Adeshola Ogunsanya

Honours Arts & Business

Adeshola is an undergraduate student in the Honours Arts & Business program majoring in sociology. She is part of the Rhetoricon Database Project this term. She enjoys reading, listening to music and watching sports.


Aleksander Franiczek


Aleks is currently working towards an English PhD. His doctoral research synthesizes perspectives from game studies, phenomenology, and critical design to consider how a player's sense of immersion in a videogame can provide a means towards self-reflection through creative engagement both during and outside gameplay. He is also the Section Head of Essays at the Games Institute's online journal, First Person Scholar.

Aleks Franiczek, Author at RPGFan

Headshot of Alex Fleck

Alex Fleck

English Language and Literature

Alex studies retrogaming hardware, software, and modding/fan communities to understand changes over time to consumer culture, material literacy, and legacy platforms. He also helps design games with other GI researchers in ongoing GI projects and partnerships. Alex is currently interested in finding and collecting license-expired retro games (games unlikely to be released again), as well as expanding his 90's era A/V set up.


Bella Chan

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business

Bella is a short-term exchange student of industrial design from China. Currently, she is focusing on human-computer interaction research. She has several experiences designing and researching with children. She very happy to be here at the University of Waterloo!

Benjamin Valles

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business

Ben is a member of the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business pursuing a Bachelors of Global Business and Digital Arts. Currently based in Waterloo, he is assisting Dr. Ville Mäkelä in projects surrounding Virtual Reality and HCI

Bruna Santana de Oliveira


Bruna Ph.D. Candidate in Education specializing in children's digital cultures, examining aspects such as children's learning with digital games, their playful experiences with digital technologies, research methodologies involving children in the digital era, and their role as content producers. Member of the Research Group entitled “Education and Digital Cultures".


Chris Lawrence

English Language and Literature

Chris is a PhD Candidate in the department of English Langauge and Literature. Their dissertation research focuses on identifying world-building mythopoetic structures in games and distinguishing them from traditional narrative approaches. Chris is currently Editor-and-Chief of First Person Scholar and Senior Curator for Critical Distance.

Diana on a pier

Diana Moreno Ojeda

English Language and Literature

Diana has loved science fiction and board games ever since she can remember, moving from Stratego—at the adventurous age of 6— to Netrunner and Ascension—more recently.

Emily Shiu


Emily (BA in Psychology and MASc in Developmental and Communication Sciences) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology. Currently, she is studying voice assistant interactions in bilingual populations.

Eric Chea

Global Business and Digital Arts

Eric is in the 3rd year of Global Business & Digital Arts at the University of Waterloo. Outside of school, he is a professional freelance editor who has been editing for 5+ years. He mainly edits for content creators in the Twitch space, working with streamers like Atrioc & SimplyN64. Overall, Eric is passionate about media creation dipping into avenues such as photography, videography, motion graphics, 3D graphics etc.

Federica Gini

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, visiting PhD student

Federica is a visiting Ph.D. student from the University of Trento in Cognitive Science with a scholarship funded by the Motivational Digital Systems research group (MoDiS) at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK). She has a background in psychology and currently working in the Human-Computer Interaction field. Her research focuses on gamification, and she is particularly interested in the benefits and limitations of cooperative gamification.


Giuseppe William Femia

English - Rhetoric and Communication Design

Giuseppe Femia is an English PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo. He previously completed a double major for his Bachelor of Arts, in English, Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication & Honours Arts and Business, as well as a Master of Arts, in Rhetoric and Communication Design, both at Waterloo.

Giuseppe’s current research in game studies, media studies, queer studies, disability studies, and performance studies observes different types of gaming media and the appeal it has to its audience. He previously presented his work on queer reparative play in Dungeons & Dragons at the Transformative Play Initiative Seminar in Visby, Sweden, and then had it published as a peer reviewed article in the International Journal of Role-Playing. Giuseppe is now partnering up with other scholars researching the intersection of disability studies and game studies to broaden the horizons of the growing field.

Giuseppe is currently working as a research assistant for a SSHRC-funded research project on digital media, disability, and COVID-19. The project will bring together scholars, artists, and activists who have a relationship with disability, chronic illness, neurodivergence, mental illness, vision impairment, and/or Deafness to share and discuss their personal experiences of digital life under the different phases of the pandemic. He has also taken on the roles of Workshop Facilitator, at the Centre for Teaching Excellence on campus, and Graduate Instructor, in the English Department, after completing his Certificate in University Teaching to make use of the scholarship he has done in the academic realm of teaching and learning.

Twitter: @_foolsbait

Jared Cubilla

English - Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication

Jared is a Student in the Department of English Language and Literature completing a BA in English, Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication, Honours, Co-op with a Creative Writing Specialization. He is a student at the University of Waterloo with passions in creative writing, teaching, and research in digital media studies.

