Virtual Reality Lab Participants, Spring 2016
- John Benton
- Angelique Anderson
- Talal Choudhury
- Kiira Benzing
- Zhen Cao
- Matthew Cornelius
- Dorian Dargan
- Maxwell Foxman
- Evan Harper
- Christopher Hill
- Jackie Hurwitz
- Sean Hyland
- Hao Jiang
- Wenbo Lan
- Kristin Loeb
- Matthew MacVey
- Adam Miao
- Erik Olsen
- Jaye Moore
- So Sun Park
- Rebecca Poulson
- J Dakota Powell
- Rehmat Qadir
- Ollie Rankin
- Lynn Rogoff
- Clara Juliana Santamaria
- Erika Scott
- Bunmi Sijuwade
- Bracey Smith
- Mark Sternberg
- Sarah Stevenson
- Jackson Tam
- David Wang
- Will Wurtzebach
John Benton is a writer and director of emerging experiences working at the intersection of Film and Code. His work has been shown at festivals and museums around the world. He is a professor @ New York University, where he teaches everything from film production to game design. He likes long walks on the beach, sunsets and unicorns.
Angelique E. Anderson is Founder/ Creative Director of LIQUE Story Studio, Inc., an early stage start-up to develop creative content and children’s picture-book apps, utilizing Virtual-Reality(VR/AR)platforms for mobile devices. Her career has spanned from working with the Time Warner team developing interactive web content, being nominated twice for Rockefeller Foundation Grant and a Smithsonian Laureate for interactive VR projects. Her work is archived at the Smithsonian Institute, National Museum for Women in the Arts, and is included in the CLARA Database of Women Artists. Angelique has exhibited in Paris, New York, and Washington, D.C. Her work is published in the Leonardo, the ISEA catalogue and adorns the covers of Avalon Publisher – Thomas Bouregy books.
After graduating with a Biology degree from Brooklyn College, Talal attended Medical School and was all set to become a doctor. There was just one problem. His dream was to be a developer. So he went back to school for Computer Science at General Assembly. For his thesis project, he created an in-browser 3D video game. And it’s no surprise that he goes to Comic Con every year, builds electronics for fun, and created a visor that shoots red lasers out of the eyes like the X-men Cyclops. He brings a huge dose of creativity and enthusiasm to each project he touches.
Kiira Benzing (Director/Producer) is a storyteller crossing the mediums of theater, improv, documentary, fiction and virtual reality. She is inspired by blending genres and breaking rules; with an interest in creating new forms for storytelling. Her work in theater includes translating Sotise Played by Eight Characters, a 500-year-old play from Middle French into English. For her work with the Angels for Children Foundation in 2007 Verizon named her a “Local Hero.” In 2009 she founded Double Eye Productions where she has directed and produced multiple short films and interactive stories. “Cardboard City” her first venture in Virtual Reality recently won the Samsung Gear Indie Milk VR contest (2016).
Kiira graduated Summa Cum Laude with a double major in Performance Studies and French from Lafayette College. She has a Post-Graduate degree in Classical Acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). She has served as a Regional Emmy Awards Judge for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She serves as the Jury Coordinator at the DOC NYC film festival.
Directing credits include: Matterspacetime (short), Cardboard City (VR), Double Portrait (hybrid medium), Finding The Wave (web series), The Wave Maker (feature documentary in post), and Boxed Out (VR in post production). Producing credits include: A Butterfly Space (short) and the comedy feature film Other Plans starring Jamie Kennedy and Malik Yoba. She produced and co-starred in the multi-platform series Connection Unavailable about social media addicts seeking connection outside of the Internet.
Zhen Cao is an interactive filmmaker and now turning her interests into virtual reality games and films. Her practice explores digital-humanity interactions and the poetics of space, social, fine art and aesthetics. She cares the relationship between the human and technology and trying to use artworks to evoke the conscious of the audience.
Matthew Cornelius has worked professionally in the field of 3D computer animation for the past 16 years. He is currently a faculty member with a research fellowship at Pratt Institute and the Director of Art Media Technology at New York Institute of Technology, and directs the Motion Capture Studio at NYIT. He is among the leading motion capture experts in the field.
The education repertoire of Mr. Cornelius includes life drawing, sculpture, classical graphic design, and 3D animation, obtained from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, Parsons School of Design, and VancouverFilmSchool.
The professional career of Mr. Cornelius begins with notable achievements in the games industry, starting with two AAA published titles. He came across the Motion Capture technology while working with motions captured by House of Moves in Los Angeles, capturing more than 1,000 motions over the course of 6 weeks for NHL2K for the Sega Dreamcast. This experience led Cornelius to a studio in the U.K. with the prominent Vicon Motion Capture system, which he shortly became responsible for running. Upon honing his skills with running the motion capture system as well as rigging & animating with the resulting data, he worked to contribute to the foundation of the company NaturalMotion. His role at NaturalMotion included R&D, NM character design, UI design, corporate training & support for major film & video game companies, and presenting the Endorphin software at international conferences & conventions including SIGGRAPH, GDC, and E3. During his tenure at NM, Cornelius was the Technical Artist and Product Specialist for NaturalMotion endorphin.
Mr. Cornelius possesses a Master of Science in Computer Animation from Bournemouth University, a professional Certificate in 3-D Animation from the Vancouver Film School (1997) in Canada, and two professional Certificates from Autodesk Instructors program for 3DS Max, Maya.
Dorian Dargan is an MIT alum / artist fascinated by using technology to create “presence” and facilitate intimate human experiences. Dorian currently works as a product manager at YouNow, an interactive social live-streaming platform that empowers content creators to earn a living by engaging with their fanbase in real time. He is excited by the potential of VR as a new creative medium for enabling people to have meaningful, intimate interactions.
Maxwell Foxman is a PhD candidate in Communications at Columbia’s Journalism School, where he is studying the Virtual Reality development community in New York City. A majority of Foxman’s research has surrounded the intersections of games and play in non-game situations, including social media, politics and journalism. Before starting his PhD, Foxman received a Master’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University and was a secondary school teacher at the Rockland Country Day School, where he co-founded and coordinated an Independent Studies program.
Evan Harper is a New York based designer/programmer.
Christopher Hill is currently working as a Lead Character Technical Director at Blue Sky Studios, working on films such as Ice Age, Rio, Peanuts, and Ferdinand. Always looking to create interesting projects, Chris is experimenting with new ways to create engaging experiences in VR and AR while also presently working on a mobile puzzle game on the side.
Jackie Hurwitz is a documentary television producer specializing in long-form, journalistic series. Her production home for the last five years has been Part2 Pictures, where she currently produces two series: This is Life with Lisa Ling on CNN, and Dark Net, which recently premiered on Showtime. Hurwitz also creates content using interactive technologies that involve the viewer directly in the experience. She recently founded Third Wish Media to create documentary stories and virtual reality for the travel industry.
Sean Hyland is a digital mediaist, immersive designer, technology enthusiast/guru, and futurist. He has dabbled with all aspects of media, with virtual reality being his latest foray. Before delving into VR development first-hand, Sean became hooked on VR at the very beginning of its prominence in the early 90s. He rekindled his interest in VR in 2011 and has been an advocate for the technology ever since. These days, Sean works mainly as a freelance designer/developer, and is interested in designing opened-end virtual worlds, particularly those that invoke empathy.
Sean hails from Staten Island, NY, and is a proud New Yorker. He has a Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts from St. John’s University, and recently obtained his Master of Arts in Media Studies from The New School last summer. Sean is also a songwriter/composer. He has been writing songs since he was 14. His main aspiration in life is to obtain a PhD and become a virtual reality research scientist, one who has a hand in shaping the industry.
Hao Jiang, Music designer, NYU, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, Music Technology
Graduate student in NYU Music Techology. Cello player. Direction: music production, film scoring, recording and sound design.
Wenbo Lan, Master Candidate of Computer Science at New York University. Currently a Unity developer in Media Research Lab of NYU. I focus on back-end and front-end development of VR. Also interested in cooking and film.
Kristin Loeb is a new media artist, designer and storyteller who works across a wide range of media platforms.
Matt MacVey (@Matt_MacVey) is working with Bob Sacha to start the the VR journalism program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Check out some of what that work here: http://vrcunyj.tumblr.com/ Matt worked with interactive storytelling in the exhibitions department at AMNH and worked on a report about VR for the NYC Media Lab.
Adam Miao is an award-winning motion graphic designer, filmmaker, and VR artist. who is pursuing photo-realistic video post-production and VR 3D Interactive Animation. He is also focusing on live-action movies and documentaries. One of his film, shot on location in Denmark, was placed first in the 2015 International College Micro Film Festival.
Jaye Moore is the Drummer for the band Dead Stars. He also a Unity3d developer that enjoys building experiences in Virtual Reality for the Gear VR and Google Cardboard. He is currently working on project for the NYU VR Lab called “The Hearst Valley of Dreams” and just competed in his first VR game jam at Sketchfab.
Jaye won 4th place from a pool of 60 applicants at Sketchfab’s VR game jam!
So Sun Park is a student at Vassar College (Class of 2016), majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Chinese. With her theatre/live event production background and interests in computer science/technology, she merges two different areas and focuses on the ‘social’ aspect of technologies. She has been recently exploring VR/AR and interactive digital media (installation). She has worked as Marketing & PR representatives in arts/music-related organization, lighting & sound designer in theatre shows, and social media/content manager for an online entertainment website.
Rebecca Poulson is a Brooklyn based artist and developer. As a theater artist she has worked with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Women’s Project, ESPA at Primary Stages and the Irish Arts Center. She currently works at Kickstarter as a DevOps engineer.
Producing Artistic Director J Dakota Powell gathered the American theatre to respond in 911 in Brave New World on Broadway. Plays include: Bliss Moon, The Impostor, Savage Light, Blackwater, Harry Black. Harry Black was produced in the Ensemble Studio Theatre’s New Works Series. Blackwater was selected for the National Playwrights Conference, O’Neill Theatre Center and by John Guare for the Lincoln Center Reading Series. The Impostor was twice nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award and received an Honourable Mention for the Jane Chambers Playwrighting Award. Powell has been produced by the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Philadephia Theater Company’s New Works Series, Circle Repertory Theatre Lab, the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Duke University’s New Works Series; she has been commissioned by South Coast Repertory Theatre, Talking Wall Pictures, PBS Great Performances. Powell is a winner of the Writers Guild of America, East screenwriting fellowship (NYC) and won the Scriptapalooza (LA) competition.
Powell is a multi-disciplinary artist and is working on a Virtual Reality narrative game in the wuxia (Chinese martial arts, chivalry and sorcery) genre. She has also illustrated and animated a graphic novel. Her skills include: Maya, Unity, sound and video editing, Photoshop and coding. To view her creative portfolio, please see:
Graduate of Yale, ITP/NYU and the Ensemble Studio Theater (NYC) 2-year program in acting, writing and directing.
Rehmat Qadir works as an iOS developer by day and obsesses over Unity3D and VR development by night. He’s built two VR games so far using the Google Cardboard SDK and is a member of the new VR team at Carrot Creative in Brooklyn
Ollie Rankin is a 16-year veteran of the visual effects industry with credits on the Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Transformers and Alice in Wonderland franchises, among others. He has recently begun applying his technical and creative expertise to the field of virtual reality, founding and leading VR production company Pansensory Interactive and heading up VR production at Uncorporeal Systems.
Lynn Rogoff is in the forefront of groundbreaking content. Rogoff works as a writer, director, game producer and professor. Rogoff, founder of, AMERIKIDS USA is launching our 3DVR Endanger! game series for Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR.) Rogoff founded the AMERIKIDS USA Company developing, AMERIKIDS ® as a TV series for ABC, venturing into a CD-ROM game series and winning a challenge grant from ORACLE Corporation to produce a prototype. The Pony Express Rider game was published and released by McGraw-Hill Home Interactive for Christmas 1996 to critical acclaim. Pony Express Rider was the flagship product launching McGraw-Hill Home Interactive. This live action, $1.5 million blue screen-3-disk adventure was awarded a Crystal Award, a Bessie Award, National Parenting Center Seal of Approval and a Family Channel Seal of Quality.
Clara Juliana Santamaria is a creative technologist, storyteller and artist living in Brooklyn. Her work is inspired by a fascination with knowledge and how we understand, create and keep memories; and it’s located at the intersection of physical and digital mediums. She loves gifs, coffee and is originally from Colombia.
Erika Scott is a user experience designer at JPMorgan Chase. She’s curious to see how storytelling will evolve with interactive, immersive experiences such as VR. With her background in psychology and being bicultural, she’s interested in supporting efforts in empathy-building.
Bunmi Sijuwade is currently a Producer/Product Owner of internal online tools at Estee Lauder Companies Online. She is a graduate of NYU Interactive Telecommunication Program. Because Virtual Reality has such an immersive experience she sees VR as a powerful technology that will aid in education and teach empathy.
Bracey Smith, CEO of Potential Synergy
Bracey Smith is a tech savvy producer/animator turned VR entrepreneur. Bracey is an award winning filmmaker that worked with BitTorrent to help pioneer the future of TV on the web.
Mark Sternberg is a co-founder of REVRIE Immersive Works, a cinematic virtual reality production company dedicated to telling compelling narratives, and Cinematic VR NYC, a Meetup group dedicated to helping filmmakers transition into this new medium. Before entering the VR landscape, Mark worked in a creative capacity producing a feature film that received festival recognition, as well as taking on a variety of roles for the production of several short films and web series. He is also an Entertainment Attorney representing independent film, television and new media producers, creative talent, production companies and distributors.
Sarah Stevenson is co-founder of REVRIE Immersive Works, a cinematic virtual reality production company dedicated to telling compelling narratives, and she leads Women in VR NYC and DC. She is also a founding team member of SH//FT, a non-profit organization that partners with industry leaders in emerging technology (such as augmented reality & virtual reality) to sponsor and create opportunities for underrepresented groups (www.shiift.world). Prior to her start in VR, she spent 7 years in experiential, event and digital brand management for tech start-ups, international corporations and universities.
Jackson Tam works as a producer/designer of educational apps. In the past, he has designed the software/hardware of about 100 electronic toys for Marvel, Disney, Hasbro, and Mattel brands. Jackson feels virtual reality is where his backgrounds in architecture, toy design, and writing converge. At Brooklyn’s Barcade, he is ranked #2 in the classic Marble Madness arcade game. He hopes his scores are still there.
David Wang is a videographer, motion graphic designer, and VR content creator. He has creative ideas and a great passion in VR content creating. Last December, He has done a 360 animation called Tree of Life, which is made by Maya and Aftereffects. This animation has been uploaded to YouTube 360 Channel and Samsung Milk VR. David has the ability to create VR content on both live-action and CG animation sides. Additionally, he could be a VR content developer for either mobile or PC platforms.
Will Wurtzebach is a jack of all trades when it comes to software. His career in IT has included development, business consulting, enterprise sales, and management. He has provided custom and packaged solutions for customers small and massive from New York to Kathmandu.