The Star Wars Universe, and LEGO (all of them)
Jen’s an ardent antifascist who comes from a line of strong Japanese-American women. Her maternal grandmother was one of the only female block managers at Topaz War Relocation Center during WW2. She helped ensure the Issei and Nisei had rice rations available during their imprisonment by the U.S. government and that her family and block-mates were cared for. Jen’s mother shouldered the brunt of raising two precocious children, and even when times were tough, carried on with a quiet strength to “get through it, and get it done.” Jen’s dealt with systemic racism as a citizen of Asian descent, “not looking American” her entire life. She’s doesn’t tolerate slights or micro-aggressions, despite the Japanese American trend to “let things go” and “not rock the boat”—sentiments deeply rooted in the concentration camp experience and the phrase “shikata ga nai” (“it can’t be helped”). Thus, she’s done her best to shake off the “model minority” label many of her kin are saddled with. While not on the front lines protesting, Jen’s accepted a supporting role in sharing information, amplifying voices of color, and supporting worthy causes.
Senior Developmental and
“We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.” – James Baldwin
Born and raised in Northern California, Jen spent two decades as a working journalist, with her first newspaper job as a junior at Kennedy High, in Richmond, CA. An award winner in editing, reporting, design, and photography, Jen left college early to pursue a full-time, sports copy-editing job at The San Antonio Express-News. Her journalism career took her back home to California for stints at several Bay Area newspapers and to Idaho, where she would work her most recent newspaper editing jobs.
A self-described “girlie-gamer geek,” Jen’s first fandom love is Star Wars. The original Star Wars (picking up on a theme here?) was the first movie in the theater that her parents took her to see. Her first Star Wars action figure was a Stormtrooper, which might explain her life-long devotion to Boba Fett and subsequent infatuations with The Mandalorian, Sabine Wren (Star Wars: Rebels), and Captain Rex (The Clone Wars, Rebels). Jen hasn’t lost her love of action figures, and has begun exploring the world of high-end, highly articulated figures. Factor in another life-long love of LEGO bricks and that’s two-thirds of Jen’s geek worldview sorted.
While navigating the post-journalism career market with a few stops in the call center industry, Jen found herself in the company of table-top gamers. She was exposed to Privateer Press’ Warmachine for the first time, lighting a fire under Jen to assemble, modify, and paint pewter miniatures. One army became two. Two became three… and then she stopped keeping count. Pretty soon, gaming strategy, army lists, and modeling projects dominated her life. An opportunity arose for Jen to become a Press Gang volunteer to promote Warmachine and organize events. After more than a year as a PG, Jen was hired to lead 600+ volunteers worldwide as the Quartermaster at Privateer Press. The position allowed her to travel to conventions like San Diego Comic-Con, GenCon, Adepticon, Templecon, PAX Prime (West), and Privateer Press’ own Lock & Load GameFest.
After leaving the gaming industry, Jen worked in specialty retail before shifting gears to pet care. While gaming used to include table-top miniatures, and she still maintains an (unfortunately) vast collection of both painted and unpainted minis, today’s gaming is primarily mobile, with some console time thrown in for good measure. Role-playing games, sims, and the occasional match-3 puzzle have all become standard fare. Jen’s current favorite is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which has allowed her to play with friends as far-flung as New York City and Fairbanks, Alaska, all while maintaining social distancing during a global pandemic. Even while not actively playing any specific game system, Jen’s cohorts keep her abreast of new board games, table-top miniatures, and industry trends. Gaming is always willing, and always waiting.
Today, Jen prefers to live vicariously through friends who regularly attend conventions, though she still puts in appearances at PAX West and Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle. At these ‘cons, Jen has been fortunate enough to meet some of her favorite artists, and some day, the artwork she’s purchased will adorn the walls of her home. What’s more, she’s been an invaluable resource to Steam-Funk Studios, having joined Operations Staff and served as a Senior Editor for some time. During the course of this, she’s rolled up her sleeves, along with the rest of senior staff, handling the various tail-end of a dizzying array of articles, for years. She is the last gate, armed with pen and laptop, holding the line of our production standards.