Jay Smith

English Literature

Jay is a Master’s student in the English Literature Program. They received their Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from University of Calgary in 2022. They are academically interested in Queer Theory and Representation in modern media and developing fields of research like comics studies and interactive media.

Jenn Rickert

English Language and Literature

Jenn is an interdisciplinary-trained academic (BA Hons Classical History & Anthropology; MA Public Issues Anthropology) specializing in the interconnectivity of people, technology, and culture. She is in the dissertation research stage of her English PhD, focusing on video game mechanics (and game mechanics more broadly) and how they are fundamental in creating, enhancing, or giving meaning to players' interactions within game worlds. She is developing methodology for interpreting these complex systems of meaning-making-interaction, in hopes of building not only more inclusive and positive gaming experiences, but also in affecting video game communities as well. In addition to her primary research goals, she also is particularly interested in accessible and applicable research, bridging research and industry, and other socially constructed aspects of video games (e.g. cheating & modding, emotion, etc.) 

Picture of Jonathan Baltrusaitis

Jonathan Baltrusaitis


Jonathan is a PhD candidate whose research-creation work seeks to converge locative media with civic monuments to enrich cultural memory narratives. He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who specializes in difficult socio-political issues. He is currently in his ninth year of teaching in the Global Business and Digital Arts program (GBDA) at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business.


Justine Scheifele

Communication Studies

Justine is a fourth year undergraduate student in Communication Studies assisting Gerald Voorhees and Daniel Harley in their work as a research assistant for this term.

Lindsay Meaning

English Language and Literature

Lindsay (BA English, Wilfrid Laurier University; MA Experimental Digital Media, University of Waterloo) is a fourth year PhD candidate in the English department at UWaterloo.

Nicholas Hobin

Nicholas Hobin

English Language and Literature

Nicholas, BA (King’s University College), MA (University of Waterloo), is a PhD candidate in the English Language Literature program at the University of Waterloo. He is interested in posthumanism in game studies, and the ways in which digital environments work to confront what it means to be human.

Pierson Browne

Sociology and Legal Studies

Pierson's research focuses on the propagation of concepts and information through the social networks formed around and within communities of play. Pierson is a methodologically-focused mixed-methods researcher: he has contributed to the field of Social Network Analysis with his work on Exponential Random Graph Models for Directed Acyclic Graphs, he has generated insights into Swarm Ethnography and Rapid Ethnographic Assessment as part of his work with game development intermediaries, and he has produced research stemming from his work as an Embedded Ethnographer with Montreal indie game development studios.

Rency Luan 


Rency (she/her) is a PhD student in English with a BA (Hons. English; Rhetoric) from the University of Waterloo and MA (Rhetoric) from Carnegie Mellon University. Rency’s research examines the intersection between mental health, immigration, and race to explore the ways in which [mental health] discourse is circulated within an intergenerational level.

headshot of Sabrina in a stripped shirt

Sabrina Alicia Sgandurra

Experimental Digital Media

Sabrina Alicia Sgandurra  (HBA Toronto Metropolitan University, MA University of Waterloo) is a PhD student specializing in games studies. As a resident of the Games Institute and as a student, her research focuses on the intersection of oral storytelling traditions in the act of streaming story-focused video games. Sabrina has won two OGS awards, has presented her research at distinguished conferences such as DiGRA 2023, PCA 2021 & 2022, MLA 2022, ACCUTE 2022, and CGSA 2021, and has published her research in Simulation & Gaming. In addition to her role as a student, she is also currently working as a Research Project Manager for the HCI Games Group, and at First Person Scholar as the Editor-in-Chief. 

Twitter - @SabrinaAliciaSG
Twitch -

Sakeenah Ashique

Honors Arts and Business DAC

Sakeenah is an undergraduate student in the Honors Art and Business program. She is working as a research assistant for Professor Shana MacDonald to provide data management assistance for her feminist media archive.

Sasha Soraine

Digital Arts Communication

Sasha is currently a sessional instructor for DAC 204: Introduction to Game Design. They received their M.A.Sc. in software engineering from McMaster University in 2018. They are currently working on their PhD dissertation at the G-ScalE lab in the Department of Computing and Software at McMaster. Sasha’s research focuses the intersections of game design and human-computer interaction, specifically looking at player experience, game difficulty, gameplay challenges and accessibility.

Sina Torabi

Faculty of Information & Media Studies Program: Media Studies

Sina is a PhD candidate in the Department of Media Studies at Western University. He is interested to learn more about the peculiar interaction between narrative structures, issues of human identity, and agency in video games.

