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)
"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 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 (SYDE) student under the SWaGUR program. Andrew graduated with a BA in Speech Communication and minor in Digital Arts Communication. He researches with Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Games Group because of his passion for game design and interest in Games User Research. He is currently researching accessibility and novel input methods in virtual reality. On his spare time, Andrew is a digital designer and his primary practice revolves around photography and videography.
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.
Betsy Brey (English)
Betsy 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.
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 MacArthur is a PhD candidate supervised by Mark Hancock in Systems Design Engineering. Her interest in human-computer interaction began as an undergraduate in the Bachelor of Knowledge Integration program where she explored the intersection of rhetoric, semiotics and the user experience design process. As an MA student in the English department, she worked with Neil Randall and became a member of the Games Institute before pursuing a joint program with Systems Design Engineering co-supervised by Dr. Hancock, allowing for deeper integration of feminist and linguistic theory with research in the HCI field. Her current research interests include maker culture and supporting inclusion in all facets of the design of new technologies.
Chris Lawrence (English)
Chris (they/them) seeks to disrupt binaries in game studies, such as virtual world/material world, player/avatar, and narratology/ludology. Their dissertation draws upon queer game studies and focuses on the affordances of mythmaking and world building in games. They presently serve as an editor for the middle-state, open-access game studies publication First Person Scholar, as well as a volunteer editor for the open-access game studies journal Press Start, and are the current Senior Curator for the games writing archival project Critical Distance.
Claudia Martin Calderon (Kinesiology)
Claudia Martin Calderon is a research student pursuing a Master's of Science in Kinesiology under the supervision of Dr. Michael Barnett-Cowan at UW.
David Bell (Systems Design)
David Bell holds a BEng in Electronic Systems Engineering from Conestoga College and is pursuing a part-time MASc degree in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. He has an interest in mixed reality, vision systems, and gesture-based interfaces.
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 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.
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.
Former Biophysics student turned maverick entrepreneur working in BioTech, integrating video game technologies into a STEAM pipeline of human discovery and innovation. He cofounded Π ∩ ϟ, whose journey began with an invitation by Wellcome Trust and Epic Games in 2015 to participate in the Big Data VR Challenge. He now works with MBCLab to integrate gaming technology for narrative and neuroscience R&D. Midway through all this, he was diagnosed with cancer. It was his experience with the human genome project that gave him a leg up over cancer, resulting in an earlier diagnosis but showed the many ways Health Care could be improved. He was invited by RCIScience to discuss his journey, which included a brief mention of next generation genomics sensor technology his team is developing for physicians to democratize access to quality health care, by leveraging automation technology, thereby resulting in improved outcomes for patients and their families.
Giovanni Ribeiro (Systems Design)
Giovanni 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 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.
Jenn Rickert (English)
Jenn Rickert 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 her third year of the English PhD program, focusing her dissertation on gender, power structures, and social dynamics surrounding competitive gaming communities, particularly within World of Warcraft. 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.).
John HCI (Systems Design)
"I am interested in using human body signals to create more "humanized" assistive technologies based on games and interactive systems. My research has been applied mainly in healthcare scenarios from physical activity promotion for the seniors to neurorehabilitation games for stroke patients. I received a PhD in Human Computer Interaction at the NeurorehabLab (UMA/M-iti) in Portugal. I'm currently a PostDoctoral Fellow at the Systems Design and Engineering Department of the University of Waterloo (Canada) working in the ITWIL and Social and Intelligent Robotics research laboratories."
Received the AGE-WELL Postdoctoral Awards in Technology and Aging (2019)
John Yoon (English)
John Yoon (BA Honors English, Alberta), MA (Literary Studies, Waterloo) is a third year PhD candidate at Waterloo. His research interests include narratology, the narrative of sports, eSports, online gaming culture, and digital media studies. His dissertation examines the storytelling mechanisms in professional football and StarCraft.
