Katya Gorecki

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Education:

  • PhD – English – Duke University

  • MA – Literary and Cultural Studies – Carnegie Mellon University

  • BA – English – The University of Illinois at Chicago

Katya Gorecki

Design Manager

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

My work at Academic Innovation allows me to connect my research background in digital media and culture to developing new ways of approaching education. I’m excited to bring my previous experience teaching at other universities to help develop great learning experiences here at Michigan.

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Prior to joining Academic Innovation, Katya received her PhD from Duke University’s Department of English studying the pre- and post-digital history of virtual reality. She served as a Bass Digital Education Fellow for Learning Innovation developing student-led game design opportunities in collaboration with faculty and staff at Duke’s Game Lab, where she discovered her current role by assisting with a pilot of GradeCraft.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Sewing
    • Cultural Studies
    • Video Games


Moeezo Saleem

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Education:

  • Master of Science – Integrated Digital Media – Tandon School of Engineering – New York University

Moeezo Saleem

XR Software Developer

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

I joined the Center for Academic Innovation as an XR software developer because it offers a unique opportunity to work at the intersection of design, emerging technology, computer science and education. As a web developer turned creative technologist, this integration of multi-disciplinary fields is exactly what I was looking for. I explored the field of XR during my Master’s program. I immediately fell in love with the wonders this technology can do. At Academic Innovation I look forward to creating many impactful XR experiences for the university and sharing my passion for XR with everyone.

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Moeezo is an Extended Reality Software Developer at the Center for Academic Innovation, where she is working with faculty and students to develop educational VR experiences for classroom teaching that are engaging and interactive. Additionally, she will explore how to incorporate XR technologies in online learning. 
 Prior to joining the Center for Academic Innovation, Moeezo earned her Master of Science degree from New York University. She has worked as a webmaster at a university, where she was responsible for maintaining all university websites and creating new responsive websites for a variety of university departments. Moeezo began her career at a technology start-up, where she worked as a software engineer and helped to develop a mobile game. Her experience in front-end development and passion for animation and game design are what led her to pursue a Master’s degree in Integrated Digital Media.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Virtual Reality
    • Unreal Engine
    • User-Centered Design
    • Disney Pixar


Jessi Kittel

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Education:

  • BS – Evolutionary Anthropology and Brain, Behavior, & Cognitive Science – University of Michigan

Jessi Kittel

Design Manager

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

I’m passionate about lifelong learning and supporting an engaged, informed public. My role with the Center for Academic Innovation connects me to diverse teams and schools of thought across the University and allows me to contribute to innovative and accessible educational opportunities.

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Utilizing her expertise in project management and engaging her love of problem-solving, Jessi coordinates the efforts of faculty, content specialists, and learning and design experts in the production of online learning initiatives from scoping through launch.

Prior to joining the Center for Academic Innovation, Jessi worked in research regulation and oversight as the IACUC Administrator at Tufts University and later as a Quality Assurance Specialist at the University of Michigan. She facilitated compliance and minimized barriers to high-quality, ethical research through highly collaborative relationships with researchers and active participation and presentation at several national conferences. She brings to CAI a continued interest in communication and transparency about biomedical research.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Project Management
    • Effective Training
    • Science Communication
    • British Murder Mysteries
    • Highland Dancing


Eric Schreffler

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Education:

  • Associate of Science – Animation – Collins College

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Eric Schreffler

XR Developer

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

“Being able to bring XR technology to a global audience is an amazing feeling. Being able to take that experience beyond just entertainment and have someone walk away with an understanding of something they didn’t have before is what gets me out of bed every morning.”

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Eric’s current focus is helping bring a wide range of XR projects to life as part of the XR Initiative. He is currently helping build several proof-of-concept and practical projects that will help integrate XR technology into the classrooms of the various schools and colleges at the University. Before joining the XR initiative, Eric worked at Ford helping build projects to reduce automotive accidents as well as building a software platform that enabled high-quality Non-Emergency Medical Transport (NEMT). Before that he worked on a wide variety of projects at Menlo Innovations in downtown Ann Arbor ranging from medical software to financial investment applications.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Java, Spring & Hibernate
    • React and Angular JS
    • SQL Databases
    • Cooking things you find on YouTube
    • 3D Printing things that take a long time to sand
    • Sci-fi books


Crystal Cole

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Education:

  • Bachelor of Science – Environmental Science – University of Michigan

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Crystal Cole

Course Operations Specialist

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

“The team here is passionate about pursuing the expansion and improvement of online courses for the same reasons I am: accessible, inclusive, open education. I have some experience teaching in a variety of settings, but not online yet! I love the fast pace and the constantly changing array of courses we deliver and manage. “

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Crystal focuses on health courses as part of the Course Operations Team, which supports, iterates and engages learners within our live online courses.