Sofia Santos


Sofia is an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, where she is pursuing a degree in Psychology within the Honours Arts and Business Program. In addition to her studies, she is a research assistant for the Rhetoricon Database Project, supervised by Dr. Randy Harrison. Sofia also contributes to research on smart assistant interactions under the guidance of Emily Shiu at the Lab in Infant Development and Language (LIDL) Lab. These research roles showcase her dedication to advancing her psychological knowledge and her enthusiasm for exploring the intersection of technology and human behavior. Sofia’s diverse experiences highlight her curiosity in many different subject areas.

Toben standing and smiling in a blue t-shirt

Toben Racicot

English PhD

Toben, BA Creative Writing (BYUI), MA Rhetoric and Communication Design (University of Waterloo), is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Waterloo. Toben’s research focuses on role-playing games, collaborative worldbuilding, loot mechanics, and the magic circle in digital forms.


Ai-Jou PAN

Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business

Ai-Jou is an international graduate student visiting the University of Waterloo in Fall 2023 through the Mitacs Program. Ai-Jou is currently in a PhD program at the Department of Engineering Science at National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. Ai-Jou has a background in ICTs in education and engineering education, which are the primary focus of Ai-Jou's research interests. Ai-Jou also has several journal papers published on Thinking Skills and Creativity, IEEE Transaction of Education and the International Journal of Engineering Education.

Headshot of Ahmed Anwar

Ahmed Anwar

Management Science and Engineering

Ahmed is a Masters student in the Management Science and Engineering department supervised by Oliver Schneider. Previously, he completed his undergrad from Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan with an interdisciplinary coursework in Management Science and Computer Science.

Alexander Glover

Alexander Glover

Systems Design Engineering

Alexander is a Systems Design Engineering MASc candidate. His focus is on Explainable Artificial Intelligence (XAI), particularly how AI can be used to teach decision making processes to approach complex situations through explanation.

Ali Haider Rizvi

Management Science and Engineering

Ali (MS, Columbia University; B.Tech, NIT Jalandhar) is a PhD student studying Human-Computer Interaction. He is interested in studying the interaction between technology management, human factors and data analytics as it applies to non-traditional interfaces Prior to his PhD, Ali was a Senior Product Manager on Amazon's Alexa platform. When Ali is not at work, he is either climbing mountains or flying a tiny Cessna.

Ali Yamini

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ali is a MASc student at University of Waterloo, currently working in social robotics under supervision of Prof. Dautenhahn at Social and Intelligent Robotics Lab. He working on helping student's with Amblyopia to facilitate their healing using a robotic agent.

Arden Song

Management Science and Engineering

Arden is a Master's student pursuing a degree in Management Science and Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. She received a Bachelor's of Applied Science in Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Arden's interests include human-computer interaction, board games, and statistics and data analytics.

Arielle standing beside a magnolia tree

Arielle Grinberg

Management Science and Engineering

Arielle is a PhD Candidate working with Mark Hancock and Rob Duimering. Her interest in Human-Computer Interaction began when she worked as a research assistant at the GI. Her research interests span across a wide range of disciplines.

Bibhushan Raj Joshi

Management Science and Engineering

Bibhushan is a PhD student in Management Science and Engineering department of UW. His research background is in computer engineering and management. He is interested in creative research projects related with HCI, Haptics, Software Engineering and Product development.


Caitlyn Mei 

System Design Engineering

Caitlyn is a MASc student in the Department of Systems Design Engineering and is supervised by Prof. Mark Hancock. She is interested in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and is researching the potential of designing an autonomous robotic user interface to support a collaborative work experience for users to clearly visualize complex data in 3D space with the ability to directly touch and manipulate tangible data in real-time. She received a Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo.


Derrick Wang

Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Ph. D. in Systems Design Engineering

Derrick is a first-year PhD student in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo under the supervision of Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. He holds a MASc in Systems Design Engineering from UW and a BFA in Creative Technologies from Virginia Tech, USA. His research interests involve video games (especially MMORPGs), Virtual Reality, Exergames, and mental health.

Ellie Sanoubari

Systems Design Engineering, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Ellie works on REMind, which is a transformational game that uses social robots to help children learn how to intervene in bullying situations. Inspired by applied drama techniques, the game engages children in an interactive story that allows them to observe a bullying scenario between two robots, and then intervene by controlling a third bystander robot. REMind is designed to promote internal reflection and situated learning.

Hilda Hadan

Systems Design Engineering

Hilda is a Ph.D. candidate in Systems Design Engineering, collaborating with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke and Dr. Leah Zhang-Kennedy. Her research is centered around deceptive design, which was previously known as dark patterns, in games and game-related technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). Beyond her work on deceptive design, Hilda has a keen interest in human-centered research, specifically in the areas of video games, privacy, and cybersecurity. She was awarded the 2023 Games Institute Seed Research Grant for her research on the privacy implication of XR.

