Lead Project Scientist Highlights

Lead Project Scientists are an integral part of VMASC's success for the past 20 years. Here we will highlight our project scientists and their amazing accomplishments over the years.

 
 

Eranga Herath

VMASC is excited to feature Eranga Herath, Senior Project Scientist. Eranga has both a bachelor’s and Master of Science in computer science from the University of Colombo. He is currently working on his PhD in Distributed Systems, also at the University of Colombo.

Prior to joining VMASC, Eranga worked as a lead engineer at Pagero AB Sweden where he was involved in research and development in Distributed Systems, Functional Programming, Big Data, Actor based systems and DevOps. Over the past three years that Eranga has been with VMASC, he has been interested in research involving Distributed Systems, Blockchain, Actor based Systems and Functional programming.

During his time at VMASC, Eranga’s greatest accomplishment has been building production grade applications based on research. “Since I have experience in both research and engineering fields, I am excited I have had the opportunity to build these production grade applications and take them to the customers,” Eranga said.

Eranga enjoys working at VMASC, especially when he gets to take production grade applications to the customers. “I enjoy working with the latest technologies and research areas in the industry. It’s a great place to work!”

eranga (1) 2

 

Craig Jordan

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist Craig Jordan. Craig has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science degree in Modeling and Simulation from Old Dominion University. He is also a licensed professional civil engineer.

Craig’s primary research is on the development of artificial twins for physical systems. His work involves the use of qualitative and quantitative data in simulations to gain a better understanding of systems and guide policy decisions.

Having worked at VMASC for the past 11 years, Craig’s greatest accomplishment has been being a Principal Investigator (PI) on a project “that is developing a series of simulation models to examine the impact of possible changes to the organ transplant ecosystem,” Craig said.

Overall, Craig enjoys “the collaborative environment and the interesting research” he gets to be involved with at VMASC everyday.

Jordan 1

 

Christopher Lynch

VMASC is excited to feature Dr. Christopher Lynch, Lead Project Scientist. Dr. Lynch has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Modeling and Simulation, both from ODU. Dr. Lynch also holds a PhD in Modeling and Simulation, also from ODU.

Dr. Lynch’s research interests focus on increasing end-user confidence in decisions by reinforcing proper means of data exploration and interpretation. His current efforts aim to address issues with increasing volumes of data by creating freely accessible platforms and libraries for verifying and validating simulation outcomes, visualizing results, and intuitively communicating findings in a variety of programming and statistical programming languages.

Dr. Lynch’s introduction to VMASC started way back in high school! “I had the opportunity to visit the original VMASC facility while I was in high school and received an overview of several interesting ongoing research projects. When I started the Modeling and Simulation Master's program in 2011 at ODU, my undergraduate faculty advisor recommended a Graduate Research Assistant opportunity in the Interoperability lab at VMASC. I met with the lab members, and a few weeks later I started working in the lab,” Dr. Lynch said. Now, Dr. Lynch has been working full-time at VMASC for the last eight years.

Working at VMASC has provided Dr. Lynch many opportunities to support a wide range of interesting research topics and scientific domains and contribute to the knowledge base of Modeling and Simulation. “I have been able to collaborate with researchers and students from universities around the world and contributed to the deployment of accessible analysis tools, modeling platforms, and simulation models during my time at VMASC. It has been quite the experience,” Dr. Lynch said.

Lynch-680x1024 2

 

Peter Foytik

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist Peter Foytik. Peter has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Christopher Newport University and a Master of Science degree in Modeling and Simulation from Old Dominion University.

With a background in computer science, Peter’s initial expertise has been in software development of support tools for simulations and models. He also has extensive experience with work on application development that integrates transportation modeling and simulation tools. His latest research has utilized artificial intelligence methods to improve performance and calibration of models and simulations.

Having worked at VMASC for over 15 years, Peter’s greatest accomplishments at VMASC have been “every instance where I have incrementally extended the knowledge base through publication, communicated the interest and value of modeling and simulation, and elevated the application user to further their capabilities with modeling and simulation,” Peter said. “If I had to pick, I would highlight two contributions: extending the capabilities of the Real Time Evacuation Planning Model (RTEPM) and training emergency managers in Virginia how to utilize it and representing ODU and Sentara in the development of the Health Utility Network (HUN) where a consortium of Health providers and Health insurance companies met in order to form a decentralized shared network to facility health related activity.”

Research is such an important aspect of VMASC, and Peter is thankful that VMASC offers many opportunities to researchers and students. “Each researcher can pursue their interests in research, and because of the nature of modeling and simulation, the researchers of VMASC are multi-disciplinary offering collaboration of varying topics. One day I could be supporting a modeling and simulation project for cyber security, the next day for transportation, and after that manufacturing. Collaborating with the different areas of expertise at VMASC gives us fresh perspectives when the rich depth of one research area interacts with the rich depth of a different field,” Peter said.

