Russell Shilling - Digital Promise

Russell Shilling

“I started creating and programming games when I was working on my Ph.D. research in psychoacoustics to see how hearing develops over time in children. I was amazed at how well simple games worked at capturing attention and creating engagement. These same techniques served me well developing game for training and education for both kids and military personnel.”

Dr. Russell Shilling is a Digital Promise Senior Innovation Fellow funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.  In this role, he is responsible for exploring innovative approaches to EdTech development that draw upon his experiences in education, research, and as a former program officer at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Previously, Shilling was appointed by the Obama Administration to the U.S. Department of Education as the Executive Director of STEM Initiatives.  He is a retired Navy Captain and served for 22 years as a Navy Aerospace Experimental Psychologist focusing on training, education and psychological health.  In addition to a variety of program management positions, he served as an Associate Professor at both the United States Air Force Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School. Shilling was an early pioneer in the serious games movement and has been responsible for award-winning games for STEM education, medical training, and psychological health.  He has developed successful programs to treat PTSD in service members using virtual reality and graphic novel art therapy while also developing award-winning outreach programs with Sesame Workshop to help military children cope with deployments, injury, and grief.  As the parent of two autistic boys, he advocates for improved technology and research for autistic students and adults.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology / Neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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