Faculty & Staff

Have an idea for a project and looking for some guidance? The research interests of IMGD faculty members are just as diverse as the games and apps they create. Whether they're working on the newest virtual reality game, testing an app to prevent drunk driving, designing and animating new characters, or creating a cutting-edge learning technology, they're always testing the limits of what's possible in games. Visit their individual profiles for more information!

Faculty in the News


Based on the research of Joshua Rosenstock, associate professor of Interactive Media and Game Development and Humanities & Arts, it turns out that the chemical processes of fermentation can be used to create spontaneous tunes. Rosenstock has built multiple art exhibits called Fermentophone to showcase how fermentation can make music.


Gillian Smith, assistant professor of computer science at WPI, is combining two of her passions—gaming and crafts. It might sound like an odd combination, but it’s one that is expanding her view of both fields and helping her entwine the real and the virtual worlds.


Lots of movies have been filmed in and around Worcester, but associate professor of Interactive Media & Game Development Ed Gutierrez is bringing some Hollywood magic of his own to the city simply by sharing his expertise with WPI students.

Gillian Smith
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Gillian Smith, an award-winning game designer, joined WPI in 2017. Her interdisciplinary work merges technical research in AI and HCI with creative practice in textiles and games, with a view towards addressing social issues and broadening participation and perspectives on computing. Their research interests are in computational creativity, game design, computer science education, and the intersection of traditional crafts and computation. In 2021 Professor Smith was appointed director of WPI’s Interactive Media and Games Development program – one of the earliest gaming programs in the ...

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Emmanuel O. Agu
Professor, Computer Science

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5568

Emmanuel Agu is currently a professor in the computer science department at WPI having received his Masters and PhD in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His research interests are in the areas of computer graphics, mobile computing, and wireless networks. He is especially interested in research into how to use a smartphone as a platform to deliver better healthcare. In collaboration with researchers at WPI and at UMass Medical School, he is currently working on NIH-funded research project to create a mobile application for chronic wound care ...

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Scott D Barton
Associate Professor- Arts, Communications, and Humanities, Humanities & Arts

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5620

I compose, perform, record, mix and produce electroacoustic music; I am interested in how we can use the tools and techniques of audio production to explore new musical territory. I build mechatronic and robotic musical instruments; I am interested in how we can free electronic music from the world of speakers through computer-controlled automatic mechanical instruments. I conduct research and experiments that explore how our cognitive and perceptual processes affect our musical experience; I am interested in how we can use such research to guide our compositional and analytic activities. I am ...

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Shamsnaz Virani Bhada
Assistant Professor-Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x4848

As a systems engineer I view optimizing engineering endeavors as going beyond algorithmic optimization to include a humanitarian mission, using systems engineering tools, patterns, techniques, methods, themes, and philosophies to do policy modeling, all with the common goal of mission success. While engineering tools have brought about much excellence and productivity, we haven't always applied these powerful tools to goals such as human diversity in engineering, or looking at the full human as a participant in the human workforce. I pursue these ideas across multiple dimensions, from research ...

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Roshanak Bigonah
Senior Instructor/Lecturer- Arts & Sciences, Humanities & Arts

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6131

Roshanak Bigonah has studied Education and Technology, and Media with concentration in Video Production and Advertising. For the past 13 years, she has taught a wide range of courses in Digital Arts including  Graphic Arts, Web Design,  Photography, Videography and 3D Design. Roshanak Bigonah has worked as a freelance graphic and web designer.  In addition to her teaching interests Roshanak Bigonah, is a poet and has published four poetry books in her native language, Farsi. A collection of her works has been translated and published in Dutch and German. She is the founder and editor of an ...

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Farley James Chery
Associate Professor of Teaching, Interactive Media & Game Development

Farley Chery specializes in simplifying artistic and technical concepts. Having a multidisciplinary background, he works with students in his specialized area of Technical art and other areas of experimentation like storytelling, and experimental game mechanics. Systems he created have been used in multiple games and films and are a core component of Epic games character pipeline and the basis for ART tools. His courses fuse representation, world-building, and character design; preparing students to be highly productive production artists.Before joining WPI he designed studio experiences for ...

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Kenny Ching
Assistant Professor, The Business School

I am a researcher on organization behavior, people analytics and entrepreneurship related topics, with particular focus on applying advanced econometrics and big data based research designs. I have particular expertise in the digital economy, including Internet video, sports analytics, Web-3 and electronic gaming.  I have published my research widely in top field journals, including Organization Science and Industrial & Corporate Change.  I also teach classes on general business strategy, technology management, entrepreneurship and the digital economy.  I ...

