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Exploring VR with Amanda Sisung

Posted by on Friday, January 24, 2020 in Immersion Blog.

A student wears VR goggles in the Emerging Tech Lab at The Wond’ry. 
(Vanderbilt University/Joe Howell)

Ever since I heard about Immersion, I was excited to have a university-supported outlet that would allow me to showcase my passions and talents. My first year, I mainly had Immersion on the back-burner: my friends and I would joke about wacky Immersion projects, and I attended a few info sessions when I was free. However, this semester, with the initial application deadline soon approaching, I began to seriously think about my Immersion project. As someone that plans on continuing my education past Vanderbilt, I wanted to use this resource as a way to showcase a part of me that wouldn’t be on a resume. I started exploring my Immersion project by thinking about interests I wanted to further develop that would not necessarily fit into my applications. Something I have been interested in learning more about, especially here at Vanderbilt, was VR. After brainstorming some ways to use VR as a medium for my project, I met with the Immersion office (shoutout to the OIR) to discuss directions for this type of project.

When I met with the Immersion office, they gave me the name of a professor that works with VR in the Wond’ry, Dr. Molvig. When I met with Dr. Molvig, he told me that he would be teaching a University course next semester about VR Design and recommended I take the course. While taking this course, I realized I wanted to use VR to help students learn, study, and understand chemistry. When I told Dr. Molvig about how my Immersion project was beginning to form, he recommended I have a professor in the Chemistry department as my adviser. I then met with my chemistry professor, who put me in contact with a few professors that would be able to help me. I met with those professors, who advised that I write out my Immersion application, send it to them, and they would discuss who would be best fit to advise the project.

Moral of the story: Just start by brainstorming ideas about your interests and then reaching out to professors. If they can’t help you, they will most likely be able to direct you to some one that can. Also, an important aspect about Immersion I learned through this process is that a student can get help from multiple professors if your project reaches across disciplines, like mine. However, only one faculty member would be formally listed on the application as your adviser, and this is who will approve the completion of your project. Finally, don’t be afraid to just jump in. We are in a lucky situation because while Immersion is something new to us, it is also new to everyone else on campus. You’re not going to come up with some master plan that gets you directly from start to finish; our projects are going to change and reform as we work on them. Therefore, people are very willing to help you as much as they can, and then guide you in the right direction as you move toward Immersion.

Amanda Sisung, Class of 2022
Neuroscience Major

My name is Amanda Sisung. I’m from New Orleans. I am a sophomore majoring in Neuroscience on the pre-med track. One fun fact about me is I almost applied to be on America’s Got Talent when I was 10, but I got too nervous to send in the video.