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Johanna is Pac-12 Player of the Week

Johanna Teder walks across a basketball court
Photo by Andrew Thill

Johanna Teder is the Pac-12 Player of the Week

By: Max Ciot

During the final week of February, DTC senior and WSU basketball player Johanna Teder received the Pac-12 Player of the Week award. Johanna was excited to receive this award, stating that “there are so many good athletes and players at our conference” and that she did not expect to receive this award at all. She won the award for most outstanding statistics in two days in a single week when she averaged 20.5 points a game.

For Johanna, basketball has taught her a lot about discipline and time management. She says that it isn’t easy to be a student when practices and games take a lot of energy out of her, but she wants to do good in school in addition to athletics. There are a lot of other things that basketball gives to Johanna as well, including; good friends, travelling, opportunities for education, and memories.

As a Digital Technology and Culture student, Johanna is currently trying to learn and get better. She chose DTC due to her interest in art and want to try something new. “I feel like DTC was a good choice and I am really excited to see where it takes me. As a student-athlete, sports take most of the time of my day, but I am willing to get better in things as well,” says Johanna.

Jacob Riddle’s Artist Talk

A man talks in front of a crowd in an auditorium

Jacob Riddle’s Artist Talk

By: Max Ciot

On October 7th, 2021 DTC faculty member Jacob Riddle presented an Artist Talk for the WSU Department of Fine Arts. The presentation delved into Jacob’s journey as an artist from more of a traditional photographer to his currnet interest in generative design.

Jacob started out with an anecdote about how he began to think about photos as information around 2010 or 2011, and made a hexadecimal file called .jpeg. This inspired him to start messing with what we do to photos such as jpegs and do it to a physical object, so he ran his file through a paper shredder. Jacob stated that this was still visual. He removed his JPEG from the code even further and ran it through text to speech software and created JPEG.mp3. At the time, text to speech was not as amazing as it is today, so it sounded a little odd. Afterwards, Jacob ran his file through a printer, which took three days.

Later on in 2012, Jacob started also thinking about Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) as a space that can explore photography. He started to reject traditional photography methods. He instead began to think about ways you can interact with User Interfaces (UI). He created screenshots and animated GIFS, including a program that watched da window just get stuck. He then dove into some video work, still dealing with UI, and created a buffer video to show how our constant connectedness has conditioned us to expect things. For example, the spinning wheel means “we wait” even though there is nothing to wait for.

While he was working on his Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) during the years 2014-2016, Jacob had also started learning 3D modelling. As time went on, Jacob also started thinking about software as a studio space and dove head in. He began to realize that there were similarities between the 3D modelling workspace and a photography studio. For example, in the 3D modelling workspace, there are lights, focus controls, moving cameras, and so on, such as in life. He created still life images. When people would ask if they were real, he would think “dreams are real, hallucinations are real,” as a rebuttal to the question. This is to prompt the realization that they are asking the wrong question. According to Jacob: “Real brings a value connotation with it that does not need to be there.”

Around 2017 or 2018, Jacob also bought a piece of purple drywall and tilted it in a way he could cut a hole inside that was still level, and could fit a painting inside. When you looked at it straight-on, you would realize what you thought was an object was an image after all. However, all of this felt too rigid and structured after a while, so Jacob wanted a change. Drones were being tested in his yard often, he would watch them in the sky with his camera and noticed the trees move. Inspired to simulate fluid motion and with a background dabbling in VR for a few years at this point, he had come across VR sculpting tools. These, he explained, were like spray-painting in a 3D space. He created gestural marks in this 3D space, recorded video for the background with drones, and also placed pillars in the foreground of his simulation. Afterwards, Jacob suspended a TV screen in a gallery from the ceiling so people could lay underneath it to watch it. However, due to this format, a lot of people did not view his work, he reflects.

A crowd looks at their phones

A separate work of art Jacob also created more recently (starting from late 2019 and is ongoing) was related to Disruptive Pattern Material; also known as camouflage. After researching the history of camouflage and becoming fascinated over its nature-imitating properties, Jacob fed a selection of camouflage from various places and time-points in history to an Artificial Intellegence (AI) program. This AI program; a GAN could be trained to learn the similarities between a group of images it is fed, and generate images it thinks it fits into that group. It also learns to select other images that it thinks belong in the same group. Using this, Jacob created a variety of camouflage patterns.