Foytik-682x1024 2

 

Alex Nielsen

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist and Capabilities Lab Coordinator Alex Nielsen. Alex has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in English Language and Literature from Cleveland State.

After 15 years running a small business in Ohio providing technical communication and User Experience services to government and industry clients, Alex joined VMASC in 2019, where he has served as a PI and co-PI on over a dozen major projects while also working to build internal technical capabilities for the facility.

During the last three years working at VMASC, Alex’s greatest accomplishment has been building out the Capabilities Laboratory and Agile Development Team. “We have supported millions of dollars’ worth of novel research products, recruited and trained almost a dozen talented individuals, many of whom are helping shape the culture of VMASC and ModSim as a discipline, and built a system of junior mentorship to accelerate the advancement of future leaders,” Alex said.

Overall, Alex enjoys the flexibility and autonomy of his job at VMASC. “On any given day, I may be developing a multi-million-dollar jobs program, working with international corporations to align our work with industry needs, chatting with college students about their professional goals and research interests, or getting my hands dirty with software development, virtual reality assets or running focus groups,” Alex said. “I get to work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met – and I have the support from VMASC to make decisions that have a huge impact on these people’s work.”

alex-nielsen-1-861x1024-2 3

 

Menion Croll

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist Menion Croll, who has been with VMASC for 15 years! Menion has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Virginia Tech, and is a proud graduate of Old Dominion University with a master’s degree in computer science.

Menion has over 15 years of professional software development experience, covering a broad range of topics from multiple research areas. Having started out developing combat systems and tactical display systems for NAVSEA, Menion has since integrated hardware control systems and virtual environments for NASA, developed a variety of serious games for training and education, and created applications for the web and mobile devices.

Having research interests in serious gaming and visualization, Menion knew working at VMASC would enable him to be involved in research and development in an academic environment. Here he has been able to “work with NASA to enhance the capabilities of their flight simulators,” which he says has been one of his greatest accomplishments working at VMASC.

Overall, Menion says he enjoys working at VMASC due to the “dedicated and talented team of people I get to work with to come up with solutions to solve real-world problems.”

cq5dam.web_.1ddfg280.1280-679x1024 1

 

Anthony Barraco

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist Anthony Barraco. Anthony has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Central Florida and has been with VMASC for the past nine years.

Since 2004, Anthony’s professional software development experience has been in network driver development, machinery control systems, and tactical trainers for the Department of Defense. Since being at VMASC, Anthony has been a developer on a web-based application for creating discrete event simulations, a collection of web services which enable data exchange between heterogeneous systems, and mobile applications on various platforms.

What is Anthony most proud of during his time at VMASC? “I’m most proud of CLOUDES, which I built in collaboration with Jose Padilla. It’s a web-based discrete event simulation tool and now has over 4000 users all over the world! We often get positive feedback from users on how much they enjoy using it,” Anthony said.

We think VMASC is a great place to work, and Anthony thinks so too! “I get to work on modeling and simulation, which is a fascinating discipline, and I get to interact with a lot of great people every day who make it a pleasure to come to work each day.”

anthony-barraco

 

John Shull

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist John Shull. A true Monarch through and through, John has a BSBA in Marketing, Logistics and Operations Research from Old Dominion University (ODU), a Master of Science degree in Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulation, also from ODU, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Modeling, Virtual Environments and Simulation at ODU.

Educated in modeling and simulation and extended reality, among other analytical ideals, what John really enjoys for work is tinkering. “I enjoy the ability for creative expression and tinkering. I like building things. I sometimes chase shiny objects. On any given day, if I can take the technology for a walk, it’s a good day,” John said.

In his four years working at VMASC, John’s greatest accomplishment has been helping researchers connect the dots from concept to application. “I will always treasure the internal WunderKammer project, as it was my first solo project dealing with challenging conceptual concepts that required a lot of exploratory development. But my all-time favorite accomplishments have been helping take projects that needed a lot of help and getting them to the finish line. When you’re in the middle of them, it doesn’t seem that great of a place to be but looking back I cannot help but feel a level of success,” John said.

