The RETRO Laboratory is a research and development group housed in the University of Central Florida‘s Institute for Simulation & Training. RETRO stands for, “Recent and Emerging Technology Research Organization,” and specializes in the academic study of serious games as well as the canon of virtual/interactive training and learning systems. The lab is co-directed by UCF Faculty members Dr. Janis Cannon-Bowers of IST and Dr. Clint Bowers of the UCF Psychology Department, and focuses on blending best practices and innovations in interactive media product development with human-computer interaction psychology. Our team includes both students and professionals across many disciplines that compose our two teams, which includes researchers and interactive product developers.
- To view RETRO’s contribution to the literature, visit our Publications page.
- To view RETRO’s development work, visit our Projects page.
- To get in touch with the lab visit the Contact page.
Dr. Janis Cannon-Bowers | RETRO Lab Co-Founder & Co-Director
OFFICE: (407) 882-0063
EMAIL: jancb at mail.ucf.edu
Dr. Cannon-Bowers holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. As the team leader for Advanced Training Research for the Navy, she was involved in a number of research projects directed toward improving performance in complex environments. These included investigation of training needs and design for multi-operator training systems, tactical decision-making under stress, the impact of technology on learning and performance, training for knowledge-rich environments, human-centered design, human performance modeling and development of knowledge structures underlying higher order skills. At UCF, Dr. Cannon-Bowers is continuing her work in technology-enabled learning and human performance modeling. Her goal is to leverage and transition DoD’s sizable investment in modeling, simulation and training to other areas such as entertainment, workforce development and life-long learning and education. To date, she has been awarded several grants to support this work, including a recent award by the National Science Foundation under their Science of Learning Center program. Dr. Cannon-Bowers has been an active researcher, with over 100 publications in scholarly journals, books and technical reports, and numerous professional presentations. She is a Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (Division 14 of the American Psychological Association).
Dr. Clint Bowers | RETRO Lab Co-Founder & Co-Director
OFFICE: (407) 882-0063
EMAIL: bowers at mail.ucf.edu
Dr. Bowers holds a Ph.D in Psychology from the University of South Florida. His chief interest is in the use of technology to facilitate teamwork. This takes several forms. The first includes basic research on the nature of effective teamwork and the factors that influence it. A second research thrust involves the training of teams. He is especially interested in the use of training technologies and simulation in training team skills. Finally, he is interested in the use of technology to assist teams in their day-to-day tasks. This includes research in information visualization, groupware, and other hardware/software systems. Besides his interest in team performance, he is also involved in several student projects. These include the use of virtual reality to teach deaf children, the neuropsychology of spatial abilities, and the use of warnings to manage predictable non-compliance.
Katelyn Procci | Research Coordinator & Project Manager
EMAIL: kprocci at knights.ucf.edu
Katelyn graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond with a B.S. in Psychology and is now a fourth-year doctoral student in the Applied Experimental Human Factors program here at UCF. She is currently employed by RETRO as both the research coordinator and the project manager for the lab’s many development projects. Her research interests include effective serious game design, game-based military training, usability, interface design, and game engagement.
Leah Kuffner | Administrative Assistant & QA Editor
EMAIL: leahkuffner at gmail.com
Leah is a UCF senior majoring in English in the Creative Writing track. In addition to her administrative duties, Leah has applied her dialogue writing and editing experience to assist in quality assurance for one of RETRO’s serious games along with assisting in editing and proof-reading a number of other projects.
RETRO specializes in the development of light-weight Flash games for training and education. We’ve also been involved all sorts of interactive media projects, from developing an MMO to teach undergraduate students about physics to creating fun iPad apps to be used as tools during therapy. You can read more about our work on our Projects page. Our dev team currently includes an experienced serious games designer, an artist, and a programmer.
Lucas Blair | Lead Game Designer
EMAIL: lucas at littlebirdgames.com
Lucas received his PhD in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida in 2011. During his time at UCF he designed games for RETRO Lab while researching the use of achievements to enhance player performance, self-efficacy, and motivation. After graduating, Lucas founded Little Bird Games.
Danielle Chelles | Lead Artist
EMAIL: danielle.chelles at gmail.com
Danielle is a UCF graduate with a Fine Arts background. She is currently working as the lead graphic artist for current Flash minigame projects at UCF RETRO Lab. Danielle’s personal art works include medical illustrations and 3d medical animations. She also works for Little Bird Games.
Derek Rosa | Programmer
EMAIL: derekrosa at knights.ucf.edu
Derek is a UCF Senior working towards his B.A. in Digital Media in the Game Design track. He started programming games in high school with a Turbo C++ recreation of Battleship; he has been improving his programming skills since, and has lead various game projects to completion in and out of the classroom. He is proficient in Flash, Unity, and is currently working with the Unreal Development Kit for his Senior project. His passion is in video games, and gameplay/AI coding.
Graduate Research Assistants
RETRO also has several graduate research assistants from a variety of programs here at the University of Central Florida, including the Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology doctoral program, the Clinical Psychology doctoral program, the Modeling and Simulation doctoral program, and the Industrial/Organizational Psychology masters program.
