Media and Information Awards

Awards are given at the Media and Information Award & Scholarship Ceremony, which honors scholarship recipients and grad students.

2015 Graduate Student Excellence Awards

MA Academic Merit Awards

Tom Day

Tom is finishing his master's degree this semester and will continue his educational journey here at MSU by entering the PhD program next Fall. His research interests revolve around the immersive world of virtual reality.

William Jeffery

William completed his undergrad degree while specializing in game design and development, only to return to grad school to continue studying serious games. He will teach undergrad game design courses and manage the Games for Entertainment and Learning Lab.

Anna Kolesnichenko

Anna is an International Fulbright Student Scholar from St. Petersburg, Russia. She is pursuing her MA Degree with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction and Serious Game Design. She also has a degree in Psychology and Social Sciences from St. Petersburg State University.

Greg Kozma

Greg may not be a programmer or technical designer, but he is pro grammar and technically a designer. From wordplay to gameplay, there is no one finer. Wait this is a bio not a poem why is he trying to make this rhyme.

Yiwei Sun

Yiwei Sun is a first year MA student from China, majoring in Human Computer Interaction, and also working on the serious game design degree. His academic interest is mainly on serious game design, and he plans to find a job as a game designer so that he can create amazing games that may change the world.

Lissy Torres

Lissy Torres is a second year MA student, devising a thesis project game revolving around social issues and pick-up lines. Upon graduation, Lissy aspires to make products and programs that will make people's lives better and easier as a UX designer.

Wes Warnell

Wes's main interests lie in cutting edge web technologies and issues related to cybersecurity. He plans to pursue a career in IT management after completing his Masters and currently spends his free time developing web applications.

Outstanding MA Student Scholar
Tom Day

Tom is finishing his master's degree this semester and will continue his educational journey here at MSU by entering the PhD program next Fall. His research interests revolve around the immersive world of virtual reality.

Outstanding MA Student Producer
William Jeffery


William completed his undergrad degree at MSU while specializing in game design and development, only to return to grad school to continue studying serious games. He will teach undergraduate game design courses and manage the Games for Entertainment and Learning (GEL) Lab.

Outstanding MA Student Leader
Lissy Torres


Lissy Torres is a second year Master's student in the Media & Information major, devising a thesis project game revolving around social issues and pick-up lines. Upon graduation, Lissy aspires to make products and programs that will make people's lives better and easier as a UX designer.

PhD Academic Merit Awards

Chris Ball

Chris is broadly interested in how new and emerging technologies influence our society and culture over time. More specifically, he is interested in how we can harness the interactive medium of video games to improve society through experiential learning.

Joseph Fordham

Joseph is a second-year PhD student in the Media & Information department. His research interests can ultimately be summed up as an attempt to understand how people interact with media, particularly video games, and the social, cultural, and sometimes problematic results of these interactions.

Ruth Shillair

Ruth has a wide variety of research interests and is very grateful to be able to work with the wide range of talented and experienced researchers here in the Media & Information department. She is currently focused on understanding human behavior in order to improve security, learning and social interaction in online environments.

Outstanding Doctoral Student Researcher
Ruth Shillair


Ruth has a wide variety of research interests and is very grateful to be able to work with the talented and experienced researchers here in the Media & Information department. She is currently focused on understanding human behavior in order to improve security, learning and social interaction in online environments.

Outstanding Doctoral Student Educator
Brandon Brooks


Brandon is at the tail end of his PhD student career. His dissertation focuses on how organizations govern themselves in the use of social media. He is partnering with a local county government in Michigan to explore the relationship between their use of social media and citizen engagement with that content. He's very excited to be joining the faculty of Queens University of Charlotte as an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Studies in the Fall of 2015.

Outstanding Doctoral Student Triple-Threat
Hsin-yi “Sandy” Tsai

Sandy is a Ph.D. candidate in the Media & Information Department. Her research focuses on the use and impacts of, and policies affecting information and communication technologies. She is especially interested in how new media/technologies can be used to enhance people’s quality of life and make our society a better place.


