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Alexandra Orlando Alexandra Paz-Barreiras Amber West
Becky Anderson Cayley McArthur Chantel Pilon
Diane Watson Elise Vist Emma Vossen
George Ross John Harris Jonathan Rodriguez
Judy Ehrentraut Kasandra Arthur Kayla Marie Oliveira
Kent Aardse Kirk Goodlet Kristen Robinson
Lauren Burr Leila Homaeian Lesley Northam
Lisa Tran Megha Bhatt Michael Hancock
Natalee Blagden Rob Parker Ryan Clement
Shawn DeSouza-Coelho Steve Wilcox Umair Rehman
Wilson Kwong Victor Cheung Yu-Ling (Betty) Chang

Alexandra Orlando (English)

Alexandra Orlando (BA and MA, English and Film, Wilfrid Laurier  
University), is a first year Ph.D. student at the University of Waterloo  
specializing in narratology and game studies. Her research interests include the intersection between film theory and game cinematics, e-sports and East Asian game studies.

Alexandra Paz-Barreiras (Legal Studies & Business)

Alexandra Paz-Barreiras was GI's Spring 2014 Marketing, Communications, and Research co-op student. As her long title suggests, Alex was responsible for many tasks, one of which being the management of the GI and IMMERSe web sites. She is in the process of completing her undergraduate degree through the Arts and Business program in the Faculty of Arts.

Amber West (English)

Amberly H. West, (BA and MA University of Waterloo) researches games for health. Her secondary research areas include adaptations, rhetoric, and new media studies. Under the supervision of Dr. Neil Randall and Dr. Mark Hancock, she and Rebecca Langer (Computer Science) have been working on a multi-disciplinary research project for which the team researched, designed, and developed a prototype of a game that teaches children to identify and manage food allergies. Her future research will expand on the foundation created by this project, focusing on researching existing games, game design, and health studies to propose games that will assist in the process of rehabilitation.

Becky Anderson (English)

Becky Anderson completed a BA (English; French Studies) and MA (Literary Studies) at Waterloo. Now a PhD Candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature, she is also concurrently pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science. She is the recipient of the Provost Doctoral Entrance Award (2015-2016), a Jack Gray Fellowship (2016-2017), a W.K. Thomas Graduate Scholarship (2017-2018), and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2017-2018). Funded by a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2018-2020), her dissertation examines how virtual communities are created in massively multi-player online role-playing games and explores what kinds of self-construction emerge in these digital locales and how such self-construction reciprocally affects the living culture of the game. 

Cayley McArthur (English) 

Cayley MacArthur is a student in the faculty of English’s M.A. in Rhetoric & Communication Design. During her time in Waterloo’s Knowledge Integration program, Cayley initially became interested in issues surrounding popular culture and human-computer interaction through working on exhibits about the uncanny valley, followed by one about gamification for the Ontario Science Centre. Her undergraduate thesis looked at rhetorical opportunities in the design of sites such as YouTube, Tumblr and SoundCloud to evaluate their successes and failures, and provided suggestions for designers to improve user experience for those looking to discuss, share, explore and listen to music online.  

Chantel Pilon

Chantel Pilon was a co-op student for The Games Institute from September - December 2013. During her term she created many of the visual and digital promotional materials for the Games Institute. She is a fifth-year student enrolled in Honours Recreation and Business. In addition to her academics, Chantel is a member of the varsity track and field team at the University of Waterloo specializing in the pentathlon and 4X400m relay. The pentathlon is a contest consisting of five events: 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and the 800m. 

Diane Watson (Computer Science) 

Diane Watson is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Her focus is on gamification, in particular, how positive behaviours can be encouraged through games. She has been involved in the design of several games, including Reading Garden, an educational games that encourage students to participate in self-study activities such as reading the text book; and Vortex Mountain, an educational exergame that combines in-classroom learning with short bursts of exercise. She also does work using games to explore user experience with interactive technologies such as touch surfaces.

Elise Vist (English) 

Elise Vist, BA and MA (English, Carleton University), is a second-year Ph.D. student currently studying the intersections of feminism and game studies. Thanks to her experiences with locative narratives and tabletop game design, she has become interested in low-tech games and enjoys encouraging people to make "crap games" ( As a co-founder of the Games Institute Janes, Elise is currently working towards bringing people who identify as women together to make, play, and talk about games.

