Abhishesh Homagain

Kinesiology (Neuroscience)
Abhishesh is a MSc student looking at studying the link between emotion and gait in humans. His research aims to use virtual reality and induce different emotions in humans, analyze the emotional gait behaviours behind emotional states, and try to answer the question 'can we detect different emotions using human gait, and could we in the future use gait as a method to predict/recognize emotions in humans?'

Adebusola (Busola) Adekoya

School of Public Health Sciences

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

Adeshola Ogunsanya

Honours Arts & Business

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

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Ahmed Anwar

Management Science

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

Aleksander Franiczek


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

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Alessandra Luz de Medeiros Ferreira

Computer Science

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

Alexander Glover

Alexander Glover

Systems Design Engineering

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

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Alex Fleck

English Language and Literature

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

Ali Haider Rizvi

Management Science

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

Alizeh Charania


Alizeh is a 3A Psychology undergraduate student in the Research Intensive Specialization Co-op program. Currently she is working as a Social Virtual Reality Co-op Research Assistant at the University of Waterloo Stratford School of Interaction Design and Business and the Games Institute. As part of the position, she will participate in research projects relating to virtual realities technology and assist with all aspects of research work including literature reviews, data collection and documentation.

Headshot of Amerald Xian Liang Fang

Amerald Xian Liang Fang


Amerald is a BSc student in Geomatics currently researching the use of game engines for scientific visualization, analysis, and knowledge mobilization.

Upper body of Ana Lucia smiling while wearing a white shirt in front of a pier

Ana Lucia Diaz de Leon Derby

Systems Design Engineering

Ana Lucia is a MSc student in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Professor Oliver Schneider. She received her Bachelor degree in Innovation and Development Engineering from the University Tec de Monterrey (ITESM).

Arielle standing beside a magnolia tree

Arielle Grinberg

Management Sciences

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

Bibhushan Raj Joshi

Management Sciences

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

Chris L

Chris Lawrence

English Language and Literature

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

Chris Wang

Management Engineering

Chris is an undergraduate student in the Management Engineering program. He is currently working on developing hardware and software prototyping for interactive haptic, VR, and tangible experiences with Professor Oliver Schneider.

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Diana Khater

RA, Haptics Lab

Diana Khater is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a BSc in Biology at the University of Waterloo. She's a co-op research assistant at the Haptic Lab, working under the supervision of Dr. Schneider. Her research focuses on hand receptors involved in the haptic experience.

Diana on a pier

Diana Moreno Ojeda

English Language and Literature

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

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Diane Watson

Computer Science

Diane was 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.

EKat with red glasses and a black sweater

Ekaterina Durmanova

Systems Design Engineering

Ekaterina is a Master's research student who is researching exercise games, juicy game design and embellishments. She has a background in user experience research and design through her Bachelor's degree in Global Business and Digital Arts.

Eliana Hill-Zeesman

Legal Studies

Eliana is a BA student in Legal Studies, currently helping Dr. Shana MacDonald and Dr. Brianna Wiens in researching vaccine hesitancy.

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Emily Shiu


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

Evgeny Kukshinov


Eugene is a Post-doctoral Fellow working with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. He focuses on media psychology research, including areas of presence and immersion studies, media psychology issues (such as media identity, and representation), and analysis of Russian hegemonic discourses. You should talk to Eugene if you want help with the conceptualization/categorization or design parts of your research projects or of you like ping pong, tabletop/video games, sports, and movies.   

Florian Marcher

Computer Science

Florian is a computer science Master’s student at Graz University of Technology working with Dr. Lennart E. Nacke. Florian majors in games Engineering and is interested in Procedural Generation. 

Cartoon drawing of Guiseppe

Giuseppe William Femia

English - Rhetoric and Communication Design

Giuseppe completed a BA (English, Rhetoric, Media, and Professional Communication & Honours Arts and Business) and an MA (Rhetoric and Communication Design) at Waterloo. Now a PhD student, Giuseppe’s research in adaptation theory observes different types of gaming media and the appeal it has to its audience.

Hannah Delamere

English Language and Literature

Hannah is currently Dr. Shana MacDonald's research assistant, and is assisting in researching the connections between second-wave feminism to fourth-wave feminism, as well as planning to make her own collection to archive of feminism in social media

Hector Perez Lopez Portillo

Faculty of Health

Hector is a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Health working with Dr. Lili Liu. His research focuses on dementia and technology, focusing on usability and adoption. Hector likes social simulation games like Animal Crossing. People should talk to Hector if they have a problem or need to talk. He considers himself a good listener who enjoys solving problems and helping people.   

