At Champlain College, some of the main goals of the Game Art major are “One: have professional, quality work at graduation, because that’s the only way to get a job in the industry. Two: get students the collaborative experience necessary to get them ready to step into the industry and start working on a team,” says JoAnn Patel, Program Director for Game Art. 

That’s why Patel encourages her students to showcase their work and build out their portfolios. Second-year student Keegan Nilsson ’26 followed Patel’s advice and chose to showcase his GAA 235: 3D Modeling final project on a well-known website for digital art called The Rookies. To his surprise, The Rookies named his work as an Editor’s Choice pick, and featured his work on the homepage for a week.

“It’s really awesome that I can take a project I did here and gain recognition for it outside of school. The Rookies is also super cool, because it’s a platform for students across the world. You can see the work from people in our school and other schools across the world and learn from them,” Nilsson said.

His assignment was to create a sci-fi hallway using Maya, a professional 3D animation and visual effects software. Once Nilsson and his classmates’ animation were complete, they would then become game-engine ready in Unreal Engine, the next step in the process of developing a game. This full-picture approach and career-focused education is what all students in the Game Studio Experience can expect in all seven of our Game Studio majors.

More than just a portfolio platform, The Rookies is a place for digital artists to connect with industry professionals and pick up skills that will benefit them in industries like animation, games, fashion, film, and more. It’s a great way for artists to build their portfolios, networking, and gain recognition for their work.

And while Patel motivates her students to share their work, she says it all comes down to personal responsibility. “I don’t require students to do it. I encourage them to do it, because it’s really good publicity for them. I mean, Nilsson’s only a sophomore and he’s getting publicity and recognition for it,” she says.

Alyssa Fabrizio '26
Professional Writing

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