Principal Investigator

Winslow Burleson is an Assistant Professor of Human Computer Interaction in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University and a Visiting Honors Faculty Fellow in ASU's Barrett Honors College. He is the Founding Director of the Motivational Environments research group and an author of over 80 scientific publications (including the "best paper" at AI in Ed 2009). Burleson's work has also been showcased at the Center Pompidou and Streb Lab for Action Mechanics and he holds 10 patents.

In 2009, he was recognized by the National Academy of Engineering as, "One of the nation's brightest young engineering researchers and educators." He received his PhD from the MIT Media Lab, working with the Affective Computing and Life Long Kindergarten research groups and the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School on creativity research. He is a Kavli Fellow and serves on the National Academy of Engineering, National Academies of Sciences, and National Science Foundation committees.

Burleson has a BA in Biophysics from Rice University and an MSE in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, where he taught graduate and undergraduate courses in product design, creativity and visual thinking. He has worked at IBM Research, NASA-SETI Institute, the Space Telescope Science Institute and UNICEF. The National Science Foundation, NASA-JPL, Deutsche Telekom, iRobot, LEGO, Exploratorium, Smithsonian Institute, Microsoft Research, and Motorola Foundation support his research and collaborations. 

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Post Doctoral Scholars and Research Affiliates

Camilla Jensen received a Masters in Industrial Design and Engineering from Aalborg University, Denmark, in 2004. There, she collaborated with the LEGO Group and the MIT Media Lab on the next generation of interactive robotic play scenarios. This research was presented at the 2007 Interaction Design for Children Conference and Siggraph's Sandbox Symposium in 2008.

Jensen has worked and consulted for several award winning entrepreneurs and design firms. She is continuing her research and engaging in technology transfer and entrepreneurship activities related to advancing trans-disciplinary mediated systems, human robot interaction, and educational technologies within the school of Arts, Media, and Engineering.

Erin Walker received a PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, under the supervision of Dr. Kenneth Koedinger and Dr. Nikol Rummel. Her dissertation work integrated interdisciplinary methods to improve the design and implementation of automated adaptive collaborative learning support and contributed to the understanding of when and why such support is effective.

After her PhD, Erin became involved in a cross-cultural research project with the goal of understanding the role of educational technology in different settings, with a focus on investigating Mexico and informal collaboration in the classroom. She and her collaborators are deploying educational technology in several different countries (including Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica), and are using both qualitative and quantitative methods to evaluate its effects.

Walker will be joining the Motivational Environments research group and the GALLAG project as a Computing Innovations Postdoctoral Fellow in May. She is interested in continuing to investigate how varying the role of adaptive support technology influences student collaboration and how this varies across cultures and individuals.

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Cecil Lozano received her PhD in Kinesiology from Arizona State University under the supervision of Marco Santello (2009), her Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin under the supervision of Paul Bach-y-Rita (2004) and her Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from Tecnologico de Monterrey (1995). During her graduate studies she worked on numerous projects exploring the possibility to enhance perception, tele-interaction (through pressure sensors in a robot gripper) and upper arm movement by providing sensory information and cues through electrotactile stimulation on the tongue and fingertips.

After her PhD she has been part of different projects in diverse labs from Arizona State University as a Postdoctoral Associate, searching to achieve a common goal: provide an improved quality of life through both getting a better understanding of the conditions that may affect performance/health and employing systems to assist/enhance life conditions. She specifically worked on understanding the effects of using multitouch devices (e.g., iPad) on the musculoskeletal system supervised by Kanav Kahol (2010) and understanding spinal cord injury characteristics and ultrasound stimulation supervised by Devin Jindrich (2011).

Cecil recently joined the Motivational Environments Lab (January 2012) and is excited to apply her diverse areas of expertise and motivations to multiple projects directed by Dr. Burleson. Three main projects she’s already participating in involve: 1) creating a context aware emotive automated prompting and cueing system to assist dressing for cognitively impaired (e.g., Alzheimer’s) patients; 2) developing usability and interaction healthy and intuitive strategies for the use of flexible mutltitouch displays; and 3) designing, promoting, and implementing Inventors Worshops educational program to train and equip STEM leaders capable of solving increasingly complex transdisciplinary grand callenges of our time.

Doctoral Scholars

Ryan Brotman has worked as a journalist, business development consultant, graphic designer and most recently, design researcher. He holds an MS in Design focusing on Human-Computer Interaction from Arizona State University and is working towards his PhD in Environmental Design and Planning, also focusing in Human-Computer Interaction. In business, Ryan has worked in both corporate environments and as a serial entrepreneur, developing ventures in the fitness, hospitality and educational software markets.

