Digital Media CT Blog

CT Careers in Gaming

“The thing about games is that you can use empathy and put people in a situation where they experience something, and then they can make the decision about what they’re going to do.” 


Episode 9 of Select+CT with Bernard Francois, Preview Labs, Elena Bertozzi, Quinnipiac University, Kimberly Hieftje, Yale School of Medicine



Gaming is kind of like signing up to enter a portal to another reality. Minecraft, GTA, and Skyrim (to name a few) have captivated millions of people who either intend on escaping their current reality or simply taking a break from their reality. Skyrim alone accumulated a whopping 60 million players per month to date. I mention these because they are the first games that pop up when you use the search term “popular games” in Google. Playing the most popular game doesn’t necessarily mean that you are getting the most out of it, though. Health prevention and promotion games tend to receive the least amount of attention. This does make sense, considering games are usually played with the intent of escapism; not highlighting the reality you’re trying to escape. However, there is a growing market for developing serious or applied games as they are very effective ways of teaching and training. This also means there is another career avenue for any student interested in game design as a long-term career. 

See Also: A Career in Motion GFX

Kimberly Hieftje -Yale School of Medicine- works in a lab amongst game developers. In this lab, they focus on increasing behavior change in teens and young adults. Developers learn how to build a game seeking to achieve a specific goal and later check to see whether or not they’ve been successful at meeting that goal. This allows teens to practice decision-making, design thinking, and refusal skills. 

“Games are a very safe space for kids to practice decision making,” said Kim. “The wonderful thing about Kim’s lab & work they do is that they define the kind of behavior change they seek to achieve. Then they test and see if they’ve achieved it.” Elena Bertozzi from Quinnipiac University said.

See Also: Beyond Technology

Two years ago, Select + CT explored the tedious game design process with three CT-based game developers: Bernard Francois, Preview Labs, Elena Bertozzi, Quinnipiac University, and Kimberly Hieftje, Yale School of Medicine. Bernard prototyped a game where the player was operating a forklift. This seemingly simple action is another way that an employer can train future employees to use pieces of machinery. It also eliminates the risk of getting hurt if the trainee has made a mistake – making the training a safer learning process. Elena describes her game design as one made for a higher purpose. Often, her work is about how to give people the tools to make changes in their lives to benefit themselves. Both individuals operate much like Kimberly; their goal in developing is to create a game that serves a higher purpose and helps the player. This example also helped expand my understanding of what opportunities exist for any student who wants to pursue game design as a career. 

Featured Program

Elena is a professor at Quinnipiac University for their Game Design & Development program. Quinnipiac is located in Hamden, Connecticut. Their BA program in GDD has a 100% success rate and was ranked top 50 in the Princeton Review for GDD programs. You can learn more about this program here

DMCT Micro Credentials

If you are unsure of how your skills connect to Connecticut’s growing Digital Media industry, I encourage you to enroll in DMCT’s first micro-credential course, The Emerging Practitioner. I am a graduate of the program and learned a bunch of things to assist my transition from University to Career in CT and beyond!

Digital Media CT Blog

DMCT Launch “Select+CT” Podcast

Digital Media Connecticut (DMCT) is always looking to provide new programming to support Connecticut’s Digital Media talent pipeline. During the Summer of 2020, DMCT has launched its latest program yet, the “Select+CT” Podcast (available on iTunes and Spotify).

Select+CT is a Digital Media Connecticut podcast series dedicated to Connecticut’s Digital Media industry; for students who are nearing graduation with an interest in film, digital media, or television, focusing on topics relevant to the State’s next generation of digital media talent.

The podcast is produced in partnership with Quinnipiac University, the University of Connecticut, and the CT Office of Film, Television, and Digital Media.

Weekly episodes feature interviews with industry professionals and faculty from Connecticut institutions offering degrees in Digital Media and related fields. Topics include Digital Media Entrepreneurship, Freelancing, Digital Media Marketing, Social Journalism, Film/Video, and much more.

The first episode, “Activism through Social Media,” features Mercy Quaye from The Narrative Project and Suzan Katz from the University of Bridgeport. The episode focuses on how young people who are engaged in online social activism can leverage their passion into something they can use to either get a job or build a nonprofit.

The Narrative Project started as a conversation platform in 2015, working collaboratively to improve individual and organizational race relations and normalize all intersections of identity.

