Mark Sherriff received his BS in Computer Science from Wake Forest University in 2002 and his MS and PhD from NC State University in 2004 and 2007. He joined the Department of Computer Science at UVa in the fall of 2007. Sherriff has won numerous teaching awards, including the IEEE Computer Society Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduate Teaching Award (2016), the UVa All-University Teaching Award (2014), and the Hartfield-Jefferson Scholars Teaching Prize (2010). He has continued to be active in the computer science education research community, publishing papers at SIGCSE, CSEE&T, and FIE on project-based learning techniques. Sherriff currently advises the Student Game Developers club and teaches courses on game design to both college and high school students.

Mark Floryan received his Ph.D. in 2013 from the University of Massachusetts’ School of Computer Science. Dr. Floryan’s research focuses on the application of game design to the field of intelligent tutoring systems (artificial intelligence systems designed to mimic the abilities of a quality teacher). In particular, this research investigates ways in which game mechanics can be used to aid the efficient automatic construction of expert models necessary for an intelligent tutor to be effective. He has helped developed research games such as Rashi (an inquiry learning medical diagnosis game) and Dr. Doctor (a crowdsourcing medical knowledge building game). He also worked at Hitpoint Studios (Massachusetts’ largest independent game studio), developing casual games such as Adera, Disney Fairies Hidden Treasures, Seaside Hideaway, and Fablewood.

Current Students

Joseph Baik
Computer Science / Fourth Year
Favorite Game: Super Smash Bros. Melee
Quote: “Make it worthwhile.”

Cameron Blandford
Computer Science and Cognitive Science / Fourth Year
Favorite Game: Dark Souls
Quote: “Games are and have always been one of the things that makes us human.”

Alyssa Lambert
Computer Science / Fourth Year
Favorite Game: The Legend of Zelda series
Quote: “Games have the potential to change society while still being fun and engaging. This is what makes researching games worth it!”

Cindy Park
Computer Science and Cognitive Science / Fourth Year
Favorite Game: Kingdom Hearts
Quote: “Game design is beneficial, for games can be utilized to help or just give joy to people.”

Isaac Tessler
Computer Science / Fourth Year
Favorite Game: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Quote: “Do what you love. Or if you don’t, at least make a game out of it.”

Anthony Uitz
Computer Science and Economics / Fourth Year
Favorite Game: Bastion
Quote: “Be better.”

Qian Xiong
Computer Science and Cognitive Science / Fourth Year
Favorite Game: Sims 3
Quote: “Stayed tuned and game on.”

Former Students

David Amin
Computer Science

Wendi Chen
Computer Science and Studio Art
Favorite Game: Bioshock: Infinite

Chris Eby
Computer Science
Favorite Game: World of Warcraft
“Game design will have a huge impact on the path our society takes. Also, they are fun.”

Anna Greene
Engineering Science – Materials Science & Computer Science
Favorite Game: Super Mario Bros. Wii

Dylan Hellems
Computer Science
Favorite Game: Mass Effect 2
“Games, unlike any other medium, create an almost tangible connection between designer and audience, allowing unparalleled potential for the transmission of information and emotion. This is what makes them shine as an art form, and what makes them such powerful tools.”

Rock Boem Kim
Computer Science

Sam Knox
Computer Science
Favorite Game: Final Fantasy VII
“Games are extremely important, because they provide fun to people. Game research allows for that fun to scale up, which allows games to remain fun. Games also translate well into learning and working, which make those activies fun as well.”

Nick Kraynack
Computer Science and Psychology
Favorite Game: Dark Souls
“Games provide a safe environment for experimentation and exploration, offering valuable learning opportunities to players. While information earned from such experimentation is often limited to the game itself, there is great potential for games to provide learning experiences that extend to the real world as well.”

Jennifer Lu
Computer Science
Favorite Game: Phoenix Wright Series
“Games have that extra something that motivates people to go the extra mile. If we can apply that to everything in life, the world would be a different place.”

Nick Lytle
Computer Science

Courtney Maimon
Computer Science
Favorite Game: The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

Jack McNamara

Minh Nguyen
Computer Science
Favorite Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution / Okami
Games are the most immersive form of media that we have and is becoming more engaging as people get better at making games and as technology advances. Gaming provides us with new experiences, takes us to different worlds, and teaches us new things about the world and ourselves while still being fun. This enjoyment found in games has a lot of potentional in making other aspects of our lives more engaging and fun, from education to working.

Thomas Sparks
Computer Science
Favorite Game: Mass Effect
Games, as a medium have grown over the years, and become very important in the shaping our society. Anything with that amount of influence deserves to be studied. Careful research can go a long way towards ensuring that games are used to their full potential, creating a variety of meaningful experiences for their players.

David Wert
Computer Science
Favorite Game: Braid
“Gaming is one of the most powerful forces on the planet, collectively gamers have put in billinos of hours trying to achieve tangible goals and gaming’s power is being seen encroaching our daily lives. From reward benefits at grocery stores to fantasy football, there is no doubt that this medium deserves our respect and our study.”

Kevin Whelan

Erin Winters
Computer Science

Affiliated Members

Paul Turowski is a composer and performer from Baltimore, Maryland. He is currently a PhD candidate in Composition and Computer Technologies and a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Virginia. Previously, he studied composition at Towson University and completed his masters in Intermedia Music Technology at the University of Oregon. His current academic focus is the philosophical and practical exploration of the space between video games and music performance, including the development of interactive notational systems. This involves research in areas such as computer science, network and mobile technologies, and the design of visual information. Paul finished his PhD at UVa in 2016.