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Deep in the forbidden forest of the Navigating Nature video game, honor student Nadia Roumie discovered that in order to hear a tree fall in the woods, you have to listen. The game, created at the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry at Ball State, threw biology and computer design students together to teach second graders about ecology. The immersive learning project resulted in a prototype that is being developed for use by school systems.

In addition to a tangible product or outcome, immersive learning experiences have other life-altering results such as relationship building for the student. “In the beginning, we clashed on what the game was about and what was most important,” says Roumie, a wildlife biology major who graduated summa cum laude in December 2007. “We had to talk to find common ground. Listening was huge. Now, I know I need to understand people first so I can give them information they need to make informed decisions.”

Roumie has been a turbo-charged, positive force behind the greening of campus, especially as president of Students for a Sustainable Campus, a group she joined her freshman year. She has worked determinedly on dozens of environmental projects such as the Recyclemania competition between universities and received the Ball State Green Initiatives Award for her efforts.

An Al Gore Climate Project training session led Roumie to find her greatest passion.
Now, she plans to write her thesis on how climate change affects wildlife when she heads to graduate school in the fall.