Donna Davis, assistant professor in the UO School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC), traveled in May to Washington, D.C. to share with policy makers her research studying the effects of embodiment, creativity and community in virtual worlds for people with disabilities. The research project was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Davis and her research colleague, Thomas Boellstorff of the University of California, Irvine, presented their findings at a May 9 congressional briefing hosted by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA). The congressional briefing featured an excerpt from a recently released documentary about the research. The same day they participated in a Coalition for National Science Funding’s annual exhibition of research and education projects supported by the NSF.
Davis and Boellstorff also met with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) as well as California lawmakers to discuss the impact of NSF funding from the Directorate of Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences and showcase their research.
This collaborative research grant allowed the researchers to explore the experiences of people with disabilities in on-line, virtual worlds. During the course of their recently concluded, three-year study, they discovered that using an avatar in a virtual world can have a profound effect on a person’s quality of life. More details about this research is found at Around the O.