Daniel (Danny) Pimentel is a second-year Ph.D. student at the University of Florida, and a McKnight doctoral fellow. Danny is lab coordinator of the Media Effects & Technology Lab (METL), an interdisciplinary collaboratory leveraging multidisciplinary conceptual frameworks to engage in experimental research related to issues of societal consequence. He also serves as VR Director of Changeville, a social change festival highlighting creative projects using immersive media (VR, AR, mixed reality) to address societal issues.
At METL, Danny creates, tests, and disseminates a variety of media messages (e.g., video games, advertisements, VR simulations) that improve the human spirit and condition. Previous projects have investigated the ability for 360-degree video to influence perceptions of environmental risks (climate change), and the psychological implications of species' physical appearance in the communication of threats to endangered habitats. Currently, Danny is exploring how the creation of — and interaction with — customized virtual avatars can help individuals cope with mental health ailments (e.g., anxiety).