Alex as a Powerpuff Girls character

Alex Fleck

English Language and Literature

"As part of doctoral research, I study retrogaming hardware, software, and modding/fan communities to understand changes over time to consumer culture, material literacy, and legacy platforms. I also help design games with a group of other GI researchers in ongoing GI projects and partnerships. I currently am interested in finding and collecting license-expired retro games (games unlikely to be released again), as well as expanding my 90's era A/V set up."

- Alex Fleck

Detective Pickachu

Apoorva Sanagavarapu

English - Experimental Digital Media

Apoorva Sanagavarapu is a current Masters’ student in the the Experimental Digital Media (XDM) CO-OP stream of English, at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests have led her to develop a deeper understanding of topics , including, but not limited to: fan studies, digital/social media cultures, feminist and gender theory, critical media infrastructures, critical race theory, the Anthropocene and environmental sustainability, as well as LGBTQ+ representation in the media, canon, and/or “fanon.” She previously earned 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, also from the University of Waterloo. Following a trend she started in the later years of her undergraduate career, she continues to pursue endeavors related to her primary interest in fandom/fanfiction studies, as seen through her research creation projects for XDM, the majority of which consist of a fanfiction component.


Arden Song

Management Engineering

Arden Song is an undergraduate student in the Management Engineering program at the University of Waterloo. They are currently investigating the possible applications of e-ink displays in games. Arden was first introduced to the Games Institute through a research assistantship under the supervision of Dr. Mark Hancock. Since then, they have helped in research about the lifestyle of vanlifers, daydreaming in video games, and the space requirements of board games.


Cayley MacArthur

Systems Design Engineering

Cayley MacArthur, BKI (Knowledge Integration, Waterloo), MA (English & Systems Design Engineering, Waterloo), is a PhD candidate in Systems Design Engineering. Her research focuses on human-computer interaction and she is a member of the Touchlab and WaterlooHCI groups.

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. 

Yirou (Chris) Li


"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

Diana on a pier

Diana Moreno Ojeda

English Language and Literature

Diana 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.

Diane Watson profile headshot

Diane Watson

Computer Science

Diane Watson 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.


Giuseppe William 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.

Aqua from Kingdom Hearts

Jenn Rickert

English Language and Literature

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 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

"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.

John Yoon profile headshot

John Yoon

English Language and Literature

John Yoon (BA Honors English, Alberta), MA (Literary Studies, Waterloo) is a 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.

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.

Karina Arrambide

Systems Design Engineering

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 profile headshot

Kateryna Morayko

Systems Design Engineering

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.

EKat with red glasses and a black sweater

Ekaterina Durmanova

Systems Design Engineering

Kevin Barton

Kevin Barton


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

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.

Lillian Black

Lillian Black

English Language and Literature

Lillian (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 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), 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.

Kassandra - Assassin's Creed Character

Lindsay Meaning

English Language and Literature

Lindsay Meaning (BA English, Wilfrid Laurier University; MA Experimental Digital Media, University of Waterloo) is a fourth year PhD candidate in the English department at UWaterloo. Her research centers on settler colonialism and imperial ideologies in single player role-playing games.

Marcela Bomfim

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 standing in front of the CN tower

Marco Aurelio Moran Ledesma

Systems Design Engineering

Marvin Pafla

Systems Design Engineering

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.

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 

Michael Hancock

Michael Hancock

English Language and Literature

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.

Nicholas Hobin

Nicholas Hobin

English Language and Literature

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.

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."

- Pelisha

Pierson Browne

Sociology and 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

Rina Wehbe

Computer Science

Rina R. Wehbe (she/her) 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.

Samira Mehrabi

Aging, Health and Well-being

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

Suji Nivedita Sathiyamurthy

Management Sciences, Engineering

"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

Toben standing and smiling in a blue t-shirt

Toben Racicot

English PhD

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.

Triskhal 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.

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