About Us


Fadi Castronovo Ph.D., EIT is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at the California State University East Bay’s Engineering Department in the Construction Management program. His research focuses on the use of innovative technology (such as BIM, virtual and augmented reality) for the enhancement of construction management and engineering delivery process. He has researched the role of immersive virtual reality to improve the delivery process of facilities, starting from the design to the management of the facility. His research has also focused on intersecting with educational psychology, with a special focus on self-regulated learning of Lean Design and Construction practices. Lastly, his main research focus lies in the development and assessment of educational video games for the advancement of STEM education.

Prior to joining the California State University East Bay, Fadi received Doctorate in Architectural Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, with a Minor in Educational Psychology, Master of Science in Architectural Engineering at the Technical University of Denmark, and his Bachelor of Civil Engineering at the Cooper Union. He has worked in several architecture studios in Rome and New York, as an architectural and BIM designer. He has also worked at Walt Disney Imagineering on the development of learning and assessment material for the Lean health of high performing project teams.

At Cal State East Bay, he supported the formation of the Construction Engineering Advanced Technologies (CEAT) Center. Three of his research groups are part of the CEAT Center. The Immersive and Interactive Research group performs research in the use and development of interactive workspaces for integrated project teams. Efforts from Lean Construction Research group focus on the use of technology to eliminate construction waste. Lastly, the STEM Educational Gaming Research group efforts focus on leveraging engaging and innovative technology to enhance the education for future construction managers and engineers.

Bruce Simon has been teaching science for over 20 years to students of all ages. He is currently the Associate Director of Gateways East Bay STEM Network, a leadership hub for regional stakeholders working together to improve educational outcomes in STEM across Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. He works with partners from education, business, government, and non-profits to coordinate educational efforts, identify and promote promising practices, and to facilitate professional learning for educators.

Growing up, Bruce had always been interested in science. He enjoyed visiting the Franklin Institute, a science museum located in his hometown of Philadelphia. Young Bruce could be seen wandering through the giant heart, pondering the pendulum, learning about energy, and taking science classes at the museum. A favorite science experiment from his childhood is a project in which his class had to design the insulation for a model house heated by a light bulb. The students tested different materials to figure out which ones were most insulating.

One of Bruce’s most rewarding science teaching experiences was teaching fifth grade science. He had the opportunity to conduct a year-long unit focused on the open ocean. Bruce says that he “loved working with the students to learn about the ocean system and the connections between currents, wind, waves, and weather and how they impact all life on Earth.” Still interested in the ocean, Simon is fascinated by the density differences in liquids and gases and how they relate to ocean currents and winds. He even knows a few simple experiments demonstrating this effect!

Akarsh Rao is in his 3rd year of pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering. Akarsh is an Undergraduate Researcher in Virtual Reality, studying the effects of Virtual Reality in a classroom setting. This project allows him and his team to dive deep into the human mind, and explore how we can better teach the next generation. He has participated in many conferences, the latest being the National ASEE conference, in Salt Lake City, discussing his research with others around the country, while learning how others use technology to better understand our world. When he is not busy with his schoolwork, Akarsh can be seen reading a book, playing music, catching up with the news, or just hanging out with his friends.

Karan Monga is in his 3rd year pursuing a B.S. Computer Science. He is part of the STEM Educational Gaming Research Group working on developing a virtual reality-based educational game that teaches students on campus the importance of waste management and sustainability. His main goal is to support Cal State East Bay students in gaining competitive technical and problem-solving skills, stimulate student’s involvement in research, and promote new internal and external research. He is also working as a student sustainability ambassador in the Office of Sustainability in his university that entails promoting sustainable advancement in the workplace and preparing students to utilize sustainable practices in the career of their choosing.