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Interactive Media Takes Design to Amazing Heights

November, 2018
  • Interactive media photos
    Senator Michael Moore with QCC students and (right) Learning Manager Nathaniel “Nate” Mello

The world is changing at a rapid pace and interactive media is leading the way. No one knows this better than the folks in Quinsigamond Community College’s Interactive Media program, formerly known as the Applied Arts program. In 1993, QCC established the Applied Arts program, one of the first multi-faceted computer based programs designated for students seeking a design career in digital media in the region. The program focused on digital design and photography. In 2000-2001, the program expanded to include two labs that seat 40 students. In 2016, the program changed its name to Interactive Media. According to Interactive Media Professor Mary Valentine, the name change (and adjusted curriculum) reflected the ever changing trends within the industry.

"Everything is changing so rapidly and the field is widening," she said, adding that the need to be current with technology is extremely important so that students can transfer to four year institutions or enter the workforce seamlessly.

The success of the Interactive Media program is demonstrated by the graduates of the program, who have gone on to four year institutions such as the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Lesley University and the University of Massachusetts. Ms. Valentine said many of the students have made an indelible impression in a variety of industries across the interactive media platform.

“We give them a good base, then they go into a more specific major when they transfer,” Ms. Valentine said. “Most of our former students are in the (interactive media) industry. They give us feedback as well as do guest demonstration and lectures.”

In May of this year, QCC students Daniael Alicia, Grit Jana and Nicholas Tisdale had their artwork selected to hang in the State House as part of a Worcester-area college exposition hosted by Senator Michael Moore. Five students' artwork was chosen from hundreds submissions by Worcester Consortium colleges.

“Each year since this began QCC has been well-represented,” Ms. Valentine added.

Gaming Program

Interactive Media Professors George Fitch and Mary Valentine have continued to stay abreast of changing technologies, extensively evaluating the curriculum every three years. In 2015, the college expanded its Interactive Media program to include gaming.

Learning Manager Nathaniel “Nate” Mello, a graduate of Becker College’s gaming program, was hired to run the program. While still in its infancy stages, QCC’s gaming program has already graduated nine students, all of whom have either gone on to four year institutions or directly entered the gaming workforce. This year the gaming program has almost doubled in size and appears to only be growing.

In April, QCC students Nicholas Tisdale and Nicholas Dykers participated in the New England Student Game Design Showcase (NESGDS), hosted by Microsoft. The students received first place in the Best Game Play category for their submission, Data Strain.  Students from over 21 New England colleges and universities participated in the event.

“Gaming requires both the artistic and technical side,” Ms. Valentine said, making it an attractive program for students.

QCC has an articulation agreement with Becker College for digital design and game design, enabling eligible students to easily transfer.

“We are also working on articulation agreements with Lesley University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute,” Ms. Valentine said.

Visit Interactive Media to learn more about the program.