I have had a nearly lifelong passion for the design and development of Digital Media. When I learned that the Rochester Institute of Technology offered a multitude of avant-garde courses in the field, I immediately became enthusiastic about enrolling in the Information Technology department at our local college; an esteemed academy that had everything I sought in an education, and was close to home.
I have been fascinated by art and design from the start. I remember scribbling on pieces of construction paper and in books, trying to depict a scene evolving from my imagination with no more than a crayon in my hand.
Fortunately, my skills gradually improved. Vividly, I remember my introduction to Windows 3.1 and being mesmerized by its capabilities. I spent hours in the antiquated Paintbrush program, trying to form a lifelike image out of very few colors. Late into the night I'd bathe myself in the glow of the monitor, captivated by the technology. Amazed at what I could do with computers, my fervor for art grew to new heights.
When I became acquainted with more advanced software, I immersed myself deeper into the world of digital media. I discovered innovative drawing tools, game design applications, and animation programs, all of which allowed me to give my static images life. RIT would be the perfect college for me. The New Media / Information Technology program revealed aspects that I had not yet considered nor practiced, such as web development. This discovery was to become both a career and a hobby.
At first, I had no interest in learning web design. The Internet was a tool forced upon us by public schools. Though people were excited about the emerging technology, I primarily resorted to books and encyclopedias on CDs for high school research. The internet was not a pleasing tool. It was confusing, had poor design, cumbersome navigation, and had nonsensical applications like Google. When the search engine first came out, I was perplexed as to why it was necessary to rely on outside services in order to use the internet. Without Google, AltaVista or Yahoo!, the internet would be nothing!
Upon hearing that I would learn web design in New Media I was, at first, unenthusiastic. After the first couple HTML classes, I was impressed by how much I had learned. I was able to create web pages that looked professional. I realized that most of the websites out there were neither aesthetically pleasing nor user-friendly, and I recognized that I could improve on that. I was pleased that I found a new hobby and practical skill. I untimately made this the focus on my Bachelor's degree. A year later, I discovered a subject I never knew existed: Human Factors.
Human Factors is the study of how people interact with tools. I was constantly frustrated by poor interfaces, but never imagined that this would be a subject I could study. Discussing web page usability caught my interest the most. Apparently, I was not the only one who felt that the web was poorly designed. Designers were ready to start building quality websites instead of messy conglomerates of color and text. I enjoyed this topic, and decided to pursue it further in a graduate program.
I applied for, and was accepted into the Graduate Assistantship at RIT. This would guarantee my place in an Information Technology Master's Program in exchange for 20 hours each week of tutoring or as a Teaching Assistant. This assistantship expanded my knowledge of Information Technology. I additionally pursued professional interests such as Human Factors, and personal interests such as Game Design.
For the past couple years, I have been applying my web development, design, and usability skills to build and maintain websites for several clients.