Max Parola is a recent alum of the xREZ Art + Science Lab. He’s also one of the first graduates from UNT’s new masters program in Interaction Design or IxD. Max’s interest in IxD design grew out of his passion for psychology and its numerous applications to designing game environments, particularly in virtual reality. His pressing question was: What makes people feel present in VR and how can we use this information to improve user design in virtual reality environments? During his graduate studies, he worked as a research assistant at xREZ to better understand interaction design in virtual reality, resulting in several publications, including From Being There to Feeling Real and Turning Presence Inside-Out: MetaNarratives. He also contributed to lab research on 3D segmentation and understanding usability and design for experts and non-experts. Max is now at Siemens Digital Industries Software, where he applies his knowledge and studies of IxD to design the user interaction for emerging software, assists in finalizing software designs and contributes to an Axure design library used by the entire software team.