Thesis Committee


Sandy Appleoff

Art of Game Design Chair and Founder


As a visual artist, educator, administrator and founder of Laguna College of Art + Design's BFA in Game Art program, Sandy Appleoff remains in tireless pursuit of strategic solutions that proffer sustainable growth. The continued success of LCAD's Game Art BFA programs speaks volumes. This success is related directly to why graduate programs in partnering schools seek ongoing engagement with LCAD's undergraduate Game Art production pipeline. This dynamic is poised for acceleration with the launch of LCAD's innovative new Art of Game Design MFA program looming. In the eight years Appleoff has served the BFA Game Art program, her penchant for new directives has impacted the future of education and communication, and has served in building bridges between schools and programs. Those connections have yielded an exponentially growing network of game changing individuals. Game design is shaking our very foundations creating a Renaissance, or, better yet a 'positive disruption' in every aspect of life.

Stefano 2015

Stefano Gualeni

Visiting Faculty

Trained as an architect, Dr. Stefano Gualeni is a philosopher and game designer who is best known for creating the videogames 'Tony Tough and the Night of Roasted Moths' (1997) and 'Gua-Le-Ni; or, The Horrendous Parade' (2012).

His work takes place at the intersections between continental philosophy and the design of virtual worlds. Given the practical and interdisciplinary focus of his research - and depending on the topics and the resources at hand - his output takes the form of academic texts and/or of interactive digital experiences. Being both a philosopher who designs videogames and a game designer who is passionate about philosophy, Dr. Gualeni studies virtual worlds in their role as mediators of thought: as interactive, artificial environments where philosophical ideas, world-views, and thought-experiments can be explored, manipulated, and communicated objectively.

His recent book, 'Virtual Worlds as Philosophical Tools' (Palgrave, 2015), identifies computers as instruments to (re)design ourselves and our worlds: as gateways to experience alternative possibilities of being. Put somewhat more simply, he recognizes virtual worlds as the contexts where a new, projectual humanism has already begun to arise. Full CV available at his website: http://stefano.gua-le-ni.com


James Finley

Adjunct Faculty

James Finely comes to LCAD's Art of Game Design MFA program from an unlikely background. Born into a family of medical professionals deep in the heart of California's Inland Empire, Finley doesn't strike a picture with which the game industry is very familiar. Developing an early passion for video games and their immersive capacity for story-telling, Finley's every move has been toward becoming a game development professional. Today, Finley is a senior software engineer and CEO for Broken Circle Studios, a third party development that specializes in entertainment and mobile technologies. With a master's degree in Software Engineering from Cal State Fullerton, as well as over a decade of experience teaching at a variety of art and technology schools throughout Southern California, Finely takes pride in combining the structure and rigors of computer science along with the creative spontaneity of the video game industry. From small start-ups to massive enterprises, from serious to silly, and from public to secretive, James Finley finds that with every client comes a new opportunity to learn and to express his many talents.


Linda Sellheim

Linda Sellheim is currently the Content Manager for 3D + Animation, CAD at lynda.com, contributing to and helping execute the content strategy for delivering market-leading video content and learning resources in the 3D, Animation, and CAD industries. Prior to her position at lynda.com, Sellheim served as Director of the Media Design School of Digital Arts at the NewSchool of Architecture + Design in San Diego, California. While there, she managed Graphic Design and Digital Arts programs for the Santa Fe University of Art + Design and the NewSchool of Architecture + Design, both Laureate education campuses. At NewSchool of Architecture + Design, Sellheim was responsible for the program and curriculum development, managing and hiring faculty as well as developing partnerships with industry. Before her time with Laureate, she was the Academic Segment Manager for Primary and Secondary Education at Autodesk. While working at Autodesk, she managed the strategy and production of all Autodesk curricula into target primary and secondary academic markets. Before coming to Autodesk, Sellheim served as Academic Director for the Art Institute of California, San Diego and Orange County, where she managed the Game Art and Design programs. She has taught digital art at various colleges and universities in Southern California, including University of California, Irvine; University of California, San Diego; California State University, Fullerton; Laguna College of Art + Design, Santa Ana College; and The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Sellheim's background is in design; she has a BFA from Art Center College of Design and an MFA from California State University, Fullerton. She has worked on projects in many areas of the entertainment industry including concept design, special effects and video games.

Advisory Council


Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson has been developing and prototyping game technology for nearly a decade. He started his game career in a small, independent studio writing mini-games on the PS2, and quickly transitioned into core technology writing. Having worked with more than a half-dozen different engine technologies on a variety of hardware platforms, Nelson has gathered a wealth of architectural and implementation experience. Currently, he spends his time researching graphics technology and assisting a wide range of developers in maximizing platform functionalities.