After researching more into generative design and playing around with that, Jacob found out about something called topology optimization (often wrongly referred to as generative design). Simultaneously learning about mushrooms and the complex connections between trees and mushrooms, he realized they felt networked like the internet. He started foraging for mushrooms and scanning them in 3D. Recently, he created a Snapchat filter that shows you various 3D scanned mushrooms in the space you are in. This is animated and cycles through various mushrooms. Jacob ended his talk by showing the crowd how to use his snapchat filter.

Jacob Riddle’s work can be viewed on his website.

 

Zahra Debbek and Sabrina Hoenes Intern at the WSU Museum of Art

Zahra Debbek and Sabrina Hoenes Intern at the
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art

By: Max Ciot

This year, DTC Seniors Zahra Debbek and Sabrina Hoenes are interning at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the WSU campus.

Previously, Zahra had worked at the Museum of Art as a marketing intern in 2017. When Zahra had a clearer idea of what she wanted to do after graduation, she reached out to the museum to work with them again. After a few interviews, Zahra was offered the position of Museum Assistant. She also enrolled in Fine Arts 490: Gallery Procedures with the Museum of Art, which is part of her Exhibition Studies minor and has enhanced her experience at the museum. Sabrina got her internship through the museum’s Educational Coordinator and former DTC Faculty Member, Kristen Becker.

Zahra’s responsibilities at the Museum of Art include: creating different types of media such as taking photos, videos, and posting on social media. Other duties include welcoming visitors into the museum and participating in ongoing events. Sabrina is in charge of capturing videos of public events taking place at the museum, and any video editing that the museum may need.

Students put together letters for the letter press at the Museum of Art.

Sabrina’s favorite aspects about working for the Museum of Art are getting to experience the public and private events. Zahra likes being surrounded by so much creativity, as it keeps her and others inspired. Connecting with the community and allowing students learning opportunities is also something Zahra enjoys about working at the museum. Recently, Zahra and Sabrina were given the opportunity to record footage of the visiting artists from the Black Lives Matter Artist Grant Exhibit. “It was so nice meeting and talking to them and hearing their thoughts on their artwork! I also love working with the staff at the museum, they are all so nice and friendly,” says Sabrina.

This internship is helping Zahra and Sabrina build up not only their resumes, but also their portfolios. According to Sabrina, the internship has helped her gain experience working with cameras as she produces videos for the museum. She also has had the opportunity to further strengthen and improve her skills in Adobe Premiere Pro.

After graduating, Zahra is planning to work in the creative side of marketing, mainly for museums. Majoring in DTC with a minor in Exhibition Studies through the Department of Fine Arts will enable her to use all of the skills that she is learning in her future career. Sabrina is unsure of exactly what she wants to do, but she wouldn’t mind a career in the museum industry if the opportunity presented itself.

Jacob Riddle Mentors Interns with the Coeur D’Alene Tribe

Jacob Riddle Mentors Coeur D’Alene Tribal Game Design Interns

 

A GIF of a Bitsy Game A GIF of a Bitsy Game

By: Max Ciot

For the second summer in a row the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Department of Education collaborated alongside Washington State University to host a paid internship program targeted towards youth tribal members. The program lasted for three weeks and was designed to give youth the important skills and the academic footing they need in order to become future leaders within the Coeur D’Alene (CDA) Tribe. There were three internship tracks interns could choose from: (1) Game Design and Coding, (2) Photography, or (3) Arts & Animation.

Tony Brave was the lead for the Game Design and Coding track within the internship program. He worked closely alongside Michelle ReBecca who supervised and was in support of the track from the CDA Department of Education and DTC faculty member Jacob Riddle. In Brave’s words, Jacob “Enriched the program with his expertise and experience with game design software and coding.” The group used an open source game creation/editing program called Bitsy. Jacob focused on how he could expand the possibilities of each platform they worked on by using coding and how they code use these platforms to teach it.

