Spring 2024 Write Up



This Spring 2024 is one for the books.  The Media & Gaming Lab hosted 3 conferences, multiple weekly workshops, meetings and helped other organizations with media production.  We onboarded a new social media crew.  Multiple Media & Gaming Lab students, faculty and community members hit personal goals as well.  Below you will find our documentation of this semester and all the cool happenings.  We hope you enjoy!  We will be around this summer as well, so if you want to get involved feel free to reach out to joey (jtlopez123@tamu.edu).

Hosted Conferences

The Media & Gaming Lab officially hosted three conferences this semester.  Through the help of so many (students, faculty, alumni & friends of the MGL), all three conferences were amazing and were great successes with more planned for the future.  

Synthposium (2/4)

On February 4th, 2024, the Texas A&M Media & Gaming Lab, along with faculty from the School of Performance Visualization and Fine Arts hosted Synthposium, an event which brought together local synthesizer enthusiasts, musicians, engineers and academics to discuss and explore the cultural and technical aspects of the art form. (Full Article)

Music & Movie Making in Texas Conference (2/24)

The 2nd annual Music and Movie Making in Texas Conference was a success this year.  With around 60 people in attendance on Saturday and over (get amount from Zayno) at the School of Performance Visualization and Fine Arts Friday concert at the Grand Stafford Theatre.  (Full Article)

Organized by the Texas A&M Media & Gaming Lab, the three main organizers were student Zayno Rayne, Professor Jonathan Guajardo and joey lopez phd.  We would like to thank them for all their hard work.

Storytelling in the 21st Century – Our Academic Selves – Conference, Spring 2024

Storytelling in the 21st Century – Our Academic Selves was a smash success. With roughly 70 attendees from all over central Texas, it was an amazing crowd of film makers, artists and academics showcasing their approaches to both teaching and practicing storytelling in the 21st century. The stories and lived realities shared by those about experiences inside and outside the classroom was inspiring and set an amazing tone for the conference. Below you will find a short summary of each presentation, along with photos and video that document them, we hope you enjoy them and can join us at next years conference. (Full Article)

Co-Hosted and Documented Conferences

LatinX BIPOC POP UT Austin (March 7th-10th)

BIPOC Pop 2024 was definitely a new perspective for me (joey phd).  Both times I came in the past I was highly involved with panels or workshops and definitely working on producing photos and video as primary content to document the event.  This time I attended as a co workshop leader and then just as an attendee.  It was much more of my “anthropologist hat on,” kinda attendance where I get to just sit and absorb what’s going on around me.  I spoke with a lot of different attendees, artists, academics, students, people from the community in general.  I went to some dinners and in general just took it all in.  This year’s blog post is definitely a reflective one. (Full Article)

Guadalupe Pop Up (March 25th)

Wheelz Studio and Dreamonoid’s HiFi hosted Guadalupe Pop Shop to celebrate the opening of Wheelz Studio, a barber shop located in co-owner of Dreamonoid’s Christian Rios’ 1711 Guadalupe building in San Antonio, TX.  Media & Gaming Lab director joey lopez is co-owner of the Dreamonoid’s HiFi and provided a full PA and lined up performers for the event.  (Full Article)

Afro Latinx Writing Symposium (2/29)

Hosted by the Glasscock Center, the Afro Latinx Writing Symposium was a continuation of programing from Fall 2024:

“In collaboration with faculty and graduate students from English, Africana Studies, GLAC, and Communications, this Spring the HLSS Initiative is organizing a 1-day symposium called “AfroLatinx Life and Writing” to bring together AfroLatinx artists and AfroLatinx studies scholars at both the senior and early-career phase. This event follows up the Fall event we supported, “Landscapes of Belonging” which provided poetry workshops from Raina J. León and Janel Pineda and a recital and open mic poetry space for TAMU faculty, students, and community members. This Spring symposium will go beyond scholarly panels. We plan to create a space for scholars and artists to be in conversation. Many of our invitees refuse the rigid division between scholarship and creativity. The event will include a conversation between scholars and artists about the art/scholarship divide, a recital/public reading, a panel on “The State of AfroLatinx Life and Writing,” and a discussion of Regina Mills’ forthcoming book, Invisibility and Influence: A Literary History of AfroLatinidades (Spring 2024 from University of Texas Press). For more information and a list of cosponsors, visit tx.ag/HLSS.”

