SSU gaming program hosts mock interviews for students

PORTSMOUTH — Shawnee State University’s gaming programs partnered with the Office of Career Services to hold mock job interviews for current students in the program. These interviews were set up as a trial for students to participate in preparation of entering the gaming industry after graduation.

Clayton Novak, a senior from Garfield Heights, Ohio, played a vital role in creating this opportunity for gaming students. Majoring in Gaming Engineering Technology, he was inspired to join the industry since he participated in a summer gaming camp during his youth.

“I took a ‘make a video game’ summer camp when I was about 12 and have had a passion for making games ever since,” said Novak. “When I first learned programming in high school, it was so that I could make games with it.”

Within the program, students have the opportunity to join “Gaming Houses” – an experience to connect with other gaming majors, encourage socialization, provide exposure to new ideas, and help students hone their skills. Novak currently runs one student house and has helped set up different activities and workshops this past year.

“We’ve hosted game-design workshops and competitions, House-vs-House challenges, welcome and holiday parties, catered events, and most recently, professional development activities,” he said. “I worked with Career Services to put on a resume workshop on March 18, and the first round of mock interviews began March 31.”

Novak began setting up the mock interviews by asking students and the program’s professors to see if they had connections in professional game development or information technology who might be willing to moderate a mock interview.

“Some professors offered to get in touch with recent graduates to see who might have the time for this,” he said. “Half a dozen alumni responded, and at least 4 of them will be able to give interviews in the next couple of weeks. Austin Raines from Career Services has also been offered to sit in the interviews and give the perspective of an Human Resources representative.”

During the first round of interviews, Assistant Director of Career Services, Austin Raines and recent 2021 gaming graduate, Jonathan Reynolds both were in attendance to oversee the interview and offer feedback. Leading up to the interview, alumni is preparing mock job postings and questions for the current gaming students to participate in while Novak contacts students to give them tips on what they should bring and how to dress appropriately.

“This opportunity will give the students some guidance in preparing for interviews,” he said. “I also made sure that we hosted a resume-building workshop before these interviews, so each student can put together their own resume.”

Novak is passionate about the gaming program and hopes to see this opportunity to become an annual event.

“Nearly everyone I’ve spoken to thinks it would be great to make this a yearly event,” he said. “I’m hoping to lay the groundwork for future cohorts to run their own interviews with relative ease. The students who were interviewed noted that they got a lot out of the interviews and really appreciated the opportunity.”

SSU offers two separate, but coordinated programs in digital simulation and gaming – one in Game Programming and one in Game Arts. The degrees focus on development of game programming, software development, foundations of computer science, 3D animation, character design, and interface design. The programs were recently ranked #9 on the Princeton Review’s Top 50 Undergraduate Game Design Programs in the US and Canada. This is the 12th consecutive year the programs have been ranked on the list.

To learn more about the gaming programs at Shawnee State University, visit www.shawnee.edu/gaming.

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