Emma Vossen (English)

Emma Vossen, BA and MA (Carleton University), is a second year Ph.D. student at the University of Waterloo specializing in depictions of gender and sexuality in a variety of media and genres. She is especially interested in the ways that sexual interaction is depicted using constructed/fabricated (i.e. illustrated, written and/or digitally rendered) bodies in comics and video games. She is a contributor to and is a founder of the Games Institute Janes (GI Janes) an organization looking to bring those who identify as women together to play, make, write, and talk about games in safe and supportive environments. She has recently been published in the anthology Masked Mosaic: Canadian Super Stories and has two upcoming publications examining both The Walking Dead comic and the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. She occasionally writes about her research at

George Ross (English)

George Ross, BA (Hons.) (Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Carleton University) and MA (Applied Language Studies, Carleton University) specializes in simulations, organizational rhetoric, and narrative modeling. He is a dedicated player and modder of aviation and military sims, strategies and management games, and an advocate for virtual organizations and remix cultures (in games and other media). His previous research includes work in business and medical communication, technical and military discourse, critical media analysis, cross-cultural semantics, ethnographies of online communities, gaming history, writing pedagogy, and traditional linguistics (particularly minimalist syntax and morphology). He also teaches business writing and presentation skills elsewhere at UW, helps manage a virtual airline, and volunteers as tech and programming support for fan video showcases at conventions across Canada and the US.

John Harris (Computer Science)

John Harris is a PhD student in Computer Science (BAsc. Mechatronics Engineering, UWaterloo; MSc Computer Science, UCalgary). His research focuses on the design and development of Strong Asymmetry in games as a means of promoting inclusiveness and getting more kinds of people playing together. Can we get grandparents playing with grandchildren? Physical therapists playing with their patients? Brothers with sisters? Not everyone enjoys playing games as weapon-toting space marines and not everyone enjoys playing match-3 puzzle games. Can we create games to bridge these gaps? John also runs the seasonal "G.I. Jam" events (more details at where the community can attend talks and tutorials on game design and work alongside mentors to make new prototype games of their own!

Jonathan Rodriguez (Computer Science)

Jonathan Rodriguez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science.

Judy Ehrentraut (English) 

Judy Ehrentraut is a Ph.D. student at the University of Waterloo, specializing in new media, posthumanism, and games studies. Her research includes agency and identity in digital culture, reading the digitized body, cyborgism, simulated realities, techno-futurism, and utopian/dystopian themes in games and literature. Her current work examines how personal computing devices such as mobile phones and other wearable technologies are changing how we view and redefine our bodies within real and virtual spaces.

Kasandra Arthur (English)

Kasandra Arthur, HBA (Lakehead University) and MA (Lakehead University), both with a specialization in Women's Studies. Kasandra studies young adult literature, particularly the processes in which these texts are adapted to film. She is also interested in fandom studies and the ways in which audiences engage in various media telling the "same" story. Her doctoral research focuses on the relationship between author, audience, and interpretation in the Harry Potter universe. Other interests include gender studies, fantasy literature and literary theory.

Office: PAS 1062

Kayla Marie Oliveira (Arts)

Kayla is currently a 4th year student at the University of Waterloo studying Arts and Business while enrolled in the co-op program. From past co-op experiences, Kayla has worked in various industries at companies such as Art in Tanzania, MappedIn, Humber College and CIBC. She was the art director for the GET-FACTS project, designing the Kitchen Table game that aimed to promote awareness of children with dietary restrictions. Her passion lies in the world of design and she enjoys learning about user experience, digital media, photography and marketing.

Kent Aardse (English)

Kent Aardse is a PhD Candidate in English at the University of Waterloo and a research assistant for UW's Games Institute. His research focuses on humans as fundamentally technological beings, paying particular attention to the intersection between digital technology and literature. In addition, he is a co-founder and editor of, a student-led game studies publication. Currently, he is working on a project with the Games Institute to digitalize people's history of Canadian hockey.

Kirk Goodlet (History)

Kirk W. Goodlet is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at the University of Waterloo and a research associate at the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. He has worked and conducted research in archives across Canada, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In addition, Kirk is also the co-founder and writer for, a website dedicated to exploring current affairs with historical perspective.

Kirsten Robinson (Systems Design)

Kirsten Robinson is a systems design engineer and designer. She worked on Governor General Award winning architect Phillip Beesley’s Hylozoic Soil team to create responsive architectures that were shown across Canada and at the Venice Biennial. She loves making things. As an engineer, she has worked in robotics and electrical engineering creating ethanol from waste cellulose, reducing pain from pressure on neruofibromas, and on building underwater robots, adjustable high-heeled shoes, operating systems for Blackberries, and energy models.

She is currently a researcher at The Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience at the University of Waterloo and doing a PhD in Systems Design Engineering. She is interested in the common patterns that drive systems ranging from cells to societies and in what makes long-term prosperity possible.

Lauren Burr (English) 

Lauren Burr is a PhD candidate in the English Department at the University of Waterloo studying locative media, augmented/alternate/hybrid realities, and pervasive games. Lauren’s recent collaborative projects include Bonfire of the Humanities, an alternate reality game designed for Congress 2012; Cytopath, an augmented reality necromedia game set in downtown Kitchener; and House of Lexia, a locative hypertext remediation of Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves. She is also a contributor to the online publication, First Person Scholar. Lauren conducts her research with both the Critical Media Lab and The Games Institute at uWaterloo, and continues to collaborate as an adjunct researcher with the Carleton University Hypertext and Hypermedia Lab after completing an MA at Carleton in 2011. Lauren’s work is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Leila Homaeian (Systems Design)

Leila Homaeian is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo.

