Meet the UMXR Innovate Team

Headshot of Maxime Cacchione
Max Cacchione

Director, Innovation

As Director of Innovate, Max Cacchione supports innovative technology initiatives across the University. Max's career spans across a wide variety of public and private clients, assignments, and ventures, with a focus on leading technology teams towards the delivery of innovative solutions. Max is a graduate of Princeton University's faculty of computer science and a proud 'Cane from the UM MBA class of '09. When not in the XR Garage, Max practices karate chops, cooks, and spends time with his family in Coral Gables.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Human Computer Interaction, AR Cloud, AI

Adam McMahon

Staff Member

Adam McMahon is a graduate of the University of Miami with a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science. Adam has worked with a wide variety of companies to deliver large scale interactive applications. His interests include scalable web services, 3D applications, and developing real-time shared experiences. Adam also has an M.A. in Biblical Studies and has previously served as the Director of Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Miami. When not developing AR apps, he enjoys learning ancient languages.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Scalable web services, 3D applications

Ross Pierson

Core Programmer

Ross is a graduate student, pursuing his Masters of Science in Computer Science. Having earned his Bachelors of Science in Computer Science from the University of Miami as well, Ross continues to gain a comprehensive full-stack level of knowledge and experience in all facets of life. He often fills his time with research projects, most recently in Computational Neuroscience and Radiomics image analysis. Outside of school, Ross likes to reverse engineer hardware, is an avid glass sculptor, and enjoys cooking.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Computer vision, Machine Learning, XR Development.

Habib Barbour Castaneda

Core Programmer

Habib Barbour is currently a senior at the University of Miami majoring in Aerospace Engineering. He is passionate about working in artificial intelligence applications that revolutionize the aerospace industry and contribute to improve people’s lives. Outside of school or work, Habib enjoys working on entrepreneurship projects, meeting new people, learning new things, dancing, playing soccer and golf.

Specialty/Area of Interest: AI anomaly detection, data integrity, and fuel management using machine learning

Headshot Nick
Nick Tong

Core Programmer

Nick is currently an undergraduate student at the Frost School of Music on a 5-year BS/MS track in Music Engineering Technology with a minor in Computer Engineering. Aside from programming and developing XR applications for the UMIT Innovate Team, Nick is also a contemporary voice principal in Frost who loves songwriting, playing guitar, and producing/mixing his own music. Passionate about the intersections of the arts and sciences, Nick is focusing his studies and extracurriculars to pursue a career in Audio Software Development with specific interests in digital signal processing and spatial audio. 

Specialty/Area of Interest: Audio Software, DSP, Spatial Audio, Game Development

Headshot Paulina
Paulina Fiore


Paulina is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Interactive Media with a track in game design and a minor in screenwriting. Is bilingual in Spanish and English. Has been the recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, Dean's award, 2021 & 2022 Award Showcase winner. Is actively a judge for IndieCade Horizons (a program that highlights Indie-Games) and has interned for as a media market publisher. In addition, has been a part of Nerd Lab as UI/UX designer, Game Jam 2022,a Media Marketing Lead for the Developer Student Club, Member of the Videogame Club and currently works for UM E-Sports as a moderator, streamer and assets designer and as a UI/UX designer for XR garage. Paulina's passions are Game Designing, and she aims to be a lead in the industry. Her extracurricular activities are writing graphic novels and drawing. 

Specialty/Area of Interest: Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Illustrator, Figma, Adobe XD, Unity, C# coding, UI/UX Design, Clip studio, and screenwriting.

Nate Headshot
Nate Joseph

Core Programmer

Nate is an undergrad studying Software and Computer Engineering with a minor in Communication. Graduating in '25, Nate has found his passion in building the technology of the future, from XR to cloud computing. As an avid learner, he plans on continuing to garner new skills while honing old ones to aid in pursuing a career in this field postgraduation. Outside of class and, of course, the XR Garage, Nate keeps himself active with friends at the gym, grows his collection of vinyl records, and dabbles in experimental cooking.

Specialty/Area of Interest: XR software and hardware development, AR-IoT integration, Computer vision.