Received: “The Phenomenology of Videogame Narrative.” CGSA Congress 2019, “Towards a Phenomenological Approach to Interactive Storytelling.” CSDH Congress 2019, “Narrative Accommodation: Transforming eSports Writing.” UC Irvine Esports Conference 2018, “Outside the Arena: Community Engagement through eSports.” EGLX.
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
Joseph Tu is a Master’s student pursuing a MASc in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke at the University of Waterloo. He has immense interests in UX and UI interfaces and emotion in games. He seeks to explore the different dimensions of wireframes and paper prototypes that can be useful in game designs. He enjoys doing photography.
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.
Won the SSHRC Doctoral Award; Digital Pedagogy Institute Conference 19 (Waterloo, ON); SLSA 18 (Toronto, ON)
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 Morayko is pursuing a Masters in Systems Design Engineering through the SWaGUR program under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. She is interested in human computer interaction, and her main project involves the study of daydreaming during video game play.
Kenny Fung (Computer Science)
Kenny 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 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 users and the use of virtual reality and serious games to understand how we navigate the world around us.
Leila Homaeian (Systems Design)
Leila 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 (Lia) Black (English)
Lillian (Lia) 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.
Received OGS 2019, presented at CGSA 2018 & PCA 2019
Marcela Bomfim (Applied Health Sciences)
Marcela 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)
"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."
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 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
Nicholas Hobin (English)
Nicholas 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.
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.
Pelisha Emily Samithamby (Management Sciences)
"I have recently graduated from Management Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I will be studying for a MASc in Management Sciences. My research interests include human-computer interaction, and I will be working with Professor Oliver Schneider to learn about haptic technology and ways to incorporate UX/UI design in his various projects."
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.
Rina Wehbe (Computer Science)
Rina R. Wehbe is an academic researcher at the University of Waterloo, Canada. 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.
Her research focuses on understanding social computing spaces and large displays. Specific topics include understanding social spaces created by public large digital displays and comprehending points of confusion detrimental to the User eXperience (UX). Moreover, she continues to have a soft spot for affective computing, which includes her work on emotional attachment to digital objects and characters. Furthermore, her research into Games4Change or Games4Health seeks to inspire, motivate, and spur small changes that can add up to bigger differences, such as her project Above Water which aims to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and wellness.
Conferences: CHI 2019 (Interactivity Demonstration), Graphics Interface 2019 (Full Paper Presentation)
Scholarships: David R. Cheriton Graduate Scholarship (2018-2020), NSERC Post-Graduate Scholarship (2016 - 2019)
Research Visits: Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburg, USA , OVGU Magdeburg 
Robert P. Gauthier (Public Health & Health Systems)
Robert 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.
Sabrina Sgandurra (English)
"I'm an incoming PhD student who just completed my MA in the English - Experimental Digital media program. I've just completed an MRP focused on understanding the connections between single-player RPGs, the Monomyth, and Ancient Greek theatre. I plan to extend my research further by looking into understanding a potential cultural shift for a preferred method of storytelling through this type of game."
Tina Chan (Applied Health Sciences)
Long 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 Racicot, 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, player characters and avatars, adaptation theory, and comic book narratives. He is examining player-to-character interactions when characters are adapted from another storytelling medium.
Toben is the co-host and producer of The Games Institute Podcast, interviewing student and faculty researchers from the Games Institute and The University of Waterloo. He’s presented research papers, "Superheroes Beyond Cliche… Invincible" at Comics Forum 2018 in Leeds, UK and “Trauma and Demogorgons: Analyzing Dungeons & Dragons in Stranger Things” at MAPACA 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland.
In addition to academic work, Toben is very involved in the independent comic book scene as a writer, letterer, and designer. He writes Crown & Anchor, a sci-fi fantasy pirate adventure comic that his wife, Alaire Racicot, illustrates. The first volume was successfully crowdfunded through Kickstarter in Spring 2019. He wrote the four chapter mini-series: The Bad Guys: The Ballad of Greg and Chad on Webtoons. He also letters many comics including Beastlands, Menagerie, Leaders of the Free World, and many others.
Supervisor: Dr. Neil Randall