Marientina Gotsis (BFA ’99, MFA ’03) never wanted to choose between the study of art and the study of science. Fortunately, her UIC education did not require her to make that choice. That’s a very good thing for the estimated 25,000 people who are able to help thousands more because they have played The Brain Architecture Game, and for the countless others yet to benefit from it. Developed by the Creative Media and Behavioral Health Center at the University of Southern California (USC), which Gotsis directs, the game teaches the science of early childhood to laypeople, and producing it required collaboration among graphic designers, industrial designers, experts in e-commerce, scientists, communication experts, public policy leaders, and a variety of other professionals — in partnership across USC, Harvard University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the FrameWorks Institute.
Gotsis has a broad background in the arts, design, and virtual reality with a special interest in interactive entertainment applications for health, happiness, and rehabilitation. She also teaches courses and supervises students on the design and evaluation of games, mobile media, and virtual reality applications in health. She works across departments, universities, states, and countries to identify and solve problems through new products, and she credits her UIC education as her “first, great path to doing that.”
AT UIC, Gotsis earned a BFA in photography/film/interactive media and an MFA in electronic visualization from the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL). She managed a lab and also served as a research assistant on large-scale computing efforts for networked virtual reality (VR), sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
“In terms of the remarkable collection of artists at UIC,” she says, “I remember going to sit in on critiques that weren’t even for my classes, just to go listen to the professors talk. At Professor Wilson’s critiques everything that came out of his mouth was magical. I had to hear him think. I remember he would have something amazing to say even about a piece of paper glued to the wall. You just had to be there. You didn’t miss those opportunities.”
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