John has really enjoyed his time working at VMASC, and it is largely due to the people. “There is always something to do, always more work, always something to fix, always something that needs a solution, always a problem that you might be the solution to, but there is only one Hector, one BaTo, one Jessica J., one Alex, one Sheila, one Tracey, one Caleb, one Krzysztof, one Jose, and one Saikou – I mention these individuals because I feel it’s important to identify those who have impacted me and my life in ways that I will never know or fully understand,” John said. “VMASC continues to offer a rich diversity of interesting characters, artists, creatives, different cultures, and everyday folks that I deeply appreciate. Any day I get to be part of this motley crew of people is another day I thank the cosmos.”

no-name-914x1024-2 3

Hector Garcia

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist and SEA Lab Manager Hector Garcia. Hector has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Universidad Regiomontana in Monterrey Mexico and a Master of Arts degree in Architecture from the University of Houston. His expertise includes the use of large-scale visual simulation display systems, VR, AR Mixed Reality, the use of tracking devices, 3D scanning devices, laser cutting, CNC machining and rapid prototyping (3D printing) for use in simulation, training, and education.

Prior to joining VMASC 20 years ago, Hector worked as a researcher at the University of Houston affiliated with the Virtual Environments Technology Laboratory working on several NASA projects for astronaut training as well as NSF funded research for using Virtual Reality as a teaching tool.

Currently, Hector is working in Virtual and Augmented Environments, integrating state of the art visualization systems with modeling and simulation applications. He is also actively involved in how to enable such technologies for being more inclusive and accessible to a larger user base. He also manages VMASC’s Simulation Experience and Analysis (SEA) Lab.

The most notable contribution that Hector has made to VMASC has been bringing a non-engineering perspective to the multi-disciplinary approach to modeling and simulation. “My approach of how I think and how I go about analyzing and contributing to the solutions has generated some of the most rewarding collaborations with my colleagues at VMASC,” Hector said. “One such collaboration stands out: the STEAM on Spectrum effort, where we created an inclusive atmosphere for people on the spectrum to explore the world of STEM. I am glad to have contributed research that makes a difference and impacts people’s everyday lives.”

Hector enjoys working with the people at VMASC the most. “It is always rewarding to work with individuals from different backgrounds, both professionally and culturally, who are passionate about their individual areas of knowledge. It’s the synergy among all the people at VMASC who inspire me to grow professionally and to look for greater challenges, as together we aim as high as we can,” Hector said.

 
hector-garcia

 

"BaTo" Bratislav Cvijetic

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist Bratislav Cvijetic, better known as BaTo around the office. BaTo has a BFA in Illustration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and an MFA in Animation from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). He has been working at VMASC since 2016.

Prior to working at VMASC, BaTo worked at Norfolk State University as a Research Associate for the Creative Gaming & Simulation lab, where his research interests revolved around creating graphics and animations for educational games and simulations. He also taught Advanced Graphic Design courses, as well as hosting workshops that contributed to both the Engineering and Art Departments at NSU. Further, BaTo developed and published multiple educational games for different platforms.

During his time at VMASC, BaTo has worked on numerous projects with researchers and utilized his illustration and animation background effectively. He developed graphics/animations to make a 3D VR simulation of an ancient Neolithic town, ultimately a game, which could be used to learn about the real people who built that civilization – 7000 years ago. He has also developed graphics/animations for Zika Awareness and Prevention (ZAP), an interactive game which was designed to educate and strengthen families’ ability to stop Zika. Having a full understanding and the importance of: Storyboarding, Visual Aesthetic, 3D Modeling, 2D/3D Animation, AR/VR, Photogrammetry, 3D Scanning Web Development, Game Development, Graphic Design, Game Design, Photograph, and Art/Graphics in general, he can realize any project of any scope.

The most notable contribution that BaTo has made to VMASC is his artist’s touch. “Working on all these projects, I brought the visual and unique component that I believe made the final product more visible and acceptable. Most people and researchers don’t realize the importance of an artist in their daily life. All around us they are present…the phones we carry, the cars we drive, the movies we watch, and the houses we live in…artists have designed those. An integral part of a good product requires an artist and an engineer…and presently it is finally being recognized,” BaTo said.

BaTo loves working at VMASC and cannot see himself working anywhere else. “I don’t consider VMASC a workplace, more like a community of like-minded people who contribute to the greater good,” BaTo said. “Our research centers are constantly finding new and innovative ways to develop solutions to solve problems customers might have, and to be a part of that solution..there is nothing more rewarding.”

Bato Cvijetic

Lead Project Scientist Highlights



"BaTo" Bratislav Cvijetic

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist Bratislav Cvijetic, better known as BaTo around the office. BaTo has a BFA in Illustration from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) and an MFA in Animation from Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). He has been working at VMASC since 2016.

Prior to working at VMASC, BaTo worked at Norfolk State University as a Research Associate for the Creative Gaming & Simulation lab, where his research interests revolved around creating graphics and animations for educational games and simulations. He also taught Advanced Graphic Design courses, as well as hosting workshops that contributed to both the Engineering and Art Departments at NSU. Further, BaTo developed and published multiple educational games for different platforms.

