Biography and Interests

Emerging Media Lab is grateful to the following faculty members who are working with the EML team to create new tools and methods to enhance education using emerging media.

Dr. Patrick Pennefather

Department of Theatre and Film

Dr. Patrick Pennefather, recently appointed at UBC’s Theatre & Film program in Production and Design, is passionate about bridging partnerships between various stakeholders in the academic, cultural, service and digital media industries. He has facilitated and organized numerous outcome-driven workshops in the resource, entertainment and educational sectors and at conferences like CVR, SXSW, GDC, SIGGRAPH and IndieCade. He’s developed a successful rapid prototyping methodology focused on mentoring teams co-constructing scalable digital prototypes with over 45 companies and organizations (Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Blackbird, Finger Foods, Kabam and more) over the past ten years with sessions focused on aligning priorities, research initiatives, vision, strategy, problem-solving and scalability. Institutionally, he has designed and implemented learning with the Master of Digital Media Program, BCIT, Ryerson University, University of Wuhan, Chinese University of Communication, North Chinese University of Technology, UBC, and SFU. Within the digital media industry he has facilitated small teams internationally, with Riot Games, EA, Microsoft Big Park, Fujitsu, Procon Mining Safety, Crystal CG China, the City of Fukuoka, NGX, Ballet BC, British Columbia Museum Association, Arts Club Theatre, and British Columbia Lottery Corporation. His research interests and scholarly activities are focused on rapid prototyping for mixed realities as well as designing spatial audio in physical and virtual environments. Whatever the pursuit, he draws from his work as an award-winning sound designer and composer for live and mediated productions having worked on over 250 productions in Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

In the moving target rapidly becoming categorized as xR (substitute x to denote any virtually mediated human computer interface that merges with, augments or hijacks reality), through the MDM Program, Patrick has worked on research-driven projects, public VR projects for good, iPad/mobile VR projects for older adults as a development partner with AgeWell NCE, AR projects with British Columbia Lottery Corporation, small stage dance producer, Virtro VR, and UBC Film & Theatre/Arts Club Theatre. He has also written about xR development, is currently researching rapid prototyping xR pipelines, has published in a variety of journals with others in the field of project-based learning and VR, and has presented scholarly work in VR in the area of improving public exposure of VR experiences to the general public.

Dr. Matthew Yedlin

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Applied Science

Dr. Matthew Yedlin (B.Sc. Honors Physics, M.Sc. Neurophysiology, Ph.D. Theoretical Seismology) is a Faculty in Residence at UBC Studios and at the UBC Emerging Media Lab (EML). His interests are transdisciplinary and mesh well with emerging media developments. He is passionate about teaching and very committed to putting the A (Arts) in STEM disciplines, a challenge he embraces in the transdisciplinary course, “Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control” which he teaches jointly with Teaching Professor, Dr. Allen Sens in the Department of Political Science. He currently participates in four different projects:

1) Lightboard Development: Matthew has extended the use of the lightboard to include interactions with video, advanced graphics, and interactivity as enhancements to traditional uses. He has used these enhancements in his Nuclear Weapons course, APSC/POLI 337 and in his wave propagation course in EECE, ELEC 311. Together with Saeed Dyanatkar, he has supervised the EECE capstone team, Digital Glass to develop a fully digital lightboard;

2) Physics in VR: A volunteer student team has created a projectile tracking game to help students obtain an intuition for basic projectile motion by using muscular memory to categorize the effects of the different parameters on the resulting trajectories;

3) Teaching Fractions: Together with Kevin Brandt, Principal at Burnaby Schools, and three math teachers from Alpha High School, Matthew is consulting on the development of an escape-based virtual reality game to facilitate the learning of basic fraction concepts that are required in the current curriculum. The VR platform provides and exciting medium for establishing the intuition around basic fraction concepts;

4) The 360 Concert: Matthew’s newest project is being developed jointly with the UBC School of Music and the UBC School of Nursing. This project focuses on music education for aspiring conducting students, on community outreach and on nursing research focussed on making music available to those who cannot attend concerts. The first step was taken on March 9, 2018, by recording, at the Chan Centre, the annual spring concert of the UBC Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Conductor, Jonathan Girard.

Matthew sees a great future ahead for the application of emerging media, in teaching, in research and in connecting the public with UBC’s efforts in all facets of education.

