Graduate Student Research
xREAL provides research opportunities for graduate students who are interested in conducting research in virtual reality, augmented reality, and instructional technologies. Our lab has the equipment they need to conduct quality research in their area of interest while also collaborating with xREAL faculty who share the same research interests.
Meet Shane Burrell, a graduate student in the Communication Studies program and an active force in virtual reality research for xREAL. Shane’s research focuses on human “en-rolling” and “de-rolling” in VR, which are the processes of taking on character roles within a game as you enter and leave a VR simulation. Using the simulation Lone Echo, a video game on Oculus Rift, Shane is able to test his hypotheses of the “en-rolling” and “de-rolling” process and contribute new, scholarly findings to the field. His academic success is not the only thing Shane has going for him. Thanks to the esteemed mentorship by Dr. Mihaela Popescu, and his own ambitious research goals, Shane has been able to take his graduate experience to new heights. His scholarly achievements have allowed him to participate in multiple conferences throughout the United States, and most recently, taking first place at CSUSB’s 2019 Research Competition. As the future of VR becomes more apparent in our society, Shane’s research could not be more relevant. Shane hopes to pursue a career as a professor whose focus will be to enhance virtual and augmented reality research in the communication field, and to eventually develop his own theory.
Loydie Burmah is a graduate student in the Communication Studies program who serves as a Graduate Teaching Associate while also interning for CSUSB’s Virtual and Expanded Technologies Initiative (VETI) program. Loydie’s internship with the VETI program has allowed her to establish a deeper knowledge of applying technology to both student learning and faculty teaching. As a GTA with experience in teaching during a viral pandemic, Loydie takes pride in the knowledge she has gained through the VETI program as she learns to adapt and develop course work models for herself, and other faculty, to use in the classroom. As a graduate student, Loydie focuses her research efforts in media studies and journalism. She credits her mentor, Dr. Liliana Conlisk-Gallegos, for her guidance contributing to her academic successes. Presently, Loydie hopes to continue developing new and exciting virtual teaching methods for professors to use within their classroom as we continue to explore and adapt to the new, virtual environments in higher education instruction.
Andre Adame, a CSUSB Communication Studies alum, educator, and seasoned gamer, focused his research in virtual reality presence and immersion. His thesis “Fully Immersed, Fully Present: Examining the User Experience Through the Multimodal Presence Scale and Virtual Reality Gaming Variables” earned him a fully funded scholarship to the prestigious School of Informatics Ph.D. program at the University of California, Irvine. Andre will study the human/computer relationship as it promotes engagement and how this relationship can create learning opportunities for education. His experiences in ATI’s VR lab, both as an intern and researcher, allowed him to mix his hobbies with academics as he dove into the realm of VR. Andre’s academic successes were possible due to his diligent work ethic and guidance from his mentors, Dr.’s Ahlam Muhtaseb and Mihaela Popescu.
Rebekah Waddell, a Communication Studies graduate student and pop-culture extraordinaire, participates in the xREAL lab as a member of the Virtual Reality Club and through her research efforts in gamer identity construction. Rebekah’s experience within the graduate program allows her to explore her research interests through her passions for popular culture and gaming while also applying her public relations expertise. Video games have always played a pivotal role in Rebekah’s life and she takes pride in contributing her gaming knowledge to academic scholarship. Her scholarly accomplishments in her coursework have allowed her to produce conference-worthy papers thanks to the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Mihaela Popescu. Presently, Rebekah serves as a marketing intern for the xREAL lab developing its website and social media presence and is working towards the completion of her master’s thesis.