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Mark L. Claypool
Professor, Computer Science

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5409

Mark Claypool has been a professor of Computer Science and Interactive Media Game Development at WPI since 1997. Mark has a B.A. in Mathematics from Colorado College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed conference and journal papers and written two books on computer games. He has chaired several ACM conferences on networks, games and multimedia and served on the technical program committee for over 40 of them. His research interests include multimedia networking, congestion control, network games and ...

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Robert E. Dempski
Professor-Chemistry, Chemistry & Biochemistry

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x4193

Our research integrates investigating the structure and function of targeted membrane proteins with development of mixed reality tools for workforce development. We combine biochemical and biophysical techniques to investigate the structure and function of two classes of membrane proteins. In the first instance, we are investigating the mechanism of a zinc transporter, hZIP4. This protein has been implicated in the initiation and progression of pancreatic cancer. Despite the central role of this protein in cellular homeostasis, the mechanism of cation transport is not well understood. ...

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Adryen Jean Gonzalez
Instructor, Humanities & Arts

Adryen J. Gonzalez is an artist whose works range from figurative ceramic sculpture to poetry and film. Recipient of Scholastic Achievement awards such as Gold and Silver Keys in their youth Adryen works to inspire creative achievement in the classroom. Blending mediums together to interpret the world, make connections and create positive momentum is how Adryen makes art work, and they share this method with students. Their work confronts cultural and social issues commenting on broader topics like cultural displacement, forced assimilation and loss of ...

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Edward R. Gutierrez
Assistant Professor- Humanities, Humanities & Arts

Edward R. Gutierrez comes to WPI from a long and illustrious career in the animated feature film industry; having worked on films such as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994) and many others. With degrees in both 2D Traditional Animation and 3D Animation and Visual Effects he has transitioned into independent filmmaking and dedicating his life to sharing his knowledge, love, and passion for drawing with new generations of students interested in drawing and storytelling. His most recent animated short film ESCAPE has made its way through the film ...

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Lane T. Harrison
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Information visualization is a powerful means for understanding data and informing human minds. As people begin to rely on visualizations to make high-impact and even life-critical decisions, there is a growing need to ensure that information can be perceived accurately and precisely. My research addresses these challenges by leveraging cognitive and perceptual principles to quantify and model user performance with visualizations. Results from these projects have led to visualization design guidelines in domains such as cyber security and health-risk communication, as well as a better ...

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Neil Heffernan
Professor, Computer Science

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5569

Neil T. Heffernan enjoys doing educational data mining and running the ASSISTments system. ASSISTments helps schools teach better. It’s a web service hosted at WPI that allows teachers to assign nightly homework or daily class work. Students get instant feedback while teachers get live reports. Professor Heffernan enjoys supervising WPI students in creating ASSISTments content and features. He has  6 dozens paper in educational data mining, and 20+ papers in comparing different ways to optimize student learning. Professor Heffernan also Directs the Learning Science and Technologies ...

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Melissa Kagen
Assistant Teaching Professor, Interactive Media & Game Development

Dr. Kagen is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Interactive Media & Game Development Program and a games studies and academic writer. After receiving her Ph.D. in Literature from Stanford University in 2016, she was a Lecturer in Digital Media & Gaming and Bangor University, a visiting scholar at the MIT Game Lab (in association with the Board Games & Colonialism project), and an Assistant Professor of Communication (with a focus on Gaming & Streaming) at Curry College. Dr. Kagen’s work has been published in Game Studies, Convergence, Gamevironments, Journal of Gaming ...

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Assistant Teaching Professor, Humanities & Arts

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x5436

WPI provides opportunities to investigate worlds beyond your major, and one of those worlds might be art. It might seem an alien world, but many art skills can be useful beyond making art. Drawing enhances spatial perception. Solving design problems hones communication skills. Dreaming up impossible ideas can illuminate what is possible.Sometimes students show up the first day of my course worried that they lack talent or experience. Instead, I recommend committing to practice the skills presented in class, as if approaching music or engineering studies. I am here to help you surprise yourself ...

