AZ STEM Festival

2017 Session: “Imagined Realities: STEM Learning and New Media”

July 28, 2017 7:33 pm

Track: Art, Design Through STEM 

Today’s students are savvy media consumers, engaging with entertainment, advertising, and games in novel and surprising ways. Our educational materials should reflect the skills and literacies of audiences raised in immersive story worlds like the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Harry Potter. In this panel, Bob Beard of ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination, Steve Peters of No Mimes Media, and Dennis Bonilla of Variable Labs will discuss how they use tools like Virtual Reality and Alternate Reality Games to encourage critical thinking and meaningful engagement with STEM topics.



Moderator: Joey Eschrich, Editor and Program Manager, Center for Science and the Imagination,

Joey Eschrich is the editor and program manager for the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. He is the co-editor of Everything Change: An Anthology of Climate Fiction (2016), and his writing has appeared in Slate, Zócalo Public Square, and the Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. He also serves as the assistant director for Future Tense, a partnership of ASU, New America, and Slate magazine that explores emerging technologies and their effects on society and culture.

*If you are interested in contacting Dennis Bonilla or Steve Peters, please do so by emailing Moderator Joey Eschrich at 


Dennis Bonilla, Chief Technology Officer, Variable Labs 

Bio: Dennis Bonilla serves as the chief technology officer of Variable Labs, which creates immersive virtual reality experiences. He has over 15 years of experience in technology development, including extensive work in the aerospace and science fields. He has previously directed design and development efforts for large scale projects for NASA and other U.S. federal agencies and has supported committees advising the President of the United States about options for future human spaceflight.



Steve Peters, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, No Mimes Media

Bio: Steve Peters is an Emmy-winning experience designer and the founder and chief creative officer at No Mimes Media, a studio that creates and produces stories and experiences that unfold across multiple platforms and channels Prior to his role at No Mimes Media, he was VP of Experience Design at Fourth Wall Studios, where he worked on projects like the interactive web series Dirty Work and “6 Minutes to Midnight” for the feature film Watchmen). Prior to that, he worked at 42 Entertainment on projects including “Why So Serious?” for the feature film The Dark Knight.


Bob Beard
, Public Engagement Strategist, Center for Science and the Imagination, 

Bio: Bob Beard is the Public Engagement Strategist for the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, where he produces content, public programming, exhibitions, and experiences at the intersection of science, engineering, and the humanities. Prior this role, he worked in the media industry with stints at CBS Radio, Village Voice Media, and most recently PBS, where he developed national brand, communication, and outreach strategies. His research interests focus on performance, identity and authenticity in fandoms and communities of practice.




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