Laurel Felt is an educator, researcher, and learning designer with 20 years of experience in the playful learning space. She aims to nudge the world in a better, kinder direction by enriching media, particularly those enjoyed by children. In her current role as senior fellow with the UCLA Center for Scholars and Storytellers, she designs theory-driven research, authors public-facing reports, and creates evidence-based curricula for clients that include Mattel, Disney, and Netflix. As Principal of Laurel Felt Consulting, she crafts strategic communication products (e.g., branding statements, speeches, narratives, assessments) that engage and drive impact. Previously, Felt served as project curriculum and learning designer at Mattel, supporting its launch of holistic, play-based curriculum in play centers across China. She also served as the executive director of the Student Voice Project, a non-profit that centered mediamaking by at-risk youth.
She currently teaches at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in both the undergraduate Communication program and the Master of Communication Management program. As an avid enthusiast of 21st-century learning, her research interests include social and emotional learning, learning through play/games, learning through stories/narrative, and learning with technology. Her work has been published by scholarly journals as well as more accessible outlets, including Common Sense Media and the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. She proudly supports putting theory into action by volunteering with Miry’s List, California Conference for Equality and Justice, Silver Lake Family Collective, and Build Up Boys.
Felt earned a PhD in Communication from the University of Southern California, an MA in Child Development from Tufts University, and a BS in Social Policy from Northwestern University. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Mike, and their four-year-old daughter, Sasha.