CWU News

Virtual Reality Discussed at CWU

Historically, learning has been accomplished in four ways: through seeing, hearing, speaking, and doing. That is now changing, because of virtual reality (VR). One of the world leaders in VR is Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland.

A United States Department of Energy national laboratory, it employs a team of computer scientists and graphic artists partnering with subject matter experts to create new software experiences that build upon those traditional learning methods, through computer-generated experiences contained within simulated environments.

A CWU alumnus, who is now on staff at PNNL, will discuss his specific efforts during the next Mount Stuart Mathematics Seminar. Titled “Virtual Reality for Science, Security, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Education,” the free, public presentation will be held Wednesday, November 7, at 4:00 p.m. in Samuelson 104.

“We think virtual reality is one of the best ways to see, explore, and share experiences, data, and ideas that lead to enhanced understanding,” said Nick Cramer, a 2001 CWU alumnus and, now, PNNL VR software engineer.

His presentation will focus on how PNNL is creating virtual reality experiences for science, security, and education.

Joining Cramer at CWU will be Russ Burtner, a 1993 CWU graduate and a laboratory Senior User Experience Research Scientist; and 2016 CWU alumna Alexa Williams, PNNL Staffing Coordinator, who oversees student internships and outreach, during the presentation.

They will all be available to discuss PNNL employment and internships available from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:15 to 3:00 p.m. in Samuelson 225. They will also be available during a pizza lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Samuelson 212.

Media contact: Robert Lowery, Department of Public Affairs, 509-963-1487,

Photo caption (courtesy PNNL): Cramer (left) demonstrating Molecular Motion in Virtual Reality.