Core Leaders


Cynthia allen: Producer

Cynthia Allen is a professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. With the students in her courses “Future Reality: Trends and Impacts in New Media” and “Digital Art and New Media,” Allen has spearheaded and directed the VR museum into fruition.

In addition to her position as Professor at Gallatin, Allen is also president of Lightning New Media, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving arts archives on the Internet-professional theatre, opera, rare book and manuscripts, film, Jewish heritage, sports archives, and photography collections. For more than seven years, Allen was the program coordinator for NYU's Center for Advanced Technology. For more than 25 years, she has been involved with all aspects of film production—from producer to director—and continues to produce and direct programming for the Web. Some of the filmmakers she has worked with include Joel and Ethan Coen, Sergio Leone, and Martin Scorsese. She is the website director, editor, and a voting member for the New York Theatre Critics' organization Outer Critics Circle (OCC); as well as the Festival Director of HEAR Now: The Audio Fiction & Arts Festival.


Elizabeth castano: Composer

Elizabeth Castano is a New York-based composer for film and multimedia. She is a graduate of The Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU, where she studied music production, engineering and business in addition to composition. Primarily a pianist, she often features the piano accompanied by string arrangements and synth textures.    


anika hussen: Website co-designer

Anika Hussen is a sophomore at NYU concentrating on the intersection of immersive technology, film production, and storytelling. She is studying how to integrate Extended Reality technologies into storytelling to build tangible experiences and stimulate empathy within the audience. Her work focuses on creating simulated adventure worlds and environments with sci-fi and fantasy elements. She is passionate about provoking thought and curiosity as a result of the environments she creates. This is her first time participating in the Gallatin Arts Festival.


Pasan Dharmasena: Director

Pasan is a recent graduate from NYU Gallatin, where he studied 3D modeling and animation with a focus in human anatomy. He now explores creating narratives through immersive virtual environments and is working as a 3D artist with NYU’s Future Reality Lab. 



Longkun is currently pursuing his master's degree in Computer Science, specializing in Game Development, at the University of Southern California. He has professional VR/AR development experiences and he enjoys to explore ways to innovate storytelling experiences via emerging technologies.


audrey burt: website designer

Audrey Burt is a Gallatin senior, originally from Omaha, Nebraska, concentrating on ‘Design and the Human Experience’. Her studies center around how spaces, places, and objects affect humans physically, psychologically, and emotionally.  In addition to physical spaces, she would like to study virtual spaces, and how they will affect the future of the human experience. Her works explore the implications of form and space and span many mediums, including sculpture, 3D printing, painting, and drawing. Her artwork can be found at