Elizabeth LaPensée, Ph.D. is an award-winning writer, designer, and artist of games, comics, and animation. She is Anishinaabe, Métis, and Irish, living near the Great Lakes as an Assistant Professor of Media & Information and Writing, Rhetoric & American Cultures at Michigan State University.
Most recently, she designed and created art for Thunderbird Strike (2017), a side-scrolling lightning-searing attack on oil operations, as well as Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing game for healing the water. She designed and programmed Invaders (2015), a remix of the arcade classic Space Invaders. She also designed The Gift of Food (2014), a board game about Northwest Native traditional foods.
Early on, she was a Research Assistant for Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace and continues to contribute as a Research Affiliate in the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. Her dissertation in Interactive Arts and Technology from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia shares experiences from the Indigenous social impact game Survivance (2011). Soon after, she was a Postdoctoral Associate for the University of Minnesota's Research for Indigenous Community Health Center. Her ongoing work was recognized with the Serious Games Community Leadership Award (2017).
She contributes to hands-on workshops in an effort to open pathways for more Indigenous self-determination in game development. She created curriculum for the award-winning Skins Workshops developed by Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace and the Initiative for Indigenous Futures. For over ten years, she has offered workshops to partners including the United Indian Students in Higher Education Youth Day in Portland, Oregon; Aboriginal Youth Science Exchange Camp in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; Urban Native Youth Association in Vancouver, British Columbia; Native Girls Code for Gen7 in Seattle, Washington; Electa Quinney Institute for American Indian Education in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Salish Kootenai College in Polson, Montana.