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First digital media grads now online

May 28, 2009

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Michael Torillo is among the first 21 students to graduate with a master’s degree in entertainment technology and digital media from the Masters of Digital Media (MDM) program at Great Northern Way Campus (GNWC).

SFU, UBC, BCIT and Emily Carr University of Art + Design jointly own GNWC, and graduates of the program—the first of its kind in Canada—will receive a joint degree from all four institutions.

Torillo, a 2003 SFU alumnus with a BSc in management systems science, joined the two-year digital media program to realize his dream of working in the video game industry.

"I didn’t have an in-depth knowledge of computers or math but that didn’t deter me from applying," he says. "The program is really more about managing teams in the digital media space."

Torillo interned at Relic Entertainment in Vancouver for four months and says his MDM training enabled him to quickly pick up the work and fit in.

He was also part of a student team that created Glimpse, an interactive, episodic game for the Xbox 360 and iPhone. The game was among the finalists—and the only student entry—in the CBC’s second annual Digital Development Lab competition.

Other class projects included:

  • The D-Sign team, whose proprietary system makes digital, interactive and gesture-based storefront advertising. The team has already commercialized and secured customers for the system, including Jugo Juice and Vancouver International Airport.
  • Big Hadron games (BHg), a rapid-prototyping approach to making experimental games, created by six students, which was spun off into Big Hadron Games Inc. It was recently nominated for a New Media BC PopVox award.
Says Gerri Sinclair, program executive director and CEO of the Centre for Digital Media: "Our first graduates have proven to be true innovators and entrepreneurs."

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