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V J Manzo
Associate Professor- Arts, Communications, and Humanities, Humanities & Arts

V.J. Manzo (Ph.D. Temple University, M.M. New York University) is Associate Professor of Music at WPI. He is a composer and guitarist with research interests in theory and composition, artificial intelligence, interactive music systems, and music cognition. V.J. is author of several books published by Oxford University Press including Max/MSP/Jitter for Music, Foundations of Music Technology, and co-author of Interactive Composition and Environmental Sound Artists. He has created numerous software projects including the Modal Object Library, a collection of programming objects to control ...

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Erin R Ottmar
Associate Professor, Social Science & Policy Studies

Erin Ottmar is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Learning Sciences at WPI. She received her BA in psychology and elementary education from the University of Richmond. After college, she spent several years teaching in Ecuador and Japan. In 2011, she received her PhD in Educational Psychology: Applied Developmental Science from the University of Virginia. After graduate school, spent 3 years as a post-doctoral research scientist at the University of Richmond. Before coming to WPI, she was most recently a visiting research associate in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at ...

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Charles Davis Roberts
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

My research examines human-centered computing in digital arts practice. I designed and developed a creative coding environment for the browser, Gibber (http://gibber.cc), that I use both for educational research and audiovisual performances. Gibber is used to teach computational media to middle school, high school and university students in locations around the world, and I've performed with it throughout the US, UK and Asia in the experimental performance genre known as live coding.

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Joshua Rosenstock
Professor-Arts, Communications, and Humanities, Humanities & Arts

Born to an artist mother and a musician father, Josh was destined from a young age for a life in the arts. An early interest in black and white darkroom photography and art-house cinema led him to study film and video art at Brown University. Fortuitously stumbling on a new course in multimedia art in his last term as an undergraduate, his zeal for digital media was unleashed. The next formative episode in Josh's career found him designing interactive exhibits, such as the claymation studio at Zeum, a hands-on, multimedia arts and technology museum for kids in San Francisco. While working at ...

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Ben Schneider
Professor of Practice, Interactive Media & Game Development

Ben Schneider is a professor of practice in the Interactive Media and Game Development (IMGD) program. Schneider is a video game writer and designer with twenty years of industry experience, who has created content for games such as “Empire Earth,” “Titan Quest,” “Dawn of War,” “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning,” and “Lord of the Rings Online.” His creative interests include procedural narrative systems, conventional prose, folklore, and experimental interactive narrative. Schneider received his BA from Columbia University.

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Erin Solovey
Associate Professor, Computer Science

Phone: +1 (508) 8315000 x6936

My research is in human-computer interaction. One focus of my research is on next-generation interaction techniques, such as brain-computer interfaces, physiological computing, and reality-based interaction. My students and I design, build and evaluate interactive computing systems that use machine learning approaches to adapt and support the user’s changing cognitive state and context. I also investigate novel paradigms for designing with accessibility in mind, particularly for the Deaf community. Much of my work also explores effective human interaction with complex and autonomous systems ...

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Ralph Sutter
Senior Instructor/Lecturer-Computer Science, Interactive Media & Game Development

Ralph Sutter is a character artist and animator, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animation from the New England Institute of Art, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and with "Highest Honors" in the department.Two of his student pieces were featured in the 2010 Autodesk Student Entertainment Showreel with other 2010 awards including Animator of the Year, Highest Honors in Animation, and Intellectual Engagement.His video short "Mime Fight!" won the Best Animation award at AIME in 2010. Ralph Sutter comes to WPI most recently from industry experience as a Medical Animator and 3D Artist at ...

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Yunus Dogan Telliel
Assistant Professor- Anthropology & Rhetoric, Humanities & Arts

I am an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Rhetoric. Before joining WPI, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. My work is animated by an intellectual curiosity with how ideas travel across time and space, and generate diverse practices of acting, seeing, and being in the world. I am especially intrigued by situations in which people come to ask new questions about themselves and others, in ways that require reconsideration of past experiences and imagining of future possibilities. Such situations, I believe, capture an important aspect of the human ...

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Walt Yarbrough
Professor of Practice- Arts, Communications, and Humanities, Interactive Media & Game Development

Walt joins WPI after a decade teaching at Becker College, where he was a Visiting Digital Fellow.  A management and production specialist, at Becker he revised and expanded the Production curriculum in the Interactive Media degrees, developing and teaching classes on the Agile/Scrum, Kanban and Waterfall/CPM production methodologies.  A problem solver, Walt often accepted the challenge of covering other courses, as needed, including Programming, Data Analytics, and Design.  He was also responsible for creating his signature Live Studio classes, partnered with industry professionals to ...

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