Jae Eun (Jen) Shin next to humanoid robot

Jae Eun (Jen) Shin

Systems Design Engineering

JaeEun (Jen) is a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Mechatronic Engineering at the University of Waterloo. She is co-supervised by Prof. Leah Zhang-Kennedy (Safe Interactions Lab) and Prof. Yue Hu (A.I.R Lab). Her research interests lie in human-robot interaction, especially in privacy and cybersecurity risks in social robots. Her current research explores privacy perception in child-robot interaction and the design of safe interactions with humanoid social robots.

Jalaja Shanmugalingam

Management Science and Engineering

Jalaja holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Concordia University and a Master's degree in Engineering Management from the University of Alberta. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Waterloo in the Department of Management Science and Engineering. During her master's program, Jalaja conducted research and authored a thesis titled “Gamification and Predictive Analytics for the Next Generation of Workers.” The primary objective of this research was to assist employees in obtaining the guidance necessary for continuous professional growth while enabling companies to reduce the time their senior management spends on mentoring and guiding their employees. Additionally, they implemented a gamified model within our system that leverages real-time tracked data to incentivize and reward employee contributions. She intends to continue her Ph.D. studies within the same research domain.

Jieun Lee

Systems Design Engineering

Jieun is a MASc student in System Design Engineering under the supervision of Professor Cayley MacArthur and Professor Oliver Schneider. She has a background in UX research and Design through her Bachelor’s degree, Global Business and Digital Arts, and is interested in human-computer interaction.

Jordan Wang

Mechatronics Engineering

Jordan will be the student research assistant for Professor Oliver Scheider over the summer 2024 term. During this co-op, his main focus will be working with haptic feedback devices. This will include setting up the physical devices and programming the devices for different use cases. Jordan has experience working with Solidworks, 3D printing, and microcontrollers. Although this will be his first experience working in a research lab, Jordan is looking forward to learning all the ins and outs of research! Jordan is still in his undergrad, having just finished his 2A term and will be entering the 2B term of Mechatronics Engineering this coming fall.

Joe holding a camera up to his face

Joseph Tu

Systems Design Engineering

Joseph is a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke and Dr. Oliver Schneider. He is interested in the field of Human Computer Interaction mainly in the domain of physiological measures, emotions, games user research and adaptive user interface. His goal is to maintain his hairline after completing his Ph.D.

Kaushall Senthil Nathan

System Design Engineering

Kaushall is a MA student pursuing system's design engineering. His main goal for  research is enhancing the medium of video games. More specifically, the experience with machine learning fundamentals leads  to his belife that robust AI technologies can be developed to work alongside players in data-rich environments of video game worlds and serve as moderators to reduce problematic behavior and promote human flourishing. In this vein, Kaushall sees common themes with the research done in the HCI Games lab such as affective gaming and social relationship-building games. Furthermore, believes video games are a powerful medium that has changed millions of people’s lives for the better and so, wants to use the skills and tools available to him to make the medium more expressive and enjoyable to everyone. He believe the people of the HCI Games lab share this belief and I would be proud to work alongside them toward this goal. In the long term, he sees himself working with video game companies to develop and deploy these technologies to consumers around the world, to ensure that video games serve as a vibrant and accessible hobby to all.

Picture of Kevin Joseph

Kevin Joseph

Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering

Kevin is pursuing a MASc starting in the Fall of 2023 under the supervision of Dr. Yue Hu in the Active and Interactive Robotics (AIR) lab in the Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering department. Kevin has a BESc in Mechatronics Systems Engineering from the University of Western Ontario. His general interests lie in robotics, machine learning, automation and controls. Kevin's interest in robotics has been developed through high school robotics programs such as FIRST Robotics, and his education in mechatronics engineering. As for his interest in machine learning, it is a field that is experiencing consistent innovation has the potential to completely change the way people interact with technology. Implementing these machine learning based systems into robotics can often be difficult based on the specific task, and he finds this challenge to be very fascinating. Additionally, Kevin believes automation is a tool that can improve the day-to-day conditions of workers and other people who interact with these tools when implemented appropriately. Robotics and machine learning tools will be essential for the future of automation, and control system are essential to make these systems work in practice. As part of his research, Kevin is aiming to develop a system that provides grasping assistance for operators who are attempting to control robots remotely through virtual reality (VR). The system will identify the operator’s intent through data as their gaze and angle of approach, combine this information with information gained from the robot’s workspace, and produce grasp suggestions that the operator can decided upon that is best for this purpose.

Khushi Savla

Mechatronics Engineering

Khushi is a co-op student at the HX Lab supervised by Oliver Schneider. She is interested in engineering research in the field of haptics devices and human-computer interaction. She is currently working with Bibhushan Raj Joshi in assisting him in his PhD project. Her background is in Mechatronics Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Marco standing in front of the CN tower

Marco Aurelio Moran Ledesma

Systems Design Engineering


Upper body of Marvin Pafla in a checkered shirt with a backpack on standing in front of a forest

Marvin Pafla

Systems Design Engineering

Marvin is a PhD student at the Cheriton School of Computer Science. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in both Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Konstanz (Germany), and a Master's degree in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Marvin's interest lie Games Research, Human-Computer Interaction, and Artificial Intelligence. Marvin is supervised by Prof. Dr. Kate Larson and Prof. Dr. Mark Hancock.