The internship group was small and diverse and reacted in different ways to content within the program, resonating individually with different skills and lessons they learned. As stated by Brave, what they hoped was for the interns to come away with “not just the skills of working with one game making tool or another, but the belief in themselves that they can be successful if they just put in the effort, as well as the importance of communication.”

The mentors within the Game Design and Coding internship track recall the growth the interns showed in the program, as well as their ability to adapt in an environment that guides their growth. For example, one intern during his first iteration of his game articulated that he felt it was not very good. After one of the feedback sessions the internship hosted it was clear that his game provided a numerous amount of quirky and fun elements such as a time travelling cat and a possible murder mystery. At the end of feedback sessions such as these, the intern commonly seem to be glowing with pride and an increased sense of confidence. His game was initially a mere two rooms, but after getting feedback, he’d added multiple rooms. He had even created a maze through which the character had to navigate through a series of caves with only the light of a candle. In addition, Easter eggs were hidden throughout the game that conveyed the positive message of “anything is possible” which, according to Brave, is the type of message the program hoped to impart in the next generation of Native youth.

You can play some of the Bitsy games the interns created here.

 

Dallas Hobbs is the 2021 Outstanding Senior

Dallas Hobbs is the 2021 DTC Outstanding Senior &
Is Named One of the Top Ten Seniors at WSU

By: Max Ciot

Every year, one award is given out by the Digital Technology and Culture program to a graduating senior that shines above and beyond and exemplifies in the DTC program. The recipient of this year’s award is Dallas Hobbs.

A man equipped in football gear looks off towards the cameraNot only is Dallas double majoring in DTC and Fine Arts, but he has also managed to maintain a 3.8 GPA at WSU while simultaneously being on the WSU Football team and WSU Track and Field Team.  Additionally, he is a co-founder and member of the Black Student Athlete Association and an up-and-coming activist on a national level. Dallas has a strong presence in the online world as well, where he receives commissions to do various design projects including album covers for music artists. These are just a few of the many examples of how Dallas shines in the DTC program with his strong presence and multitude of achievements.

Double majoring in DTC and Fine Arts while maintaining a high GPA was often-times difficult for Dallas. Even so, he has always had outstanding time-management and planning skills. In addition, his majors did not feel like work to him most of the time, as the work assigned was something he enjoyed to do. Originally, Dallas was not planning to major in the DTC program. He was, however, interested in graphic design and planning to come to WSU for Football. After talking to various people, one common recommendation was the DTC program, which he figured was close enough to what he wanted to do. “It was not a major I was fully expecting, but I got more out of it than I was hoping,” says Dallas. He also wants to mention that the professors in the DTC and Fine Arts department were spectacular, he was able to learn a lot from them, and was “grateful to share a classroom with his professors and fellow students.”

According to DTC faculty Ruth Gregory, Dallas “represents the unique combination of social justice and digital creativity that are central to the Digital Technology Program.” In fact, Dallas, as a part of the We are United program he began pushing the Pac-12 to standardize their health and safety protocols for college athletes. After the imminent storm of COVID-19 blowing through the United States, Dallas had concerns that the right protocols were not being put into place. He decided that there was something he needed to do to represent his fellow athletes and state their demands. This something was an infographic, which, after being finalized, spread across social media in a flash of lightning, Even more than that, Dallas picked up skills from the DTC program in Data Analysis and was able to create spreadsheets for his teams that players used to track peer responses to a survey.

Dallas was also one of this year’s recipients of a Top Ten Senior Award in Athletics from the WSU Alumni Association; a first for the Digital Technology and Culture Program. Every year, ten seniors who demonstrate excellence receive an award in one of the following categories: academics, athletics, campus involvement, community service, or visual & performing arts. Dallas was nominated by WSU Athletic Director Pat Chun.

Dallas’s plans after graduating are “right now kind of all over the place.” While he did want to go into sports design originally, he is beginning to look into different graphic design fields if he isn’t able to reach the NFL with his skills. One thing Dallas would also really like to accomplish in the future is to create a safe-space platform for athletes, students, and the younger generation in general where groups of diverse people can come together and collaborate to “create change for what is going wrong.”

