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AC Atienza (Experimental Digital Media)

AC AtienzaAC 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"Currently my research is focused on understanding consumer technology, particularly videogame consoles, from the perspectives of hardware and software design as well as media infrastructure. I also do research creation work and game design as part of a GI research team. Game-wise I'm playing a lot of Rocket League, but also sometimes Ultimate Chicken Horse."

Alex Fleck

Ally Suarez (Applied Helath Science)

Ally is working as an undergraduate research assistant in the HCI Games Group for her co-op term. She is a second-year Health Studies student at the University of Waterloo who developed an interest in human-computer interaction after taking a Human-Computer Systems seminar course and volunteering at the HCI+Health Lab. She is interested in the implementation of technologies in healthcare, particularly in research topics involving mental health and gerontology. During her work term, she hopes to expand her knowledge about gamification and research methodologies. Ally also has a passion for photography and videography.

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 CenAndrew 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.

Apoorva Sanagavarapu (Experimental Digital Media)

Apoorva SanagavarapuApoorva Sanagavarapu is an an MA student in the Experimental Digital Media (XDM) CO-OP stream. She previously spent two and a half years working as an English teacher in Japan. Prior to this, she completed an Honours BA in English Literature and Rhetoric, along with specializations in Digital Media Studies and Technical Writing, as well as a minor in Italian Studies, from the University of Waterloo. Some of her interests include: studying languages, learning about cultures and cultural differences, and pedagogical practices within (post-secondary) education, particularly in the (digital) humanities. She is a multilingual speaker and thinker. Thus far, her linguistic repertoire includes Telugu and English, as well as varying degrees of: French, Italian, Spanish, Latin, Japanese, and Hindi. She currently serves as the MA representative for XDM students, in the Student Association for Graduates in English (SAGE).

Her research interests include: fandom, - particularly fan-fiction - digital/social media, identity formation, & constructions of gender - and to a lesser extent, race - (particularly among youth/young adults). Earlier this year, she was accepted to present her research creation project entitled "Where are you Baby Pikachu? : A PowerPoint Presentation/[Prototype] Location-Based Mobile Game," at the 2020 Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA/ACÉV) annual conference, which - prior to complications arising from COVID 2019 - was meant to be held June 3 to June 5 at Western University in London, Ontario, in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities & Social Sciences. The current iteration of the game is a single player “demo,” of sorts, centers on a non-conforming, gender-neutral, Pikachu – who has three adopted, multinational children – as the only playable character and protagonist (Games and inclusion: gender, minorities, and society; Stuart). Establishing a novel connection between Pikachu and the University of Waterloo’s Critical Media Lab (also known as the Crime Lab, or the CML for short), her PowerPoint-based game attempts to educate players on the history, as well as the potential narratives of place - or lack thereof – surrounding locations of the CML.

Going in a slightly different direction, the Major Research/Creative Project (MRP) she is completing for her Masters, aims to investigate the repercussions of repeated exposure to the "love triangle" - occasionally "rectangle" - trope on contemporary youth/young adult audiences. More specifically, it will compare and contrast issues of dominance and subjugation in romantic relations as are typically established in canon texts - via the hegemonic practices of: objectification, ignoring/overlooking consent, "the voyeuristic male gaze," as well as the stereotypes of "the damsel in distress" and "the bad boy,” - examining them in relation to various fan authored texts. Inspired by Anita Sarkeesian's "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games," her MRP will analyze "shipping" practices across the popular Netflix series Stranger Things, by exploring "ships" within canon, and among related fan communities via fanfiction. Predominantly concerned with the pairings of: Nancy/Steve and Nancy/Jonathan, as well as Mike/Eleven and Mike/Will, within Stranger Things, her project seeks to determine the extent to which each respective canon - or ”fanon" - deviates from and/or reinforces hegemonic culture norms, regarding depictions of power in the previously mentioned intimate pairings.

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Caroline Wong (Management Sciences Engineering)

Caroline Wong 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 (Systems Design Engineering)

Cayley MacArthur - Furby AvatarCayley 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 LawrenceChris 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. 

Chris Li (SYDE)

"I’m currently a MASc student in Systems Design Engineering Department at University of Waterloo working under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Boger. My research and thesis work on developing VR exergames as well as effectiveness measures to evaluate the efficacy of the games in promoting physical activities in people living with dementia. My research interests lie in healthcare, human factors, UI/UX designs to bring technologies into people's life easily."

- Chris


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David Bell (Systems Design) 

David BellDavid 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 OjedaDiana Moreno Ojeda 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. 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. Of late, she has also become interested in the intersection between game narratives and post-humanist theory.

Diana has presented her research at the SLSA 2019, the Tri-University Graduate Symposium 2019, and the W3 Represents: Research Symposium. And, she 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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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.

Erik Ocelewski 

Erik OErik Ocelewski is a 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.

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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.

Giuseppe Femia (English: Rhetoric and Communication Design)

Giuseppe Femia is an MA student in the Rhetoric and Communication Design program. His main research focus is on the reparative play found in Dungeons and Dragons, as well as the self-empowerment found in identity. He previously completed a BA in Honours English (Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication) at the University of Waterloo. He is doing a thesis stream and is currently working on it with Professor Fraser Easton.

