Jackie Steponaitis '10
Jackie has lived in Vergennes, Vermont for her entire life—only about an hour’s drive away from the GMC campus. In seeking out a well-rounded and challenging academic experience that would support her unique interests, she was fortunate enough to find it within close reach—or commuter’s reach anyway.
“Growing up, I was bounced back and forth between private and public institutions throughout elementary school," says Jackie. While her education would be diverse in placement, it was consistent in the degree of challenge—something that was established in her childhood years. “My grandma had a teaching career of 40 years behind her… my mother is a teacher at the high-school I went to. She enforced a very high academic standard that I still have,” says Jackie.
Looking to further the challenge in a new atmosphere, Jackie opted to attend GMC despite the hour-long commute. Growing up in a small town, having to drive from place to place wasn’t too strenuous for the soon-to-be graduate. She is also happy to escape the typical vices of dorm life—such as studying at the mercy of dorm mates who may be in the mood to blare music at any given time. Fortunately, Jackie also received financial support from several academic scholarships, which also helped with the decision.
Unlike many students who attend GMC for its eco-centric majors, Jackie is exploring a different side of GMC. “I always knew that I wanted to work in the communications field from a very early age…what really started it was my passion for video games,” she says. “I was instilled early on with a very ‘in-touch’ feeling with writing”—a trait that seemed ideal for journalism.
While continuing to hone her sharp prose, Jackie began to configure class projects to meet her interests in video game reviewing—which she started to do as part of Prof. Paul Falzone’s (communications) Persuasion class. Not unlike a movie or book critic, Jackie would rent a game for the weekend and critique it, taking note on everything from story development and character development to the music, playability and camera angles.
Her diligence was fueled by support from the faculty, who, like Jackie, saw video games as a valid subject of academic analysis. “Ron Steffens, my advisor, has encouraged me to pursue my career goals in video game journalism.” “It’s a growing industry,” says Jackie. “They’re incorporating the newest brands of technology…Within this field, you can study art design or the history of video games. More and more colleges are starting to expand their communications departments to study [video games] in an academic way.”
While majoring in communications, Jackie has felt the tug of the GMC’s environmental mission nonetheless. “I’m finding myself becoming more environmentally conscious. I’m constantly turning the lights off when I leave the house… or I’ll turn the heat down when I’m inside,” says Jackie. “I believe it’s impacted me.”
Jackie’s looking to make an impact on the industry by continuing her studies in Europe and, from there, working as a writer/reviewer for a video game company or magazine. Evoked by her long-established higher standards in academics, Jackie has similarly elevated her perspective of video games into a form of art that merits critical review, academic insights, and—as she hopes will be the case—a career path within a promising and growing industry.
By Chad Skiles '12