While Dallas may be unsure of his exact plans for the future, DTC faculty and staff know he’ll make a positive impact. In the Outstanding Senior nomination letter Ruth Gregory stated: “the DTC faculty are constantly in awe of Dallas’ diverse array of talents and his unwavering generosity towards others. We know that no matter where he goes, that he will be a valuable and thoughtful contributor.”

Kyle Kopta is the Tri-Cities’ DTC Distinguished Scholar

Kyle Kopta is Honored as the Tri-Cities’ DTC

Distinguished Scholar & A WSU Top Ten Senior

By: Max Ciot

Kyle Kopta made his way to the top on the Tri-Cities’ WSU Campus this year. Not only is Kyle the recipient of the DTC Distinguished Scholar award for the campus, but he is also one of the 2021 WSU Alumni Association’s Top Ten Seniors in the category of Visual & Performing Arts. To top it off, he was also named the WSU Tri-Cities Student Employee of the Year.

Dedicated to making the world and his campus a better place, Kyle often advocates for the less fortunate. During his Junior year he was a part of Associated Students of Washington State University Tri-Cities and earned the organization’s Perseverance Award for Excellent Work. Kyle plans, delivers, markets, and advocates for a range of university events such as those that focus on LGBT issues, diversity, equity, and more. “He is a student that goes above and beyond in every area, often without recognition,” says Maegan Murray, Director of Marketing and Communication at WSU Tri-Cities, who was one of the people who nominated Kyle for the Top Ten Senior award.

A man looks into the camera and smiles

Kyle is a leader and serves his fellow students and faculty by encouraging and helping them when he can.  In the classroom and outside of it, Kyle goes above and beyond and invests dozens of hours practicing his design skills, and ensuring that his projects and work surmount typical expectations and top up to professional standards. Frequently, students and faculty members seek out Kyle to create design pieces to advertise campus events. He also helps other students develop their design-work and find answers to their problems with, according to his supervisor Monique Van Sant, a “smile on his face and a can do attitude.”

In high school, Kyle took an interest in art and design and ended up graduating with a certificate in multimedia arts, and later an associate of arts degree in Visual Arts from Blue Mountain Community College. Kyle was then attracted to the multi-disciplinary nature of the DTC program as it would allow him to explore all of his options as an artist, rather than being stuck to a rigid structure like other programs.

Kyle did encounter some difficulties adjusting to distance learning initially. Working from his bedroom and not being able to bounce ideas off of peers began to have a negative effect on his creative output. He missed the invigorating feeling of working side by side with others, which made him appreciate the inspiration he can get from his surroundings and others.  He became inspired by Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” which compelled him to create some projects that related to his idea of alienation, the disconnect between mind and body, and existential anxiety. This included creating a collection of abstract self-portraits, and a 3D printed bug-human hybrid.

Kyle is a first generation college student and has held a 4.0 GPA while serving in various capacities on the Tri-Cities campus. Previously, he was a student graphic designer through the Associated Students of WSU Tri-Cities and is now a Teaching Assistant and Tutor through the DTC program. In addition, he is an intern with the WSU Tri-Cities’ Marketing and Communication Office. Kyle also practices as the campus photographer, even for high profile events with Chancellor Sandra Haynes. Besides his roles as an intern and student on the Tri-Cities campus, he is also on the art committee for the Washington State Art Commission where he oversees the Washington State Art Collection and helps the organization allocate grant opportunities. Kyle also collaborates with local artists for WSU installation work.

One of Kyle’s favourite projects he has worked on is when he helped put together the Undergraduate Research Symposium and Art Exhibition at the end of every semester. Kyle says that the students at WSU Tri-Cities are creating innovative, thoughtful, and impactful work, and it is a pleasure to be able to amplify their voices in any way he can.

After finding a passion for marketing, Kyle would like to continue to work with it in the future as it allows him to work with design, photography, and video simultaneously. He would further like to continue working in a higher-education setting as well, as collaborating with various groups of people on different projects is important to him and the college setting allows him to do such. In addition, he would like to contribute to the local Tri-Cities art scene in any way he can. Growing up in Hermiston, Oregon, there was virtually no art presence in the community, and to him, fostering a tight-knit artist community in the Tri-Cities would be amazing. This would include curating some in-person gallery shows.

Kyle also has a personal website you can check out.