Marcos Headshot
Marcos Morales

Core Programmer

Marcos Morales is a sophomore at the University of Miami majoring in Computer Engineering. He is a hard worker and passionate learner who acquired an Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts degree at Hillsborough Community College during his high school years. He loves learning all things code and building XR applications here on the UM Innovate team. Outside of class, he is part of the electrical and computer engineering honor society Eta Kappa Nu, in which he enjoys tutoring his fellow peers every week. Marcos is also the Web Developer in the Google Developer Student Club and participates in the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. To stay healthy, he exercises in the gym and loves playing racquet sports.

Specialty/Area of Interest: VR and AR development, web development, C# front-end and back-end development, C++ data structures and algorithms

Rachel Headshot
Rachel Tomasetti

Core Programmer

Rachel is currently an undergraduate student completing a B.S. in Innovation, Technology, and Design with a minor in Computer Science. Along with the work she does with the Innovate Team, Rachel is actively finding new ways to expand and improve upon her current programming skills and knowledge. Her other interests include fitness, cooking, learning new random hobbies, and meeting new people. 
Specialty/Area of Interest: Software Development, AI, and Cybersecurity
Picture of Zubaer Chowhury
Zubaer Chowdhury


Zubaer is an undergraduate student at UM, majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Math and Physics. His main interests lie in the world of statistics, data science and combining machine learning into XR projects. On the rare occasional free time that he gets, Zubaer plays table tennis and strategic video games, learns about history, world politics and economy and enjoys working out in the gym.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Machine Learning, Data Science, Statistics and XR development

Past Team Members

Andrew Gonzalez

Staff Member

Andrew Gonzalez is currently a senior at UM, pursuing a career in XR Software Engineering and UI/UX Design. Andrew’s passion is to revolutionize education through XR and his interests include XR gaming, learning, and thinking. When not in the XR Garage, Andrew enjoys learning more about 3D programming, philosophy, psychology, and connecting with friends in-person and in VR.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Spatial and cloud computing, UI/UX Design for XR, 3D Modeling

Berk Basarer

Core Programmer

Majoring in Electrical Engineering as an undergrad at UM, Berk’s interests include VLSI and bionano technology. He doesn’t have free time, but if he had, he would spend it with his friends, having fun.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Socket Programming, Server/Client Communication

Ozan Ipekten

Core Programmer

Ozan is an undergraduate at UM, majoring in Computer Engineering. His interests include artificial intelligence and video game design. Outside of school and work, he enjoys playing piano, reading and spending time with his friends.

Speciality/Area of Interest: Indie game development, Machine learning/AI

Lia Murphy

Core Programmer

Lia Murphy is a rising senior at UM studying Music Engineering with a minor in Computer Engineering. An avid musician, Lia is a guitarist, drummer, and music producer working on a variety of music projects. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and relaxing at coffee shops.

Specialty/Area of Interest: DSP, speech processing, and spatial audio

Milena Park

Core Programmer

Milena Pak is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a double-major in Computer Engineering and Computer Science. Her interests include artificial intelligence (AI) and psychology, and how these two fields can be combined using XR. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, cooking, and drinking bubble tea.

Specialty/Area of interest: Psychology and AI through XR

Dustin Goodwin


Dustin Goodwin is currently a junior at UM, studying Business Technology and Entrepreneurship. He is interested in integrating mixed reality into e-commerce. In his free time, he enjoys staying active, relaxing at the beach, and snowboarding.

Specialty/Area of interest: Project Management, Web/Mobile Development

Stefan Hopman


Stefan Hopman is a Music Engineering graduate student ('23) at the University of Miami. Stefan’s interests include mobile app development, audio research, and machine learning. Combining his passion for the arts and technology, he is excited to innovate new ways of adding XR into our artistic lives. In his free time, Stefan enjoys making music with his friends and exploring new technology.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Audio programming and Mobile Development

Victoria Kalfayan

Grant Writer

Victoria Kalfayan is a graduate business student pursuing her MBA. Prior to that she graduated from the University of Miami with a BBA concentrating in Marketing and Economics. In her spare time Victoria enjoying cooking, baking and dancing.