Mustapha Unubi Momoh

Systems Design Engineering

Mustapha is a MASc student of Systems Design Engineering. His research interests include 3D computer vision for virtual reality, human factors, and machine learning. He enjoys working with AI and founded Karaam Analytics Limited to provide Data Analytics services to firms and individuals.

Twitter: @MomohUnubi

Natalie Nova

MASc in Management Science, Engineering, Specialization in Information Systems

Natalie is now working to complete her MASc with Mark Hancock and Cayley MacArthur as supervisors. Her research is in the field of Human-Centred Explainable AI, where the bias in current AI methodologies and how it affects users is being considered. Specifically, zooming in on how gender shapes eXplainable AI (XAI) systems and figuring out how we can design AI that's fairer and more mindful of these gender influences.

Negin Azizi

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Negin is research assistant in the Social and Intelligent Robotics Research Lab, in the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department, under the supervision of Prof. Dautenhahn. She is interested in exploring assistive technologies and robots for children with disabilities.

Rachel Anne Yee


Rachel completed her Bachelor's of Arts in psychology at the University of Waterloo, but is currently working on her Masters of Engineering at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include human factors, user experience, AI and gamification. Rachel's favourite game franchises are Pikmin and Watch Dogs.

Rebecca Schuetze

Biomedical Engineering

Rebecca is a dedicated Biomedical Engineering student entering her 4A term. Alongside her academics, Rebecca found an interest in Web Design and UX/UI through co-op and personal experiences. She's excited to hone these talents as a Junior Web Designer and Content Researcher at Rhetoricion.

In her downtime, Rebecca enjoys reading and drawing. She also serves as a goalkeeper for the University Ringette team and loves joining spin classes at 6:00 AM at one of the many studios in downtown Waterloo.

Rebecca's favourite bubble tea is probably the strawberry and white peach non-milk tea at Sweet Dreams, but she's always open to trying out new flavours.

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Sahand Ajami

Applied Science

Sahand is Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering MASc student. His focus is on virtual reality-based upper-limb rehabilitation for post-stroke patients.

List of Publications 


Severyn Balaniuk in front of body of water

Severyn Balaniuk

Quantum Computing

Severyn is a Master's student in Physics (with a  bachelor of engineering degree), who is working on research in the area of quantum computing to apply its possibility to simulate physics processes and computer graphics.

Teng (Jacob) Dazhuang

Systems Design Engineering

Jacob is a Systems Design Engineering PhD student.

Tianzheng Shi

Management Science and Engineering

Tianzheng is a MASc student in the Management Science and Engineering department supervised by Oliver Schneider. He completed his undergrad in psychology from Peking University in China, with experience in HCI research. He is currently working on understanding and evaluation of haptic experience.

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Vasyl Chomko 

Systems Design Engineering

Vasyl achieved a Bachelor degree of Mathematics and Computer Science, Taras Shevchenko 
National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine. He started a MASc in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of prof. David Clausi and prof. Alex Wong. Vasyl worked as a Middle DevOps Engineer for some time. He also has an extensive experience in software development, primarily using Python and C++. 

* Padalko H., Chomko V., & Chumachenko D. (Under Review). A Novel Approach to Fake News Classification using LSTM-based Deep Learning Models. Frontiers in Big Data.

* Padalko H., Chomko V., Yakovlev S., & Chumachenko D. (Accepted). Ensemble Machine Learning Approaches for Fake News Classification. Radioelectronic and Computer Systems.

* Chumachenko  D., Chomko  V., Meniailov I., Krivtsov S., & Padalko H. (2023). A Data-Driven Simulation of Ukrainian Refugee Flows Impact on COVID-19 Dynamics in the UK. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Informatics & Data-Driven Medicine. Bratislava, Slovakia, November 17-19.

* Padalko H., Chomko V., & Chumachenko D. (2023). COVID-19 Misinformation Detection on Weibo by Support Vector Classifier. In Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Dependable Systems, Services and Technologies. Athens, Greece, October 13-15. (Accepted)

* The Mitacs Globalink Research Award"


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Sid Heeg

Sustainability Management

Sid is a PhD student within the Faulty of Environment for Sustainability Management. Their research focuses on the spread and effect of misinformation about farmers and agricultural practices. This extends to issues of food literacy, misinformation on digital media, and diet culture.