Kelsey Dearing wins SURCA Award

PPT slide with Kelsey Dearing's Gray Award from SURCA

Kelsey Dearing wins SURCA Award

By: Max Ciot

This year, thirty-three Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (SURCA) awards were given out to Washington State University undergraduates including Digital Technology and Culture senior Kelsey Dearing.

At SURCA, WSU students can present their work or research to a panel of judges and showcase what they are working on. During the awarding process, judges have a rubric, and highest scores during the judging process based on this rubric will receive either the top-level Crimson award or the secondary-level Gray award. Judgement is based on the content of the work, its relation to previous research, its contemporary relevance, the process of its creation, and the methodology the creator used. Each undergraduate researcher has a mentor whom which they work with in order to go through the process of their research and presentation.

Kelsey, mentored by Communication faculty, Dr. Amanda Boyd, was awarded a Gray award for her research proposal on “Helping Washington State University Faculty and Staff Support and Respond to Students in Distress.” Her research focused around figuring out how to help WSU faculty and staff support and respond to students struggling with their mental health. She also focused on how comfortable WSU staff feel on helping students in distress and how to receive support to further help students if further assistance is required.

During her research, Kelsey sent out surveys to elicit responses from Edward R. Murrow College of Communication faculty and staff members. She asked questions such as what they already knew, what resources they were familiar with, and if they felt equipped to help students. Kelsey recently got her results back and is diligently figuring out how her next step on how to analyze her data. She will also have to present her findings to the Edward. R. Murrow College of Communication leadership board. This will enable the department to study their results and use them to figure out what steps to implement to help students in distress.

Throughout her time in the DTC program, Kelsey has also geared her projects towards mental health. One example of such project is her Fall of 2019 animation short film, The First Step. Kelsey and another student, Lilly Williams created this short to portray what goes on in the minds of two characters that are dealing with anxiety. The short animation also shows us that, even when support is received, that is not the end of anxiety.

Kelsey is currently a senior in the Digital Technology and Culture program and will graduate in May. Her goal for the future is to make an impact on the mental health community. She would like to make informational videos on mental health for the general public. Kelsey believes everyone should learn about mental health as it is something that everyone is impacted by, and she would wish to make information on mental health more accessible. Her pursuit in her goal is so passionate that she is okay with not using her skills gained in the DTC program towards impacting communities as she would like to work in this field no matter the job.

Congratulations on your award, Kelsey, and best of luck in your future endeavors!

Social Justice Pedagogy and DTC 101

Social Justice Pedagogy in DTC 101

By: Max Ciot

Nazua Idris spoke about the social and racial justice focus that was used in the Fall 2020 version of DTC 101 at the English Graduate Organization (EGO) Colloquium on February 24th, 2021. Every semester at the EGO meetings there are several panels where the members invite faculty and graduate students to speak about a particular topic. The theme this year was Social Justice Pedagogy.

Idris, Elle Fournier, Ruth Gregory, and Kathryn Manis collaborated on the Fall 2020 DTC 101 syllabi after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer knelt on a man’s neck until he died in May 2020. George Floyd’s death ignited protests and calls for social justice all over the world, and even more so (albeit with less attention) after the death of Breonna Taylor, an African-American medical worker shot in her sleep during a botched raid on the wrong address. In the United States, racial and social inequality, especially in the relation to police brutality are a common tale and the DTC 101 instructors wanted to connect the Black Lives Matter movement to digital technology.

After gathering the previous DTC 101 syllabi, Idris, Fournier, Gregory, and Manis decided that they would work together and revamp it to reflect contemporary issues with racial justice and technology. At the time, the DTC program was also drafting their Black Lives Matter statement, which was also a source of inspiration for the thematic shift in 101. Idris worked on the Social Media module, Fournier worked on the Data Analysis module, Gregory worked on the Design Thinking and Social Justice essay, and Manis worked on the Digital Curation module.

The implementation of this class was not entirely free of hurdles, however. While designing the course went smoothly due to the variety of real time topics that were happening during Summer and Fall of 2020, these topics were still difficult, especially to first-year college students. In Indris’ class, she tried to create an environment where all would be free to share their ideas without feeling that their ideas were unpopular or did not matter. While some students did respectfully state that they felt targeted, Idris always made sure to ask “What could we have said or done differently in order to not make you feel this way?” Feedback was regularly requested as well, and any feedback that was received went into updating the course in order to make it more inclusive so that nobody would feel targeted or left out.

