Monica Fan

My day job is being a student. I just graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in art and in the fall I’ll be a grad student at DePaul University in video game development.

I’m really excited to work in this area and create story-driven games. I’m not interested in violent games; I want to harness the power of games to deliver ideas and make connections.

There’s a growing appreciate for how games provide a way to shape people’s beliefs and help them care about issues they might not have otherwise—especially social issues.

I like the fact that video games put you in control and allow you to have an impact on a story, unlike, say, a movie or TV show. With a video game, you’re making decisions and seeing how they play out. I have ADHD and this interactive component is really important to me.

My most memorable caffeine was the coffee that allowed me to be academically successful. I’m from China and had always struggled in the school environment—I was dealing with undiagnosed ADHD and there were a lot of different aspects of the Chinese education system that didn’t work for me. I eventually ended up being homeschooled and that’s when I discovered coffee—which wasn’t allowed at school.

Caffeine helps me focus and has had a huge, positive impact on my life.

My current caffeine of choice is coffee with coconut milk. It’s really refreshing. I especially like white chocolate mocha-type drinks.

My favorite place for caffeine is the Colectivo on the Square. I especially like that Colectivo because of the shared tables. I often go for coffee by myself and it feels less awkward if I’m sharing a table with others, even if we’ve just met. Plus, I’ve had a lot of great conversations with the people who’ve joined me at those tables.

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is Lin Manuel Miranda. After the election, I was super depressed and Hamilton gave me hope. I love the idea that an immigrant achieved the American dream, plus I’m a big fan of musical theater and very interested in acting.

As an introvert, I’ve found that acting allows me to express myself fully in a way that can be hard on my own.

Being on a stage feels safe. When you have a script to follow you don’t have to worry about what to say and you only have one responsibility: to play your part.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine:  seeing the other person’s side. Social media makes it so easy to only see what we want to see and to never explore opinions that differ from ours. I’d like people to break out of their comfort zone and get to know one another and I think caffeine can help with that.