At the age of 21, after truly discovering my passion for design, I applied to the highly selective visual communication program at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Thrilled at my acceptance, I continued to work hard and research religiously. As I progressed through the program, I realized the drive behind our field was being applied through each assignment, but the concept of problem solving was consistently overlooked. Though “pretty” projects earned passing grades, the ideology of our field was consistently disregarded. I believe, as a bachelor’s of fine arts, the visual communication program is flawed because the most valuable aspect in the process of design is creating a piece that is more efficient. This frustration has become a source of motivation for me, a reason to continue to pursue a resolution.
One unique aspect Ball State offers is the immersive learning experience. Professors write proposals for grants on their choice of a research project and assemble a team of selected students. Dr. Paul Gestwicki, my advisor for an immersive learning project, described it as “A sabbatical with the benefit of choosing students for assistance.” The goal of this immersive learning experience was to create a game for the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, but at first everything else was to be determined by the team he assembled.
Gestwicki, a professor in the School of Computer Science, operated the entire semester by the fundamentals of Scrum methodology of agile software development. Scrum focused on product management for a task of little direction, which benefits from consistently providing feedback for the structure of organization of process as well as productivity on the final goal. Ultimately, our thirteen member team had not one, but roughly a hundred games created, three formal proposals and digital prototypes for games, and one fully generated game consisting of several levels, digitally produced and included playful sound effects. Our final game teaches children the principles of building a valuable collection through the perspective of a museum curator. Our play testers loved it and so did the curators of Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Communication between different “languages” of fields is no longer unfamiliar, but growing increasingly comfortable. Beyond a real world simulation of teamwork, the immersive learning experience taught me how to critically analyze a process from an outside perspective.
Helping others in shaping products or services to resolve dysfunction and maximize organization would be my ideal professional future. Branding and digital media are imperative in generating a social presence. However, the fluidity of conceptual inspirations to creation through post-production must be seamless and maximize efficiency. My vision is to network to build a team. This team, forming a studio, would assist companies, organizations, and institutions in streamlining productivity by focusing on design systems. As a visual communicator, it is my goal to assist my client in resolving the unknown complications as well as minimize unforeseen impediments. Focusing on the research process through my graduate study will prepare me to perform at my best in all my future endeavors, but ultimately assist others in becoming more efficient in sustainable social design.