Hichem Lahiouel


Hichem is a fourth-year undergrad in Physics and is joining the Games Institute as an Undergraduate Research Assistant working with Alessandra Luz. Hichem's is interested in the applications of Machine Learning including how Machine Learning and Gamification can be used to help diagnose eye diseases in children. People should come to Hichem if they like sports, especially soccer, hockey, and basketball! 

Hilda Hadan

Systems Design Engineering

Hilda is a first-year Ph.D. student in Systems Design Engineering working with Lennart E. Nacke and Leah Zhang-Kennedy. During her time at Indiana University, Hilda published research studies on Public Key Infrastructure security, and privacy perceptions on IoT and during COVID. She is passionate about human-centered research, especially in relation to video games, privacy, and security. People should come to Hilda if they are interested in playing Overwatch and Back 4 Blood, if they want to watch horror movies together, or need help with R/Python data analysis! 

Isabella Rose Chawrun

Faculty of Health

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

Jay Smith

English Literature

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

Aqua from Kingdom Hearts

Jenn Rickert

English Language and Literature

Jenn is an interdisciplinary-trained academic (BA Hons Classical History & Anthropology; MA Public Issues Anthropology) specializing in the interconnectivity of people, technology, and culture. She is in the dissertation research stage of her English PhD, focusing on 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 Edison Munoz Cardona

John Muñoz

Postdoc - Systems Design

Joe holding a camera up to his face

Joseph Tu

Systems Design Engineering

Joseph is a Master’s student pursuing a M.A.Sc in Systems Design Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke at the University of Waterloo. He is currently working on an escape room board-game that uses physiological measures as a game mechanic. He enjoys doing photography.

Junhyeok Kim

Computer Science

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

Karina Arrambide

Systems Design Engineering

Karina 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.

Karthik Theivendran

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Karthik is an MSc student in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering at Monash University. Karthik's interests lie in Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, Haptic Computing and Wearables. He has industrial experience in developing and commercializing wearable technology products.

Kate Bradley


Kate is a co-op student doing research with Feminist Think Tank as she makes her way through a History Degree. Kate is interested in the history of feminist activism, queer history making, and the modern manifestations of queer/feminist activism in online spaces.

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Kateryna Morayko

Systems Design Engineering

Kateryna 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.

Karthik Parsad

Management Engineering

Karthik is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Management Engineering. He has studied software and game development and is interested in working with Haptics, Artificial Intelligence and VR. He is interested in video games, specifically multiplayer games, and action RGPs. He is working on a project with Professor Oliver Schneider regarding Virtual Reality (VR) Speech Therapy.

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Katja Rogers

Computer Science

Katja is a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Lennart Nacke's research group. She completed her PhD in Computer Science at the Institute of Media Informatics at Ulm University, Germany.

Ken Jen Lee

Computer Science

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

Leila Homaeian

Leila Homaeian

Systems Design Engineering

Leila 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. 

Leslie Xin

Systems Design Engineering
Leslie is a fourth-year undergraduate Systems Design Engineering Student and researcher. She is currently working with Dr. Lai-Tze Fan and Lulu Liu to explore how AR/VR and interactive digital storytelling can be leveraged to represent transformative quantum technologies. Her other areas of interest include creative coding, climate tech, and web3. 
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Lindsay Meaning

English Language and Literature

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

Luka Ugaya Mazza

Public Health and Health Science

Luka graduated with a BA in Graphic Design from the Federal University of Paran, Brazi. There, they conducted research on serious games as tools to teach medical practitioners. Currently, Luka is a MSc student in Public Health and Health Systems. Their interests include data visualisation, information design, information design systems, serious games, and games for mental health.

Lulu Liu

Systems Design Engineering

Lulu is a digital multimedia artist, photographer and filmmaker whose work disseminates technology’s coalescence with art, and how one stays grounded through this metamorphosis. Some of her previous works have been featured by the Toronto International Film Festival and the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

Lydia Choong

Computer Science

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

Marcela Bomfim

Marcela Bomfim

Applied Health Sciences

Marcela 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 standing in front of the CN tower

Marco Aurelio Moran Ledesma

Systems Design Engineering

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

Marvin Pafla

Systems Design Engineering

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

Michael Hancock

Michael Hancock

English Language and Literature

Michael 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 Xu

Software Engineering

Michael is an undergraduate student in software engineering. His main focus is applying generative machine learning models to streamline the development of haptic experiences and exploring novel interfaces for augmented reality.