Adebusola (Busola) Adekoya

School of Public Health Sciences

Busola is a registered nurse and PhD candidate in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lili Liu. Her current research focuses on older adults living with dementia at risk of getting lost and going missing and the use of innovative strategies to promote safe walking. Busola says you should come to her if you want to learn more about promoting health and wellness and technologies to support aging in place. Her expertise also extends to dementia, missing persons, and technology.

Isabella Rose Chawrun

Faculty of Health

Isabella is a PhD student in the Faculty of Health for Public Health Sciences/Aging, Health, and Wellbeing. Working with Dr. Lili Liu, Isabella advocates for autistic people of all ages but her research focuses on older autistic people by using social determinants of the health model. Her research specifically highlights wearables as a method of social connectivity and physical health support. She is connected to the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health and advocates for neurodiverse expressions and conceptions of mental health and service delivery.

Nic Hobson

Kinesiology and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Doctor of Philosophy, Kinesiology - Neuroscience

Over the course of our lives, brain function begins to deteriorate. With age, this deterioration begins to advance and cognitive ability is affected in one form or another. Nic's research interests lie in better understanding the effects with which physical activity and other positive health modifiers have on brain function, cognitive ability and neuroplasticity across the lifespan. More specifically, his interests lie in the prevention and reversal of neurodegeneration. His background stems from a population level approach to maintaining health through behavioural and policy-level modifications and reaches into the underlying neurobiological mechanisms which affect daily function. Through methods developed in neuroscience, neurophysiology and epidemiologic perspectives, the effects of different levels of exercise on chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia may be better understood and further salutogenic behaviours may be adapted to moderate and even reverse the gradual process of neurodegeneration.


Nicholas Tibert

Kinesiology and Health Sciences

Nicholas is a clinical exercise physiologist and high performance trainer that is interested in muscle and bone physiology, resistance training and training adaptations, cognition and video games, and the link between esports and physical performance.

Samira Mehrabi

Aging, Health and Well-being

Samira is a PhD candidate and research/teaching assistant at the University of Waterloo. She is a personable and responsible Physiotherapist/Exercise Therapist with extensive knowledge and professional experience of rehabilitation methods, exercise prescription, and health promotion strategies.


Vanessa Duong

Health Sciences

Vanessa is an undergraduate health sciences student working with Dr. Jim Wallace as an USRA. Thier research looks into aging parents and the process of aging with your children. Using computational analysis, Reddit posts will be able to be analyzed for further research purposes.

Headshot of Wing Lam (Veen) Wong

Wing Lam (Veen) Wong

Public Health and Health Systems

Veen is a PhD candidate in the School of Public Health Sciences. Her research explores the use of HCI for violence prevention and is funded by NSERC. Veen is supervised by Drs. James Wallace and Cayley MacArthur.


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Alessandra Luz de Medeiros Ferreira

Computer Science

Alessandra is a P.h.D. student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science under the supervision of Dr Lennart Nacke and Dr Daniel Vogel. She holds a MSc in HCI-E from University College of London.

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Amandeep Kaur

Computer Science

Amandeep is a Master's student at Cheriton School of Computer Science supervised by Prof. Jim Wallace. Her present research delves in the field of Topic modelling using Large Language Models (LLMs) and conducting user studies.


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Anchit Mishra

Computer Science

Anchit is a Master's student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, working under the supervision of Prof. Oliver Schneider. His research focuses on data-driven haptics, particularly working on tools for data collection and machine learning methods that can enable users to personalize haptic experiences as per their own preferences.


A picture of Ansh Sharma

Ansh Sharma

Computer Science

Ansh is a Computer Science MMath student in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo, conducting research under the supervision of Prof. Jim Wallace. His work in machine learning, explainable AI, and human-computer interaction synergizes to enhance topic modeling through transparent algorithms and intuitive interfaces, promoting collaborative and interpretable insights.




List of Publications

Junhyeok Kim

Computer Science

Junhyeok is a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. He completed Bachelor's and Master's degrees at the University of Manitoba. He practices and designs interactive systems using latest technology to improve immersion of computing.

Ken Jen Lee

Computer Science

Ken is a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, advised by Dr. Edith Law. He is researching methods of using extended reality technologies to nurture and facilitate rational compassion, transformational learning and altruistic attitudes and behaviours.