In academia, he focuses on teaching and research experiences that fuse psychology, participatory design and computational systems to investigate health/wellness, creative practice and learning. Through such projects, Ryan has worked with leading organizations that include Intel's Digital Health Group, the MIT Media Lab, and NASA; worked on MacArthur and NSF funded projects and; published in the 2008 IDSA National Conference.

Helen Chavez joined ASU in January 2009 as a Ph.D.. student of Human Computer Interactions within the Motivational Environments research group.

While at ASU, she has also collaborated with the Data and Information and Artificial Intelligence Group and the Learning Science Research Lab.

Chavez's prior experience includes collaborating with the Tecnológico de Monterrey in the instruction of courses on programming languages, computer architecture, and networking.

She has also worked as a freelance software engineer of computer systems and web applications, and has experience as a tutorial speaker at ACM SIGPLAN Object-Oriented Programming Systems Languages and Applications(OOPSLA 2008 and 2009. Chavez has presented at multiple academic events at universities in both Mexico and United States.

Overall, her interests include educationally geared computer science, affective computing, human computer interfaces and software engineering.

Robert Christopher is a Ph.D.. student in Education Technology with a concentration in Arts, Media and Engineering. His interests include Affective Computing, Animated Pedagogical Agents, Self-Regulated Learning, Effective Feedback, and Evaluation of Learning Through Psychophysiological expressions (i.e., eye movement, pupil dilation, facial expressions, EEG and skin conductance).

Christopher's background is in Instructional Design and Technology. He earned an MS from Western Illinois University, and a Multimedia Communication and Technology BS from Utah Valley University. His experience includes developing multimedia learning environments and instructional modules for corporate, educational and government entities and conducting lab and classroom research on the cognitive and affective processes associated with learning.

Byron Lahey specializes in human computer and human robot interactions and is working to create motivational and educational technologies using tangible interfaes and robots to facilitate active learning experiences. The goal of these systems is to get students involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning as a form of play. This learning system is geared toward capitalizing on their curiosity, creativity and competitiveness.

Lahey's research activities in the Arts Media and Engineering program have expanded from his MFA in sculpture,1997 because the interdisciplinary nature of the AME program allows engagement in intellectual dialog that includes artistic, conceptual and aesthetic concerns as well as electronics, programming and other engineering topics.

Jisoo Lee is a Ph.D. student in Art, Media, and Engineering. She has a BS/MS of Industrial Design from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technologies in Daedeok Science Town, Korea.

Her research interests include designing and evaluating human-computer/human-product interaction to help people achieve their personal goals in everyday life. She is working on the Game As Life, Life As Game (GALLAG) project.

Yoalli Hidalgo Pontet began her Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering, with concentration in Art, Media and Engineering, at Arizona State University in January 2010. Her work under the Motivational Environemtns research group is focused on the GaLLaG (Game as Life - Life as Game) project.

Hidalgo Pontet earned her undergraduate degree in Computational Systems Engineering at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Her experience includes two years at Intel as a Software Engineer in the Visualization Tools Group, where she developed internal tools that allowed testers to easily visualize the input, internal state and output of the core and entire processor. She participated in the development stages through gathering requirements, working through customer support, design, coding and testing. She also had the opportunity to learn about QPI, Intel's protocol to communicate Cores and preserve cache coherency, which she enjoyed.

Hidalgo Pontet's interests include mathematical proofs, theorems and protocols in all areas of Computer Science.

John Sadauskas became a certified English/Language Arts teacher through a Post-Baccalaureate program at Arizona State University in 2005, after earning a BA in Sociology from UCLA in 2003. In the summer of 2009, he completed his Master's in Curriculum and Instruction at ASU, with a concentration in Secondary Education. Sadauskas is currently working on his Ph.D. through the Program in Educational Technology (with a Concentration in Arts, Media and Engineering) at ASU.

He is also a full-time classroom teacher, currently in his sixth year and for the past five years, he has taught seventh grade Language Arts/Reading teacher at Kyrene Aprende Middle School, an Excelling School in Chandler, AZ. During his time at Aprende, he has taught a wide variety of students, from Special Education to Gifted, and has led various special groups and programs including TV Production, Native American Enrichment, ACE Club, and the 7th Grade Language Arts teaching team.

Sadauskas is involved in several areas of the Motivational Environments group, including GaLLaG (Game as Life, Life as Game) and Human Robot Interactions, primarily focused on the development of applications for K-12 users for both classroom and home use.

Javier Gonzalez is a doctoral student in Computer Science with a concentration in Arts, Media and Engineering. His research interests include software architecture, software engineering, human computer interaction, intelligent tutoring systems, and mobile learning tools. Gonzalez has a MS in Computer Science degree from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute and a BS in Computer Engineering degree from the University of Guadalajara.

