Russ D. Shilling, PhD, most recently served as the first chief scientific officer for the American Psychological Association. Shilling has wide-ranging scientific, policy and administrative experience, including positions within education, the federal government and private industry. He is a retired Navy Captain, having served for 22 years as a Navy aerospace experimental psychologist conducting and managing a wide range of basic and applied research projects and programs in training, education and psychological health.
Shilling has a long history of working in the world of Serious Play. He entered the Navy following his graduate work developing games to studying how children process sound. When he entered the Navy, he was assigned to the Naval Air Warfare Center Training System Division in Orlando where he researched spatial sound in virtual environments and advanced aviation displays. He eventually was assigned to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Ca where he became the first sound designer for the America’s Army video game and was runner-up for best sound in Gamespot magazine in 2002. During this time he worked with both Lucasfilm THX and Skywalker Sound.
In 2005, Shilling created the first military-sponsored program focused on using virtual reality to enhance therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and sponsored games to explore the impacts of pandemic influenza. As a DARPA program manger, he developed programs using AI-based virtual human systems to help identify PTSD and suicidality and to destigmatize psychological health treatment. While there he also explored the use of comics and art therapy for PTSD and developed programs to use games for improving STEM education in children.
Shilling also spent six years as the military program manager for the Sesame Street/Electric Company Military Child Resilience Programs which earned an Emmy and two CINE Golden Eagle Awards.
After retiring from the Navy in 2014, he was appointed as the Executive Director for STEM Initiatives at the U. S. Department of Education by the Obama Administration where he was a proponent of educational games and innovations in education technology.