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Karen Royer

MS, Interactive Media and Game Development (IMGD)

Karen came to WPI to get her master’s degree nearly 30 years after earning her first degree. After taking time off to raise a family (she’s a mom of three, a grandmother, and an award-winning doll maker), she wasn’t sure how her skills would flow into life as an IMGD grad student. But her uncertainty was soon put to rest when Gillian Smith challenged her to assess her skills with a new eye. “She has helped me find value in the diversity that I bring to the IMGD program,” says Karen.

Some of that skill set includes fluency in crafts and gaming, allowing her to blend and advance two activities she loves into a powerful educational competency. In her coursework, she’s combined traditional crafting and computation to build a game she presented at a festival in California. She’s also discovered how project work and working with others from varied domains can make a game’s design even better. Her games have also been shown at many local and national indie game festivals.  

Now she uses her IMGD skills in her duties as a research assistant in the Global Lab. She trains students, faculty, and staff in how to use the video, AR, and recording equipment in the lab to enhance their research and projects. But she also collaborates to determine how the Global Lab’s resources can help them use new approaches to increase their work’s impact in the global community.

With an eye toward a future in academia, Karen’s WPI experience has opened possibilities. “I have developed confidence in my old skills and acquired an entirely new skill set,” she says. “It is broadening my view of my future.”


Ashland, Massachusetts

Faculty Mentor
  • Gillian Smith, Assistant Professor, Computer Science
  • Graduate Student Advisory Council
  • Research Assistant at the Global Lab—manages seven students and instructs others in using the lab’s equipment and resources
  • Crafting
  • Video games
  • Board games
I am jazzed every day to be able to work and study in such a vibrant community.
When you figure out how to appreciate the differences in others and they appreciate you back, together you will build awesome things.
I believe that WPI graduates have a unique opportunity to understand universal issues on a very personal level because of the international and diverse student body.