Dr. Carolina Cruz-Neira, a member of the National Academy of Engineering, is a pioneer in virtual reality and interactive visualization, having created and deployed a variety of technologies that have become standard tools in industry, government, and academia. She is known world-wide for creating the CAVE virtual reality system, by spearheading Open-Source initiatives, like VRJuggler, to disseminate and grow VR technologies, and by leading entrepreneurial initiatives to commercialize research results. She has over 100 publications and has been awarded over $75 million in grants, contracts, and donations. She is also recognized for founding and leading successful virtual reality research centers: the Virtual Reality Applications Center, the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, and the Emerging Analytics Center. She serves in international technology boards, government technology advisory committees.

She enjoys intersecting her research with the arts and the humanities through public performances and installations. She has been named one of the top innovators in virtual reality and one of the top three greatest women visionaries in virtual reality. She has been inducted to the IEEE Virtual Reality Academy, an IEEE Fellow, and an ACM Computer Pioneer;She has received the IEEE Virtual Reality Technical Achievement Award and the Distinguished Career Award from the International Digital Media & Arts Society among many recognitions. She has given numerous keynotes and advises several governments on how virtual reality can help to give industries a competitive edge towards regional economic growth. Currently, Dr. Cruz is the Agere Chair in Computer Science at the University of Central Florida.