Jon Festinger

Peter A. Allard School of Law

Jon Festinger, Q.C. (LL.B., B.C.L. 1980 McGill University) is a Vancouver based counsel and educator. Jon has taught media, entertainment and communications law topics at the Allard School of Law in UBC for over two decades, as well as teaching at various times at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, and the Media Studies program at UBC. He is also an SFU Professor of Professional Practice and a faculty member of the Centre for Digital Media, as well as Honorary Industry Professor in the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London.
Jon is the author of the first edition of “Video Game Law” published by LexisNexis in 2005, co-author of the 2nd Edition published in 2012 and Co-Editor (with Professor Gaetano Dimita and Dr. Marc Mimler) of the recently launched Interactive Entertainment Law Review (Edward Elgar Publishing). Jon was “Guest Editor” of a special issue of the University of British Columbia Law Review at (2013) 46:3 UBC L Rev 615, and the author of “Mapping the Electronic Highway: A Survey of Domestic and International Law Issues” at (1995) 29:2 UBC L Rev 199.
Jon began his legal career in private practice, in turn becoming General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of WIC Western International Communications and its subsidiaries including Canadian Satellite Communications Inc. (“Cancom”), Senior Vice President of the CTV Television Network and Executive Vice President, Business & General Counsel of the Vancouver Canucks. Jon practices law through Festinger Law & Strategy and is Media & Copyright Counsel to Broadband TV. He is a Chair of the Board of viaSport B.C., Vice Chair of the Board of The IBD Centre of BC, Past Chair of the Board of Ronald McDonald House British Columbia, and a member of the Law Society of British Columbia’s Rule of Law and Lawyer Independence Advisory Committee.

A more detailed bio is available here.

Dr. Lindsay Rogers

Faculty of Medicine

Lindsay Rogers has a BSc in Biochemistry from Queen’s University and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of British Columbia. As a faculty in residence at Emerging Media Lab, she is interested in developing emerging media-based tools to demonstrate complex biochemical systems. Currently, her work is focused on metabolism. Defined as the complete set of chemical reactions within an organism, metabolism exists as an amazingly complex network facilitating all biological processes across all orders of life. To a non-biologist, this network is often described as an ultra-complex transit map. Thousands of stops exist within this map. Some are restricted to specific locations, several routes share common stops, and some routes are available only at specific times. Unfortunately, disruptions within this map cause a myriad of disease states such as diabetes and cancer. Together with Emerging Media Lab and UBC Studios, Lindsay is working to represent this network comprehensively within an interactive three-dimensional space.

Dr. Suzie Lavallee

Faculty of Forestry

Suzie Lavallee has a Ph.D. in ecology and a teaching certificate in post-secondary education. Her teaching practice has mostly focused on experiential learning, teaching field schools in the Faculty of Forestry that have taken her to the tops of mountains and all over the globe. In her educational leadership portfolio, she has taken on the role of training faculty in pedagogy, facilitating over 35 workshops at UBC and international partner institutions. She has been a champion for the use of technology to support learners, including participation and leadership of the UBC Learning Technology Users Committee and TLEF-funded grants to support cross-disciplinary development of resources. In her work at EML, Suzie is looking forwards to supporting faculty members as they connect exciting technology to their learners, through intentional design of experiences to achieve advanced learning objectives. Continuing on with her work to support development of 3D virtual objects and their successful deployment in different disciplines, she hopes to work with faculty on volumetric video capture to expand and diversify resources for illustrating complex spatial processes.

Dr. Steven Barnes

Department of Psychology

Steven J. Barnes (he/him/his) is well-known for his work related to online learning technologies (e.g., the Tapestry Project; see, neuroscience education, student mental health and wellbeing, and bipolar disorder (BD). Steven is deputy co-lead of the Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in BD (CREST.BD; see, a BD research and knowledge exchange network which received the 2018 CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Patient Engagement, Canada’s most prestigious recognition for patient engagement in research across all health disciplines.

Steven is the recipient of multiple institutional awards for his teaching, including the Killam Teaching Prize. He is also the recipient of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship, the top national award given for teaching in any discipline in any postsecondary institution in Canada. He is also an accomplished author, having published in the fields of epileptology, neurophysiology, student mental health, digital mental health, bipolar disorder, and behavioural neuroscience. He is the co-author of a prominent textbook for the field of behavioural neuroscience, Biopsychology 11th Edition (Pearson). Beyond being a prominent educator, researcher, and author, Steven is also an accomplished artist. He has produced myriad stop-motion animations, interactive and electronic artworks, oil paintings, and acrylic paintings.

