School of Cinematic Arts Directory Profile

Directory Profile

Marientina Gotsis, M.F.A.

Professor of the Practice of Cinematic Arts

Affiliated Divisions:

Interactive Media & Games Division
Media Arts + Practice Division

Work Phone: 213.740.3159

She has a broad background in arts, design, and engineering with a special interest in interactive entertainment applications for health, happiness, and rehabilitation. She is co-founder and director of the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center (CMBHC), an organized research unit between the School of Cinematic Arts and the Keck School of Medicine. CMBHC designs, develops, and evaluates entertainment applications at the intersection of behavioral science, medicine, and public health. Gotsis and her teams have developed interactive experiences and products to help increase literacy and public awareness, change behavior, and improve assessment and treatment techniques with funding from the National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Palix Foundation, Department of Education, Department of Defense, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Shafallah Center for Special Needs Children.

Gotsis and her long-time collaborator Maryalice Jordan-Marsh from the School of Social Work taught the first USC Games for Health course with sponsorship from Humana. Gotsis later developed and directs the first graduate degree in the world focused on Media Arts, Games and Health (est. 2015). Her award-winning students have received recognition in festivals and prizes from the Apps for Healthy Kids challenge sponsored by the Michelle Obama's Let’s Move Initiative, the GE Healthymagination Student Award, Indiecade, Alt.Ctrl.GDC, ACM SIGGRAPH, Serious Games Showcase and Challenge, Unity Unite Awards, Cornell Cup USA, Vilcek Foundation, and the Conference of the Entertainment Software and Cognitive Neurotherapeutics Society.

She founded and leads USC’s Games for Health Initiative since 2007, connecting health professionals with innovation in various forms of interactive media. Gotsis is a co-director of the USC SMART-VR Center, advisor and founding faculty to the USC mHealth Collaboratory, and advisor to the Community Scholars Collaborative on Health Equity Solutions (CHES). She has formerly advised the USC Institute for Integrative Health, and the Center for Technology Innovation in Pediatrics, and directed the Center for Interactive Media Technologies in Healthcare (CIMTH).

Gotsis has lectured about her research and practice at Apple and Karten Design presented findings at ACM, IEEE, and HCI journals and conferences, as well as medical and public health outlets. She has been an invited think-tank participant at the White House, the Institute For The Future, and various NIH/NSF/EU-funded workshops. She has tackled a wide range of knowledge domains and disease topics that include developmental neuroscience, wellness, obesity, nutrition, vision health, exercise, autism, child injury prevention, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and upper limb rehabilitation. She is an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Virtual Reality | Medicine.

Formerly the Media Lab Manager for the USC Interactive Media & Games Division, Gotsis managed technology infrastructure, oversaw research development, and directed several IMD research projects funded by Intel, Nokia, and Amdocs in the Mobile and Environmental Media Lab headed by Scott Fisher. Prior to USC, Gotsis taught art, design, animation and computer programming at Columbia College Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, and Harold Washington College and served as a consultant to small businesses and foundations. She began her career managing a startup internet service provider (ISP) company and providing various creative and technical consulting services for local newspapers moving to digital production.

She has worked for production companies, (Quicksilver Associates, Simmonet Marketing) to design and develop materials for private companies, such as Accenture, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Young Presidents Organization, government organizations, such as the City of Santa Monica and Marin Country and not-for-profits, such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She provided network engineering support for creative firms, such as Florian Architects, Common Knowledge Communications, and Bauhaus, and collaborated with educators at Tulane University, Great Northern Way Campus, and the National Museum of Mexican Art.

Gotsis holds a BFA in Photography/Film/Interactive Media and an MFA in Electronic Visualization from the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) where she was a research assistant on large-scale computing efforts for networked virtual reality (VR) sponsored by the National Science Foundation. She also received training in French language and literature and pre-Columbian art history. Gotsis has completed additional professional formal and informal training in statistics, psychology, research ethics, public health, and neuroscience.