Samara “Hayley” Steele, MFA (she/her or they/them), is a PhD Candidate in Cultural Studies at UC Davis, where they are an Associate Instructor in Writing. Steele was 2018-2020 HASTAC Scholars Fellow, a 2020 Mellon Public Scholar, and she been an Advanced Research Affiliate of the HaCCS (Humanities and Critical Code Studies) Working Group since 2016. Currently, Steele is a NASA intern and a project director with the UC Davis ModLab, where they are engaged in efforts to develop analog gamemaking pedagogy that may be used to teach any subject, including STEM subject matter. Her previous work includes Thermophiles in Love (2016), a 5-gender dating game that incorporates biological data about microorganisms, and Destination Wedding 2070 (2019), a dark comedy about wedding planning 50 years in the future that incorporates climate data from the C-MIP.
She has been a larpmaker and larp practitioner since 2002, and they have been part of the alter-globalization movement since 1999 and the urban farming movement since 1997. They have been part of a number of organizing projects including the Oakland Omni Commons, Occupy the Farm, and the Long Haul Infoshop. She is a former development director for Land Action, an Oakland-based mutual aid network for land-based adverse possession projects.
Their current work explores structural forms of oppression, and ways some larp styles may be used to better understand reification in real world systems of power.
Steele holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University.