Friday, August 21, 2009

Shhh! We're Working Here!

Shhhh! Its been busily quiet here at the EMC this afternoon. Ray and Ken are out, Lauren's not here today either, leaving just Sarah and myself behind the "glass".
There have been about 15 students silently, thoughtfully working away. It's a funny thing —I'm so fond of each one of them. I can recognize their hopes, their anxieties, their passions, and most importantly their spirits and bright shining intelligence.
I am remembering those likewise who worked so diligently and played so hard here. I was first prompted by a college meeting about our grads and their employment out of EMC.
To note is that to date we’ve worked with roughly 130 students since start-up (2 years). This summer we had a full house with approximately 30 students working on 6 projects all summer long. This Fall many of those projects will end but we have a number of others that will continue.
So here's our grads:
  • Kate Baxter, ’09 Software Engineering, is a Junior Programmer at 2K Boston and recently returned from doing a “sea-mester” abroad sailing the Caribbean for 40 days in a program focused on leadership, communication and experiential education. Kate began with the original IBM project, joined the second IBM project, and then our UN team. She was also a Governor's Institue of Vermont in Information Technology (GIV IT)resident advisor.
  • Emily Benton, '09 Game Art & Animation is working freelance on art for Disney. Emily was the artist on the original Masie Learning 2007 conference and then the MPI: Meet Different conference. She was also a GIV IT resident advisor.
  • Dan Bergeron, ’09 Marketing, is working as an Account Manager at 800response. Dan was on our UN project as a market researcher and first identified soccer as the unifying cultural theme!
  • Corey Cunha, ’09 Software Engineering, is working as a Developer at EF Educational Tours in Boston. Corey programmed on our CIMIT and Cystic Fibrosis projects.
  • Casey Hopkins, ’09 E-Business, is a SEO Analyst at . Casey was on our UN project as a researcher traveling with us to South Africa.
  • Wes Knee, ’09 Game Art & Animation, is interning as a 3D Infographiste at Mistic Software in Montreal working on art for Nintendo DS games. Wes was on almost everything to include America's Army, Info Lit, CIMIT, the various Masie, CIMIT and MPI conferences, and the UN project to include presenting at MIGS last year on the UN project - that's where his current employer saw him first. He was also a GIV IT resident advisor.
  • Lauren Nishikawa, '09 Game Design, both ourselves and Amanda Crispel (Hoozinga) scooped her up. She's the Junior Creative Director for our Empowering Play (UN) Project. Lauren just was on EVERYTHING and was the first recipient of our EMC Interstellar Award. She was also a GIV IT resident advisor.
  • Iain Bissett, ’08 Game Design, is working at 3DVIA in Boston and has a great blog documenting his professional life: Iain was our writer/designer on the first IBM interactive project.
  • Renee Gillett, ’08 Game Design is an interactive designer at the Museum of Science in Boston – creating games for the museum’s exhibits. Renee participated in many demonstrations - to include the original Game Change Summit in Kingbridge where she first met her future employers.
  • Tim Hamel, ’08 Game Design and 3D Art & Animation, is working as a Level Designer at Vicarious Visions and has worked on the Transformers games among others. Tim worked on various projects to include the original IBM interactive and was first leader of our student chapter of the IGDA.
  • Nick Malatuma, '08 Game Art & Animation, is working as an artist at the EMC on our UN project to End Violence Against Women. That's him below with some of his incredible artwork!
So here's to our students - past and present. They have built the EMC right along with us. They are our bright future!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Returning from "Scotland"

Summer is nearing an end—our Fall semester starts again in less than 3 weeks!!!! Being so Sarah, Ray and myself just returned from vacation. Ken is off for another week. Interestingly enough he's in Nova Scotia where I just returned from. Ray just returned from the "original" Scottish coast! So in essence the three of us visited Scotland of sorts.
I was far from connectivity except upon return on the ferry that travels from Nova Scotia to New Brunswick. There of course I immediately took photos with my iphone and uploaded to Facebook to share! It was difficult at first to leave work behind but in the end it was very good to vacate all work, all stress, all to do lists. And it is always good to view one's life through unexplored contexts and pare down to the essentials.
It was almost as difficult to pick up work upon my return. Hundreds of emails needed responses, plans needed refocusing, and my brain needing to be shook to jog lose what ties had been left undone. It was enough to make me want to take the next ferry back!
However there was the EMC full of life, full of students! Burlington 3D had grown in scope, Cystic Fibrosis had a new game character, VT Virtual Museum is in final concept production. The Masie iphone and IBM teams were hard at work. There was Lauren Nishikawa in her new role as Junior Creative Project Manager. Rafi presented a proposal for fundraising for the Empowering Play project, Amanda had an excellent marketing plan proposal. 
Likewise I could see the impact of the EMC. For those of you who haven’t caught this, what began as Champlain student Raymond Ortgiesen blog post was picked up first by “Gamasutra” (the publication for Game Developers) and then by “healthGAMERS”. The discussion is on the term “serious games”. A number of our students wrote into the forum—Heather Conover, Derek Harde, Max Nichols, Bryan Hare, and Glen Cooney. Wonderful to hear their thoughts on the topic now that they have been working in that venue for two years!

Regardless of my thoughts on the topic, what I appreciate and find rewarding is the engaged level of debate by our Champlain students in a public, professional venue: 

Is the Term Serious Game Misleading? | healthGAMERS
By Melanie M. Lazarus, MPH 
This week's Standout Member Blog is Raymond Ortgiesen's Blog, views from a junior game design student at Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. His featured post is entitled “Some Thoughts About Serious Games.
Gamasutra link:
As Govanna Peebles, the VT State Archeologist expressed to me, hard not to want to work here. So it is good to return!