Manis had a good point when speaking on this topic: “As teachers, it isn’t our imperative to persuade anyone about any particular political views, and we unfortunately live in a moment where questions about equity have become heavily politicized. Discrimination isn’t a political issue, it’s a social one, and so it takes care to convey to students, some of whom may have experienced the kinds of inequities we’re discussing and many of whom haven’t, that there are important and meaningful conversations to be had surrounding DTC and social and racial justice.” Gregory noted that in several of the final essays for her section students mentioned that they had never heard the terms “social justice” or “racial justice.”

In Manis’ words, Social Justice Pedagogy “is an approach to teaching that intentionally highlights how the subject of study relates to questions and issues of equity. So, in that way, you’re not just learning about the subject, but you’re also learning about how that subject (in this case, an introduction to Digital Technology and Culture) works in a broader cultural context that includes inequity, bias, and discrimination.” As Fournier said, “Technology is always political at some level. It’s important to understand that tension, but also to find ways to move forward.”

During the first week of class, students read an article by Peggy McIntosh about the privileges she has as a white woman has called “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” The article was turned into a survey with yes or no questions to help students understand their own privilege. Many students came to realize that there are things they did not personally consider a privilege – like having a wide variety of band aids that matched their skin color or being able to be around people of their race most of the time – were not afforded to all racial groups. Another project example that Fournier mentioned involves asking students to investigate Google search results surrounding groups that they identify with inspired by “Algorithms of Oppression” by Safiya Noble. In this project they can see how search engine algorithms can narrate identities and deconstruct how that happens.

There was also an interesting project that Manis designed whereby students were able to create their own digital exhibition with the goal of getting students to think about how they select artifacts for exhibitions and archives and describe and contextualize them. These objects tell stories about whose histories, voices, and perspectives are valued, and what biases are deeply ingrained in our society. The project was inspired by Fred Wilson’s “Mining the Museum” piece of curatorial activism and included recommendations for archival description from Archives for Black Lives. It also asks students to think critically about the presumed objectivity of a museum, an archive, or a digital history. Manis even shot a video with Mark O’English and Gale O’Hara (who are librarians in the Museum Archives and Special Collections – MASC) called “Visit to the Archives”  in which they recontextualized some of the artifacts in the archives that brought the issues of social and racial justice closer to home for the students.

Overall, the Fall 2020 DTC 101 syllabus is greatly helpful in informing new students of the issues within Social and Racial Justice and technology that define the entirity of the DTC program. Many students greatly appreciated the course content, and the opportunity to talk about subjects they may not have focused on in past classes or high school. Idris notes that it was also great cooperating with her colleagues from different research areas as they all brought different expertise and perspectives into building the course, which also made it more diverse.

Alumni Update with Kevin VanderMeer

Alumni Update with Kevin Vandermeer

A man looks towards the camera

By: Max Ciot

Kevin Vandermeer is a 2018 Digital Technology and Culture Alumni currently working as a Production Specialist at Nintendo of America. As a Production Specialist, some of Kevin’s responsibilities include working with a team of talented multimedia professionals and ensuring that their processes, workflows, and tools are optimized and allow them to complete their duties in a functional way. Some of his specific duties include writing/updating process documentation, creating interactive tools/guides, organizing/storing multimedia files, checking and delivering final multimedia files, optimizing asset management & project management tools, researching new tools, and assisting Nintendo livestreams.

One of his favorite projects he helps on is the Indie World Showcase. These are virtual presentations that highlight independent, or “indie” games, which will launch on Nintendo Switch. According to Kevin, there are always many unique and creative games developed by passionate indie developers. The showcases spotlight and amplify their hard work, which Kevin loves. These indie games also give the Nintendo Switch a “rich and constantly expanding library of unique games.”

But this isn’t his first position in the game industry. Kevin brings a wealth of experience to his work.

