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Nursing student wearing a virtual reality headset

IAC Conducts Collaborative Research with the College of Nursing at Texas A&M University


IAC Director Dr. Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, along with her collaborators, develop Virtual and Augmented Reality applications to study how interactive and immersive technology support embodied learning in nursing education.

Dr. Seo recently received two collaborative grants as a Co-PI in Nursing Education.

These grants are based on the prior works that Dr. Seo’s research team has done in collaboration with faculty members in the College of Nursing including Dr. Elizabeth Wells-Beede, Dr. Cinthia Weston, and Dr. Stacy Mitchell. (Read more here)



Hwaryoung Seo, new IAC director

IAC Welcomes New Director

The Institute for Applied Creativity will soon be led by a new director, Jinsil Hwaryoung Seo, associate professor of visualization.

Seo, whose research and creative projects focus on augmenting human experience with interactive and immersive technology, succeeds the IAC’s inaugural director, Carol LaFayette.

“Seo’s work has had great impact in interactive and immersive arts and design research at Texas A&M,” said Wenping Wang, head of the Department of Visualization. “The university and college will benefit greatly from her dedication, vision, and unique background.” Click for full article



Project display and students participating

IAC teams with major entertainment studios to teach STEAM principles in Texas

Project CHISPA (Calculation, Hi-tech, Imagination, Systems, Procedural, Art) aims to provide middle school students with an opportunity to imagine how math, science, and coding are a bridge to creating the fantastic environments they enjoy in video games and films.

Along with major entertainment studios, our project utilizes the principles of STEAM education and digital world-building as a way to combine creative freedom and 3D modeling techniques with design thinking. Texas A&M students will partner with 5th-8th grade students in Texas to create imaginary worlds using game engines.

For more information please contact Monica Vega at ​​ or download the illustrated Chispa Flyer pdf.

Sponsored by the College of Architecture and InnovationX




Integration of STEM, Humanitities and Arts in Undergraduate and Graduate Education: Branches from the Same Tree

With grant support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Academies has launched an Online Toolkit based on the 2018 report Branches from the Same Tree: the Integration of Humanities and Arts with Science, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education. The toolkit is a resource for faculty and practitioners interested in developing integrative courses or curriculum. Town Halls and other outreach activities will resume in Fall 2020, with visits already slated for the Fall (including visits to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Dartmouth University, University of Utah, and University of Montana) and several Community Colleges. This study was designed to offer a greater understanding of the groundswell of programs and courses across the United States—at a range of different institutional types—that are seeking to break down disciplinary “silos” through interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary educational approaches. Under the leadership of David Skorton, the former Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, the committee examined “the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities and arts with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students.” For more information on the report, please visit the project website. For inquiries about town halls, please email Irene Ngun (

The IAC co-curated examples of transdisciplinary work in chapter 16 of the NASEM report. 




Rodney Hill in colorful tie

IAC Fellow Rodney Hill named among top ten most admired educators

Each year, DesignIntelligence (DI) conducts a survey of America’s top architecture schools, ranking undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of practitioners who hire graduates of those programs. The survey is sent, via email, to DI’s expansive network of hiring professionals, who tell them which schools they Most Admire and Most Hire From and how recent graduates are performing in 12 skill areas. The Most Hired ranking was launched two years ago and combines undergraduate and graduate programs from each school, taking into consideration the number of annual graduates. Read more about America's top architecture schools here.


bookcover for Design for Mental and Behavioral Health

IAC Fellow Mardelle Shepley publishes book on mental health and the physical environment

Design for Mental and Behavioral Health provides designer with research information to guide the development of new mental and behavioral health facilities. In addition to the book, Shepley has published two papers based on the development of a tool used to evaluate these spaces: 

In addition to these papers and in reaction to the many and terrible recent incidents involving gun violence, her most current area of research is on the impact of urban environments on violent crime. The paper on this topic should be available in 2020. 



Work in progress, © Courtney Brake, 2019

Work in progress, © Courtney Brake, 2019

Visualization of bacterial interactions

Artists can play key roles in facilitating new perspectives for scientists. Complex biological systems often produce colors, shapes, and patterns of movement. These visual cues highlight the beauty of living systems and suggest interactions among organisms, cells, or molecules. Our collaboration focuses on patterns that we observe when different species of bacteria compete with each other.  We use photography and time-lapse imaging to capture these dynamic interactions. For example, our work investigates how antibiotics produced by one species of bacteria cause a population of competitor bacteria to change the way it grows and moves. These changing patterns generate new questions that help us study and understand the biological basis of competition between species. By observing bacterial interactions, artists can stimulate new ideas to explore in a scientific framework. This is a work in progress among Dr. Paul Straight, Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Biophysics; Yongjin Liu, Ph.D. candidate, Biochemistry and Biophysics; Courtney Brake, MFA candidate, Department of Visualization; and Carol LaFayette, Harold L. Adams Interdisciplinary Professor in Visualization and Director, IAC. 




Viz prof’s advocacy culminates in NASEM report supporting STEAM

Whether regenerating the earth, feeding the world, or colonizing space, tomorrow’s thought leaders will be better prepared by an initiative integrating science and the arts, concludes a May 2018 landmark report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Championing the critical thinking and creative skills gained at intersections of art and science, the NASEM report validates efforts by Carol LaFayette, director of the Institute for Applied Creativity at Texas A&M University, who led a multi-year National Science Foundation-funded initiative aimed at elevating the role of art and design in STEM fields. Read more about the NASEM report here.





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