Specialty/Area of Interest: CPG, Marketing, Branding

Bryan Feliciano

Grant Writer

Bryan Feliciano is currently a sophomore majoring in Advertisement Management and Minoring in Entrepreneurship. When Bryan is not working, he is staying active or playing video games.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Advertising

Mert Okyay

Core Programmer

Mert Okyay is an undergraduate Physics/Mathematics double major. He is a part of COISO and is a part of research projects in the Physics department. His main interests are quantum information theory and astrophysics; and simulation of physical systems using numerical methods. He is interested in improving education in the physical sciences using information technologies. Outside of work, he likes to spend his time working out and reading.

Specialty/Area of interest: Physical simulations and data analysis in research.

Wen Li

Core Programmer

Wen Li is currently a junior at UM, majoring in Pure Physics and Computer Science. He has wide interests in theoretical physics, astronomy, quantum computing, and innovative programming. Wen has solid programming background from astronomy research and front-end,  back-end website design.  Out of his passion in gaming, Wen learned Gamemaker studio 2 and Unity at beginning of his college life.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Quantum computing, innovative programming

Rebecca Camejo


My name is Rebecca Camejo and I’m majoring in Computer Engineering. I am currently a junior. My main interests are working with microcontroller embedded systems and machine learning/AI. I have yet to decide which field I’ll pursue, but I hope to always be part of a team that advances society by helping others. When I’m not in school, I lead/mentor a small group of 5 high school girls at my church CDA Miami, and hang out with my friends and family. 

Specialty/Area of Interest: Microcontroller embdeed systems, machine learning/AI

Augustin Ferreira


Augustin Ferreira is a Fall 2021 Finance BSBA undergraduate student with a minor in computer engineering. He is passionate about technologies which revolutionize chronic human problems and civilization, and how to bring them to market and distribute them to maximize the benefit for all. In his free time he likes to bike, kayak, improve his aquarium, walk his dogs, and spend time with loved ones.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Financial model automation, (to be) database management

James Hasell


James Hasell is a junior studying Music Engineering Technology. He is interested in the intersection of audio, music, and software development. When not working you can catch him playing guitar, listening to music, and growing plants.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Audio/music and software development

Christopher Wu


Christopher Wu is an incoming Junior studying computer science and philosophy. He is passionate about making everyday life easier through creative and innovative applications. Christopher’s efforts goes towards logic design in web applications and XR development. In his free time, he watches anime, plays the violin and the occasional chess.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Web/Mobile Development, Spatial Computing, Neural Networks

Julian Bastianello


Julian Bastianello is a sophomore pursuing a master's degree in Architectural Engineering. He is interested in this field because he would like to design and create structures that are essential to the advancement of society. Outside of working on different design projects through software such as AutoCAD, he enjoys staying fit, travelling, and spending time with friends and family.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Architectural Engineering, AutoCAD

Sai Pacquette


Sai Pacquette is a sophomore studying software engineering. She is passionate about finding ways to introduce clean energy through technology. Outside of work she enjoys watching anime and hanging out with friends.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Technology in clean energy

Headshot of Rachel De Paz
Rachel De Paz

Core Programmer

Rachel De Paz is currently a sophomore studying Software Engineering and Interactive Media. She is interested in creating AI-enhanced educational content in mixed reality. When she's not in the XR Garage, Rachel enjoys learning more about 3D programming and traveling.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Human Computer Interaction

Sam Garry

Core Programmer

Sam Garry is an undergraduate Music Engineering major at the University of Miami. He is interested in the interplay between software development and audio engineering and loves to develop applications in various mediums. When not at work, Sam enjoys playing music, staying active, and exploring nature.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Audio programming, UI/UX design

Samantha Kamath

Core Programmer

Samantha Kamath is currently a junior at the University of Miami studying Computer Science and Political Science. Samantha loves studying the fields of art, social sciences, and technology combined. Her current interests are AI application development and XR gaming. When not in the XR Garage, Samantha loves to dance, read, crochet, and hang out with friends.

