We sat down with Pixvana’s Marketing and Social Media Intern to talk about startup culture, VR, and the intersections of emerging tech and disability.
What do you do at Pixvana? Walk me through a day in your life here.
I work with our Director of Marketing & Community Development to create engaging content: I interview XR innovators and members of Team Pixvana, write and edit copy for our website and social media channels, and stay up to date on the latest 360 video and virtual reality news. I’m behind the other intern profiles, so this is a meta interview.
What’s your background?
I recently graduated from Scripps College, where I studied History and Queer Studies. I have a chronic pain disability and am passionate about disability advocacy, which is something I organized around throughout college. That background has informed the research on VR’s applications in public health and medicine that I’ve been doing during my internship. I recently got to interview Carrie Shaw, the CEO and founder of Embodied Labs (which creates VR patient experience labs for healthcare training)—it was exciting to discuss disability, accessibility, and 360/VR video. I’ve also been learning about the research on accessible design for 360 and virtual reality content that various media and entertainment organizations have been doing. The BBC R&D team’s blog is a great resource.
What drew you to VR? What do you find most compelling about X-Reality?
Another Scripps alum, Cat, was in my role previously and referred me to Pixvana. I’m interested in narratives and am drawn towards Pixvana’s emphasis on storytelling and 360/VR films. It’s incredible how immersive high quality VR experiences can feel — I love the experience of putting on a headset and discovering the person I’m embodying by exploring my surroundings and responding to the environment’s cues. That experience is especially thrilling when the content is scary or unfamiliar: you’re kept on the edge of your seat. I’m looking forward to experiencing more 360/VR films with multiple/intersecting storylines.
What have you learned since starting at Pixvana?
This is my first experience at a startup, and I’ve been learning a lot about the difficult decisions that go into charting the course of a new company, especially one that’s building products and services for such a young industry. I’ve loved getting to be in the room for conversations about marketing strategy and product development.
My research into disability, accessibility, and healthcare has taught me a lot about the potential and developing applications of VR, like VR exposure-based therapy for anxiety disorders, apps for sex education, and VR as an analgesic.
What’s one of your favorite VR experiences?
The Seattle Times filmed a 360° video of all the activity at Colman Pool, Alki Beach Park, and Green Lake that took place during Seattle’s latest heat wave. I’ve been spending many of my evenings enjoying the golden hour at Green Lake.
What’s next for you?
Once I finish my internship, I hope to start a role at a nonprofit or community organization that will combine my love for writing and investments in social justice. I plan on pursuing a PhD in Science, Technology, and Society, History of Science, or Medical Anthropology.
About Eden Amital
Eden has a B.A. in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Scripps College.
Lately, she’s been listening to The Heart Podcast on her commute.