The first blog of the new series of Cogswell student interviews begins, today. The first student featured is Andrew Severns. He’s quite the mover and shaker here on campus. I don’t think there’s anything that he isn’t somewhat involved in, either directly or indirectly.
Q: What is your major/program and student status?
A: My name is Andrew Severns and my major is DAA/DAE in Game Design with a concentration in Level Design. My current student status is Junior.
Q: What student activities are you involved in? To what extent?
A: The student activities that I’m involved in are Andrew FEST, where I hold office of President, ASB, where I hold the office of Vice President, and Game Development Club.
I inherited Andrew FEST from the previous president, Andrew Jennings, who himself inherited it from an Andrew (or so the story goes). The purpose of Andrew FEST is to basically put on free low key events for the students with the help of ASB like BBQs and game nights with the help of Game Club. Andrew FEST has also put on themed events like Cantina Night, Lounge Night and the very popular Slumber Fort FEST. This helps to bring the Cogswell community together, gives everyone a chance to take a break from projects and have some fun.
Q: What happens if someone isn’t named Andrew and you have to pass it down?
A: Who knows, someone might be bestowed the name of “Andrew.” It’s really still up in the air, who knows, maybe we’ll call it “Steve FEST” or “Armando FEST,” something that sounds cool. BUT, the group/individual will still need to hold onto the ideas of Andrew FEST which is “FUN FOR ALL.”
As Associated Student Body (ASB) Vice President I work with the current President Nathan Hiller in making executive decisions, help in creating, facilitating and budgeting for student activities along with the help of the ASB Executive Board for the student body. Consistent events that ASB helps to organize and run are Casino Night, which acts as a Fall semester kick-off, movie nights, where the whole student body goes to the movies, and Fusion Awards, were students submit their work to be voted on by their peers (not to worry pieces that are to be voted on don’t have names so that way it’s not a popularity contest).
As a member of Game Club we look to take what we have learned in class and apply them in creating our own games with Game Maker and the UNREAL Development Kit. We just concluded projects in Game Maker with some of the newest members for the Fall semester were they created simple side scrolling platformers. I feel everyone learned a lot in the production and creation of a video game and with the help of our faculty advisor and head of the Game Program, Albert Chen, we will continue to learn and grow.
Q: What does the Unreal kit entail, and why that specifically used?
A: It’s a free game engine editor that is one of the main engines used in the [game] industry. A lot of game companies, from Epic Games to Ubisoft use the engine, and to know and learn that engine will make it easier to land a job.
Q: Is it because you’re familiar with the tools?
A: To a degree there are similarities (in reference to other game engines), unlike how Maya is in relation to other animation software.
Q: What was your impression of Cogswell when you started? Has it changed?
A: During my tour of Cogswell the impression of the community I got was a place and environment that was nice, friendly and hardworking. It didn’t feel like a bunch of closed individuals but an inviting community. The current ASB President at the time, Andrew Jennings, was very happy that I was considering Cogswell and helped to affirm those impressions after talking with him. After starting at Cogswell I could ask anyone for help with school work or to just hang out with. Over the course of my stay here at Cogswell I feel these traits have not changed and as a student and representative of the Associated Student Body I have tried to maintain these.
Q: You’re also an RA in student housing, how has that been with the transition from?
I enjoy being an RA and enjoy helping with the transition to home life to college life. Being involved in so many activities, I find it easier to get them involved with the college and I think helps with transition into the Cogswell Community.
Q: What do you look forward to most in the school year? Projects? Events?
What I look forward to the most in the school year is having fun with my friends, working on projects with them in Game Club and helping to create and run events for them like Andrew FEST and Casino Night. The students really make this school and without them it would not be as enjoyable.
Q: Have you met anyone interesting/networked with people you see yourself working with in the future?
I have been really fortunate to meet a lot of neat people at Cogswell and would love to work with them in the future. I honestly could see myself working with anyone of them.
Q: If so, how have your career plans changed since studying? Are they still on track with what you wanted when you started?
When I first started Cogswell I wanted to be an overall game designer but after several semesters here I have found that I really enjoy level design, creating the space in which the players will play in while still working closely with the game designer. I started out as DAA [Digital Art and Animation] but to be an effect level designer I need to know scripting languages so now my degree is split between DAA and DAE [Digital Arts and Engineering].
Thanks to Andrew for taking part in the blog! If you’re interested in becoming a student here at Cogswell and starting your career in Game Design, please contact the Admissions Office to find out more.