On a recent episode of “The Newman Bond” podcast, Lisa Garcia, a 2008 biology graduate and recipient of the 2023 Spirit of Acuto Alumni Award, chatted about her passion for gaming and how it relates to her teaching.
Garcia works full time as a clinical anatomy professor and runs the cadaver lab at Wichita State University. She’s also a doctoral student in both educational psychology and educational leadership, the latter of which she said especially ties into her gaming hobby.
Garcia shared that gaming in particular has taught her a lot about time management and the importance of fitting in “me time” every day to avoid burnout. She also feels better at guiding group assignments in her classroom because of her gaming background.
“A lot of times (in the cadaver lab) I will have my students on dissection tank teams where there’s five people working on a cadaver donor,” Garcia said. “It’s similar to what you would run with a raid in games. I tell my students, ‘I’m not going to run your group —you have to figure out how to.’ If you have one person who doesn’t want to dissect, they can still be helpful by reading the directions or grabbing a model.”
She relates the community aspect of gaming to her teaching as well.
“Relationship building (is a huge thing) in the gaming community that can benefit work and networking as well,” Garcia said. “I even tell students that nobody networks anymore. Put your foot out there. Don’t be afraid to screw up at something.”
Connecting with her students and giving them an educational experience they’ll remember are at the top of Garcia’s goals when it comes to teaching, and she does so by making it fun and tying concepts they’re learning to the real-world.
For Garcia, gaming has always been part of her life. Her big foray into online games, though, was when a game called RoadScape came out. Over the years, she’s helped create gaming guides for different communities as well.
She even created a strong bond with her husband while he was deployed overseas because of their shared passion for games.
“My husband and I actually played World of Warcraft when he was active duty military and I was doing my master’s degree,” Garcia said. “It gave us a way to communicate online and deal with the long-distance relationship, which was great mental decompression for me.”
Still today, Garcia views gaming as her “decompression time” and stress reliever. One of her and her husband’s favorite times to play games is on Friday evenings after they put their two daughters down for bedtime.
Ultimately, it’s Garcia’s passion for building connections both in the real-world and in her online gaming communities that makes her excel at teaching and relating to students.
In fact, Garcia said she struggled in college just like many students do. Knowing that the journey won’t always be pretty helps her relate to her students. Yet the skills that she has gained throughout her years as a student, and then as a teacher and gamer, enable her to provide sound advice — for the classroom and beyond.
The Newman Bond podcast
The Newman Bond is Newman University’s podcast series that discusses a wide range of topics from Catholic faith to basketball featuring guests from the Newman community.