2014 Graduate Student Excellence Awards

Outstanding MA Student Scholar
Kaylee Scott


Kaylee works as a User Interface Specialist for the State of Michigan Department of Education. She is also a professional illustrator and hopes to combine HCI and illustration in the future by creating interactive children's media.

Outstanding MA Student Producer
William Jeffery


William Jeffery is a master’s student studying Human-Computer Interaction while specializing in Serious Game Design. Upon graduation, William plans on pursuing a career in the video game industry as a game designer.

Outstanding MA Student Leader
Lissy Torres


Lissy is a first year MA student studying serious games. Currently, she is studying emergence and immersion in upcoming virtual reality technology and its effect on health and also writing for the Games and Meaningful Play blog. After graduation, she plans on working in the design field.

MA Merit Awards

Liang Cui

Liang is majoring TISM on Human Computer Interaction track with a focus on game design. As a game designer, he's particularly interested in both psychological and technological theories related to game design, and his career goal is to work in the game industry.

Thomas Day

Tom is a 2nd Year MA student with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction. During his first year he completed the Serious Games Certification which directly impacted his interest in researching constructs of video game play.

Tianyu Hu

Tianyu is an MA student focusing on the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) track with a specialization in Serious Game Design. She is interested in UI/UX design, games for health and education, wearable technology.

William Jeffery

William Jeffery is a master’s student studying Human-Computer Interaction while specializing in Serious Game Design. Upon graduation, William plans on pursuing a career in the video game industry as a game designer.

Xiyao Jia

Xiyao, a second year graduate student in HCI, is interning with the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness, where she focuses on social media and video production. Based on knowledge and experience gained from TISM, she dreams of being a User Experience designer in the future.

Taj Makki

Taj is a first year MA student with an undergraduate background in Psychology and Communication Studies. Her research will focus on exploring the sociocultural effects of globalization and the construction of hybrid identities. She is also heavily interested in examining the impacts of computer-mediated communication on interpersonal relationships.

Meghan O’Meara

Meghan does content strategy, digital strategy, and project management work, while trying to make sense of the potential of serious games, user-centered design, and her garden. She is a Detroiter, currently living in East Lansing with two aging, unruly dogs.

Kaylee Scott

Kaylee works as a User Interface Specialist for the State of Michigan Department of Education. She is also a professional illustrator and hopes to combine HCI and illustration in the future by creating interactive children's media.

Lissy Torres

Lissy is a first year MA student studying serious games. Currently, she is studying emergence and immersion in upcoming virtual reality technology and its effect on health and also writing for the Games and Meaningful Play blog. After graduation, she plans on working in the design field.


2013 Graduate Student Excellence Awards

Recipient: Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali has had the honor of being a Research Assistant on the USAID funded Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI) project. He has contributed to the GCFSI project by designing a website and connecting GCFSI members from all over the world by using an enterprise level social network. His ongoing work as a RA includes research of mobile apps for agricultural use by farmers and other ICTs for agriculture.

Recipient: Brandon Brooks
Brandon's research philosophy is grounded in exploring scientific questions that have the potential for impacting real world change. His research examines how Federal, State and Local levels of Internet governance regulating social media use enables civic processes through online political communication utilizing exploratory large scale quantitative data analysis methods.

Recipient: Carrie Cole
Carrie will graduate with her MA (focusing on serious game design) this spring. She has worked on nearly a dozen game projects, some of which have been featured in the Media Sandbox Showcase and the Meaningful Play conference. Carrie worked in the GEL Lab where she designed a set of brain training games for children this past summer.

Recipient: Yu-Hao Lee
Yu-Hao's research examines how individuals cognitively select, interpret, and respond to persuasive messages communicated via interactive media (mostly serious games and social media). He also studies motivations of online collaboration and online civic action. Besides conducting research, his greatest accomplishment in 2012 is becoming a daddy.

Recipient: Meghan O'Meara
Meghan does content strategy, strategic development, and project management work, while trying to make sense of the potential of serious games, user-centered design, and her garden. She is a Detroiter, currently living in East Lansing with three aging, unruly dogs.