Lesley Northam (Computer Science) 

Lesley Northam is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science, in the Computer Graphics Lab (CGL).

She studies film language, cinematography, stereoscopic 3D and HFR. She is also interested in non-photorealistic rendering.

Lisa Tran

Lisa Tran was the Communications and Research co-op student for the Fall 2014 term. She has many titles to her role including Project Manager Assistant as well as Facilities Manager. She is in her third year of Arts and Business, majoring in Speech Communication with a Digital Arts Communication Specialization and International Studies Minor. Her hobbies include watching films, playing video games, and entertaining guests with board games. She is also a self-described foodie.

Megha Bhatt

Megha Bhatt was the Winter 2014 co-op student and worked as a research programmer and communications assistant for The Games Institute. During her term she helped with various projects using different software for web designing and gaming needs. She is in her last year of English - Rhetoric and Professional Writing with a Digital Media Specialization and Economics Minor. In addition to academics, she likes to read, write, code and volunteer for the UW and Kitchener-Waterloo community.

Michael Hancock (English)

Michael Hancock, is a Ph.D. student in the English Language and Literature Department at the University of Waterloo. He is interested in three areas of game studies: the social engagements and activities of players, the historical shifts in game design and interpretation, and the formal aspects of video games, as they present themselves to the players. Michael’s dissertation discusses the use of text-based imagery in video games, with the argument that the video game industry is moving away from text-based styles of presentation to styles that emphasize image and sound. What this shift implies and reinforces in terms of people’s digital practices and consumption is what he hopes to explore. He’s also interested in social applications of digital media in general, and how societies adapt to these new technologies.

Office: PAS 2212

Natalee Blagden (English)

Natalee is a Master's student in the English Language and Literature Department at the University of Waterloo.

Rob Parker (English)

Rob Parker (MA, Wilfrid Laurier & BA, Waterloo) is working part-time on his MA in Experimental Digital Media with the English department. Rob is a HASTAC scholar (2013-2014), a contributing editor for First Person Scholar, and has been actively involved with the Games Institute since 2012. He is currently exploring a variety of ways to add Oculus Rift support to Twine games and hosts a semi-regular video series on procedural death labyrinths and genre theory called "Death of the Roguelike." He is @RobotParking on Twitter and blogs at He likes making (and playing) dreadful games.

Ryan Clement (English)

Ryan Clement (MA York University, BA Brandon University) is an English PhD student who studies the relationship between narrative and games and the possible use of this interaction for new forms of education and intercultural communication. He is presently working on the GET-FACTS project, a partnership between the Games Institute and CIHR focused on allergy education. He designed the Kitchen Table game, a cooperative board game that brings “families and their dietary restrictions together.” In addition to designing board games, he has been a key organizer of events like Make a Game or DIY Trying and the Game Tasting. While most of his more recent experiences in gaming have been more tabletop in nature, he has a strong soft-spot for the old 8-bit classics.

Shawn DeSouza-Coelho (Experimental Digital Media)

Shawn DeSouza-Coelho is a Masters student in the Experimental Digital Media program at the University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab.

Steve Wilcox (English)

Steve Wilcox is currently researching the relationship between language, media, and normativity. More specifically, he is interested in how media defines and replicates a normative definition of reality and how this impacts what we think of as abnormal and disabled. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of, a middle-state publication on games studies. He also creates and distributes various digital media projects on his blog at Steve has also created Allergies and Allegories, a web-based game designed to raise awareness of food allergies as part of his dissertation. For more information, please take a look at our Student Projects page.

Wilson Kwong

Wilson Kwong was a co-op student for The Games Institute for fall term 2013. He is a third-year student enrolled in the Recreation and Sports Business program with a minor in Computer Science and Human Resource Management. He likes to spend his free time playing video games, especially sports games (FIFA, Madden and NBA 2K). Wilson is also interested in photography and playing basketball.

Yu-Ling (Betty) Chang (Systems Design)

Betty Chang is a PhD candidate in Systems Design Engineering. Her research interest is in Human-Computer Interaction, Human Factors, and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). Her thesis investigates ways to improve situation awareness in collaborative contexts on digital tabletops, and a co-op board game has been used as a case study. As board games are digitized onto interactive tabletops, automation could simplify mundane tasks and allow more time on the actual fun part of the game. For example, the game can handle initial set-up, score-keeping, banking, and rule enforcement. However, players may be confused to what computer automated for them and why (when did our score change and why?). Betty's thesis aims to help players stay aware of the new changes in the game and facilitate the decision planning and making process. Find out more about Betty's research here:

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