EMC Award Winners 10-11

Once a year, we have the pleasure of honoring about-to-graduate senior shining stars of the Emergent Media Center.  The EMC presented the following seven seniors with these well-deserved awards. Congratulations to all of you! You set the bar high for all of those who follow in your footsteps. Your contributions to the Emergent Media Center, Champlain College and all those whose lives you have positively impacted through the projects you've worked on, do not go unrecognized. You've made us very, very proud. Now go out into the world and SHINE BRIGHTLY!

Steve Beaulieu

Steve Beaulieu

Bachelor of Science Degree in Game Programming
Interstellar Award (Exceptional Achievement in all areas)

When and how did you first get involved with the EMC?
I got involved with the EMC at the start of my sophomore year. I had heard about the center before and wanted to work there but didn't think I knew enough to get a job there. Then I had moved to Spinner for that year and the center moved in right across the street. I thought that since it was across the street I might as well try and apply. I went in and interviewed and was hired onto the Information Literacy project. My first task was to fix the buggy computer functionality in that game.  So I often joke that my first task there was to fix the internet.

What projects did you work on/positions? Which one was your favorite? Why?
I was on several projects at the center. I was a programmer and then lead programmer for the Information Literacy project only 4 months after starting on the project. That summer I was on the IBM virtual worlds project as a programmer and I also joined the BREAKAWAY team as a programmer. Come that fall I was lead programmer for the BREAKAWAY. I later joined the PPNNE IPad project.

I would have to say that the BREAKAWAY project was my favorite. I was on it for most of the steps of the project so I got to see it from preproduction through to post production. I also did so many amazing things as part of that project. Play testing both internationally and locally, I implemented Agile, I went to IVOH and the UN, and worked with such a large team it was a blast.

Describe some of the work processes you would use to complete your projects.
Well I feel like many of my programming tasks were pretty straightforward. I would get tasked with adding functionality or fixing bugs and I would go do it. But I found the less straightforward ones to be fun in how I would have to put more thought into them. For example, when I was working on the architecture for BREAKAWAY I had been reading all kinds of books on general software engineering practices in my free time so I got to try and implement these things as I would work. I also found that getting up from the computer and walking over to the front of the mill and looking out the windows while I thought was also a good way to get the blood flowing while I was trying to think. More blood flow means your brain can function better so I would often get up and move to new locations where I would then think there. I would then draw everything out and see where I could still make improvements.

Will you use what you have learned at the EMC in the future? How?
I use the skills I learned while working at the EMC every day at my internship. It is not only the processes I learned while working there but the general experiences it that allow me to relate to what people will try to explain to me. While working at the EMC I learned three different languages. So any time I use any of those languages. I also learned how to jump into a project and pick it up really fast. All but one of the projects that I was on had already started before I joined the project.  So I would have a codebase to get used to or a project background to learn. This is something that I have used multiple times and I feel is a beneficial experience that I will use over and over.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I currently have an internship at Funcom in Montreal. I plan to get a job programming at a company that makes games. I am not sure which one or what kind of games but I feel like I have a lot of options since I have a background now that spans from serious games to applications to improving a users experience.

What is your dream job?
I am still not sure. I really enjoyed being a lead on the different projects and managing things at a high level as well as on a lower level. It also allowed me to communicate with the different teams a lot which I liked. So I think I would really like being the lead of a team of programmers. But I realize that there are a few steps that I will need to complete to get there. So I am hoping to sample as many different kinds of programming as possible during my career.

Heather Conover

Heather ConoverBachelor of Science Degree in Game Design
Interstellar Award (Exceptional Achievement in all areas)

When and how did you first get involved with the EMC?
I got involved with the EMC in the summer between my first year and sophomore year. Lauren Nishikawa recommended that I apply for a design position on the UN project, so I went for it. Best decision I ever made! Ann and Ray hired me, and I ended up staying with the EMC for over 2 years.

What projects did you work on/positions?  Which one was your favorite? Why?
I was a Designer on the United Nations project, a Producer/Designer on a project for IBM, and a Designer on the UN Cellphone Conversion team. I definitely enjoyed working on the UN project the most. I traveled across the world, took on an incredible task with a monumental goal, and was able to grow and learn more than I had through any class. I grew not just as a student but as a person.

Describe some of the work processes you would use to complete your projects.
We used standard game development process. Starting out in Preproduction, we would conceptualize the project as a team and determine every important detail. In Production we used waterfall method to implement the decisions we made in the previous step.

Will you use what you have learned at the EMC in the future? How?
I will always use what I have learned at the EMC because working there was a huge influence on who I am today. I learned how to become a better communicator, a better teammate, and a better professional. I learned how to craft presentations, more effective documentation, iterate and execute on complex designs, and more. All of those things are extremely important for my career.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I have moved down to Providence, RI for a fulltime position at 38 Studios as a Content Designer.

What is your dream job?
My dream is to always be happy and satisfied with my career, whether that means I'll continue into higher ranks at a game development studio, start my own company, or do something else entirely.

Bryan Hare

Bryan HareBachelor of Science Degree in Game Programming
Asteroid Award (Spirit & Enthusiasm)

When and how did you first get involved with the EMC?
I got involved with the EMC as a First-Year student. While attending one of our Game Dev town halls, Ann gave a presentation and let us know that she was hiring. I applied and was accepted for a position as a programmer.

