Nara Kasbergen was born in Gouda, The Netherlands in 1988 to an artistic mother and a techie father, and from a young age, she was fascinated by both disciplines. While her mother taught her how to draw and paint and encouraged her to take ballet and music lessons, her father introduced her to the computer and old school PC adventure games, and encouraged her to build her first website using Microsoft FrontPage in 1998 at the age of 10. Web design soon became her biggest hobby.
Because of her father's work for Compaq (which later became Hewlett-Packard), her family moved to Munich, Germany in 1997 and to Houston, Texas in 1999. Dedicated as much to her academic development as to her artistic pursuits, Nara enrolled in the IB Diploma Program and graduated as the 2006 valedictorian of Klein Oak High School. She then went on to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she majored in Communication Design and double-minored in Computer Science and Japanese. She studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan during the summer of 2008 and graduated with university honors in May 2010.
However, unsatisfied with the lack of opportunities to combine both her design and programming skill sets while at Carnegie Mellon, Nara enrolled in the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, where she researched the future of art & technology in an interdisciplinary environment that emphasizes collaboration. Her specific area of focus lies in games, storytelling, and online communities, though she is also very interested in user experience design, technology for social activism, children's education, data visualization, and the future of film & video. She completed her thesis project and obtained her master's degree from ITP in May 2012.
Nara currently works as a full-stack web developer at NPR in Washington, DC. Prior to NPR, she was a software engineer at the EdLab, an educational technology research & development lab housed inside of Columbia University's Teachers College in New York, NY. She is not interested in new professional opportunities at this time.