Angelika Schubert-Belle

Angelika Schubert-Belle co-founded Carbon Project Inc. in 2001, a strategic and experience-based design consultancy in Southern California that offers a holistic approach to design and business. The company's services provide emotional connections reaching all consumer touch points from micro to macro. The company offers services ranging from visual brand strategy and brand alignment, product and trend research, product/graphic/retail design as well as branded immersions. Clients include companies such as Nike, Disney, Columbia Sportswear, Samsung America, Fujitsu, Johnson & Johnson/Biosense Webster, Endologix, Allergan, Medtronics, Lincoln Automotive, Ford Automotive as well as the Premier Automotive Group.Schubert-Belle was formerly a Brand Strategist and Head of Product Design for the Brand Imaging Group of Ford Motor Company in Irvine, California. She has been heading up projects, such as designing five branded corporate airplanes, corporate dealerships, visual design guidelines and the development of brand apparel and life-style products. Before joining Ford,Schubert-Belle worked as a lead footwear designer for the women's category at Nike in Beaverton, Oregon. At Nike, she assisted the company in strengthening the public image of the current Nike women's business. Some of her footwear products have won public recognition, like her Walking Magazine's 'Product of the Year' Award. Schubert-Belle also worked for several years prior as a product designer at Ziba Design in Portland, Oregon, an internationally renowned design consultancy. She was closely involved with the product research process and has designed award-winning products for clients, such as Black & Decker, Microtek, Wacom Technologies, Rival, Whirlpool, Proctor & Gamble, Gerry Baby Products and Hyundai Cellular Phones. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors from the Art Center College of Design USA. She received over 12 international design excellence awards from competitions, such as IDSA, IF Awards and Design Innovations and is a holder of 12 international design patents. Some of her product design work has been exhibited at the Design Museum Westfalen in Germany. She has taught Visual Brand Strategy Classes at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.Schubert-Belle is a German native, and has lived in the US since 1993. She is fluent in both English and German languages.

Wanda Meloni

Wanda Meloni

Wanda Meloni is CEO M2 Advisory Group and Editor-in-Chief of Gaming Business Review. She is sits on the Board of the Open Gaming Alliance, a non-profit business trade association focused on supporting growth of the games industry.

Wanda is an international technology and entertainment strategist and has been working with top companies digital media and entertainment for over 15 years. Focused on interactive media trends, she had a deep understanding of interactive media for content development, emerging platforms/tech/games, community empowerment, customer engagement, and development trends.

She has published numerous reports and articles over the years on game development, emerging technologies and media trends. M2 Advisory Group has provided strategy, business intelligence, investment and community positioning for some of the top entertainment, consumer goods, enterprise and technology companies. Previous clients have included Sony Computer Entertainment America, Disney, Warner Bros, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Dolby, Autodesk, Adobe, EMC, Badgeville.

Wanda also works with a wide range of developers, smaller technology providers, investment firms and international trade agencies.


Mike Zyda

Michael Zyda is the Founding Director of the USC GamePipe Laboratory, and a Professor of Engineering Practice in the USC Department of Computer Science. At USC, he founded the joint games program, which is now part of USC Games, and took that program from no program to the #1 Games program in the world in five years. From Fall 2000 to Fall 2004, he was the Founding Director of the MOVES Institute located at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey and a Professor in the Department of Computer Science at NPS as well. From 1986 until the formation of the MOVES Institute, he was the Director of the NPSNET Research Group. Professor Zyda's research interests include computer graphics, large-scale, networked 3D virtual environments, agent-based simulation, modeling human and organizational behavior, interactive computer-generated story, computer-generated characters, video production, entertainment/defense collaboration, modeling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games. He is a pioneer in the following fields - computer graphics, networked virtual environments, modeling and simulation, and serious and entertainment games. He holds a lifetime appointment as a National Associate of the National Academies, an appointment made by the Council of the National Academy of Sciences in November 2003, awarded in recognition of "extraordinary service" to the National Academies. He is a member of the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. He served as the principal investigator and development director of the America's Army PC game funded by the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. He took America's Army from conception to three million plus registered players and hence, transformed Army recruiting. The creation of the America's Army game founded the serious games field.


Michael Edmonds

Michael Edmonds is a 25 year industry veteran in media, entertainment and video game development. He has launched educational initiatives for Autodesk, Inc.; Unity Technologies; and currently, he is Head of Education for Amazon's Lumberyard team. He has advised and consulted for various educational programs with state departments of education, K-12 school districts and community colleges through top ranked research universities on program design, curriculum development, accreditation, industry trends and student outreach. For his efforts, Michael has received commendations from educational institutions, the California State Assembly, and is the recipient of two congressional awards: one for public service and another for educational innovation.