Meet Your Instructor Nakisa Donnelly- The AR Expert and Pun Queen

March 15 2022

instructor

Nakisa Donnelly is the VR/AR Developer and Instructor at Circuit Stream. She specializes in augmented reality development, which includes high-end business solutions for HoloLens 2 and Magic Leap. She has Unity Instructor Certification - recognition of Unity knowledge, application, and ability to teach the skills and concepts further.

Besides teaching development, Nakisa is a circus performer and a dancer for Le Cirque de la Nuit. Strange combinations? According to Nakisa, even code can be creative!

Nakisa also holds a background in Electrical Engineering Physics. Learn more about how Nakisa transitioned to the AR/VR industry, why she loves her work and how she can help you get just as excited about the XR and Unity development.

Check the full interview below or if you prefer, read the summarized answers below.

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Q: Tell me about your background and experience before you joined Circuit Stream

A: I have a background in electrical engineering physics. I took physics at the University of Prince Edward Island and finished my electrical engineering degree at the University of New Brunswick. After that, I was an EIT learning to do protection and control in the power industry, that is what I used to do before joining the Circuit Stream.

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Q: Were you interested in the XR technology and Unity development before?

A: I wanted to do something that allows me to think outside the box and be creative. I realized the power industry is not a place that allows me to do that.

I was a young idealistic student that wanted to change the world, and one thing I want to do is to dedicate myself to the XR industry because XR has so much potential. XR is one of the forefronts of technology that has the ability to touch and change many different industries I am lucky enough to be at the forefront of those changes.

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Q: Where does your teaching experience come from?

A: I guess my teaching skills are from my family. My mother is a professor at the University of Calgary. Although my mother and I have very different teaching styles, I can say my passion for teaching was inspired by her.

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Q: Since you’ve been at Circuit Stream for more than 3 years, what have you found is your personal teaching style?

A: My teaching style comes from how I connect with people, and that is being “silly.” It’s a way for me to connect with my students. I am the Pun Queen here at Circuit Stream.

However, I believe that there is nothing more brilliant than making someone feel like they have the knowledge and capabilities within themselves to do what they set out for, and that is what I do when I teach. I make sure my students have the knowledge and the confidence to create whatever they want to create. I see myself as a “human tool” for my students to use.

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Q: What gets you up in the morning? What are your favorite moments and experiences teaching Unity and XR skills to new students?

A: Coding is very creative. I believe coding is one of the most creative industries or one of the most creative things. I love to convey the passion, excitement and creativity that I have for coding to my students.

Seeing my students succeed gives me a sense of accomplishment. Very often, my student and I will work together on problems. We might spend hours on this problem. , but we would have a virtual high five once we finally get it solved, and I love that feeling!

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Q: You’ve taught hundreds of students so far? What separates great students from good ones and what is your personal recommendation for somebody who wants to take a leap into XR and Unity?

A: If someone pursues an answer for their question and they bring that knowledge back and ask more questions, that’s how I know if someone is going to be a great student, not just a good student.

Usually, when someone is really new, they are often confused on what approach to take when there’s a problem. First, they have to figure out what they want, and then Google is their best friend. Don’t be afraid of using Google; it is not a failure when you use Google.

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Q: What happens when someone starts falling behind and then struggles to keep up with the program? Do you have methods to help that person catch up?

A: I find a lot of times the issue is lack of confidence. I would recommend the student to re-watch the course recordings and go over the basics during one-on-one sessions. I would also send them some Brackeys tutorials. I love Brackeys tutorials! I recommend watching the tutorials first, instead of doing the tutorial alongside at first since they might be too fast for complete beginners.

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Q: I know you don’t want to play favorites but do you have a favorite example of a student success story that you've witnessed?

A: One of my students was Jack Morgan. We worked hard on his project since there were lots of technical problems. In the end, his project was so successful that it landed him a job! I am very proud of that.

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Q: What do you think is the “next big thing” in our lives?

A: I believe mixed reality will be a big game-changer. It already is, especially in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) industries because it's so useful in many ways like representing and visualizing data and especially employee on the job learning. There are real-world case studies where the productivity went up for 90% just because the sources of information are “on their head” can replicate and simulate the real world.

Imagine if you have smart glasses; for example, it can show you your scheduling conflicts, and you can easily make fast decisions on the go! Or even more trivial chores like voice commands, creating to-do lists, cooking a recipe.

Currently, our lives are filled with black boxes with screens. If we can replace those screens with spatial 3D objects, wouldn’t that declutter our lives instead of vice-versa?

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Q: Who are you outside Circuit Stream? What do you like to do for fun and pleasure?

A: I play video games! I call it research because it’s important for me to know what other people are playing and the latest trends.

I also dance. One of my favourites is the Argentinian Tango which I have been practicing for years. But I am really into vogue right now. I often take my dog for trail runs; he’s my best bud and life partner!

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REVIEWED BY

Dejan Gajsek

Content Marketing

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