bio & achievements

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Short shot Bio:

Dr. Johanna Pirker is a computer scientist focusing on game development, research, and education and an active and strong voice of the local indie dev community. She has lengthy experience in designing, developing, and evaluating games and VR experiences and believes in them as tools to support learning, collaboration, and solving real problems. Johanna has started in the industry as QA tester at EA and still consults studios in the field of games user research. In 2011/12 she started researching and developing VR experiences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At the moment she teaches game development at TU Graz and researches games with a focus on AI, HCI, data analysis, and VR technologies.

Short Bio:

Dr. Johanna Pirker (Dr. tech. Dipl.Ing. BSc in Software Engineering and Economics and Computer Science from Graz University of Technology) is university assistant, software engineer, and researcher at the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science at Graz University of Technology (TUG). She finished her Master’s Thesis during a research visit at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) working on collaborative virtual world environments. In 2017, she finished her doctoral dissertation in computer science on motivational environments under the supervision of Christian Gütl (TUG) and John Belcher (MIT). She specialized in games and environments that engage users to learn, train, and work together through motivating tasks. She has long-lasting experience in game design and development, as well as virtual world development and has worked in the video game industry at Electronic Arts. Her research interests include AI, data analysis, immersive environments (VR), games research, gamification strategies, HCI, e-learning, CSE, and IR. She has authored and presented numerous publications in her field and lectured at universitiessuch as Harvard, Berlin Humboldt Universität, or the University of Göttingen.

Extended Bio:

Dr. Johanna Pirker (Dr. tech. Dipl.-Ing. BSc in Software Engineering and Economics and Computer Science from Graz University of Technology) is university assistant, software engineer, and researcher at the Institute of Interactive Systems and Data Science at Graz University of Technology (TUG). She finished her Master’s Thesis during a research visit at the Center for Educational Computing Initiatives at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) working on the integration of simulations and animations of electromagnetic fields into collaborative virtual world environments.

In 2017, she finished her doctoral dissertation in computer science on immersive motivational environments under the supervision of the computer scientist Christian Gütl (TUG) and the physicist John Belcher (MIT). Her dissertation contributes to the field STEM education. As part of her dissertation, Dr. Pirker developed the award-winning virtual learning platform “Maroon”. Maroon is designed to make STEM education more attractive and engage more students (also girls) to study STEM fields.

She specialised in games and environments that engage users to learn, train, and work together through motivating tasks. She has long-lasting experience in game design and development, as well as virtual world development and has worked in the video game industry at Electronic Arts and still consults studios in the field of games user research. She collaborates closely with industry partners and regularly gives keynotes speeches and talks at educational but also industry-related events.

Pirker’s efforts to spread programming and computer science knowledge among non-engineers are internationally known and established. She designed a workshop to teach non-developers (e.g. archaeologists, art historians) how to use game engines to create digital interactive experiences such as digital museums.

Pirker was already invited to universities such as Harvard, Berlin Humboldt Universität, or the University of Göttingen to organise this workshop. Already several of her students built start-ups or new research groups based on this interdisciplinary expertise.

Her research interests include immersive environments, game research, gamification strategies, human-computer interaction, e-learning, computer science education, and information retrieval. She has authored and presented almost 50 scientific publications and has edited three books in her field.

She regularly organises the international conference “Game Dev Days” (gamedevdays.com) which connects industry experts with students and researches in the field of game development. She is general chair of the third annual International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons, and Game Creation Events (ACM) in San Francisco at the GitHub HQ (gameconf.org). Since 2015, she is special track chair of the international “Immersive Learning Research Network Conference” (https://immersivelrn.org/ilrn2018/).



 

Awards and Grants

Award for Diversity Efforts in Teaching, TU Graz (2017)

IGDA Woman Ambassador, GDC 2017, San Francisco (2017)

GOLC Award for Best Visualized Experiment for Maroon (2017)

Nominated for Prize for Excellent Teaching, TU Graz, Austria (2016)

Anita Borg Scholar (by Qualcomm), Grace Hopper Celebration, Tx, Houston (2016)

Heidelberg Laureate Forum Scholar, Germany (2016)

Best Paper Award IFIP ICEC (2016)

Best Paper Award Learning Technology for Education in Cloud (2016)

Global Game Jam Scholarship to attend GDC 2016, San Francisco (2016)

QS Reimagine Education Award (Shortlist) for two Projects, Philadelphia (2016)

OEFG (Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft) International Communications Grant for attending FDG 2015, Pacific Grove, CA, USA (2015)

ACM-W (by Oracle) Scholarship for attending CSCW 2015, Vancouver, BC, Canada (2015)

Google Travel Grant for JSConf EU 2014 Berlin, Germany (2014)

ACM Grant for SIGCSE 2014 New Educators Workshop, Atlanta, US (2014)

Named Scholarship of the Faculty of Computer Science, Graz University of Technology (2012)

Named Scholarship Marshall Plan (Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation) (2011-2012)



 

Associations


Conference Organization:

Programme Chair, Foundation of Digital Games Conference, 2019

General Chair, Third International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons, and Game Creation Events (ACM), 2018

Special Track Chair, Immersive Learning Research Network Conference, 2016-2018

General Organizers, Game Dev Days Graz, 2016-2018

Special Session Chair E-iED 2014


Selected Program Committee and Reviewing Services:

CHI

iLRN

SIGCSE

CHI PLAY

IFIP ICEC

GJ Workshop

MATEL Workshop

CEEC

E-iED


Event and Workshop Organization:

MATEL Workshop 2015 (co-located with ECTEL), Toledo, Spain

Workshop on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events 2015, Pacific Grove, CA, US

uxcamp Graz 2015

Global Game Jam Graz 2015 (Co-Organization)

September Game Jam Graz 2014 (Main Organization)

UX Day Graz 2014 (Volunteer)

Global Game Jam Graz 2014 (Co-Organization)

UX Day Graz 2013 (Student Volunteer)


 

Download my CV/Resume.

me

(Artwork by Yue Li)