Picture of Kimi Ce Zhong

Kimi Ce Zhong

Computer Science

Kimi is a Postdoc fellow at the WatVis Lab at the University of Waterloo. Advised by Dr. Jian Zhao, his current research is to creatively utilize AI as a design material to physicalize digital sound data. He is doing this by conducting more-than-human-oriented studies in designing with the gathered (non)human things and deploying the physicalized thing to entangle the cohabited everyday (non)humans. Kimi received his Ph.D. degree from the Everyday Design Studio at Simon Fraser University. Advised by Dr. Ron Wakkary, Dr. Willams Odom, and Dr. Mikael Wiberg, the overarching goal of his doctoral study is to progressively develop shared qualities of shape-changing things through the lens of the Materiality of Interaction. To this end, he constructed three novel dynamic physical forms by designing with the gathered materials and tools at hand. With these resources, he collected rich new organic empirical data by conducting long-term field studies in everyday settings. The shared qualities are suddenness, versatileness, and creatureness, which explicitly extend former discussions on the affordances of shape changes in design and HCI. Before pursuing his research potential, Kimi worked at multinational corporations to improve people’s everyday lives by designing technological commercial products, which span from household appliances to medical devices to transportation equipment. These research-oriented design projects have won more than ten top-tier international design awards, which include the Red Dot Design Award: Best of the Best, iF Design Award, and International Design Excellent Award. Research Interests: Human-computer Interaction; Interaction Design; Industrial Design; Research through Design; More-than-Human Design; The Materiality of Interaction, AI; Data Physicalization; Temporality; Shape-Changing Interfaces; Everyday Design.

Lydia Choong

Computer Science

Lili is a Master’s student in Computer Science interested in UX and HCI and working with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. She is interested in creating more intuitive and accessible gameplay experiences to create games that can be played by anyone. People should talk to Lili if they want to chat about Figma, League and TFT.

Michelle Ma

Computer Science

Michelle is an undergraduate computer science student working with Dr. Jim Wallace and Dr. Keiko Katsuragawa as a research assistant. She is currently exploring aging-in-place technology to foster communication between aging parents and their adult children.

Nathan D'Silva

Combinatorics and Optimization, Computational Mathematics

Nathan is a fullstack developer studying Combinatorics & Optimization and Computational Mathematics at the University of Waterloo. He's a highly motivated software developer with several years of professional experience and a proven ability to deliver high-quality, maintainable code. Nathan is enthusiastic about programming, with dozens of personal projects and a diverse range of interests. He uses Fedora Linux, his favorite programming languages are Rust and Javascript (Vue), and he eats a lot of chicken.

Po-Chun Wang

School of Interaction Design and Business

Po-chung is majoring in mathematics education. Differences in the way mathematics is taught are now being studied. Therefore, Po-chung wants to learn how to apply game teaching in the classroom.

Punit headshot

Punit Kunjam

Computer Science, and Mathematics

Punit is a Computer Science graduate student specializing in game development, augmented & virtual reality, and haptics. He has a proven track record of research and development in haptic interaction and human-computer interfaces. Pursuing a Master of Mathematics in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo has equipped him with a deep understanding of technology and its application in creating immersive user experiences.

Punit has a unique blend of technical skills, creative problem-solving abilities, and a strong foundation in programming languages such as C#, C++, and JavaScript. He has hands-on expertise in Unity3D, CHAI3D, OpenGL, and similar game/graphics engines and frameworks, and have contributed to innovative projects that bridge the gap between technology and practical utility. Punit's work spans developing video games, immersive haptics & VR-based simulations, and AR-based educational tools, showcasing his ability to innovate and push the boundaries of current technology.

Punit is passionate about the potential of AR/VR and haptic technologies to revolutionize how we interact with digital interfaces. He aims to create more intuitive, immersive, and beneficial user experiences. Punit's ambition is to continue leveraging his skills in a challenging environment that fosters growth, innovation, and the opportunity to make significant contributions to the technology field.

His goal is to be at the forefront of technological advancement, contributing my expertise to projects that have a lasting impact.

Punit Kunjam's GitHub

Shriya Kulkarni

Computer Science

Shriya is a third year Computer Science student at the University of Waterloo. This term she joined the Games Institute as part of their co-operative work term, as a full-stack developer. Shriya will be working with Professor Randy Harris on Rhetoricon, which will be their first exposure to rhetorics integrated with NLP. Shriya is excited to see what the term brings!

 Skylar Ji

Computer Science

Skylar just finished her 2B term in Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. She is currently working with a team of five under Professor Randy Harris as a developer and UI/UX designer on two projects: The Rhetoricon and GoFigure. As someone who's worked in development at a big corporation in the past, Skylar is excited to utilize her skills and expertise with a smaller team to make a positive impact on the projects as she believes that they will strongly impact the way NLPs are trained and how people understand how languages work as a whole!

Stone Yao 

Computer Science

Stone is a 2A Computer Science student at Cheriton School of Computer Science. He is passionate about games and enjoy playing real-time strategy and first-person shooter games. Stone enjoys coding and am hoping to learn game-related programming and development. He will be helping the HCIgames team with VR-related development.


Vladyslav Shein


Vladyslav is a Master of Mathematics in Data Science candidate at the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. He holds a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Science in Computer Science with Honours from Drahomanov Ukrainian State University.