Recipient: Young June Sah
Young June Sah is a doctoral student in the Media & Information Studies program, studying effects of interactive media on human psychology and their underlying mechanisms. His research interests include how people perceive humanness (e.g., virtual agent) or self-awareness (e.g., avatar) in interactive media, and what consequences these perceptions bring about in media use.

Recipient: Hsin-yi Sandy Tsai
Sandy is a doctoral student and a teaching assistant. She is the current student representative of the Media & Information Studies (MIS) PhD program. She studied telecommunications and journalism in Taiwan before she came to MSU. She is interested in communications and technologies, especially communication policies, media selection, public media, civic engagement, and the social and psychological implications of media use.


2012 Outstanding Grad Student Awards

Outstanding Research

Recipient: Jieun Sung
Jieun's major research areas are usability & accessibility, interactivity, new media usage and effect, new media adoption and, in a bigger picture, HCI. After graduation, she will work for LG as a cloud service development team manager in South Korea.

Recipient: Yu-Hao Lee
Yu-Hao Lee is a Ph.D candidate working with Dr. Carrie Heeter and Dr. Jonathan Obar. His research mainly involves exploring how psychological differences affect digital game based learning, and how people use wiki technology to collaborate online.

Outstanding Citizenship Award

Recipient: Rebecca Gray
Rebecca is a second year doctoral student interested in computer-mediated communication in personal relationships. She is particularly intrigued by the role of response time in mediated communication, both how it is both manipulated and interpreted by communication partners.

Outstanding Teaching Award

Recipient: Julia Crouse
Julia is a third-year doctoral student, who has been involved in teaching TC 101 for four semesters. She is currently working a project investigating different motivations in video games affect players. She hopes to graduate next year and continue teaching undergraduates as a professor.

General Excellence Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Teaching and Citizenship

Recipient: Yvette Wohn
Yvette is a third-year PhD student and is interested in the social and psychological effects of social interactions in virtual environments, particularly how non-conscious processes affect behavior. She has done research on social capital in social network games, and positive/negative effects of social media use in educational and entertainment contexts.

Outstanding MA Student Awards

Outstanding Creative/Research

Recipient: Daniel DeMaiolo
Daniel has served as Producer and Designer on a client-based iOS title, Sunshine and Destruction, for Scientifically Proven Entertainment as well as working as one of the Evening Activity Coordinator for the TISM Summer Media Camps. For his Masters Project, Daniel is working on a game developed by a four-person team which investigates how in-game advertisements impact recall rates and sense of immersion in a fantasy virtual world.

Recipient: Derek DeMaiolo
Derek will graduate with his Master of Arts degree in Digital Media Arts and Technology focusing in game development with aspirations to pursue a career in game development as a Producer, UX Designer, or Game Designer. He is a member of Spartasoft, serves as a lead game design instructor for the ITEC Science and Art of Game Design after-school programs.

Outstanding Citizenship Award

Recipient:Ruth Shillair
Ruth is working on her second career, she is the mother of four adult children, and the grandmother of 2.8 children (one is due any day). She has been married to her wonderful husband for a VERY long time. She works at the Writing Center for MSU, Lansing Community College, and Siena Heights University. She also does Web design, helps with a Chinese Church as coordinator of the youth and children's program, and plays guitar with a band. She loves photography, travel, gourmet cooking, and the beach. Ruth is pursuing the TISM focus to explore ways to more effectively utilize the potential of developing a pedagogy for Internet-based education that can help marginalized students and displaced workers.

Outstanding Teaching Award

Recipient: Culver Redd
Culver is a first-year MA student from Lowell, Michigan studying Serious Game Design. He holds a B.A. in Physics and Computer Science from Albion College. He will be studying game design in Summer 2012 at a University of Michigan workshop under notable designer Sid Meier, and will also work with Dr. Carrie Heeter on an educational game project to teach basic genetics and inheritance.

General Excellence Award for Outstanding Scholarship, Teaching and Citizenship

Recipient: Carrie Cole
Carrie is a first year graduate student studying serious games with an interest in designing meaningful entertainment. She plans to continue developing games in the future and research ways to encourage young females to be active in the game industry.

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