Between 2000 and 2008, he taught taught software architecture, software engineering, web development and programming at the Tecnológico de Monterrey and was an adjunct professor at Universidad de Guadalajara in the master program of Information Technologies. 

Within the business field, Javier has twelve years of professional experience as a software engineer and since 2004, was an instructor in the Software Industry Excellence Center. Gonzalez's prior experience also includes a collaboration with McGraw Hill Interamericana, translating "Java: The Complete Reference, Seventh Edition by Herbert Schildt".

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Vijay Kumar Ravishankar is pursuing his PhD in Computer Science. His research interests are in the areas of Human Computer Interaction (Affective Computing, Ubiquitous computing), Human Robot Interaction and Machine Learning.  

He holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from College of Engineering, Guindy (Anna University), Chennai, India. Prior to joining his PhD program, he has worked for two years as a Programmer Analyst in Cognizant Technology Solutions, Chennai, India.

He is currently working on the Game as Life, Life as Game (GALLAG) project, where he is trying to create an Automated Dressing Aid for Caregivers of Cognitively Impaired Persons (e.g Alzheimer's). The system is aimed at providing functional independence in dressing to the patients while at the same time providing break for the caregivers to reduce stress by helping them minimize supervision and assistance. 

Masters Students

Luis Garduño is earning his masters Computer Science with an Arts, Media and Engineering concentration. He holds a BS in Computer Engineering from ITESM Monterrey, Mexico and before entering his graduate program, he worked as a software engineer for various IT and software companies in Monterrey, Mexico.

Garduno is working on the GaLLaG (Game as Life - Life as Game) project and its integration with the ARMS (Astronaut-Robot Mission Simulator) project. His research interests include human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing, software engineering and mobile computing.

Honors Students


Megan Kearl is a senior majoring in Computer Science with a minor in both Biology and Philosophy. She has helped to install programs, create user guides, and run tests for the ARMS/GALLAG project. In addition to working with this project, she works as a Java developer for the Affective Meta Tutor project, is beginning research for her honors thesis and has competed with ASU's high performance computing team.


Wenyang (Derek) Li is a transfer, undergraduate honor student studying both Computer System Engineering and Business at ASU. Li's focus within the Motivational Environments research group involves exploring Objective-C programming for iOS devices.

He's participated in the GaLLaG team and the 2010 ExxonMobile Summer Camp and his work included Java and Applescript programming, networking, Indigo Server and iRobot. Li's interests include user-experience design and human-computer interaction.


Patrick Lu is an undergraduate student in the Ira A. Fulton Engineering School, pursuing a concurrent degree in Computer System Engineering and Mathematics.

Lu is developing an online robotic programming environment with his mentor Dr. Burleson to help young students increase their interested in robotics and programming as they become willing to explore and study more advanced robotic technology and related Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) topics.


Kevin McMillin is a fourth-year student pursuing his BS in Computer Science at ASU and has been working with the Motivational Environments research group since January 2010, concentrating mostly on the Game As Life — Life As Game (GALLAG) project. He is particularly interested in exploring how to adapt GALLAG to allow novice programmers to create rapid responsive environments. Additionally, he is interested in interface design and natural language processing.



Pooja Ambekar

MS CSE: Dual Pointer Computational Support for Developing Co-variational Reasoning Skills, Microsoft


Uday Kumar Bandaru

MS EE/AME: Astronaut Robot Mission Simulator: Tools For Mixed Reality Cyberlearning, Microsoft


Emily Callaghan

MS Design:  Brainstorming Personalities: Brainstorming Techniques and
 Personality Types in New Product Development, Euro Union, Marie Curie Doctoral Fellowship


Tamara Christensen

MS Design, Leverage Director of Research at R&D Leverage


Natalie Freed

MS, BA CSE-AME: Toys Keeping In Touch Perspective Taking and Make-Believe-Centered Design for Children¹s Remote Communication, MIT Media Lab


Eric Keylor

Education Technology, ASU Education


Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz

Post Doctorate, ASU, Asst. Prof, Division of Teacher Prep


Kasia Muldner

Post Doctorate, ASU Psychology


Adithya Renduchintala

MS CSE-AME: Visual and Multimedia Tools for Group Awareness, Rosetta Stone


Collin Ruffenach

MS CSE-AME: Game as Life, Life as Game Creating a Framework for Rapid, Physical Interface Design, Lead iOS Developer for ELC Technologies


Soumya Tilak

MS CSE: Using Social Networks and A Pyramid Reward Structure To Motivate Environmentally Sustainable Behavior


Becky Stern

AME, Make Magazine


Sainath Parab

MS CSE: Time Critical Team Training in Virtual Worlds, Salesforce


Priyamvada Tripathi

PhD CSE: Predicting Creativity in the Wild: Experience Sampling Method and Sociometric Modeling of Movement and Face-To-Face Interactions in Teams