Connor and Dr. Joey Lopez were able to take photos and document the events that took place. 


Silent Disco

Media & Gaming Lab student Connor McKormick attend the College of Performance, Visualization and Fine Art’s Silent Disco where we captured the events moments and enjoyed some tunes himself.  We love supporting our colleagues and their ventures!


New Social Media Team Development

We are proud to announce we have a newly formed Social Media Duo (plus more joining) of Sasha and Connor!  At the beginning of the semester they teamed up at a meeting and began the back end work to develop a social media team for the Media & Gaming Lab.  Previous to this joey phd and then student Dr. Ramirez headed up the social media accounts.  It’s been amazing to watch our IG grow and coverage of our events and collaborator events show up all over social media.  Stay tuned for further initiatives from the Media & Gaming Lab Social Media Group.

Synth Workshop

joey phd and Kang hosted an audio and video synth workshop and got to give demos and have Media & Gaming Lab workshop attendees interact with the audio and video synth setup.  It was a great hands-on workshop, we hope to have more and also to journey over to PVFA’s Will Connor Ph.D. ‘s synth lab.

Gaming Analysis Meetup

Ph.D. student David Dockery has developed a Gaming Analysis Meetup.  This spring it was hosted on Wednesdays from 5-7pm.  David would provide snacks and Media & Gaming Lab attendees would come and play through videos games.  The titles they cover this spring was:

  • In Stars & Time
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2
  • LA Noir
  • Mass Effect
  • Halo:  Combat Evolved
  • Star Wars: Jedi Outcast
  • Journey

We will continue to build interest in the Gaming Analysis Meet Up and we will also be developing more Gaming meetups in the fall so stay tuned!

Virtual Reality Initiative 

Thanks for Leo Garza for the push to start a Virtual Reality Initiative, Leo Garza and Connor McCormick have worked together, Leo securing 4 Meta Quest 2 head sets from engineering for the Media & Gaming Lab and Connor setting them up and preparing them to be used in the lab for testing and exploration of research topics and initiatives.  We are still working with IT to get the IOT (internet of things) wifi setup and are hopeful that by the end of the summer we will be full operational.

Skateboard Deck Art Project (cont.)

The Skateboard Deck Art Project is still in full swing with multiple Skateboards coming in this past semester and a few still out for the summer.  While this project has taken longer than anticipated to come together, we are excited to put a full gallery installation together for Fall of 2024.  Here are some sneak peeks of some of the boards we have so far.  

A special thanks to our artists submissions so far:

  • Clayton Bever
  • Duvalin
  • Grace Barr
  • Gabrien “Gabe” Deutsch
  • Jose M
  • Drew Tiritilli

Aggie Robotics Documentation

This semester we were approached by Evert of the Aggie Robotics team.  He asked if we could with their social media content and covering their world competition with them in Dallas, TX.  Connor McCormick volunteered and what has transpired is truly what our lab is all about.  Developing bonds with other organizations at a personal level and elevating each other’s profiles through experiential learning.  Check out some of the photos and videos on IG.  We look forward to seeing where this collaboration goes.