Specialty/Area of interest: AI application development and XR gaming

Manish Garg

Core Programmer

Manish Garg is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Miami. His undergrad area of study was journalism, and has pivoted to computers after some years of self-study. Outside of work he likes to play video games, go on outdoor adventures, listen to music, and dance salsa.

Specialty/Area of interest: Machine learning/AI, web development and networking, hardware design and interfacing, and XR experience development

Aijalon Kilpatrick

Core Programmer

Aijalon Kilpatrick is a Sophomore studying Electrical Engineering. She participates in organizations including the Society of Women Engineers and UMaker. Aijalon has done research in power electronics, but she is also interested in machine learning and artificial intelligence. However, Aijalon likes to branch out and learn about various topics to see what fascinates me most.

Specialty/Area of Interest: machine learning, AI, power electronics

Headshot of Carolina Fernandez
Carolina Fernandez

Core Programmer

Carolina Fernandez is currently a senior at UM, pursuing a career in Biomedical Engineering with an Electrical Engineering Concentration. Carolina's interests include robot-assisted surgery, medical imaging, and regenerative medicine. When not in the VR Garage, Carolina dedicates her free time to learning video game design. She hopes to obtain her graduate degree from the University of Miami. 

Specialty/Area of Interest: Machine learning, AI, 3D Modeling, Spatial Computing

Lenny Martinez

Staff, Core Programmer

Lenny Martinez is a multidisciplinary designer and engineer currently teaching at the University of Miami. Lenny has a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Mechanical Engineering and an MS in Visual Communications from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. When not working, Lenny enjoys baking desserts and catching up on his collection

Specialty/Area of Interest: Generative Design, Product Development, Interactive Data Visualization, Prototyping

Maria Calderon

Social Media Market Guru

Maria Calderon is a Junior at the University of Miami, majoring in Motion Pictures and minoring in Finance. She is a member of Delta Kappa Alpha, a professional fraternity. When she’s not working, she is filming and editing videos.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Social Media, Filming

Michael Martinaitis


Michael is an undergraduate at UM studying Music Engineering and  Computer Engineering (‘21). Michael hopes to use Magic Leap and XR spatial computing to combine the arts and technology. Michael is also a bassist, music producer and photographer. In his free time, he enjoys reading and watching movies. 

Specialty/Area of Interest: Digital Audio, Signal Processing, Computer Graphics, UI/UX Design

Tiana Torkan

UX/UI Specialist

Tiana Torkan is a senior at the University of Miami studying Interactive Media with a minor in Media Management at the School of Communication. Combining her love for the arts and technology, she is passionate about product design and solving problems for users through the cross-sectional world of creative tech. In her free time, she enjoys exploring creative outlets such as painting, piano, dancing, and photography.

Specialty/Area of interest: UX/UI Design, Prototyping, Graphic Design

Headshot of Prajwal Devkota
Prajwal Devkota

Core Programmer

Prajwal Devkota is Ph.D. student in the computer science department at UM. Prajwal's research interests include Graph Theory, Network Analysis, Machine Learning, Data Mining, Natural Language Processing, Knowledge Extraction, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, and Semantic Web Technology.

Prajwal is a UM Fellow, and Presidential Scholar (McKendree University)

(On the team from May 2019-August 2019)


Headshot of Harrison Mount
Luis Armani Rodriguez

Resident Electrical Engineer

Luis Armani Rodriguez is a junior Electrical Engineering major and Mathematics minor at UM. From the great state of New Jersey, Armani spent Summer 2019 with UMIT working with both the Salesforce and Innovate teams, learning about where careers in IT could lead. On his days off, Armani can often be seen playing soccer or watching baseball: Hala Madrid and Go Yankees.

(On the team from May 2019-August 2019)

Headshot of Harrison Mount
Harrison Mount

Core Programmer

Harrison is an undergraduate junior studying computer engineering with a concentration in software, on track to double major in computer science. Outside of the VR Garage, he spends his time managing several self-owned online retail businesses and is the Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of the UM-based startup Cycle. Harrison's favorite pastimes are surfing, producing music, and reading. 

