top of page

Don Balanzat

I currently use my expertise of education/training, physical science, engineering, and extended reality (XR) technology stacks for the future of spacecraft and human spaceflight at Blue Origin! In my spare time, I try my best to use what I know of STEM to inspire the youth in my community.


B.S. in Professional Physics

Rutgers University                                                                                    2012 - 2016

MNS in Geological Science

Arizona State University                                                                          2020 - 2022, GPA: 4.0

MS in Human Factors

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University                                                  2023-2025 (expected)

Professional Experience:

XR Software Tools Engineer

Blue Origin, Systems Engineering                                                            March 2022 - Present

Virtual Reality Developer (Internship)

NASA - Goddard Space Flight Center                                                      June 2021 - August 2021

Laboratory Coordinator, Sr.  

Arizona State University Physics Department                                        July 2016 - March 2022

Student Demonstration Specialist        

Rutgers University Physics Department                                                  April 2012 - June 2016


Math and Science Learning Center Tour Guide    

Rutgers University Math and Science Learning Center​                         January 2014 - May 2015

Academic Affiliations and Experience:

Center for Education Through eXploration (ETX)                                     

Virtual Field Trip Content Creator                                                              2019 - 2022

Embodied Games Lab (EGL)                                                                       

Game/VR Researcher & Developer                                                           2019 - Present

METEOR Studio                                                                                           

VR Developer                                                                                               2020 - 2022

Professional Affiliations:

Future of Education for Virtual and Augmented Reality (FEVAR)           2019 - Present

American Psychological Association (APA)                                              2021 - Present

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Association (VRARA)                2022 - Present

American Association Physics Teachers (AAPT)                                     2016 - 2022

American Physical Society (APS)                                                              2016 - 2022

Physics Instructional Resource Association (PIRA)                                 2016 - 2022


Teaching/Training Experience:

  • Taught online physics labs (PHY122/132) at Arizona State University

  • Performed dozens of informal science shows and guided lab activities for K-12, junior college students, university students, and various professional institutions in the Phoenix metro area. The following is a list of institutions reached:

    • Phoenix College, Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Ward Traditional Academy, Rhode’s Junior High School, American Leadership Academy - Gilbert, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Metropolitan Arts Institute, Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies, Desert Edge High School, Estrella Mountain Community College

  • Individual tutoring for high school and introductory college physics

  • Physics laboratory manual and apparatus development

  • Trained physics department teaching assistants and student workers on the operation and theory of lab apparatus

Public/Volunteer Work and Extracurricular Activities:


May 2020 - Present

  • Departmental Action Team (DAT) that executes initiatives designed to increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in ASU Physics. ​

Education Through eXploration Center        

August 2019 - 2022 

Solar Immersive Virtual Field Trip (iVFT) Volunteer Physics Consultant


  • Shot 360° video with Dr. Sian Proctor in the Physics Demonstration Lab, providing 22 minutes of video that is being used in the iVFT.

  • Advised on implementation of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) alignment with VFT design. 

Science on Main


June 2018 - 2021

  • Provide a physicists’ perspective as part of an interdisciplinary group of scientists that get together for 2nd Fridays in Mesa, AZ to answer questions and have conversations about scientific topics with the general public.

Phoenix Fan Fusion Panelist      

In the Front Lines: How to be Constructively Pro-Science

May 2019

  • Participated in a panel discussion about how to engage constructive conversations both online and offline to lead non-scientists back into science.

It CAN Get Weirder: The Science of Into the Spider-Verse

  • Participated in a panel discussion on the “science in the science fiction” of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Emphasized using scientific facts to weave stories.

March for Science      

Lead Organizer and Director of Communications

April 2017 - 2018


American Association of Physics Teachers - Arizona Chapter

Physics Instructional Resource Team Outreach        

Fall 2019

  • A 45 minute talk about networking to maximize the scope and impact of using physics demonstrations in public outreach.


American Association of Physics Teachers - National

Breaking Glass with Sound Waves (Make & Take)

Summer 2019                   

  • A 4-hour workshop in which attendees built an acoustic glass-breaking device from a set of parts.

Connecting Demonstration Apparatus to the Real World

Summer 2018

  • A 15 minute presentation and Q&A about examples of real world devices that can help to bridge the gap of abstraction in physics concepts. 


Future of Education for Virtual and Augmented Reality (FEVAR) 

AR in Physics Education       

February 2020

  • Outline and showcase current applications of mobile device AR as they pertain to physics education. Includes a guided tutorial of an AR app “Physics Toolbox AR” that was co-designed at ASU to facilitate spatialized learning about magnetic fields in 3 dimensions.


Education Through eXploration (ETX)

Creating Place-Based, Active Learning, Virtual Field Trips: What Makes a Good Virtual Field Trip?         

July 2020

  • Professional development for teachers where I talk about location and topic driven narratives in various virtual field trips that I helped create to use for teaching science alongside Dr. Sian Proctor.


Papers, Articles, and Publications:

Green Conference: Reducing Carbon Emissions with a Virtual Conference 

Interactive CovidCampus Simulation Game: Genesis, Design, and Outcomes


Technical Competencies:

  • Experience with using and troubleshooting physics laboratory equipment: oscilloscopes, thermal probes, sensors, etc. with associated software.

  • Tier 2 technical support - including BSoD troubleshooting, hardware installation, virtualization, etc.

  • Machining - lathes, mills, tap and die, power tools

  • 3D Modeling experience in Blender

  • Game/Simulation experience in Unity (C#, input systems, shaders, various popular packages)

  • Proficient with the Ableton Live Digital Audio Workstation

  • MATLAB (data science, scientific computing)



Darya Dolenko, PIRT Manager/Instructional Professional Sr

Arizona State University Physics Department | (480) 727-8398)


David Maiullo, Physics Demonstration Specialist

Rutgers University Physics Department | (848) 445-9081


Sian Proctor, Professor of Geoscience

South Mountain Community College (SMCC)

Ivan Blaustein, XR Team Manager

Blue Origin

bottom of page