Brenda Laurel (@blaurel) has worked in interactive media since 1976 as a designer, researcher, writer and teacher. She worked in the computer game industry from Atari to Activision, and in research labs at Atari, Interval Research, and Sun Labs, where she was a Distinguished Engineer. She co-founded Telepresence Research, a VR research and production company, in 1989. With the support of the Banff Centre for the Arts and Interval Research, she co-designed and produced the ground-breaking Virtual Reality system Placeholder. Based on her research in gender and technology at Interval Research (1992-1996), she co-founded Purple Moon in 1996 to create interactive media for girls. She designed and chaired the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (2001-2006) and the Graduate Design Program at California College of the Arts (2006-2012). Most recently she served as an adjunct professor in Computational Media and research associate in the Digital Arts and New Media programs at U. C. Santa Cruz.
In 2015 she received the Trailblazer Award from Indiecade for her distinguished accomplishment over a career of game creation. Her books include The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design (1990), Utopian Entrepreneur (2001), Design Research: Methods and Perspectives (2004), and Computers as Theatre, Second Edition (2013). She earned her BA (1972) from DePauw University and her MFA in Acting and Directing (1975) and PhD in Drama Theory and Criticism (1986) from the Ohio State University. Among her favorite activities are snorkeling, landscape and underwater photography, abalone diving, and trekking in open country.