website at