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Students

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A

AC Atienza (Experimental Digital Media)

AC Atienza is a Masters student in the Experimental Digital Media program at UW. Their primary area of interest involves re-application of design principals from one field to another, such as game design into pedagogy or literary theory into game design. Hobbies include spending time with friends, playing games, designing games and drawing.

Alex Fleck (English)

Alex Fleck smiling"Currently my research is in a few areas, but the focus is on virtual reality and simulation (together and separately).

I'm looking at VR from the perspective of game studies as well as semiotics theory, and thinking through management/roleplaying simulations and their applications. I also spend some time with comics scholarship, and playing Dead Cells. Lots of Dead Cells."

Alex Fleck

Amy Liang (Psychology)

Amy Liang SmilingAmy Liang just finished her Bachelor of Arts degree with Psychology major and Human Resource Management minor. 

"I am a passionate researcher interested in Second Language Acquisition. I am currently helping a couple researches testing on topics related to accented language. On August 2018, I finished a presentation on how we could use the new VR technology to help students learn English easier."

Amy Liang 

Andrew Cen (Systems Design)

Andrew Cen is a Systems Design Engineering student under SWaGUR, who graduated from Speech Communication with a minor in Digital Arts Communication. He joined the HCI Games Group because of his passion for game design and interest in Games User Research. Andrew is an emerging digital media designer. His primary focuses in digital design revolve around photography and videography. Andrew also has experience in the Adobe suites, including: Photoshop, Illustrator, Lightroom.

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B

Becky Anderson (English) 

Becky smilingBecky 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. 

Betsy Brey (English)

Betsy on stairs smilingBetsy Brey (BA and MA, University of Minnesota Duluth) is a PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature. Her research focuses on the intersections of narratological structure and gameplay. In particular, she's interested in how players understand and interpret narrative forms in role-playing games and metagames.

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C

Caroline Wong (Psychology)

Caroline Wong is a MASc student in Management Sciences (BA, Psychology, University of Waterloo). Caroline became interested in human-computer interaction research through her past co-ops at the Games Institute where she was involved in projects investigating tabletop interfaces, public large digital displays, use of creativity in games, and gender inclusivity in makerspace environments. Her future research looks to examine the benefits of touch-enabled technology in information visualizations.

Cayley MacArthur (English)

Cayley smilingCayley 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.  

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D

Diana Moreno Ojeda (English)

Diana Moreno Ojeda has loved science fiction and boardgames ever since she can remember, moving from Stratego—at the adventurous age of 6— to Netrunner and Ascension—more recently. Her PhD research explores the role science fiction plays in how society makes sense of technological change, with particular attention to Artificial Intelligence and Cybernetics. Diana is currently building a cooperative card game: Monstrous Days, that examines the ways in which games can be used as sandboxes for anxiety management.

Diane Watson (Computer Science)

Diane SmilingDiane 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.

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E

Elise Vist (English)

Elise Presenting at 3MTElise 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" (http://www.firstpersonscholar.com/rise-of-the-videogame-zinesters/). 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.

Ethan Ray Fischer (Psychology)

Ethan Fischer is an undergraduate student in the psychology Department at the University of Waterloo. He is currently studying how gamers' verbal reports of their emotions during game play relates to various aspects of their subjective emotional experiences.

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G

Giovanni Ribeiro (Systems Design)

Giovanni smilingGiovanni Ribeiro is a games user research student pursuing a M.A.Sc in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke at UW.

Gustavo Tondello (Computer Science)

Gustavo smilingGustavo Tondello's research interests include gamification and games for health, wellbeing, and learning, user experience in gamification, and gameful design methods. His work focuses on the design and personalization of gameful applications.

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J

Jenn Rickert (English)

Jenn looking downJenn Rickert is an interdisciplinary-trained academic, currently in the English PhD program, who specializes in the study of people, technology, and culture. Currently, her research focuses on gender, power structures, and social dynamics surrounding competitive gaming communities, particularly within World of Warcraft.

John Harris (Computer Science)

John Photoshopped ImageJohn 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 http://ThePlayfulPixel.ca) where the community can attend talks and tutorials on game design and work alongside mentors to make new prototype games of their own!

John Yoon (English)

John Yoon SmilingJohn Yoon (BA Honors English, Alberta), MA (Literary Studies, Waterloo) is a second year PhD candidate at Waterloo. His research interests include narratology, the narrative of sports, eSports, online gaming culture, and digital media studies.