Episode topics include: University to Career, Motion GFX, Creative Technologists, Women in Film, Building CT’s Future, Content Marketing, University to Hollywood, Gaming, and much more!

To learn more, visit

Select+CT logo

Digital Media CT Blog

DMCT Summit 2019 Recap

On Friday, September 20, 2019, Digital Media Connecticut (DMCT) held their second annual one-day Digital Media CT Summit at the University of Connecticut in Stamford. Recognizing Connecticut’s expertise in digital media, DMCT is a statewide initiative created to support a talent pipeline by connecting K-12 students, higher education, and industry professionals through speaker events. This initiative is organized by UConn’s Digital Media & Design department via a grant from the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Digital Media Connecticut (DMCT) 2019 – Building tomorrow’s Digital Media practitioners in Connecticut, in collaboration with the CT Office of Film, Television, and Digital Media.

“We are working to build an initiative that connects industry, higher education, and K-12 institutions. This state has tremendous potential in digital media and there are exciting things already underway. Our work is focused on supporting some of the efforts already underway, while also establishing new ones such as an annual summit, a speaker series, and developing resources for the Digital Media CT website. If successful, everyone interested in film, television, and digital media will find something of  value from our effort,” shared Matt Worwood, Associate Director of Digital Media & Design, Stamford and Co-PI on the grant.

The 2019 Summit was DMCT’s largest event to date, and this year brought together over 300 students, professors, and industry professionals from across the state. The DMCT 2019 Summit featured keynote speaker, George Barrios, Co-President of WWE; two mini keynotes by Carlota Charles, UI/UX Designer – Cigna Health, and KC Lathrop, CIO Program Manager, Design Operations – IBM; and two industry panels on UI/UX Design and Content Design. Students from University of New Haven, Western Connecticut University, Quinnipiac University, Sacred Heart University, University of Connecticut Stamford & Storrs, University of Bridgeport, J.M. Wright Technical High School, Bassick High School, PTech Norwalk, and Scofield Middle School were in attendance, making the summit DMCT’s most widely attended DMCT event yet.

The DMCT 2019 Summit featured key-note speaker, George Barrios, Co-President of WWE, who spoke on the importance of digital media, innovation, and informed data at WWE to continue being an industry leader. Following Barrio’s presentation and questions from the audience, two mini-keynotes took the stage, Carlota Charles, UI/UX Designer, Cigna Health and KC Lathrop, IBM CIO Program Manager, Design Operations. Charles shared how she ended up pursuing a degree in Web Design and Development at the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media and Design program and what led her to an internship that turned into a career at Cigna. CPTV worked with DMCT to produce a short film on her experience that was primered right before her mini-keynote.

Lathrop, who received her B.A. in Spanish & English Linguistics from DePaul University and her Master’s from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University shared that “ Journey’s aren’t linear” as she explained how she worked her way to where she is at IBM. Both mini-keynote speakers emphasized the importance of mentorships and seeking opportunities to follow your passion.

Afterwards, George Norfleet, Director of the CT Office of Film, Television, and Digital Media moderated two industry panels focusing on user experience. The first panel focused on user experience through a UI/UX lens and featured insights from Madeleine Chang, Product Designer at Synchrony Financial, Andriy Shpylchyn, Development Director, Innovation at Octagon,  Ed McFadden, Design Principle and UX Creative Director at IBM CIO Design, Jon Temple, UX Designer at IBM CIO Design, and Bernard Francois, Found of Preview Labs. The second panel focused on user experience as it pertains to content design and social media. It featured Ettore Rossetti, Senior Advisor for Social Strategy & Digital Innovation at Save the Children, Colleen Sherry Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Henkel, Michelle Penney, Visual Designer at IBM CIO Design, and Derek Ambrosi, National Emmy-Award Winning Editor. 

Penney shared, “I was honored to be asked to join the Content Design panel at the Digital Media CT Summit. At CIO Design, our mission is to design the best experience possible for internal IBM communications. Content Design is so much more than ‘making it pretty,’ it’s about communicating a strong and powerful message. A creative career path is an ever-evolving one, and it was a pleasure meeting with students with the passion to grow!”

Following the panel, Robert Hutchinson spoke on behalf of the PTech program, a partnership between IBM and Norwalk’s high school and community college. Two current high school students shared stories of their experience interning at IBM. After lunch, attendees reconvened to learn from panelists Ed McFadden and Jon Temple of IBM CIO Design on design thinking and personas. Summit attendees then broke off into small groups with other students, professors, and industry professionals to walk through a user’s problem step by step, led by IBM CIO Design designers. 

