Elm Park students visit Becker College

Published on Friday, June 19th, 2015

On June 16 and 18, fifth- and sixth-grade students from the Elm Park Community School visited Becker College’s Worcester Campus to explore higher education and the art of game design.

“We wanted the kids to see what’s in their own backyard,” said fifth-grade teacher Cindy Richard, adding that most of the students live in the neighborhood. “This shows them the outcome of school, their future, what they can strive for.”

The field trip to Becker also served as a motivator for the kids to become familiar with and prepare for the idea of going to college. After the students took a tour of Becker’s campus, they were taken to an area to play video games. But not just any video games: ones made by the college students participating in the Summer Innovation Program (SIP), which is run by the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) and held at Becker.

“Technology is a huge part of these kids’ lives,” said Brenda Mandella, also a fifth-grade teacher. “This gives them an opportunity to see another side of it. It shows them that you can’t just make a video game; you have to study and learn. This helps them understand the process of how games are created.”

This is the fourth year SIP has taken place at Becker. Over the 12-week period, students select projects, form teams, and receive guidance from industry mentors and staff with the goal of shipping a game to market. It is the largest game development internship program of its kind in the world. This year, 214 applications from students attending 55 different colleges and universities from around the world applied to the program; 24 students representing 15 different colleges and universities, including the first two students from an international institution were accepted (Becker College, Berklee College of Music, Brandeis University, Champlain College, Hampshire College, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rhode Island School of Design, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Southern California, University of Southern Maine, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Letterkenny Institute of Technology).