Assorted questions that people ask me, gathered here in one space. Feel free to contact me if your particular question is not (yet) addressed.
Are you accepting new students?
Yes! I'm happy to supervise students who are accepted into the the MA or PhD program in the Department of Communication Studies. I am also willing to serve as a Minor Supervisor for students accepted into the INDI or HUMA graduate programs at Concordia. Please email me before you apply to introduce yourself and let me know your research interests.
What can I do in the mLab?
The primary reason for the lab is to give all of us space to work on research and creative projects, such as the ones you may be hired as an RA to work on, or as part of your MA or PhD studies. I also hold some events at the lab such as workshops on methods, hosting guest speakers, and running book club meetings. We also have board game sessions, stream gameplay, and demo new and interesting games.
What does the 'm' in mLab stand for?
It started out standing for 'methods,' as one goal of the lab is to innovate in the ways we study games and gameplay. It also refers to Mia's first initial.
What is TAG?
TAG is the Technoculture, Art and Games Research Centre at Concordia. It was the first space at Concordia that focused on games research, and is one of the leading centres for games research and games making in Canada. Many mLab members are also active in TAG, which is located in the EV building just across the street from the mLab. Find out more about TAG here.
What sorts of work will I do as an RA?
I try to match students with projects that draw on their interests and skills, as much as possible. Most often that means conceptualizing and executing a research project, such as an analysis of the ethical choices present in the game Disco Elysium, or making a game about being an essential worker during a pandemic. Usually these projects culminate in a conference presentation, a journal article, or a finished creative project.
I'm writing my thesis/dissertation. What are the official steps I need to take to finish and graduate?
The School of Graduate Studies handles all official matters regarding completion of degrees, filing of theses and dissertations, and graduation. For detailed information on formatting guidelines, deadlines for submission of various things, and other matters, check out the Thesis Office website.
What kinds of research interests do your students (and you) pursue?
Our projects are always changing, but we are interested in a wide range of things. Right now those include microstreaming (streaming gameplay to very small audiences), socioeconomic class and games, investigating the origins of the 'gamer,' otome games, and a wide variety of other topics.
What courses do you teach?
Usually in fall semester I teach a graduate course on some topic related to games (Game Studies: Theory and Research; Player Studies; Games and/as Research Creation). These classes are open to any graduate student at Concordia. In winter semester I've been teaching methods courses for the MA and PhD students in Communication Studies.
Why is there a dog in a hotdog roll at the bottom of all these pages?
In honor of my dog, Samantha Pickle, of course. She's the one in the photo above.
What's your process for working with students as they write their dissertation or thesis?
It can depend on the student, but most often once the proposal has been accepted, I ask to see chapter drafts as they are completed. Usually this means sending me Word documents or Google links, and I put comments in the margins. I try to return papers with comments within two weeks, although occasionally I need more time. After students have worked on them again, I ask them to send them back, with answers in the comments and/or changes highlighted so I can see what's different (this is important as it can sometimes be several months between revision readings). Most of the time, chapters take several rounds of edits before they are deemed "ready." Once all chapters are done I like to read the thesis/dissertation in its entirety to ensure it flows, and for last minute changes. Then it goes to committee and defense.
If I study at Concordia are there opportunities to teach games-related courses?
Definitely! The Department of Communication Studies has a games course, COMS 333: Games, Media and Culture, that doctoral students who study games are regularly asked to teach.
Would you write me a recommendation letter? If so, what's involved?
If you are my student, or have been in the past, I'm happy to do so. I ask that you give me at least two weeks notice before the letter is due. I'll need the information about what the letter is for, and a copy of your CV/resume as well as relevant materials for the type of letter I'll need to write.
What do you do for fun?
I play videogames! Also I try to get away from screens a bit, and so I have been known to run, do yoga, lift weights, walk dogs, and read lots of sci-fi novels. I also really love to bake cookies, desserts, bread, just about anything, really.
Do your students work on other projects besides RA work?
All the time. In addition to their own coursework and theses/dissertations, they make games, create podcasts, engage in research studies, create art, and more.