Marquis Emerging Leaders

Dr. R. Michael Winters

Title: Postdoctoral Researcher

Company: Microsoft

Location: Seattle, WA

Education: PhD in Music Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology (2020); Research Intern, Microsoft (2016); Research Intern, Georgia Institute of Technology (2015); MA in Music Technology, McGill University (2014); Research Intern, Sennheiser Electronic GmbH & Co. (2013); BA in Music and Physics, Minor in Mathematics and Philosophy, The College of Wooster (2010); Diploma, Oak Park River Forest High School (2006)

Career History: Postdoctoral Researcher, Microsoft, Redmond, WA (2021-Present); Research Affiliate, Socioneural Physiology Lab, Kinsey Institute, Indiana University (2020-2021); Graduate Research Assistant, Brain Music Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology (2018-2020); Sonification Design Researcher, PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder (2017-2020); Sonification Lab, Georgia Institute of Technology (2016-2018); Sonification UX Developer, Hop Labs, Atlanta, GA (2017); Graduate Research Assistant, Robotic Musicianship Group, Georgia Institute of Technology (2014-2016); Sonification Developer, Schulich School of Music, McGill University (2013-2014); Livestream Engineer and Coordinator, Schulich School of Music, McGill University (2012-2013); Research Associate, Input Devices and Music Interaction Laboratory, Canada (2011-2013); Research Associate, Physics Department, The College of Wooster, Ohio (2010); Consultant in Field

Dr. R. Michael Winters, Postdoctoral Researcher at Microsoft, has been recognized as a Marquis Emerging Leader for their contributions and achievements in the field of science research.

Driven by his passions for physics and music, Dr. Winters has excelled in his industry by making technologies with valuable contributions that impact people’s lives. An expert in sonification, the utilization of non-speech sounds to convey information, and brain-computer interfacing, he has strived to approach technology as a means to empower people and boost empathy—and has dedicated a substantial amount of time and research into ways music can be used in this way. A postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft since 2021, he previously served as a research affiliate in the Socioneural Physiology Lab at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University; a graduate research assistant in the Brain Music Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology; and a sonification design researcher for PhET Interactive Simulations at the University of Colorado Boulder. In the latter position, he created physics simulations accessible for those who could not see by using sound; millions of people have since utilized this technology every year. In addition, he previously worked at the Sonification Lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology and served as a sonification UX developer at Hop Labs. From 2014 to 2016, Dr. Winters found success as a graduate research assistant for the Robotic Musicianship Group at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which was preceded by experience at the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, where he found success as a sonification developer and livestream engineer and coordinator. He began his career at the College of Wooster as a research associate in the Physics Department in 2010 and subsequently served in the same position at the Input Devices and Music Interaction Laboratory in Canada from 2011 to 2013.

A frequent consultant in the field, Dr. Winters has additionally lent his expertise as an executive producer and livestream coordinator for the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at the Ferst Center for the Arts from 2016 to 2020. Voraciously active as a researcher and writer as well, he has contributed numerous articles to professional journals, in addition to authoring several conference papers and abstracts. He has co-authored such articles as “Sonic Interaction Design for Science Education” and “Strategies for Auditory Display of Social Media,” both of which were published in Ergonomics in Design, a renowned peer-reviewed journal, among other works. Moreover, he has served as a designer, an engineer, and a producer for several demonstration videos. A past member of the International Community for Auditory Display and an organizer of Women in Music Technology, he has accrued numerous accolades for his work over the course of his productive career. Such honors include the Sempre Conference Award from the Third International Conference of Music and Emotion, a Student Travel Award from the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, a Doctoral Consortium Award from the National Science Foundation, and a Brain Award from IEEE.

Dr. Winters, who lives with attention-deficit hyperactive disorder and anxiety disorder, attributes much of his success to these traits, which he sometimes considers “superpowers” that distinguish him and have contributed to his growth as a thinker and researcher. Equipped with a Bachelor of Arts in music and physics from the College of Wooster, a Master of Arts in music technology from McGill University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in music technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, he gravitated toward his eventual profession while a student. Based on visions he had in college, he ultimately found that sound was effective in communicating emotional information. Looking toward the future, he hopes to build on his research, obtain a team of fellow researchers and a lab, and inspire generations of students to understand his work and explore the potential he sees in technology.

Dr. Winters has been equally passionate about paying it forward through active involvement in various education-based groups and foundations, as well as food and housing shelters.

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