Prior to Academic Innovation, Crystal worked at U-M’s LSA Technology Services, providing faculty, staff and student support in using the many technology tools at their disposal. Her passion is in making knowledge, learning, and teaching fun, accessible, and effective.

Ask me to learn about:

    • U-M teaching technologies
    • Knitting
    • Aquaponics
    • Recycling


Sean Vucinich

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Education:

  • BS in Computer Science from California State University Monterey Bay

Sean Vucinich

Course Operations Specialist

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

“Being able to combine aspects of my own education, with a background in Computer Science, and previous job experience in several different education focused roles, drew me to this role initially. After seeing the wide range of expertise the whole team at Academic Innovation bring with them, and the passion that everyone here showcases with their work, I knew it was the right choice.”

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

As a Course Operations Specialist, Sean promotes learner engagement, iteration, and learner storytelling in online courses focused around the area of Computer Science.

Prior to his current role, Sean has previously worked as an Instructional Aide at a middle school in California, which was focused on better preparing students for high school and college. Before that, Sean had worked as a Technology Assistant in the Disability Resource office at his undergraduate university, CSUMB, and as a high-school and college level tutor.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Data Science/Computer Science
    • Animals
    • Games


Matt Firsten

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Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Film, Video and Media Studies – College of Arts and Sciences, Advertising and Promotions – Haworth College of Business – Western Michigan University

Matt Firsten

Media Designer

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

“I have always found video technology to be interesting. I chose to work at the Center for Academic Innovation to participate in the advancement of learning experiences and to reinforce the application of technology in our everyday life. I am interested in designing content that engages learners and promotes greater access to education.”

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Matt Firsten works on the media design team where he collaborates with design managers, media designers, and faculty to create content for online courses. With a focus of content design for School of Information programs, he directs studio recordings as well as facilitate live sessions with faculty and learners. Before joining CAI, Matt worked with live broadcast technology. He produced live events as a technical director for Western Michigan University Athletics and ESPN3 before working with digital signage platforms for the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Sports Broadcast
    • Digital Signage
    • Drone Videography
    • Hiking
    • Restaurants in Detroit
    • Coffee


Matthew Lima

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Education:

  • Masters of Music – Jazz Studies – University of Utah

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Matthew Lima

Media Designer

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

“I was attracted to work in a creative environment in video production. I wanted to learn from other creatives and also be a part of a team that wants to make great content.”

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Matthew currently works on the media design team working with the design managers and faculty creating video content for online courses. Previous experience includes being a full-time musician, concert filmmaker, and audio engineer. He also is very involved in the Detroit music scene capturing live performances ranging from Motor City Wine to the Detroit Institute of Arts to the Charles H. Wright Museum.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Music! I love teaching music or even just giving unique album suggestions!


Anna Darnell

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Education:

  • Master of Music, Clarinet Performance – U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance – University of Michigan
  • Bachelor of Music, Clarinet Performance – The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Anna Darnell

Content Manager

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

“Education continues to shape my life in enormous ways, and I know it’s not an option for everyone right now. The chance to apply my fundamental passion for organization towards increased access to education is the chance of a lifetime. “

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

Anna works across several AI tools updating and testing content, tracking content delivery, responding to error reports from users, working with faculty to update and correct content errors, and developing content processes and user documentation.

Before the Center, Anna managed the administration and operations of the curricular large ensemble programs at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. She also spent a few years as Assistant to the Executive Director of Yellow Barn, an international chamber music festival in Putney, Vermont.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Organizing anything!
    • Music in higher education
    • Playing an instrument
    • Disc golf
    • The perils and joys of cat ownership


Adam Anderson

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Education:

  • Master of Science and Information – School of Information, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor
  • Master of Public Affairs – La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin: Madison
  • Bachelor of Arts – Theater and Film – University of Minnesota: Twin Cities

Adam Anderson

Data Scientist

Why I Choose to Work at Academic Innovation:

“I came to Academic Innovation for the opportunity to apply data science in the continuous evaluation and improvement of learning innovation. As AI staff and faculty partners work to bring new tools to students and offer innovative learning experiences, there is be a constant need to summarize and evaluate outcomes to inform decision making and improve impact.”

Current Roles/Previous Experience:

As part of the Research and Development team, Adam works primarily on data analysis and evaluation for the university’s online portfolio. He is also involved in analyses of AI’s many tools and campus learning initiatives. Adam has a background in public program evaluation and data science. Before AI, he worked on policy and data analysis for USDA SNAP and a Medicare Administration Contractor. He also served as a water and sanitation volunteer in Mali for the US Peace Corps.

Ask me to learn about:

    • Evaluation methodology and experimental design, in particular, measurement concerns
    • Data science programming in R and Python