In the context of the EML, Steven’s is particularly interested in developing novel technologies and platforms for neuroscience education in particular, and for science communication in general.

Dr. Melanie Wong

Department of Language and Literacy Education

Melanie Wong (B.Ed., M.Ed. and Ph.D.) is a passionate educator. She has extensive experience designing learning environments for learners from Kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) to post-secondary. Prior to starting her career at UBC, she worked for the Calgary Board of Education in various roles including as a technology teacher and system leader (English Language Learner (ELL) Strategist). Melanie is an advocate for using technologies as a tool to support all learners. Her research interests focuses on K-12 ELLs in technology-enhanced classrooms. In her work at EML, Melanie looks forward to supporting faculty to intentionally design learning experiences for their students using digital technologies as a tool.

Dr. Paul Pickell

Department of Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry

Professor Paul Pickell (PhD Forestry) is an educational leader of emerging technologies in the area of geomatics. He specializes in teaching Geographic Information Systems (GIS), GIScience, and remote sensing. He is an author and editor of an Open Educational Resource (OER) textbook entitled Geomatics for Environmental Management: An Open Textbook for Students and Practitioners, which features online and interactive content developed with the Emerging Media Lab. He is also the Principal Investigator of the Gamifying Forestry project that is developing educational tools within the Minetest game engine, a Free and Open Source Software version of Minecraft. Recently, he collaborated with the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing to design and build an Augmented Reality Sandbox, which is available for teaching and research at UBC. His interests include game-based learning, augmented and virtual reality, and geovisualization.

Christine D’Onofrio

Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory

Christine D’Onofrio is an artist and educator devoted to expanded media art practices at University of British Columbia.  She teaches a variety of digital media classes that incorporate practical making and theory, including lens based still and moving image and interactive interfaces.  Dedicated to building community, her artistic work and pedagogical values employ digital media to build community and collaborative processes, such as the development of Intuition Commonsa growing database that makes visible the social relations of affective, intuitive and tacit links of mentorship and influence that inform artistic output, community and ways of being in the world. In critical dialogue, she aims to insert feminist, ecological, personal and political agency into new media forms.

Industry Advisors

Derrick Carter

Derrick Carter is a creative director with an extensive background in consumer goods packaging, IP branding and media production in animation. Over a 30-year period working on diverse projects from food and drink, cultural and technology branding, his work has been recognized by several design publications, world and national design organizations and institutions. A decades-long consultancy for Marv Newland, the acclaimed 2D animation director, provided a wide scope of exploration on long and short-form animation, commercials and various media narratives. He is the Managing Director at The Sawmill, a motion capture studio focused on product development for movement science applications and media production software. He likes indie projects.

Samantha Peng

Sam Peng is a Venture Manager and Co-Lead of Recruitment at the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) in Vancouver. Her primary interest within the start-up ecosystem is in advanced computing software technologies, but evaluates and supports companies in Health and Climate verticals as well. Her interest in technology started when she worked with the EML during her Masters of Journalism at UBC. In her spare time, you’ll find her biking the False Creek seawall or cooking unfamiliar cuisines.

Al Sinoy

Al Sinoy has been a product manager and agile project manager for 13 years in software development (mobile games, e-commerce and client apps). He has a passion for agile ways of working and gets excited about fresh engaging ways for teams to collaborate while educating them on practices like Scrum and Kanban. 

Currently, Al is a Development Director at Electronic Arts where he supports several teams and guides/coaches them to high performance. He looks forward to facilitating workshops and spreading the lessons learned from many years in Scrum Mastery and Agile Coaching.

Jack Yang

Jack Yang is an established AR/VR developer with 7+ years experience specializing in XR Interactions and Virtual Simulations. Currently he is working as a Software Engineer II at Microsoft Mixed Reality. Since diving into the XR industry in 2015, Jack has been dedicated to harnessing immersive technologies to empower the community.

Ryan Smith

Ryan is a lifelong mentee and mentor, speaking at student and professional conferences on physics, CRM, eCommerce, and 3D/AI topics. Previously, as the founder & CEO of, Ryan built and commercialized computer vision technologies to solve size and fit challenges in e-commerce. He has a 15-year background in enterprise Customer Relationship Management as well as Business Intelligence programs. He holds a degree in Science (Physics) from the University of Victoria, and worked in physics using 3D scanning for brain tumors as well as 3D modeling for particle physics. Ryan completed the UBC Sauder MBA in 2015 with a focus on entrepreneurship and product development.