Jonathan Baltrusaitis (English)

"I am a storytelling machine from a film and television background. The XDM Masters program is rapidly expanding my narrative toolkit and I am interested in the narrative possibilities of games. I am examining and merging the traditional forms of civic monument and documentary through augmented reality."

Jonathan Baltrusaitis

Judy Ehrentraut (English)

Judy Ehrentraut is a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo researching human/technology entanglements from a posthuman perspective. Judy’s work explores the nuances of posthuman and transhuman representations of technological embodiment in film, video games, art and modern techno-culture. Her dissertation investigates presence and absence outside traditional scopes of digital dualism that re-think our interactions with technology as synchronous events of chance

Justin Carpenter (English)

Justin Carpenter is a PhD Candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo. His current research traces the use of the term 'generative' from literary to computational contexts, arguing that an understanding of this term opens up a variety of arguments around concepts such as authorship, agency, emergence. He argues that such a genealogy can help situate game studies scholarship in dialogue with modernist and postmodernist literary studies, as well as cinema and other media. His other research interests include poetry, philosophy of technology, and aesthetics.

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Karina Arrambide (Systems Design)

Karina Arrambide is a Ph.D. student pursuing a degree in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke. She holds an MSc in Information Technology with Business and Management from the University of Sussex in the UK, and a BSc in Information Technology from the University of Monterrey in Mexico. Her main interests include understanding player's behaviors and emotions by applying diverse games user research methodologies, specifically biometrics such as electromyography and galvanic skin response.

Kateryna Morayko (Systems Design)

Kateryna SmilingKateryna Morayko is pursuing a masters in systems design engineering through the SWaGUR program under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. She has most recently volunteered at CHI 2018.

Kenny Fung (Computer Science)

Kenny Fung in suitKenny Fung is currently doing his Masters in Computer Science. He is an MBA graduate at Wilfrid Laurier University and has a B.A. Honours Psychology from the University of Waterloo. He is currently interested in dynamic difficulty in games and is actively contributing to various projects at the HCI Games Group.

Kevin Barton (Psychology)

Kevin Barton smilingKevin Barton received his PhD in Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience from the University of Waterloo. His research interests include understanding how game dynamics and mechanics can be leveraged in professional contexts to improve the well-being of others.

Kirsten Robinson (Systems Design)

Kirsten SmilingKirsten 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.

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Leila Homaeian (Systems Design)

Leila headshotLeila Homaeian is a PhD student in Systems Design Engineering. She studies large interactive surfaces, such as wall displays and digital tabletops, and how to support co-located collaboration around them. Leila received her MSc. degree in Software Engineering from the University of Alberta.

Lillian Black (English)

Lilian SmileLillian Black, HBA (English, University of Waterloo), is a Master’s student at the University of Waterloo. Their main areas of interest revolve around the cognitive and semiotic aspects of rhetoric present in the communication habits that arise in multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary environments and teams. Their research focuses on the rhetorical figures and moves present in communication pedagogy and its strategies, with a particular interest on digital environments (including games).

Lindsay Meaning (English)

Lindsay Meaning (BA English, Wilfrid Laurier University; MA Experimental Digital Media, University of Waterloo) is a second year PhD student in the English department at UWaterloo. Her research centers on settler colonialism and imperial ideologies in single player role-playing games. Other research interests include video game adaptations of literary texts, as well as adaptation and fan studies more broadly. She has also been awarded the Beltz Essay Prize, PhD Grade Average Award and presented at CGSA 2018.

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M

Marcela Bomfim (Applied Health Sciences)

Marcela Head-shotMarcela Bomfim is a PhD Student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (AHS), working under the supervision of Dr James Wallace. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and in Systems Analysis and an MSc in Computer Science with specialization in Human-Computer Interaction. 

"My research focuses on exploring Gameful Design to improve Food Literacy among people. My research leverages Self Determination Theory to build peoples' competence, autonomy, and relatedness around food, with the aim of making people more knowledgeable and skilled when planning and selecting foods, as well as promoting a celebratory food culture bringing people to eat together."

Marcela Bomfim

Marco Moran-Ledesma (Systems Design)

Marco Outside"I am a Master’s student in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock at University of Waterloo. Previously, I completed a B.S. in Mechatronics Engineering (2015) at ITESM in Mexico and a postgraduate diploma in Automation & Robotics (2017) at Centennial College in Toronto. As a newcomer to the research field, I chase projects where there is an opportunity to connect my passion for digital electronics, low-power circuits, single-board computers and 3D printing with Virtual Reality applications and bring in attractive innovations that eventually lead to significant results. My friend Tony Romo taught me a simple way to become the best version of myself: "learn from the past, build on what works, change what doesn't". I pursue this philosophy each and every day because the people I interact with deserve to see that version."

