Texas Immersive Student Highlight: Avery Tellam
The Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations’ Texas Immersive Institute aims to “combine audience, storytelling and emerging technology by having students work in teams to turn real-world problems into authentic, memorable, relevant user experiences.”
Students in the Texas Immersive program who create these user experiences are often called “explorers,” and I was able to interview advertising graduate student Avery Tellam, an explorer who started her Immersive journey at the beginning of the Spring 2023 semester.
Avery is enrolled in the Audience Development Engagement class where she is currently working on an immersive experience based on research she and her project group conducted on the Animal Crossing fan community. After learning that people within the community wanted to meet each other in person, Avery’s group came up with an immersive Animal Crossing carnival experience where people could play games and meet their favorite characters.
When I asked Avery about what part of the program she enjoyed most, she said, “My favorite part about being in Texas Immersive is the fact that we have to always be thinking about the future. We have guest speakers come in and discuss how they are changing the immersive field. It’s really interesting to hear about how these people are creating immersive experiences that focus on what is possible in the future as opposed to what is happening right now or trying to catch up with the times.”
Although Avery is thoroughly enjoying her time as a Texas Immersive explorer, she told me that she did not know about the program while applying to UT for her master’s degree; She learned about it by speaking to other students, and this piqued her interest. Avery would like people who are interested in applying to the Immersive program to know, “You don't have to have any knowledge of how to code or create VR or anything like that. Immersive also isn't just VR and AR, it's so much more than that.” She also shared that even though the application for Immersive may seem daunting, it is a great opportunity to express yourself and let your creativity shine.
Avery is excited to continue her journey as an explorer in the Experimental Storytelling class next semester. She is also looking forward to the Immersive Capstone class, where she will have the opportunity to create and execute an immersive experience during her final semester in the program.