Before starting at Nintendo, he worked many multimedia jobs, including as a Creative Producer at the Roblox Corporation.  He started that job while he was still working toward his bachelor’s degree in Digital Technology and Culture.  In this role, he managed a team of contract and employee artists, as well as all licensing and creative production workflows. Kevin is very proud of a digital sticker book that he created based off of community games in Roblox that he helped manage and produce.

Prior to getting hired at Roblox, Kevin had been very involved with the product. He even co-developed a small community game on the platform with a friend. Roblox is a platform where millions of people can gather into and create 3D worlds. For his game on the Roblox platform, Kevin helped create 2D & 3D game assets and UI/UX elements, as well as served as a pseudo-community manager. After he was hired at Roblox, he stepped down from being involved in Roblox community games, but to date, his game has racked in about 25 million plays.

Kevin was embarrassed of his work on the Roblox game he helped develop. Thinking he had wasted his time on this project, he didn’t list it on his resumé. It wasn’t until Kevin talked to a mentor of his that he realized that passion projects such as his game were valuable and legitimate experiences that should be mentioned and listed on resumés. They are things to be proud of! He realized that, in fact, he had grown and honed his skills in marketing, community management, and game development without even realizing it.

Now a Production Specialist at Nintendo of America, in his words, “it is a dream come true” and a place where he can work with a team filled to the brim with some of the most talented and passionate creative minds he has ever encountered. Kevin says that “The teams at Nintendo of America are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about their work, and the culture feels like a big family.”

During his time at Washington State University, working with Nintendo was not a thought that crossed his mind. He had a few jobs he kept his eye on while studying, but found trouble imagining himself taking on those roles. Kevin has some valuable advice for those who may also be uncertain: “Over the years, I’ve learned that you don’t need a clear picture in your mind for where you want to work, you just need an idea to act on and that gets the ball rolling for you from there. Doors close and open all the time for you, and I always tell people that those closed doors are just as valuable as the open ones. They give you the grounds upon which to learn and grow and further yourself. They help in guiding your choices on what career feels right for you and what career you feel right for.”

Ruth Gregory recognized as an Outstanding Faculty Member by Provost

Ruth Gregory recognized as the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Member by WSU Provost

4 students in WSU graduation robes and one faculty member smile at the camera

By: Max Ciot

On February 24th, 2020 DTC Director of Undergraduate Studies Ruth Gregory (far left in the photo above) was honored in the Provost’s Featured Faculty Virtual Recognition event which recognized one outstanding faculty member per college for their significant and exemplary contributions to WSU.

In the words of Todd Butler, the Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences: “Ruth is more than just one of our most technologically savvy faculty at heart she is an educator in the best and deepest sense of the word someone who is dedicated to not only her field and her craft but also and more importantly to the students and community.”

Ruth is now in her sixth year in the DTC program and grateful to have found a home at WSU. “It is a joy to teach in a program like Digital Technology and Culture” and the WSU community is more supportive than any other University community she has been a part of in the past. Not only does Ruth bring her powerful and up-to-date expertise to the courses she teaches, but she also serves as the DTC program’s Director of Undergraduate Studies and Chairs the Curriculum Committee. In the past, Ruth has advised the Digital Media Club, led the DTC internship program, and even organized a spring seminar on video games called “Multiplayer: Critical Perspectives on Video Games and Online Environments” that coincided with the 2017-2018 common reading book Ready Player One.

Most recently, Ruth collaborated with the United Way of Whitman County and Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre, to provide students with an opportunity to use the multimedia skills they’ve developed in DTC to benefit the local community. This continues Ruth’s work providing students with service-learning opportunities in courses. To date she’s collaborated with over 15 different regional nonprofits in her course partnerships.

Truly committed to the program and the students she teaches, she “meets students where they are and at the same time inspires them to imagine all of the things they could be,” and works towards allowing the expansion and further accessibility of the program and its opportunities to students of all backgrounds. Ruth regularly advocates for students who may not have as many resources or privileges and mentors LGBTQI+ students and students of color.

In the eyes of DTC Director Dr. Kim Christen, “Ruth’s work inside and outside the classroom brings into sharp view what practicing inclusion and a fierce commitment to access looks like on the ground. I’m honored to be Ruth’s colleague and to recognize her as a featured faculty member.”