By EMILY NELSON
It’s common career advice: “Pursue your passion.” University of Iowa alumna Lauryn Ash pluralized the saying, weaving writing and gaming into her professional life.
The writer, game designer, and entrepreneur has worked on games such as Marvel’s Avengers and Dungeon Defenders II since graduating from Iowa in 2014 with a BA in English with a creative writing track, a BA in international studies, and a certificate in entrepreneurial management.
Ash, who lives in San Francisco and now works for video game studio 31st Union, says while she may not have always known she’d work in the video game industry, she never doubted writing was in her future.
“It was never a question of what I was going to do with my English major,” Ash says. “I was just confident that I was going to be a writer.”
Ash learned about Iowa’s top-ranked writing programs as a high school student in Neosho, Missouri. She was training for a national speech and debate competition when she met a University of Iowa representative at nearby Missouri Southern State University.
“I visited and basically fell in love with Iowa City,” Ash says. “It reminded me of my time at the University of Cambridge. It’s a smaller city and the university is kind of embedded within the town. You don’t have to drive everywhere. Add in the writing program and that I could get a double major in whatever I wanted—that all helped make the decision pretty easy.”
Ash took advantage of a wide range of opportunities and experiences while at Iowa. Along with being part of the President’s Leadership Class and Presidential Scholars Program, Ash volunteered for the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC) as a web designer, writer and host to international visitors.