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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Janelle Resch (Applied Matthematics)

Janelle Resch

Jenn Rickert (English)

Jenn RickertJenn 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) 

John Munoz with arms crossed

"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 SmilingJohn 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)

Jonathan Baltrusaitis"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 (Systems Design) 

Joseph TuJoseph 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 is mainly interested in emotions in games. He is currently working on an adaptive board-game which uses physiological measures as a game mechanic. On his free time, he enjoys doing photography. 

Justin Carpenter (English)

Justin CarpenterJustin 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)

Justin Song (Management Engineering)

Justin Song is an undergraduate student in the Management Engineering program at the University of Waterloo. They were first introduced to the Games Institute through a research assistantship under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock, during which they helped in the study of the lifestyle of vanlifers and daydreaming in video games. They are currently studying how technology can be used to reduce the space requirements of board games.

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Karina Arrambide (Systems Design)

Karina ArrambideKarina 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 is interested in human computer interaction, and her main project involves the study of daydreaming during video game play.

Ekaterina (Kat) Durmanova (GBDA)

Ekaterina Durmanova has always held a passion for video games and their different applications, but since coming to the University and pursuing a bachelor in Global Business and Digital Arts at the Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business, she has gained a passion for user experience and made it her mission to make a difference through games, the stories they tell and accessibility.

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 BartonKevin 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.

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Leila Homaeian (Systems Design)

Leila HomaeianLeila 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)

LiaLillian (Lia) Black, HBA & MA (English, University of Waterloo), is a PhD student at the University of Waterloo. Her current research interests revolve around the way Queer identity and experience—particularly trans and non-binary identity—manifest themselves through player-driven storytelling practices distinct from the more formally constructed narratives within media, especially games. The current intention for this OGS (2020) funded project is to focus on Persona 4 (2008), NieR: Automata (2017), The Missing (2018), and Cyberpunk 2077 (2020) as game case-studies, though this is almost certainly going to change.

Her undergraduate and master’s research moved through: (1) cognitive semiotics and its intersection with rhetoric and rhetorical figures, (2) communication pedagogy with an emphasis on STEAM education, and (3) science communication with a rhetoric of science influence and an emphasis on citizen science; all of which impact the way she goes about her research. As part of these endeavours, she presented at IACS (2018), ACM SIGDOC (2018) and DPI (2019), with publications in the American Journal of Semiotics, Technical Communication Quarterly, First Person Scholar, East Asian Science, Technology and Society and SciStarter.

Along with being a student and member of the Games Institute, she is also the Commentaries Section Editor for First Person Scholar (FPS), a middle-state and open-access game studies publication. If you are interested in writing a commentary for FPS, reach out to her at commentaries [at] firstpersonscholar [dot] com. If you want to learn more about Lia or the things she’s involved in, check out her website: lillianablack [dot] com.

Lindsay Meaning (English)

Lindsay Meaning 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

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Marcela Bomfim (Applied Health Sciences)

Marcela BomfimMarcela 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

New publication:

Bomfim, M., Kirkpatrick, S., Nacke, L., Wallace, J. Food Literacy while Shopping: Making Informed Food Decisions with a Situated Gameful App (2020). ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, USA.

Marco Moran-Ledesma (Systems Design)

Marco Moran-Ledesma

"I am a master’s student in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock and Dr. Oliver Schneider at the University of Waterloo. My research focuses on using 3D physical props and gestures in Virtual Reality for immersive, and realistic interactions. I leverage proven elicitation techniques and agreement score metrics to create gestures sets with physical props (e.g. 3D printed objects and LEGO bricks) to complete referents (tasks) in Virtual Reality.

Before coming to Waterloo, I completed a B.S. in Mechatronics Engineering (2015) at ITESM in Mexico, and a postgraduate diploma in Automation & Robotics (2017) in Centennial College in Toronto. In the short term, I work towards doing a PhD whose main contribution is a set of technologies suitable for engineering education purposes. In the long term, I intend to become a professor at a Canadian University.I am passionate about American Football, Super Smash Bros, Halo, and Monster Hunter."

Marco Moran-Ledesma

Marvin Pafla (Systems Design)

Marvin PaflaMarvin 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.

Publication: Pafla, M., Wong, C., Gillis, D., Pfeil, U., & Scott, S. D. (2019, June). Jumping on the Bandwagon: Overcoming Social Barriers to Public Display Use. In Proceedings of the 45th Graphics Interface Conference on Proceedings of Graphics Interface 2019 (p. 21). Canadian Human-Computer Communications Society.

Presentations: "Jumping on the Bandwagon: Overcoming Social Barriers to Public Display Use." at Graphics Interface (GI) in Kingston, Ontario.