Asli Soyler Akbas | Graduate Research Assistant
EMAIL: asoyler at ist.ucf.edu
Asli Soyler Akbas, is a PhD student continuing at the Institute for Modeling and Simulation (IST) at the University of Central Florida. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Systems Engineering from the Yeditepe University, Master of Engineering degree in Engineering Management from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Master of Science degree in Industrial Engineering and Management Systems from the University of Central Florida with specialization in Interactive Simulation. Her current research interests focus on development of adaptive and interactive training environments for individuals and teams, performance analysis using systems dynamics and UML/SySML based system designs. She has served in a collaboration project between US Army Core of Engineers (USACE) and UCF that developed a simulation based environment for disaster damage assessment and in a team at Siemens Inc. in a role supporting Teamcenter deployment, system and usability analysis and training performance analysis in Orlando, FL.
Shan Lakhmani | Graduate Research Assistant
OFFICE: (407) 882-0063
EMAIL: lakhmanis at gmail.com
Shan graduated from Grinnell College with a B.A. in Psychology. He is currently a second year student in the Applied Experimental Human Factors program at UCF. He is thrilled to be working as a research assistant in the RETRO lab. His research interests include teaching, training, and behavioral modification using digital media.
Cornia Lechin | Graduate Research Assistant
EMAIL: CorinaLechin at gmail.com
Corina is a Graduate Research Assistant. She has a B.S. in Psychology from UCF, a M.S. in Modeling and Simulation also from UCF and is currently working on her Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation as well as a certificate in Instructional Design for Modeling and Simulation. She has interest and experience in instructional systems design, situated learning and the use of virtual worlds in education. Her experiences and skills include running participants, conducting thorough literature reviews, assisting in journal and proposal writing, and bringing her background in psychology as well as the use of English as a second language. All these have allowed her to collaborate with her colleagues at RETRO. After finishing the Ph.D. degree, she plans on working in the industry world as an Instructional Designer and expanding her experience in the field before returning to academia to further pursue her research goals.
Jen Loglia | Graduate Research Assistant
EMAIL: jenn.loglia at gmail.com
Jen graduated from the University of Florida with her B.S. in Psychology (minor in Statistics) and is currently a first-year master’s student in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology program here at the University of Central Florida. Her academic interests include improving efficiency and communication in the workplace, and creating better systems overall. She loves learning about new technology and its role in society, and is intrigued by gaming and its unique place in the future. Her ideal job would be internally consulting for a software or gaming company.
Julian Montaquila | Graduate Research Assistant
EMAIL: julian.m.montaquila at gmail.com
Julian graduated from Clemson University with a B.A. Double Major in Psychology and Sociology. He also holds his M.A. in Research Psychology, and has research interests focusing mainly upon trauma, recovery, and post traumatic growth. Working in the RETRO lab has given him the opportunity to
explore his interests within the realm of technology and game-based research design. When not working or conducting research, he enjoys running, fishing, hiking, and being outdoors.
Skilan Ortiz | Graduate Research Assistant
EMAIL: skilan at knights.ucf.edu
Skilan graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in Psychology in 2009 and is currently a first-year in the M.S. Industrial/Organizational Psychology program also at the University of Central Florida. He has many interest in the field of I/O including training, selection, and consulting. He is a member of RETRO and is highly interested in the work he does which uses video games to train.
Michael Schwartz | Graduate Research Assistant
EMAIL: schwartz.retro at gmail.com
Michael has a B.A. in Psychology from Samford and a M.A. in Psychology from Stephen F. Austin University. He is a first year student in the Applied Experimental and Human Factors program at UCF. His research interests include human-computer interaction, usability of novel types of hardware, and the utilization of virtual environments as an educational tool. Outside of class and the lab, he enjoys running, sci-fi literature, and hockey.
RETRO also provides opportunities for those seeking experience in research as volunteers. These RAs are typically UCF post-bac students in the process of applying to graduate school.
Our current research assistants include Christopher “Kai” Wong, Stephanie Formanek, Yeonsil Song, Kara Colley, Kat Hancock, and Amit Ramrattan.
Undergraduate Research Assistants
RETRO also has several UCF undergraduate students who volunteer in the lab. Most, but not all, are majoring in Psychology. Some of our student volunteers are even completing independent research projects as a part of their Honors theses.
Our current undergraduate student volunteer research assistants include Christine Kreutzer (pictured), Katherine Huayhua (pictured), Kristina Thani, David Do, David Garcia (pictured), and Chris Bratta. Also pictured above is our former administrative assistant and undergraduate research assistant Jenny L. Vogel and former undergraduate research assistant Latasha White.
The following are former members of the RETRO team. If you’re a RETRO alumnus and you would like your name to be listed here, please Contact Us.
- Yinghua Hu
- Rachel Joyce – former Lab Manager
- James Bohnsack
- Benjamin Repkay
- Katie Levy
- Alyssa Singer
- Alen Chao
- Patrick Saikas
- Ryan Yordon
- Austyn Tempesta
- Nicholas James
- Brian Eddy
- Arun George
- Debbie Saber
- Jenny L. Vogel – former admin assistant / programmer / researcher
- Greg Pardo – former Lead Programmer