Equity Diversity and Inclusion Working Group


Gerald Voorhees

I (he/him) am an Associate Professor in the Department Communication Arts and a disabled, biracial settler-scholar of Anglo-American and Chinese descent. My research is on subjectivity and identity; particularly, how multiculturalism, masculinity, and nationalism become part of gameplay. I teach “Communication and Social Justice,” and my teaching broadly emphasizes how culture, race, and gender are implicated in communication and media. 


Alessandra Luz

I (she/her/they) am a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. I was awarded my MSc in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics at UCL in London, UK and my BA in Marketing and Advertising at Metodista University of São Paulo in Brazil. As a Brazilian (latina), woman and disabled, I have been fighting for equity since day one. As an industry veteran I have brought to the Games Institute my experience and perspective of UX Research, which I use to tackle my thesis topic focusing on children who struggle with oculomotor disorders. I have worked for Google, Shopify, DAZN, Samsung R&D, Ogilvy Mather and Motorola Mobile before making my way to the GI. My favourite video games are Danganronpa, League of Legends, Animal Crossing, Doki Doki Literature Club and Two Point Hospital.

Ali Rizvi

I am committed to building a more inclusive world for all people, through pragmatic solutions: involving persons from outlier demographics as participants in our studies, mentorship programs, and learning from their practices. I bring my previous experience from multiple leadership positions with teams across three continents, and the everyday learning from researching persons living in lower SES situations. 

Apoorva Sanagavarapu 

I identify as a brown, able-bodied, non-binary, cis-female, “Indo-Canadian,”. I have a strong interest in studying languages, and learning about cultures and cultural differences, and have completed 12 language and culture courses at the University of Waterloo. My contribution to the working group is informed by my experiences working with people from a variety of diverse backgrounds, including what I learned while living, working, (and having adventures,) as a medium-term immigrant in Okayama, Japan. I am currently a Masters’ student in the Experimental Digital Media [XDM], (CO-OP) stream of English. My research interests/areas include: practical approaches to language acquisition, both within and beyond the classroom/academic setting(s), pedagogical practices within (post-secondary) education, especially in the (digital) humanities, and fandom/fan studies, - most notably fan-fiction - on digital/social media, specifically in relation to LGBTQ+ representation, and depictions namely of gender, and/or gender roles, their construction in the canon and/or “fanon,”  and the subsequent effects such representations have on fans’ perceptions of their personal identities.

Jennifer Roberts-Smith

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, who identifies as a straight, white, able-bodied, cis-woman settler. My creative research focuses on the intersections of performance, digital media, history, pedagogy, and social justice. I am currently Managing Director of the qCollaborative, the critical feminist design research lab housed in the Games Institute.  

Kristina Llewellyn

I am a Professor in the Department of Social Development Studies and an abled-bodied, white, cis-woman settler. My research focuses on education and equity, from a sociological and historical perspective. I am the Director of the SSHRC project Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation: The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children(DOHR). More specifically, my research is ground in community-driven oral histories for teaching, learning, and justice. 

Marisa Benjamin

I am Jewish woman and a white settler Canadian with roots in Italy and Eastern Europe. To the working group, I offer the perspectives gained from my formal and informal academic training, including a graduate degree in Rhetoric & Communication Design, my ongoing collaborations with the Feminist ThinkTank, and my current independent work (courses, projects, and workshops) involving research in Canadian Law, intersectional feminism, body positivity, and Indigenous relations. Above all, I offer complete willingness to devote time, learning and effort to help promote equity, diversity, and inclusion at the Games Institute. 

Muhammad Umair Shah

I (he/him) am a Lecturer in the Department of Management Sciences (Faculty of Engineering). I am a first generation settler from Pakistan. I received my MASc. and Ph.D. in Management of Technology from the University of Waterloo. My research draws on the applications of moral philosophy and stakeholder theory to rethink contemporary questions in emerging sociotechnical systems. In particular, I am interested in human factors, entertainment computing, social media, organizational sustainability, and cybersecurity domains. 

Oliver Schneider

I (he/they) am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management Sciences (Faculty of Engineering), with disciplinary training in computer science, mathematics, statistics, and human-computer interaction. I am currently serving as an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion chair for World Haptics 2021 and an LGBTQ+ Space Maker at Waterloo, and have some experience working in and teaching accessibility, especially involving people who are blind and visually impaired. I identify as white, cis-man, able-bodied, second-generation academic, and a settler. 

Rina R. Wehbe

I (she/her) am a settler scholar who identifies as a PoC, LGBTQ2++, interdisciplinary computer scientist. Previous work in equity includes membership on ACM sig CHI Cares committee, AC sig CHI conference chairing, and mentoring. My research initiatives include leveraging my knowledge as an academic for good. Check out my website: https://rinawehbe.ca 

Auxiliary Members

Ben Feng

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science. I received my B.Math and M.Math in actuarial science from the same department that I am currently teaching. My experiences on both sides of the classroom podium enable me to sympathize with students in different situations. I am an immigrant with Chinese descent and Cantonese cultural background. Having experienced multiple cultural shocks, e.g., between Chinese sub-cultures and between Chinese and Canadian culture, I have high appreciation of cultural diversity. I am interested in participating in different forums to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion, particularly to help students succeed in their academic and cultural lives.

Daniel Harley

I (he/him) am an Assistant Professor at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business. I am a settler scholar and identify as straight, white, and cis-male. With a teaching and research background in critical and intersectional feminist approaches to storytelling, design, and technology, I offer a commitment to supporting the working group in developing more equitable and inclusive spaces at the Games Institute. 

Ex Oficio

Agata Antkiewicz

Staff, link to bio

Mark Hancock

Faculty, link to bio

Neil Randall

Faculty, link to bio