Podcasting Check In

Media & Gaming Lab podcast producer Professor Jonathan Guajardo has been working with students and facilitating multiple shows:

  • 12 Woman Podcast
  • The Passback
  • Climbing Zion, Catholic Podcast
  • Aggie SAMA, SAMA- cast

LSU Field Trip, Electric LaTex Student Music Conference 2024 (1/26-27)

Media & Gaming Lab collaborator Professor Will Connor of the College of Performance, Visualization and Fine Arts led students on a trip to LSU for a music conference:

“Over the weekend of January 26-27, 2024, students from the School of Performance, Visualization, and Fine Arts at Texas A&M University attended Electric LaTex, a student electronic and experimental music conference in Baton Rouge, LA, on the Louisiana State University campus. The event focuses on university students from Texas and Louisiana, and is hosted by those same universities on a rotating basis. The event gives the students in music and/or music technology schools or departments the opportunity to exhibit their new works and installations, perform improvised pieces, and present discussions on their compositional and creative processes.”

Electric LaTex Student Music Conference 2024

Media & Gaming Lab Member Accomplishments

  • Rick PulosRick Pulos – Ph.D. Candidate Rick Pulos completed his comprehensive exams this spring and is now headed to dissertating. We are very proud of all of Rick’s accomplishments. At the start of the year Rick collaborated with Will Connor on a short video for the Performance Studies faculty and Assistant Directed Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy at The Theatre Company of Bryan-College Station (TTC). At TTC, he started TTC Teaches, a low cost series of workshops aimed to inspire the BCS community to be creative and collaborate at the theatre. Not one to slow down, Rick joined Valentina Aduen’s documentary team on location in Texas during spring break. After completing his exam, Rick auditioned and was cast in the musical The Prom and went straight into rehearsals in April. And somehow he still managed to attend multiple Madonna concerts across the US! Rick’s dissertation will be on the Star Trek fandom and is tentatively titled “Gaaays in Spaaace: Queering, Diversifying, and Transforming the Fan Convention.” Live long and prosper and don’t let them assimilate you! 
  • Nathan Carr – We would like to congratulate Nathan Carr on his completion of his masters degree.  His final project was based around video games and mental health, which he presented at the spring Storytelling in the 21st Century – Our Academic Selves – Conference.  Nathan Carr has been an active member of the Media & Gaming Lab and is someone who has always offered ideas and feedback on projects and someone we have valued as a member.  Congratulations Nate!  
  • Valentina Aduen – Valentia Aduen has been hard at work this spring beginning  production on her documentary and research for her dissertation.  Valentina assembled a film crew and shot on location for her dissertation in east Texas; flying in participants for her documentary from around the U.S.  Here are some behind the scene photos of the production!  We are very proud of Valentina’s work, she had two opportunities this spring to present her work in progress.  Seeing her work come to life has been inspiring for us in the Media & Gaming Lab.
  • Jonathan Guajardo – In addition to teaching full time, professor Guajardo has been diligently working away on his Ph.D. at Texas Tech in Higher Education.  He is currently finishing up his course work and will be dissertating in the fall.  We are very proud of his accomplishments.  Additionally he has been producing multiple podcasts as mentioned above, he taught a hullabaloo course this year and has continually supported all the lab initiatives.  
  • Zayno Rayne – Congratulations to Zayno Rayne for completing his degree in Public Health Administration and graduating this spring!  Zayno joined our lab interested in music and as documented (click here), he has dove knee deep in it while also interning with MD Anderson.  We are so proud of Zayno and all his accomplishments! 

Media & Gaming Lab Award Announced

The inaugural Joey Lopez Award for Community building was awarded to joey lopez phd. In conversation and collaboration with current and former students, the annual award was created to recognize students, faculty, and staff who take the time to create community in the Department of Communication & Journalism through compassion and leadership. Joey’s award this year came with a booklet with quotes from current and former students that celebrated him as mentor, colleague, friend, and teacher.


This semester has been one of the busiest as of yet. The goal of the lab has been to facilitate creativity and community collaboration. As we have grown, it has been amazing to see so many diverse projects come to fruition. We are excited about next academic year, we have plans to host more conferences, workshops and reach out to local community organizations and university orgs and departments to collaborate on new projects and initiatives, so stay tune!

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