Mustapha Unubi Momoh

Systems Design Engineering

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

Navneet Kaur

Legal Studies

Navneet is an undergraduate student in Legal Studies who is supporting Dr. Shana MacDonald and Dr. Brianna Wiens in their research regarding feminist digital media. She manages public-facing digital media accounts for the Feminist Think Tank and her tasks include data management, task management, and content creation.

Nicholas Hobin

Nicholas Hobin

English Language and Literature

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

Nicholas Tibert

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

Pierson Browne

Sociology and Legal Studies

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

Rachel Woo

Public Health and Health Systems

Rachel is a master’s student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, with an expected graduation date of 2022. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Toronto where she became interested in information visualization. At the University of Waterloo her research will centre on immersion and experience in AR games and their implications for public health. Rachel is under the Supervision of Dr. James Wallace and a member of the Human-Computer Interaction and Health Lab.

Ritika Puri

English Literature and Rhetoric

Ritika is an undergraduate student currently working as a part-time worker on the Rhetoricon project. Rhetoricon explores extra grammatical patterns (rhetorical figures). One of the many goals of the project is to explore many instances of texts with these patterns in order to leverage this for advanced text mining, specifically argument mining.

Robert P. Gauthier

Robert P. Gauthier

Public Health and Health Systems

Robert is a PhD Student from the School of Public Health being supervised by Professor Jim Wallace.

headshot of Sabrina in a stripped shirt

Sabrina Alicia Sgandurra

Experimental Digital Media

Sabrina is a PhD student specializing in games studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of narrative structures and gameplay in narrative-driven video games.

Sakeenah Ashique

Honors Arts and Business DAC

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

Samira Mehrabi

Aging, Health and Well-being

Samira is a PhD candidate and research /teaching assistant at the University of Waterloo.

Sarah Casey

Rhetoric and Communication Design

Sarah is interested in the many (many!) ways humans manage to confuse and irritate one another via communication. In particular, her research involves risk society, public policy and trust, mis- and dis-information, and the rhetoric of risk, with a specific interest in competing/argumentative constructions of risk. These rhetorics often involve a bit (ok, a lot) of verbal gymnastics, and she finds investigating the forms and usages of persuasive language in her work with the Rhetoricon database project is a fun and fruitful addition to her research and studies.

Sid Heeg

Sid Heeg

Sustainability Management

Sid is a PhD student within the Faulty of Environment for Sustainability Management. Their research focuses on the spread and effect of misinformation about farmers and agricultural practices. In their down time, they like exploring various farming simulator games and doing internet deep dives.

Headshot of Stuart Hallifax

Stuart Hallifax

Postdoctoral Fellow, David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics

Stuart was born in the UK, moved to France when he was 10 years old, and lived there for 19 years before coming to Canada. During his PhD Stuart had the opportunity to meet Dr. Lennart Nacke at a conference in 2018 during his course on Gamification.

Tianzheng Shi


Tianzheng is an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology at Peking University. He is joining UW for the MITACS globalink internship program and is currently working with Oliver Schneider. Tianzheng is interested in the connection between experience, perception, and the physical attributes of different stimuli. Since Tianzheng is currently residing in China, he says you can come to him if you would like to know more about China and his perspective on human rights advocacy within the nation.

Thuvaraka Mahenthiran


Thuvaraka is BSc student is Psychology, currently assisting Dr. Shana MacDonald on the Feminist Digital Media project.

Toben standing and smiling in a blue t-shirt

Toben Racicot

English PhD

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

Triskal DeHaven

Systems Design Engineering

Triskal is pursuing a PhD in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Lennart Nacke. He holds an MSc in Human Centered Interactive Technologies from the University of York in the UK, and a BSc in Pre-graduate Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in TN, USA. He is also a User Experience Research for the AbleGamers Charity. His main interests include making games more accessible for player with disabilities, virtual reality, and Games User Research.

Wenqi Zhu

Human-computer Interaction

Wenqi is an undergraduate student from the University of Manchester, majoring in Human-computer interaction. She will be joining the haptic lab and building the Haptiverse! Wenqi is interested in Brain-computer interfaces and Human-Computer interaction. If you are interested in photography or haptic and user experience, talk to Wenqi!   

Headshot of Wing Lam (Veen) Wong

Wing Lam (Veen) Wong

Public Health and Health Systems

Veen is a PhD student in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo and is supervised by Dr. James Wallace.

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