A Fresh Perspective

Technology has the power to change our perspective and promote
empathy, according to Jessica Lauretti, founder and principal of LAURELS, a
media and technology consulting company.

Lauretti, an entrepreneur with expertise in immersive
technology, social impact and new media, spoke to an audience of students and
faculty this month in recognition of Ada Lovelace Day, a global celebration
honoring a 19th century female science and technology pioneer.   The event was hosted by the department of
Computer Science.

“VR is an empathy machine that can transport you to another
world and allow you to stand in someone else’s shoes,” said Lauretti.

In her presentation, Forget
Everything You Know, Lauretti discussed the changing landscape of
journalism and how her career as an artist and documentary film maker evolved
into her current role as a virtual reality media expert.

“I’m not a tech person,” Lauretti said. “I meandered through
my career and ended up in this space.”

Lauretti explained how virtual reality (VR) is being used
for humanitarian efforts, including teaching medical students the power of
empathy, connecting people to natural disasters to help with donation drives,
and even transporting terminally ill pediatric patients to their favorite
travel destinations.

“Whether or not you have technology experience, it’s
important for people who are passionate about social justice to be a part of VR
development,” Lauretti said. 

Lauretti noted that every job she has had throughout her
career didn’t exist when she was in high school or college, and emphasized that
trying new things, even if you fail, is the best way to learn and hone your
skills.

“Ms. Lauretti’s presentation definitely opened my eyes to
career possibilities in the VR field. I think it’s really cool to be able to
view a story in 360 degrees – it’s so immersive and it really draws the viewer
in and taps into their emotions,” said Alanna Boland, ’21, a journalism and
global studies major.  “It also resonated
with me when she said to not be afraid to try new things.  Some of the best opportunities I’ve had
happened because I took a risk and tried something new.”

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