Work is Fun and Games for Wordle Senior Researcher and Otterbein Alumna Amanda Dakermanji ’14
Posted May 27, 2022
By Payton Kaufman ’24
Wordle, the daily game from The New York Times, has amassed hundreds of thousands of loyal players. Those players can thank Otterbein alumna Amanda Dakermanji ’14 for her role in the word-puzzle game’s production.
As a senior researcher at The New York Times Games, Dakermanji said her job is “to make games more fun.”
“My goal is to make sure players are getting the experience they want to out of a game; that the experience is positive and they experience little frustration,” Dakermanji said.
While at Otterbein, Dakermanji studied psychology. She continued her studies after graduation and earned a doctorate degree in cognitive psychology. The original plan for Dakermanji was to become a professor, but she switched paths because of her passion for doing research.
“I realized I loved doing research, especially in an applied setting,” Dakermanji said. “I can see my research in action in the next patch of a game, which is really cool.”
Prior to working at The New York Times Games, Dakermanji worked in user experience at Epic Games on Fortnite. One of her proudest moments was working on a project there, she said.
“I did a ton of research for one of Fortnite’s limited-time modes,” Dakermanji said. “It was so cool to sit down with my PlayStation and play what I have worked on and to say I did that.”
While at Otterbein, Dakermanji worked in psychology research labs and interned at the University of South Carolina — and won Otterbein’s Outstanding Intern Award for her work. She said the experience she had doing research made her much better prepared for graduate school compared to some of her classmates.
“I am really grateful for my time at Otterbein,” Dakermanji said. “I am very proud to be an Otterbein alum.”