International Women’s Day op ed on virtual reality for a just and real-world reality

Illustration by Nikki Muller, New Thinking Magazine

International Women’s Day 2023 On #InternationalWomensDay, Lien Tran published an op ed in New Thinking Magazine entitled “Leveraging Tech to Address Gender-Based Violence Impactfully” on how emerging tech, including the VR simulation “A Just Reality” project, can fill a major gap in essential skills training for law enforcement who respond to and investigate sexual assault & domestic… Continue reading International Women’s Day op ed on virtual reality for a just and real-world reality

Emerging technology’s role for telling critical Asian American history

Photo by Red Morley Hewitt

Professor Lien Tran is part of DePaul University’s 2022-23 The OpEd Project’s Public Voices fellowship. Professor Tran’s first op ed entitled “Lunar New Year Offers a Chance to Reflect on Asian American History“, was published in VISIBLE magazine ahead of Lunar New Year on January 22, 2023. In this op ed, Tran shares examples for how… Continue reading Emerging technology’s role for telling critical Asian American history

Transformed Reality VR Workshop

Meaningful Play 2022, East Lansing, MI, USA

October 12-14, 2022

Presented by Lien Tran, Brighten Jelke, Lynn Baus, Chryselle Rego, LeAnne Wagner

In this workshop participants will learn about a set of resources and processes for creating a VR training experience and test a working project in a VR headset (Oculus Quest 2). This workshop is meant to be an informative primer for people curious about getting started in essential skills VR learning and training, specific to the use of immersive branching narrative experiences and assessment. The facilitators have been working on the creation of trauma-informed interviewing training modules for law enforcement. While the goal is to create improved training materials that address gender based violence, the team has developed a unique understanding of small team VR content creation and the process involved.

Workshop Resources

Project Consideration Worksheets

We provided some high-level worksheets to participants to help them determine whether designing and developing a similar VR training experience is a viable option for a particular context.

Presentation Slides

Our presentation slides, found here, also reference the VR training white paper by PwC from 2020. Here’s the link for those who are interested:


To learn more about our VR project “A Just Reality”, visit the project page.



If you’d like to connect with our team, please reach out to Lien Tran at lien.tran[at], Director of Matters at Play, or LeAnne Wagner at Leanne.Wagner[at], Director of PUSH Studio.

Matters at Play’s Lien Tran will be joining a seasoned panel of international retired and active members of law enforcement to discuss how we need to rethink training when it comes to gender-based violence (GBV) at the 2022 Gender Justice and Human Rights Symposium at the University of Miami from April 21-22, 2022. Lien joins the panel to share a social innovation project that a team from DePaul has been researching and developing since the latter part of 2021.

DePaul University’s Matters at Play lab and PUSH Studio have joined together to explore how technology and social innovation could enhance law enforcement response to GBV. Through design research including stakeholder interviews, our team has identified the opportunity to improve interview techniques for law enforcement so that through simulated interviewing of a victim they learn best practices that are trauma-informed and victim-centered.

Lien will share her perspective, as a designer of interactive and transformational experiences, for how timely it is to innovate and take advantage of technological advances to enhance the education of law enforcement for the essential skills like communicating with and interviewing sexual assault victims, and investigating serious crimes like GBV.

Lien will be joined by team member Brighten Jelke in providing demonstrations of the prototype to interested symposium attendees during the Friday afternoon break out sessions.

The project builds upon Lien’s previous course collaboration with University of Miami’s School of Law’s Human Right’s Clinic (UMHRC) on its COURAGE in Policing Project employing human-centered design methods to research and propose possible solutions for reducing bias in policing of GBV.

About the Panel

Title: Rethinking Training for Law Enforcement

ModeratorBianca Joseph, International Association of Women Police (IAWP) Region 5 Coordinator Senior Police Officer, Member of the IAWP Board of Directors


Deborah Friedl, IAWP President
David Thomas, Program Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Mirko Fernandez, Project Coordinator, UN Women Consultant & Jane Townsley, Senior Police Advisor, UN Women Consultant
Novelette Grant, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Retired), Jamaica Constabulary Force/UN Women Consultant, Spotlight Initiative
Lien Tran, Assistant Professor, DePaul University School of Design