During his time at VMASC, BaTo has worked on numerous projects with researchers and utilized his illustration and animation background effectively. He developed graphics/animations to make a 3D VR simulation of an ancient Neolithic town, ultimately a game, which could be used to learn about the real people who built that civilization – 7000 years ago. He has also developed graphics/animations for Zika Awareness and Prevention (ZAP), an interactive game which was designed to educate and strengthen families’ ability to stop Zika. Having a full understanding and the importance of: Storyboarding, Visual Aesthetic, 3D Modeling, 2D/3D Animation, AR/VR, Photogrammetry, 3D Scanning Web Development, Game Development, Graphic Design, Game Design, Photograph, and Art/Graphics in general, he can realize any project of any scope.

The most notable contribution that BaTo has made to VMASC is his artist’s touch. “Working on all these projects, I brought the visual and unique component that I believe made the final product more visible and acceptable. Most people and researchers don’t realize the importance of an artist in their daily life. All around us they are present…the phones we carry, the cars we drive, the movies we watch, and the houses we live in…artists have designed those. An integral part of a good product requires an artist and an engineer…and presently it is finally being recognized,” BaTo said.

BaTo loves working at VMASC and cannot see himself working anywhere else. “I don’t consider VMASC a workplace, more like a community of like-minded people who contribute to the greater good,” BaTo said. “Our research centers are constantly finding new and innovative ways to develop solutions to solve problems customers might have, and to be a part of that solution..there is nothing more rewarding.”

Bato Cvijetic

Hector Garcia

VMASC is excited to feature Lead Project Scientist and SEA Lab Manager Hector Garcia. Hector has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Universidad Regiomontana in Monterrey Mexico and a Master of Arts degree in Architecture from the University of Houston. His expertise includes the use of large-scale visual simulation display systems, VR, AR Mixed Reality, the use of tracking devices, 3D scanning devices, laser cutting, CNC machining and rapid prototyping (3D printing) for use in simulation, training, and education.

Prior to joining VMASC 20 years ago, Hector worked as a researcher at the University of Houston affiliated with the Virtual Environments Technology Laboratory working on several NASA projects for astronaut training as well as NSF funded research for using Virtual Reality as a teaching tool.

Currently, Hector is working in Virtual and Augmented Environments, integrating state of the art visualization systems with modeling and simulation applications. He is also actively involved in how to enable such technologies for being more inclusive and accessible to a larger user base. He also manages VMASC’s Simulation Experience and Analysis (SEA) Lab..

The most notable contribution that Hector has made to VMASC has been bringing a non-engineering perspective to the multi-disciplinary approach to modeling and simulation. “My approach of how I think and how I go about analyzing and contributing to the solutions has generated some of the most rewarding collaborations with my colleagues at VMASC,” Hector said. “One such collaboration stands out: the STEAM on Spectrum effort, where we created an inclusive atmosphere for people on the spectrum to explore the world of STEM. I am glad to have contributed research that makes a difference and impacts people’s everyday lives.”

Hector enjoys working with the people at VMASC the most. “It is always rewarding to work with individuals from different backgrounds, both professionally and culturally, who are passionate about their individual areas of knowledge. It’s the synergy among all the people at VMASC who inspire me to grow professionally and to look for greater challenges, as together we aim as high as we can,” Hector said.

hector-garcia

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP

By collaborating with the Hampton Roads community and region, VMASC drives inclusive, digital transformation to support the success of our community’s workforce and outreach programs.

A key piece of VMASC’s mission is to provide our expertise and technological resources to organizations in the Hampton Roads community to encourage regional growth development. Our research faculty, staff, and project scientists work with local governments, non-government organizations (NGOs), and community leaders to create a dialogue for accessible digital transformation. Our innovative work, performed in conjunction with these groups, influences the way communities across Virginia address their individual issues, such as environmental health and healthcare wellness.

VMASC also invests long-term support of advanced workforces and job security for working Virginians. As technology evolves, we believe that the skills to maintain and enhance such tools and applications evolve as well; therefore, we collaborate with local schools and employers throughout the region to develop modernization training and STEM education programs and initiatives.

More on Community Partnership


SCHOLARLY COMMUNITY

We progress digital innovation and thought leadership through revolutionary model and design thinking in the simulation science field.

Since its founding, VMASC’s primary mission has been the pursuit of academic success. Working with Old Dominion University (ODU), the center was among the first in the world to offer and support graduate and post-graduate degrees in modeling and simulation (M&S). In 2018, VMASC and ODU partnered with the Systems Engineering Research Center, one of only three Department of Defense university-affiliated research centers. Today, VMASC continues to dedicate itself to the growth and advancement of scholarly work in M&S. Our scholars and students engage with cutting-edge technologies and methods to advance knowledge and define the future of scholarship in our field.

More on Scholarly Community