(On the team from May 2019-August 2019)

Headshot of Shing Ryan Cheng
Ryan Cheng

Core Programmer

Ryan Cheng is currently a senior at UM, pursuing a career in Software Engineering. Ryan's interests include surfing (the web), pottery, and cooking. Outside of the XR Garage, Ryan likes to spend his free time smoking meat, paddle boarding, and taking long naps.

Specialty/Area of Interest: UI and UX

Headshot of Jinqi Li
Jinqi Li

Core Programmer

Jinqi Li is currently a graduate student at UM, pursuing a Master's degree in Interactive Media. Jinqi’s interests include XR experience design, web design, UX design, video editing, and illustration. Outside of XR Garage, Jinqi likes to spend her time watching movies and traveling. Her favorite movie director is Stanley Kubrick.

Specialty/Area of Interest: AI, Machine Learning, AR Cloud, UX/UI for VR Environments

Headshot of Jiahao Jaron Zhou
Jiahao Zhou

Core Programmer

Jiahao Zhou is a senior studying computer science. He is interested in applying mixed reality to the medical field. When not in the XR Garage, Jiahao enjoys rapping and playing basketball.

Specialty/Area of Interest: UI and UX

Yuan Xie


Yuan Xie is a senior at the University of Miami, majoring in mathematics and minoring in computer engineering. His interests are UX design, data analysis, and data visualization. During Yuan's free time, he likes to watch sports and enjoying live music.

Specialty/Area of Interest: UX and data mining

Jian He

Core Programmer

Jian He is a graduate student in Interactive Media(Game Design) at the University of Miami. Jian is interested in E-sports, RPG games and VR games. Besides games, Jian likes photography and Jazz/R&B music.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Video Games, XR, Prototyping, Photography, Video Editing

Robert Silverberg

Core Programmer

Robert Silverberg is an undergraduate computer science student at UM. Outside of working in and learning about programming/development, he likes to play computer games that are programmed by other people. Robert aspires to get better at writing third-person autobiographical blurbs in the near-future, after he graduates in May.

Specialty/Area of Interest: XR, Simulation, Games

Aaron Geldert

Core Programmer

Aaron Geldert is a student studying Music Engineering (’20) at the Frost School of Music and Computer Engineering. Aaron’s interests are in music production, multimedia, and developing XR applications. Aaron is also a trombonist, pianist, and sound engineer, and spends his free time playing music, learning languages, and running.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Audio Programming

Alejandro Hernandez

Core Programmer

Alejandro Hernandez is an undergraduate senior majoring in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Miami College of Engineering. He is particularly interested in artificial intelligence and making XR games and programs. In his free time, Alejandro enjoys playing basketball with his friends, gaming, and orbiting his fridge.

Specialty/Area of Interest: Game development, artificial intelligence, and XR applications

Komal Sharma

Staff, Virtual Reality Programmer

Komal Sharma is a experienced Unity Game Developer with a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and healthcare industry. She is skilled in Unity, virtual reality, augmented reality. Graduated from Purdue University with a Master’s degree in Computer Science, she is an XR and game enthusiast. She enjoys painting, playing games, singing, cooking and most importantly spending time with the loved one over the video call.

Speciality/ Area of Interest : Game development, Human Computer Interaction

Adi Bulusu

Core Programmer

Adi Bulusu is an undergraduate Business Technology student with a minor in Finance. He is also a part of UM Greek Life and represents Pi Kappa Phi. Adi’s interests include automobiles and automobile racing, programming, and music production. Outside of XR garage, Adi spends his time drag racing, playing tennis, and making music. 

Specialty/Area of Interest: XR application development

Corbin Graves 


Corbin Graves is a UM Graduate Student currently studying Interactive Media, focusing on User Interface and Experience. He is an executive board member of the Graduate Student Association. His main interests are creating experiences that are helpful for users, and understanding user experiences with different products. He was a teacher for 5 years before he became a graduate student, and he will be teaching an undergraduate level Web Lab class in the Fall. Outside of XR, his interests are illustration, working out, and dreaming of how to take care of his non-existent dog.

Specialty/Area of interest: User interface design, User experience design