Emma Anderson, the valedictorian of the Greenville High School Class of 2016, did not set out to design video games. When she was younger, she didn’t realize it was even an option.
Now, you can find her at Southern Methodist University in the Guildhall Program working toward her master’s degree in Video Game Production and Level Design. She works with teams of artists, programmers and level designers to create video games from the ground up.
She had a hard time deciding “what I want to be when I grow up” during high school and her undergraduate years at Texas A&M – Commerce where she was a member of the Honors College. It wasn’t for a lack of trying new things on her part either.
At GHS, Emma was involved in Destination Imagination and the Lion Pride Band. She was a drum major during her senior year. At A&M Commerce, Emma stayed busy. After four years in Commerce, she graduated with a bachelor's degree in computer information systems, a second degree in liberal studies with a concentration on medical and math studies, along with a minor in art. She painted a mural on the Commerce post office for her thesis project (https://www.emmagamedev.com/creative-work/creative-hobbies).
Even though finding her passion took time, she quickly realized video game production was where she needed to be. Everything made sense to her in that world and the work felt easy, she said.
She shared some wise words for students who may not know what they want to do in the future.
“While you struggle to decide what to ‘do with your life,’ be patient, try new things, submit that application, even if you think they won't accept you,” she said. “Don't be afraid of failure. It's just one step closer to success. Try not to put a lot of pressure on yourself. I know it's hard, but seek out what is fun to you, and you will find the place where you belong.”
Emma said it would be hard to name every person who has inspired her, but at every stage of her life, she has had supportive people around her. In high school, there were teachers “near and dear” to her heart; at A&M Commerce, she had professors who pushed her to be better; and now, at SMU, she works alongside professors who encourage her to be the best she can be.
“No matter where I was on my journey, my family always supported and cared for me as well,” Emma said.
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