People

The Hank Virtual Environments Lab consists of faculty, staff, and students with a wide variety of interests from both the Computer Science Department and the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences.

Jodie M. Plumert, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Education: Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1990, Child Psychology; B.A., Kalamazoo College, 1985, Psychology

Research Interests: Jodie Plumert is a Professor of Psychology and a Collegiate Fellow of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa. She co-directs the Hank Virtual Environments Lab with Joe Kearney. Her research interests include cognitive development, perceptual-motor development, and unintentional childhood injuries. She is especially interested in using virtual environment technology to study how youth make gap decisions and time their movement when crossing roads with traffic. Dr. Plumert is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Association for Psychological Science (APS). She has served on the executive committee of Division 7 of APA and as an associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. 

Email: jodie-plumert@uiowa.edu

Links: Personal webpage


Joseph K. Kearney, Ph.D.

Professor, Computer Science Department, & Associate Dean for Research and Development, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Education: Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1983, Computer Science

Research Interests: Joseph Kearney is a Professor of Computer Science and a Collegiate Fellow of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Iowa. He co-directs the Hank Virtual Environments Lab with Jodie Plumert. His current research focuses on behavior, scene, and scenario modeling for virtual environments. With funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Injury Prevention, he is investigating how virtual environments can be used as laboratories for the study of human behavior. He has also published research in psychophysics, computer vision, modeling of human movement, and computer animation.

Email: joe-kearney@uiowa.edu

Links: Personal webpage


Kyle K. Rector, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

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Education: Ph.D., University of Washington, 2016, Computer Science and Engineering; M.S., University of Washington, 2012, Computer Science and Engineering; B.S., Oregon State University, 2010, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science

Research Interests: Kyle Rector is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Iowa with expertise in Human-Computer Interaction and Accessibility. Specifically, she invents and evaluates technologies to enhance the quality of life for people who are blind or have low vision. Her research focuses on domains of exercise and art exploration. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Computer Science and Engineering in 2016. Her advisors were Professors Julie Kientz and Richard Ladner.

Email: kyle-rector@uiowa.edu

Links: Personal webpage


Elizabeth O'Neal, Ph.D., MPH

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Education: Ph.D., University of Iowa, 2018, Developmental Psychological and Brain Sciences; MPH, University of Iowa, 2016; B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2009, Psychology; B.A., Mississippi State University, 2003, Communications

Research Interests: Elizabeth O’Neal is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychological and Brain Science and the National Advanced Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa. Her interests lie at the junction of understanding the role that parent-child safety conversations play in teaching children to independently evaluate novel, dangerous situations and using virtual environments to study this behavior in real time. More recently, she has begun using simulation to evaluating novice teen driver training programs.

Email: elizabeth-oneal@uiowa.edu

Links: /sites/psychology.uiowa.edu/files/documents/CV.pdf


Morgan Parr

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

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Education: M.A., University of Iowa, 2019, Psychology; B.S., University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2017, Psychology

Research Interests: Morgan Parr is a clinical graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Her research interests include using virtual environments to understand the role of motor timing in clinical child populations. She is particularly interested in the role of motor timing in children’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks.

Email: morgan-parr@uiowa.edu

Links:  /sites/psychology.uiowa.edu/files/ParrCV%202019.docx


Lakshmi Subramanian

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Computer Science

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Education: B.E., Kongu Engineering College, Affiliated to Anna University, 2007, Computer Science; M.E., PSG College of Technology, Affiliated to Anna University, 2014, Virtual Prototyping and Digital Manufacturing                      

Research Interests: My research interests are in virtual reality and applying it for simulation of driving assistance systems. I am also interested in leveraging virtual reality technologies for studying human behaviors.

Email: lakshmidevi-subramanian@uiowa.edu


Ariel (Nam-Yoon) Kim

Ph.D. Student, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

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Education: B.A., University of Notre Dame, 2017, Psychology

Research Interests: Ariel Kim is a graduate student in the psychology open track program. She is interested in developing early interventions to improve child safety behaviors. Kim’s current work focuses on using the virtual environment to develop parent training interventions to promote safe road-crossing behaviors in young child pedestrians. She hopes to develop safe road-crossing interventions for both typical and atypically developing young children and their parents.

Email: nam-yoon-kim@uiowa.edu


Jeehan Malik

Ph.D. Student, Department of Computer Science
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Education: B.S., LUMS (Pakistan), 2017, Computer Science

Research Interests: Jeehan is a graduate student in the Computer Science department at the University of Iowa. Her research interests are in accessibility and aging, which include using Virtual Reality to understand older pedestrians' street-crossing behavior and making aerobic exercises more accessible for low-vision/blind people.

Email: jeehan-malik@uiowa.edu


Wanxin Wang

                                        

Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Computer Science

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Education: M.C.S., University of Iowa, 2018, Computer Science; B.S., Peking University, Computer Science and Technology

Research Interests: My research interest is on animation and computer graphics, distributed simulation and VR environment, for the past years, most of the work is relevant to forward kinematics, and my thesis topic will be on inverse kinematics application in VR environment.

Email:  wanxin-wang@uiowa.edu

Links:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/mathew-wang-6497b854/ 


Jessica Wang

                                        

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
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Research Interests: I'm a junior majoring in psychology and minoring in statistics. People's behaviors and how they make decisions has always been of interest to me, especially when applicable to everyday life. In the future, I hope to explore the field of I/O psychology and behavior in the workplace.

Email:  jessica-wang@uiowa.edu


Saman Haider

                                        

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
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Research Interests: My name is Saman Haider, and I am an undergraduate student studying psychology on the pre-medicine track. My research interests include studying behavioral and social psychology. In addition to this, I am very intrigued by the virtual reality aspect of the Hank Lab. I hope to expand my knowledge on how people perceive, and develop everyday skills.

Email:  saman-haider@uiowa.edu


Megan Noonan

                                        

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
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Research Interests: Megan is an undergraduate student studying psychology. Her research interests include studying clinical and behavioral psychology. She’s excited to expand her knowledge in how computer science can be applied to psychological research. 

Email:  megan-noonan@uiowa.edu


Hanxi Tang

                                        

Lab Coordinator
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Research Interests: I am a Senior majoring in Biology and minoring in Psychology.  My research interests include studying cognitive and behavioral psychology as well as neurogenetics. I am fascinated by the interdisciplinary research approach here at Hank Lab. I hope to learn more about computer science and its application in psychological research.

Email:  hanxi-tang@uiowa.edu