Yasmeen Elkheir 

Computer Science

Yasmeen is finishing her first year of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo and starting her first internship as a Full Stack Developer at Rhetoricon. Yasmeen's research interests are artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and neurotechnology.

International Visiting Students

Clément Salomon

Computer Science

Clément is a French computer science student enrolled in his second year at AMU's IUT. Although he's enjoying every aspect of his degree, AI and app/web development are his current areas of interest.

Here in Waterloo, he's an intern working on an interface to prevent spoilers in social media, willing to put his studies to good use, improve his spoken English, and finally use the vocabulary he learned reading English-written novels, which he loves to do in his free time, along with playing games and coding personal projects!

Cody Lee

Cody is from Taiwan and loves to travel, make friends, and explore!

Ice Wu

Investment Science and Finance

Ice is a third-year student majoring in Investment Science and Finance at PolyU. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Professor Will Zhao this summer. Her research interests lie in AI and business-related fields, although she is still relatively new to these areas. Professor Will has mentioned that the Games Institute has a wealth of advanced technology and a community of enthusiastic individuals, and Ice is looking forward to an enriching experience here!

James Pilcher

Computer Science

James is a Globalink Research Intern from the UK focusing on enhancing experiences in virtual reality. He's currently studying his Computer Science bachelor’s at the University of Exeter, graduating 2025.

James loves music, art, and coding, and hope to combine these in his work!

Julián Felipe Villada Castillo

Physical Engineering

Julián is a Full Professor and researcher at the Universidad Tecnológica de Pereira in Colombia, with a robust academic background that includes degrees in Physical Engineering, University Teaching, a Master's in Physical Instrumentation, and a Master's in Physics Education, all from the Technological University of Pereira. He is currently a Doctor of Engineering candidate at the same institution. His career focuses on designing and developing health-related video games, particularly for stroke patients, aiming to improve upper limb rehabilitation through innovative technologies and interactive methods. Villada's research integrates engineering, physics, and pedagogy principles to create effective and accessible therapeutic tools. Currently in the final stage of his doctoral studies, he continues to advance his research and develop new applications in rehabilitation through video games. His work has significantly impacted both academia and practical treatment of neurological conditions, highlighting the potential of technology in modern medicine.

Kwesha Shah

Computer Science and Business Systems

Kwesha is currently pursuing B.Tech Computer science and business systems at NMIMS. She is selected for MITACS globalink research internship at University of Waterloo. She will be working under professor Leah Zhang Kennedy for the project : “Children and Parents’ Mental Models of Security and Privacy in Humanoid Robots”. This project aligns perfectly with Kwesha's academic interests and allows her to apply her technical skills to address real-world challenges. She is very excited for this internship and work on this project and contribute to the research.

Marlon Fabichacki Pereira

Computer Science

Marlon is a visiting undergraduate Computer Science student from Western Paraná State University in Brazil. At The Games Institute, he is a Mitacs Globalink Intern developing a project for real-world objects detection in Virtual Reality with Assistant Professor Ville Mäkelä, exploring new possibilities of interactions in the virtual environments.

Nicolás Enrique Rueda Rincón

Systems and Computer Engineering

Nicolás is a systems and computer engineer currently pursuing a master's degree at University of the Andes with extensive experience in programming videogames. He specializes in the development of virtual reality applications that integrate innovative technologies, such as hand tracking, to create unique immersive experiences. His notable projects include a VR simulator to train the crew of OPV-3 ships of the National Navy of Colombia, an educational VR tool which uses hand recognition for teaching the manual alphabet of sign language in Colombia, an application to teach the most common stroke symptoms and a simulator to teach the use of fire extinguishers in emergency situations. Originally from Colombia, Nicolas has over 5 years of programming experience and is recognized for his creativity, responsibility, and leadership.

Wilfred Lee

Generative AI possesses the potential to serve as a significant tool for ordinary citizens, enabling them to create a vast array of digital content. However, it poses a major challenge: exacerbating the spread of misinformation. As Generative AI advances, it can produce highly realistic and convincing content, potentially misused to disseminate misinformation. This can sway public opinions and undermine trust, particularly when the source of the content—human or AI—is indistinguishable. The primary objective of Wilfred's research project is to design a system that employs machine learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques to accurately, swiftly, and systematically detect AI-generated health-related misinformation on social media platforms. This system will leverage a combination of classification algorithms, sentiment analysis, and deep learning models to process and analyze social media data in English (Canada) and Traditional Chinese (Taiwan). The choice of these two languages ensures broad cultural representation, encompassing both Western and Eastern contexts. The respective political and legal environments in these jurisdictions, characterized by free speech and robust legal protections, offer a conducive setting for this research. Wilfred's research proposal aims to contribute to the advancement of society-oriented AI research. By focusing on the intersection of AI, health, and communication, his project strives to address the complex challenges of generative AI in the contemporary digital age.