What projects did you work on/positions? Which one was your favorite? Why?
IBM: Game Tomorrow Project - Programmer
Information Literacy - Programmer
CIMIT: RIPS - Lead Programmer
BREAKAWAY: Project to end violence against women - Initial Research and Prototyping
Learning 2009 iPhone Development - Programmer

Favorite was BREAKAWAY because of how powerful the project is. I don't know that I have ever been a part of something so large and meaningful. My experiences working on the project were pretty important for my college career.

Describe some of the work processes you would use to complete your projects.
The only projects that I was around, for the full duration of the project, were IBM and Learning 2009. Both of the projects were smaller in scope and we had very clear goals defined for them. Usually just a lot of checking in back and forth with our clients to make sure that the product that we are producing matches their vision.

Will you use what you have learned at the EMC in the future? How?
I learned so much about how to handle myself in development teams and manage my time more effectively while I was working there. This is huge because I plan to make indie games with a couple of friends when I graduate.

What are your plans for after graduation?
Making Indie Games with my friends, and hopefully making a living like that!

What is your dream job?
Working for myself

Bryan O'Hara

Bryan O'HaraBachelor of Science Degree in Game Design
Nova Award (Experiential, Work Ethic, Skill Growth)

When and how did you first get involved with the EMC?
I've had friends and roommates working with the EMC since its start, but I first started in mid October 2010. I wasn't happy with my current job and I had a few friends recommend that I apply for a few open positions.

What projects did you work on/positions?  Which one was your favorite? Why?
During the fall semester, I worked on the Mobile Conversion plan for BREAKAWAY as a Design Lead. Spring semester I worked on Room to Explore, first starting as in interactive designer and then later as Co-Lead Designer. I really enjoyed working on the mobile plan. We went really in-depth into a field that I didn't have a ton of experience in and it felt like we were making some really important decisions.

Describe some of the work processes you would use to complete your projects.
I'm a big believer in collaborative design. The best concepts and ideas come from a group, often from people with different perspectives. A designer's job is to guide collaboration. Provide structure for the discussion, keep it moving in the right direction and write everything down, even if you think it is a terrible idea. When someone hits a good idea, guide the discussion down a continually more narrow path until you end up with the answer to your initial question.

Will you use what you have learned at the EMC in the future? How?
Absolutely. The EMC provides a unique challenge, since your team members often have a different work schedule than you. I learned a lot about communicating through this barrier, and keeping a team responsible for their own work without having to provide constant updates. I love working in project management and the EMC has allowed me to expand and reflect on the skills I use in this field.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I am moving to Vancouver. I might have a job out there as a producer at a small mobile games studio, or I might not. What makes me happy extends beyond just my line of work, so moving to a place that fulfills those requirements is, personally, initially more important than finding the perfect job.

What is your dream job?
A producer at CCP games' Imaginary Vancouver Studio. I'd also love to take a stab at being a project manager for an outdoor gear company.

Dan Porter

Dan PorterBachelor of Science Degree in Game Design, Certificate in Business Management
Extragalactic Award (Solutions, Creativity, Innovation)

When and how did you first get involved with the EMC?
Summer 2007

What projects did you work on/positions?  Which one was your favorite? Why?
Info Lit - Searchlight : Conceptual Game Designer
Info Lit - Searchlight : Programmer
IBM Virual Worlds : Game Designer / Scripter
Info Lit - Searchlight : Assistant Project Manager
Brainstorming Team: Conceptual Game Designer

Describe some of the work processes you would use to complete your projects.
For brainstorming we usually used giant whiteboards and paper to concept ideas, then recorded them in larger design documents. For project management, I used Microsoft Project for task tracking (its a great tool and alot of professionals use it).

Will you use what you have learned at the EMC in the future? How?
Yes, I still use my knowledge of Microsoft Project and Microsoft Word (the more advanced features like hyperlinking and embedding fonts) on a regular basis.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I'm working at Gameloft

What is your dream job?
Lead Game Designer (although its REALLY hard work judging from the guys at Gameloft, so maybe I'd settle for just being a Game or Content Designer)

Alison Seffels

Alison SeffelsBachelor of Science Degree in Game Design, Certificate in Business Management

Fusion Award (Collaboration)

Keith Tatarczuk

Keith TatarczukBachelor of Science Degree in Game Art & Animation
Quasar Award (Commitment & Longevity)

When and how did you first get involved with the EMC?
I first started spring 2008. I believe I went to a job fair for it but I can't really remember. All I know is that when I started we were in the barn at admissions. I even remember Sarah's first day of work.

What projects did you work on/positions?  Which one was your favorite? Why?
I worked on BREAKAWAY from the beginning, Searchlight before that, and briefly on a small IBM project before that. I think my favorite was definitely BREAKAWAY . There was a lot more creativity involved in it as well as more opportunities and experiences.

Describe some of the work processes you would use to complete your projects.
Well mostly just a lot of trial/error with concepting. It requires a lot of passing things back and forth for critiques and revision.

Will you use what you have learned at the EMC in the future? How?
I'm sure I will, consciously or not.

What are your plans for after graduation?
I'm working a seasonal job in Denali Nation Park, AK and then I think a small bit of travel around BC and back to Burlington. Hopefully returning to school soon for nursing.

What is your dream job?
Dunno. Something fun that doesn't take over my life. I'm a bit in the air as far as what I really wanna do though.


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