“I’d rate the event a 10 out of 10, because I now know what I want to be for the rest of my life. Like seriously, I know what I want to be for the rest of my life,” shared Danielle McMurtry, a sophomore digital business strategies concentration in the Digital Media & Design program at the Storrs campus when asked how she’d rate her experience at the summit. 

“I think the most rewarding part of the summit was seeing so many students and industry professionals from across the state in one room. We had students from six universities, three high schools, and one middle school which is something I, personally, have never experienced as a student. I’m looking forward to seeing the DMCT effort continue to grow and see how we can continue to build a pipeline and help students #ConnectWhatsNext to the digital media industry in Connecticut,” said Cat Boyce DMCT’s Coordinator and recent Master of Fine Arts in Digital Media & Design alumna. 

“It was a hugely successful event. As the state university of Connecticut, we are doing what we can to help build the CT Creative Economy. We know that we – and the other Connecticut universities – are graduating talented digital media creators, but we collectively need to do a better job of showcasing their skills and helping connect students and graduates with employers. This event was an excellent move forward in this direction, and I look forward to seeing more companies grow and move into the state through the strength of the DMCT initiative,” said Heather Elliott-Famularo, Head of the Digital Media & Design Department at UConn and Co-PI on the grant.

Digital Media Connecticut’s next event will be held on November 7th at Sacred Heart University featuring Timothy Suarez from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. This event is part of DMCT’S ConnectNext Speaker Series, a TED-like event that takes place at college campuses across Connecticut to connect students with industry professionals. 

To learn more information and to register, visit:

To learn more about Digital Media Connecticut, visit

Digital Media CT Blog

What is Digital Media? And what makes Connecticut a great place for Digital Media careers?

During the past 18 months, we’ve worked to build a consortium of higher education institutions that can help support Digital Media CT – a statewide education initiative funded by the CT Office of Film, Television, and Digital Media. This effort is designed to promote a talent pipeline for CT careers in film, television, and digital media. In my discussions with partner organizations, most folks have a common understanding of careers in film and television. However, I am nearly always challenged to address our position on digital media. The term is elusive, and there are different ways we can respond to this question. The simplest way to explore digital media is through an examination of the two words. Digital addresses digital technology (e.g., World Wide Web, mobile devices, etc.), while the second word considers means of communication. Therefore, digital media is primarily about designing content that communicates information using digital technology. This perspective is broad and highlights the difficulty in grasping the concept of digital media careers. For example, some of our partner organizations are mainly focused on game design and development. Does this definition accurately capture their specialization?

More recently, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with folks much smarter than me, folks who have conducted some studies about the economics of digital media and specific digital media clusters in Connecticut. During one of these conversations, digital media was presented as a skill set that is in high demand within our current economy. As more and more industries complete the transition to digital, the demand for digital media practitioners significantly increases. This situation is great for any student who graduates with skills in storytelling, animation, game design, marketing, graphic design, and communication – so long as these skills incorporate expertise in digital technology. We want – or need – these students to have the capacity to express their talents using multiple digital platforms.

I consider digital media as a space that produces content to solve a variety of communication problems. This view avoids making a specific reference to one industry and hopefully takes people beyond a limited perspective of digital media being an artform. Yes, art and design are a subset of digital media – as is computer science, business marketing, education, and communications theory. However, digital media practitioners are often challenged to design content that addresses a problem for someone else. This need is why the concept of design thinking, creativity, and problem-solving are vital for any skilled practitioner pursuing a career in digital media. It is also why the opportunities for digital media professionals expand far beyond CT’s media companies, and into the worlds of business, education, and even the sciences.

The main takeaway is digital media careers are everywhere, and Connecticut is a highly competitive state when it comes to digital content production and digital media marketing. In fact, in Fairfield County, the expertise in these two areas is significantly higher when compared to other places in the country. This is because digital media is not only a sort after skill by media companies like NBC Sports, WWE, ESPN, and iTV America (yes all located in Connecticut), but also non-media giants such as Henkel, Gardner, and Cigna. Whether a student chooses to focus on film, television, animation, game design, or web design, as a digital media practitioner, they will have exciting opportunities waiting for them in Connecticut.