- Marco Moran-Ledesma

Marvin Pafla (Systems Design)

Marvin Pafla is a Master's student in Systems Design Engineering. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in both Psychology and Computer Science at the University of Konstanz (Germany). Marvin's interest lie Games Research, Human-Computer Interaction, and Artificial Intelligence. He has experience in public display research. Marvin is supervised by Prof. Dr. Stacey Scott and Prof. Dr. Mark Hancock. Marvin attended the 2018 CHI Conference in Montreal and will be in attendance at the 2019 ISS Conference in Tokyo.

Michael Hancock (English)

Michael smileMichael 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

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Nicholas Hobin (English)

Nicholas in suit smilingNicholas Hobin, 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.

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Omar Gutierrez (English)

"I am researching the ways in which games use nostalgia to take advantage of gamers. More specifically, I am interested in how endless sequels and re-makes contribute very little - if anything - to the series or to the genre, but then cover it up by exploiting the gamer's feels. In other words, through clever manipulation of psychological vulnerabilities and deep associations within the memories of players, a large part of the videogame industry is now in cruise control, demeaning the art and giving love [of videogames] a bad name... making millions of dollars in the process."

Omar Gutierrez

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Pamela Maria Schmidt (Experimental Digital Media)

Pamela Maria Schmidt completed her BA in Honours Rhetoric and Literature, a Russian and Eastern European Minor, and a Digital Media Specialization at the University of Waterloo with Dean's List acknowledgement. She is currently an English MA student in the Experimental Digital Media stream. Pamela's plethora of interests include: haunting literary theory, pop culture studies, critical media discourse, and storytelling.

Pierson Browne (Sociolgy & Legal Studies)

Pierson Browne'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.

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Rina Wehbe (Computer Science)

Rina Wehbe SmilingRina R. Wehbe is an academic researcher at the University of Waterloo. She is currently working towards the completion of her Ph.D. Mathematics Computer Science at Cheriton School of Computer Science, UW. Her research interests include affective computing, user difficulty, and expert users. She applies her work to both the domains of games, interface design, and productivity applications. He unique interdisciplinary background B.Sc. Psychology and M.Sc. Computer Science informs her work. Her affiliations include HCI Games Group, and the Games Institute.

Robert P. Gauthier (Public Health & Health Systems)

Robert G. smilingRobert P. Gauthier is a PhD Student from the School of Public Health. He is currently studying online communities and how researchers can gain understandings from them and apply these understandings to public health.

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Shawn DeSouza-Coelho (Experimental Digital Media)

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

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Tina Chan (Applied Health Sciences)

Tina SmilingLong Ting (Tina) Chan is a Master of Science candidate in Applied Health Sciences, with an interest in using technological innovations to improve mental health and wellbeing. She currently explores how gamification with narratives and avatars can influence engagement in online peer to peer support platforms for mental health usingunguided, crowdsourced cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 

Toben Racicot (Rhetoric & Communications Design)

Toben with text over pictureToben Racicot is usually busy writing and lettering comic books. But he does pause to DM games of Dungeons and Dragons and roll dice to kill zombies in Zombicide Green Horde. He also loves Popeye's Cajun Chicken, sushi, and his wife.

"Role-playing games intersect with comic books in the areas of narrative and character. My current research examines which of these players prioritize. Adding a role-playing mechanic to a comic book allows players to engage with the text and embody the characters. Do they choose to role-play the character more in depth or does narrative win over and they play out the plot as depicted in the story? I hope to determine which is most salient in RPGs and why players continue playing games that have neither inherent characters or narrative."

Toben Racicot

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Umair Rehman (Systems Design)

Umair headshotUmair Rehman is a MASc. candidate from Systems Design Engineering working as an experimental perceptual psychologist, a quantitative user researcher and a human factors engineer at the Human Optimization and Modelling Lab (HOM Lab).

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Zhe Liu (Computer Science)

Jewel sitting on cliffZhe Liu is a master's student co-supervised by Professor James Wallace from School of Public Health and Professor Daniel Vogel from School of Computer Science.

"I am currently working on research about arm fatigue effect for large multi-touch displays, and fatigue-sensible interface display design."

Zhe Liu 

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