I graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with my degree in Writing for Theater many years ago. That experience inspired me to pursue my Masters at NYU in something slightly different than theater – Interactive Telecommunications (a mouthful of a program).
Technology was always one of my strong suits. I was really interested in creating computer games at a young age. I even went to school for Computer Science, but that didn’t last. I was told that I would be spending years developing operating systems for copiers or databases for large companies. I couldn’t figure out at the time how to connect what I was learning to gaming. So I left and started writing at Marymount, which turned out to be much more relevant than it seems.
Marymount Manhattan was an anomaly that I’m not really sure that anyone quite understood. It was mainly a school for performing arts, with some tremendous dancers and actors running through the halls. There were some professors or adjuncts that were not necessarily connected to that side of the college and were really ahead of the curve. One of my Theater Arts: History professors had the honor of not only looking like Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones (everyone thought so), but designing levels for Empire Earth and other realtime strategy games. Professor Farrell is now a professor at NYU (small world!)
I took a Digital Photography course in 2002. The professor had been teaching traditional photography for many years before completely making the switch at the turn of the century. Every one of her peers thought she was crazy – there’s no way that Photoshop will replace a dark room; there’s no way that film will disappear. It was amazing to hear in 2002 from a professional that digital was the way of the future and film would become a novelty, not a standard. And she was 100% correct. I still use Apple hotkeys as a result of that class!
The modern definition of podcasting came about sometime in 2004 / 2005. In 2003, I took a class that was a collaboration between Theater Arts and Communications called, “Internet Radio & Drama.” This experience went beyond the digital sound production class I took (I still have those WAV files) and challenged the students to produce and perform a live internet drama that was streamed to the world. Susan Jacobson (who is now a professor in Miami) and Dr. Mary Fleischer (the Chair of Theater Arts at Marymount Manhattan) taught the class and had amazing results… I just wish I had a recording of our final cast (although I do have the theme music somewhere).
Marymount Manhattan (one of the newest members of the iD Tech family, adding one more NY summer camp to the location lineup) has a history of being secretly techy and ahead of the curve. The professors I encountered embraced technology, not for the novelty, but for applications in the real world. The education I encountered inspired me to go on and work in technology fields that didn’t involve database creation or copiers, which is a perfect fit for iD Tech Camp.