A Delaware Area Career Center student was recently accepted and given a full-ride scholarship to Shawnee State University to study game design.
Veronica Leist, a senior at Buckeye Valley High School currently studying app development at the DACC, said she applied for a scholarship for women looking to join the field of game development at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio. Last semester, she received life-changing news.
“They ended up giving me even more scholarships and that threw me,” Leist said. “I was actually coming home from the Delaware County Fair and my mom said, ‘We’ve been waiting five hours for you to open this giant envelope.’”
Leist said she applied to Shawnee State because the game design program is very strong, and because it’s somewhat local.
“Their game (design) program is ranked in the top 10 nationally,” she said. “This is a really good local home school, and I don’t have to move out of state for it. I’m two hours away from here, and I can still get that feeling of independence.”
Leist said she’s had an interest in designing video games ever since she was a kid.
“From the moment I could sit up straight on my dad’s lap, he had me on the computer playing games with him,” Leist said. “He’s got videos of me winning a lot of ‘Unreal Tournament’ games when I was young. I grew up around that because my dad played games, and my sister got into it when she was younger. We all intermingled with it, and it’s a family bonding experience.”
Leist said video games as a medium have changed since she was a kid, and now they carry messages and emotion.
“I like the idea of being able to inflict emotions with people when it comes to games,” she said. “A lot of games nowadays are talking about greater issues such as mental illness or physical disabilities, and I like the idea of being able to be the person behind telling those stories.”
Leist said getting her acceptance letter and scholarship so early has helped her relax, but she’s still focused on learning as much as possible before college.
“Being accepted to a college before my senior year gave me a sense of security, because I don’t have to worry about all this last-minute college finding,” Leist said. “It feels great to be ahead of the game. (App development) has given me a lot of stuff I would have never known how to do beforehand like programming and designing. I walked in knowing nothing. I had a vague idea but now that I’ve settled in, it’s helped a lot, especially expanding out into different industries. I’m like, ‘I can do this stuff.’”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.