Editor’s note: Nancy Cox is the founder of Research Story Consulting and former CPG corporate researcher. Her work and play include words, sketchpads, cooking (not baking) and the occasional sock puppet.

Passions, hobbies, healthy distractions and even guilty pleasures – discover how the research community plays and how that plays out in their work life. In the Venn diagram of work and play, what happens when work and play overlap? Research colleagues share their work and play stories in this interview series by Nancy Cox. 

Game shows, especially those that are in the realm of mind games and trivia, are the play that’s had the biggest impact in my life. From family game nights to competing on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “The $100,000 Pyramid,” play has shaped who I am.

My gaming play started very young; playing Brain Quest flash cards for hours during family road trips was a staple. Every Christmas, our extended family would gather from Georgia, Florida and Texas and then everyone joined in games. Our most hotly contested event was a high-stakes game of holiday-themed charades with over 60 people divided into two teams. My twin brother Malcolm and I got so good at charades, the family created a rule that we had to be on opposing teams.

One of my fondest memories through elementary and middle school were test days. When our class did really well, the teacher would reward us by turning on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” We even had our school version of “Millionaire.” Although I was never chosen for that, it built up the myth surrounding “Millionaire” in my mind. The classic hero myth of the Everyman overcoming challenges, winning the goal and returning a changed person for the experience.

Flash forward to shortly after college graduation. I was recovering from being a bone marrow donor. The recovery really was pretty easy, giving me couch time to watch “Millionaire.” My brother M...