Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Join us for thought-provoking keynotes from leaders in academia and industry working in the field of XR.

Kristine Nowak

Professor, Department of Communication, University of Connecticut

Kristine Nowak (PhD Michigan State University, MA Stanford University) is Professor, former Department Head, and Director of the Human Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Connecticut. Her research examines how communication with new technology, including virtual reality and anthropomorphic avatars, influences learning, person perception, and social interactions. Her recent studies, including one of the first longitudinal examinations of VR use in a large class (co-authored with Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab), have examined how best to use virtual reality in lab studies and in the classroom. This work has revealed the importance of training and teaching people to use VR before they can learn with VR, and led her to be awarded the Teaching innovation Award from UConn’s AAUP in 2023. Her work has been published in several flagship journals including the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Computers and Human Behavior, Journal of Communication, Media Psychology, and Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments.

Aditya Vishwanath 

Inspirit, Co-founder & CEO

As the co-founder and CEO of Inspirit, Aditya (PhD, Stanford University) is a visionary in education technology, developing immersive 3D and VR tools for STEM education. His work at the intersection of learning sciences, media, and design has earned him prestigious awards, including the Stanford Knight-Hennessy scholarship and recognition in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Education. A social entrepreneur, Aditya also co-founded MakerGhat, impacting over 6,000 schools in India. With a background at Google Education, he's dedicated to designing innovative educational solutions for diverse learning environments globally.

Matthew Lombard

Co-founder and President of the International Society for Presence Research

Associate Professor & Chair, Lew Klein College of Media & Communication, Temple University

Matthew Lombard (PhD Stanford University) is one of the world's foremost scholars on the concept of (tele)presence. He is Co-founder and President of the International Society for Presence Research, which has been hosting conferences related to extended reality since 1998. His groundbreaking co-authored paper, "At the Heart of It All: The Concept of Presence" (Lombard & Ditton, 1997), offered a simple but poignant definition of presence ("the perceptual illusion of non-mediation") that has resonated with generations of XR scholars, as evidenced by the nearly 6k citations to date. Lombard’s research continues to center on individuals’ psychological and physiological processing of media presentations and experiences, including (tele)presence but also focusing on social responses to machines and robots. His work has appeared in flagships journals including Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Behaviour & Information Technology, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication