Project Team

Principle Investigators

Sue G. Smith is the Vice President for the award winning school of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering, and Applied Science (AMEAS) at Ivy Tech Community College. Ms. Smith has been with the college for 30 years in various roles including Corporate College, and Workforce Development both at the campus and state level. Her experience is in consulting, program development, and manufacturing. She is currently the president of the American Technical Education Association (ATEA).

Dr. Mesut Akdere is a Professor of Human Resource Development in the Department of Technology Leadership & Innovation at Purdue University-West Lafayette. He is the Director of Purdue Polytechnic Leadership Academy and the Director of HRD Virtual Lab.

Co-Principle Investigators

Associate Professor David Gray is the chair for the communication program at Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette. He also serves as department chair within the School of Arts, Sciences, and Education. He has been involved in communication curriculum development at the local and state levels for nine of his nearly 15 years with the college.


Dr. Kris Acheson-Clair is the director of the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR) and holds a courtesy faculty position in the Brian Lamb School of Communication. Dr. Acheson is a well-published scholar, with recent research interests focusing on the development and assessment of intercultural competence, including innovative externally-funded projects to develop virtual reality simulations that foster the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to interact successfully across cultural differences.

Graduate Assistant

Yeling Jiang is a doctoral candidate in the Ph.D. in Technology program at Purdue University. She holds an MS in Human Resource Management from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University. Her research interests are simulation training in virtual reality platform, intercultural competence development, human resource analytics, and biometric analytics. 

External Project Evaluator

Professor Emeritus Jim Brown retired from the University of Minnesota in January 2015 as a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development (OLPD). He also served as his department’s Director of Graduate Studies from September 2005 through August 2010 and coordinated the Work-Based Learning Program. Professor Brown served as Director of the Minnesota Research and Development Center for Vocational Education (MRDC) for eight years and 17 years as a director of MRDC projects focused on learners with special learning needs.