The SkillSpark and HomeSpark Programs inspire, connect and give resources to families and communities to help embrace emerging technology for learning and collaboration. The SkillSpark Scholars Program identifies leaders that work to empower people through meaningful experiences and skill development. Our SkillSpark Scholars and Furness Fellows programs work to equip, train and mentor people to feel at home with emerging reality technologies so that they may thrive socially and economically.
Dr. Muhsinah Morris
Muhsinah L. Holmes Morris, Ph.D is the former Interim Department Chair/Assistant Professor of Chemistry and is now in the Department of Education and Assistant Professor of Education for the Center of Morehouse Center for Excellence in Education (MCEE) at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. She is affectionately known as Dr. M.O.M. (Molder of Minds) by all her students. Her future is authentic transformation of the educational system for our future leaders using immersive technologies in the Metaverse. More recently, she founded Metaverse United, LLC where she helps people find where they belong in the embodiment of the internet called the Metaverse.
Cynthia is a citizen of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and works with various Native tribes teaching virtual reality technology. She serves as the Program Coordinator for “Engaging Native American Students in STEM Career Development Through a Culturally-Responsive After-School Program Using Virtual Environments and 3-D Printing Project" which is funded through the National Science Foundation. Previously, she taught all grades K-12 as well as undergraduate and graduate students. Cynthia's extensive STEM background makes her an expert in creating supportive environments for Native students to learn about STEM topics.
Robin White Owen
Robin has been leading teams to create award winning digital media experiences for museums and educational institutions for over 30 years. Projects include virtual and augmented reality, interactive kiosks, games, videos and audio tours. She recently completed Tracing Paint, a 6DOF VR experience for the Pollock-Krasner House & Study Center in East Hampton, NY. She is co-developing an educational project aimed at bringing museum collections to middle and high school classrooms using virtual reality, and also writes regularly about how cultural organizations are beginning to use AR and VR . She is co-chair of the Media Technology & Design Commission with the NYC Department of Education Career & Technical Education Commissions, serving over 30,000 students in 40 schools.
Dr. Louise Edwards is a scientist, educator, and VR designer/developer based in the Rocky Mountains of western Canada (just outside Banff National Park). She specializes in creating immersive and interactive experiences that help people develop a relationship with the Earth and the scientific literacy required to engage with the modern world. Her varied experience as an academic researcher in geoscience, a high school science teacher, and a VR developer combine to give her unique insight into the power of learning from the land, the need to make such experiences accessible, and the opportunity that VR represents to provide this unprecedented access.
Kayla is a Cherokee Nation citizen from Oaks, Oklahoma. She was the co-host of the StudentsinVR Speaker Events in AltSpaceVR. She is a senior at Oaks High School and she wants to become a psychologist.
Sana Shah is a Sophomore at Catlin Gabel High School. Sana is currently exploring XR and AI applications in healthcare. She is a software manager for her FIRST Robotics Challenge team 'Flaming Chickens'. She is a winner of several national science competitions, and is an intern with the Girls STEAM Institute, helping teenage girls pursue their STEAM entrepreneurial skills.
Jessica is a Cherokee Nation citizen and lives in the Park Hill community in Cherokee Nation. She is a senior at Cave Springs High School. She wants to become an English teacher and return to Cave Springs and teach within her community Jessica helps sixth-grade students learn immersive technologies in the classroom.
Jana Morris is a Gans Board Member and a Cave Springs Junior High School math and reading teacher. She has spent her career educating young people in rural Oklahoma. Her expertise is in elementary education and administration. She holds degrees from Northeastern State University and Southern Nazarene University. She is a proud mother of an outstanding young man.
The Cave Springs Dream World Project brings virtual reality into the 7th and 8th-grade classroom. This project uses all subject areas to introduce emerging technology into the classroom. The students reflect on their experiences in their lives and decide what type of life and world they want to live in when they grow up. They then engage in creating a virtual world that represents their hopes and dreams for the future.
Michael is a producer/director of virtual and augmented reality experiences. For over 30 years he has worked to create documentaries, music videos, TV commercials, and programs for digital platforms. He has produced compelling and memorable stories for the U.S. State Department, Google Expeditions, the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the City of New York, Museum of Modern Art, and many others. Recent virtual reality projects include “Lake Baikal: The Science and Spirituality of Extreme Water” and “Tracing Paint – The Pollock Krasner Studio in Virtual Reality”.
Lorelle VanFossen, Co-Founder and Director of Educators in VR, is a VR events producer, host, speaker, trainer, and consultant. She is also a long-time expert and educator on web writing, digital storytelling, content curation, social media, and blogging. Called a digital evangelist, on Lorelle on WordPress she writes and teaches more than you may want to know about how all this social publishing business stuff works. Lorelle offers training programs in virtual reality (VR) on digital storytelling and web publishing for a variety of businesses, schools, universities, associations, non-profits, and government agencies globally, in person and virtually. She’s taught over 2500 classes, workshops, and events in AltspaceVR, ENGAGE XR, and other social VR platforms.
Currently the Chief Product Officer of a Metaverse-focused company at Nspire Labs LLC, Alex Fernandez has a diverse background in emerging technology in education. A bilingual instructional technology consultant specializing in STEAM, Alex’s primary focus is in 3 core areas: 3D, AR, and VR.
Alex’s use of technology to increase retention and engagement creates a complement to traditional learning. Introducing concepts like cross-functional team strategy and rapid prototyping, Alex connects people to relevant topics relating to careers that might not yet exist or are being newly created. As a presenter in numerous maker faires and STEAM conferences around Western New York, he also supports the creation and integration of maker spaces and innovation labs in libraries and schools.