Meet Brian! A 2009 graduate from the University of Baltimore Simulation and Digital Entertainment program. Brian is the Education Team Manager at Planet3. Learn about his experiences at USG and see what he is up to now.
Starting from when you began your program at USG, what steps did you take get to where you are today in your career?
During my senior year in the Simulation and Digital Entertainment program at the University of Baltimore (UB) at USG, I was given the opportunity to lead an internship class in a project to create an educational video game. The result was an environmental science learning game called My Own Biome. This project was so well received that I was able to spin it into a company that I named Let Me Think! The video game was incorporated into the science curriculum in Baltimore County Public Schools — it really helped jump-start my career. Even though I found some level of success, the company was not viable long-term.
During this time I had also been serving as an instructor in the Simulation and Digital Entertainment program at UB. Teaching presented me with an excellent opportunity to give back to the education community and help others learn how to create games. I still teach today!
After closing my company, I started working as an Instructional Designer at an emergency travel assistance company. I saw this role as a good way to continue my creative work in a more stable, mainstream, corporate environment. After a year, I was promoted to the organizational effectiveness management position where I supervised the production and implementation of the company’s training, documentation, and change management efforts.
From there, I found myself in a good position to start considering other opportunities. I had a stable, well-paying position in a pleasant work environment — one that gave me the freedom to spend nearly a year searching for the right opportunity to take me in the new direction I was looking for with my career.
After a long search, I found a position with an exciting start-up, Planet3, which has allowed me to return to creating educational video games.
What do you do at your current job?
I started with Planet3 in January. Planet3 is an exploration-based learning company that is developing a digital learning platform designed to inspire teachers and students with immersive experiences in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM), with a focus on our changing planet. As the Education Team Manager, my role is to guide and direct the team that produces the standards-based learning goals, curriculum material, and educational assets for our product. I’m also able to leverage my background to help bridge and connect instructional needs with game design requirements.
Right now, my biggest focus is on learning everything I can about the company and the projects we are working on. With a start-up, you don’t have the same kind of ramp-up time that you would in a normal position with an already established company. You just have to hit the ground running!
How did your time at USG prepare you for your career?
While at USG, I learned the value of working hard and going above and beyond the requirements to get an ‘A’ grade. This, more than anything else, has opened door after door for me in the real world.
I received a huge amount of help from my mentor, Dr. Kate Austin. She gave me a great opportunity to lead an important project, helped me turn it into a company, and has provided invaluable guidance and support the entire time I’ve known her.
I’m also grateful for receiving the AFCEA scholarship. In addition to helping me financially through a difficult semester, it introduced me to Bill Schlossenberg. Bill has been a valuable mentor and advisor over the last several years.
As a result of my experiences at USG, I have people I can rely on to give me advice on career decisions, personal goals, and life in general.
What was your most memorable experience at USG?
My most memorable experience at USG was the class that led to the creation of my company. My mentor, Dr. Kate Austin, allowed me to take an extra internship class as an elective. In this class, we pitched educational game ideas to senior leadership at Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS). My proposal was selected, and I was able to lead the entire class in a semester-long project to build a prototype for my video game, My Own Biome. This prototype was well received, and BCPS chose to provide funding to develop a full version of the game. It was at that moment I had one of my many dreams come true.
In 140 characters or less, what message would you give to the future graduates?
Be ready when opportunities present themselves; those who are prepared are fully able to take advantage when the right one comes along.