New York City, NY December 10, 2016
The Cult(ure) of Strength

"Strength," "Courage," and "Bravery" are virtues often heaped upon individuals undergoing hardship. These compliments come from a deep-rooted cultural value that sacrifice should be praiseworthy and that performing in the face of difficulty is a sign of virtue. In tech, strength is valued to the point of caricature, creating a culture of depersonalization and overwork that disproportionately affects people who exist on one or more axes of intersectional marginalization. This talk explores the culture of strength through the lens of my 15 year journey through the STEM pipeline, intersecting on ability, gender, mental health, and race. I'll also provide tools for effectively recognizing, handling, and talking about hardship in the workplace or community.

Washington D.C. January 30, 2016
Social and Design Factors in Video Games for Therapy and Rehabilitation

Video games can offer tremendous motivational appeal, making for an attractive option for rehabilitative and therapeutic medicine. However, video gaming alone is not sufficient to ensure that an intervention will be successful. In this talk, we I will discuss cognitive behavioral factors that underlie both video game experiences and therapeutic challenges. We I will use a trio of video games designed for occupational therapy, substance abuse, and vision therapy to explore how some design considerations lead to emergent social factors--pertaining in particular to gender and income--that can significantly affect outcomes. Time permitting, we will also discuss accessibility factors and how they affect access and acceptance of these interventions.