Mitacs Internship at Axonify: June 2019 - February 2020 

Max Altmeyer 

Maximilian Altmeyer is a researcher and PhD student at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) and the Ubiquitous Media Technology Lab (UMTL) at Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. He holds a M.Sc in Media Informatics from Saarland University. His research focuses on using gamification elements in behavior change support systems, on factors influencing their perception and on ways to tailor them to users. He is also interested in Games User Research, gamification for crowdsourcing, game livestreaming, gamification for elderly people and any topic related to gamification or persuasive technology. During his research visit at the HCI games group, he works on a collaborative gamification project with Dr. Nacke and Dr. Tondello.

May Nemat Allah (Arts and Business)

May Nemat Allah is a 4th-year student at the University of Waterloo studying Arts and Business with a specialization in Theatre and Performance. After studying theatre for the past eight years, May fell in love with stage, production, and festival management. She is interested in theatre's inimitable ability to entertain and provoke thought and action within various communities. May aspires to support the production of pieces that utilize theatre’s dual ability in an impactful way to promote positive change within ourselves and our communities. May is currently working as a Research Assistant in research communications and knowledge mobilization for qcollaborative. May will be supporting the intersectional feminist design research lab’s projects and its exploration of the positive social impacts that academic research can have.

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

Milad Soroush (Management Sciences Engineering)

Milad Soroush

Soroush, M., Hancock, M., & Bohns, V. K. (2018, October). Investigating Game Mechanics that Target Players' Self-Control While Maintaining Engagement. In Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 489-502). ACM.

Soroush, M., Hancock, M., & Bonns, V. K. (2014, October). Self-control in casual games: The relationship between Candy Crush Saga™ players' in-app purchases and self-control. In 2014 IEEE Games Media Entertainment (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

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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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Pamela Maria Schmidt (Experimental Digital Media)

Pamela Maria SchmidtPamela 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.

Pamela has received an award (Ambassador of Russia).  in Prague, she presented at the "Looking through the Glass: Monsterizing Technology and the Social Media Cyborg" Progressive Connections Monster Conference.

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 BrownePierson 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 R. 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.

Rina R Wehbe is a User eXperience (UX) researcher. Her research interests include public, social, and affective computing. Particularly, she researches understanding and improving design and its effect on learning and behavioural changes. Despite her cognitive focus, 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 Games for Change seeks to inspire, motivate, and spur small changes that can add up to bigger differences.

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 the CS HCI Methods Group, and the Games Institute. .

Sample Publications:

Rina R. Wehbe, Edward Lank, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2017. Left Them 4 Dead: Perception of Humans versus Non-Player Character Teammates in Cooperative Gameplay. In Proceedings of the 2017 Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (DIS '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 403-415. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3064663.3064712

Rina R. Wehbe, Elisa D. Mekler, Mike Schaekermann, Edward Lank, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2017. Testing Incremental Difficulty Design in Platformer Games. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '17). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 5109-5113. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3025453.3025697

For a full list of her publications check out her website RinaWehbe.ca

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.

Robert was the recipient of the QEII-GSST 2019-2020, President's Graduate Scholarship 2019-2020, and Exceptional Doctoral Student Scholarship, F2019.

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Sabrina Sgandurra (English)

Sabrina SgandurraSabrina Alicia Sgandurra is a current first year PhD student who recently completed her MA in the English - Experimental Digital media program. As part of her MA, she completed an MRP focused on understanding the connections between single-player RPGs, the Monomyth, and Ancient Greek theatre. In her analysis, she chronologically looked at single-player RPGs and their development, looking at Rogue, The Legend of Zelda, Fallout, BioShock, and Horizon: Zero Dawn. Her dissertation seeks to extend her research further by looking into understanding a potential cultural shift for a preferred method of storytelling through this type of game.

Her current research projects and interests focus on streaming’s impact on the storytelling experience for both the players and the viewers, communal storytelling both in-game and in forums, and understanding how games can be used as methods of critique and inquiry for real-world concepts, structures, and social issues. Two of her papers relating to these topics have been accepted at the Popular Culture Association and the Canadian games Studies Association conferences, titled The Guild Effect: Communal Storytelling in Maplestory and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Rewriting Nuclear Ghandi: Dismantling Colonial Rhetoric in Civilization VI respectively. She is also the current Associate Commentaries Editor for First Person Scholar, and the First-year PhD Representative on the Student Association for Graduates in English.

Sam Mehrabi (Applied Health Science)

Samira MehrabiSamira Mehrabi is a PhD student and research /teaching assistant at the University of Waterloo.

"I am a personable and responsible Physiotherapist / Exercise Therapist with extensive knowledge and professional experience of rehabilitation methods, exercise prescription, and health promotion strategies...In my research, I explore the impacts of exercise/exergames on physical and mental well-being of older adults. In particular, I design and evaluate Virtual Reality (VR) exergames that are customized to the unique needs and abilities of people with dementia to encourage physical activity participation and improve quality of life in dementia."

- Samira Mehrabi

Suji Nivedita Sathiyamurthy (Management Sciences)

"I'm a Masters student with software design & development background. Enthusiastic about Design, Technology and Nature. I'm currently working on measuring Haptics design experience under the guidance of Dr. Oliver Schneider."

- Suji

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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 Racicot

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 BeastlandsMenagerieLeaders of the Free World, and many others.

Supervisor: Dr. Neil Randall

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