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RIT student wins award at Game Developers Conference

Rochester Institute of Technology

A Rochester Institute of Technology student has been selected for an Intel Scholars award at the 2016 Game Developers Conference this week in San Francisco.

Juliann Internicola, a fourth-year game design and development major from Buffalo, received the award, which is presented to female or underrepresented minority students who are then assigned to a gaming industry mentor for one-on-one professional development sessions.

During the conference, Internicola is being paired with her mentor, Kelly Zmak, CEO and founder of Performance Ahead Consulting Group. Zmak is a game development executive with expertise in studio management and product development, according to RIT.

Internicola always wanted to be a game developer, RIT officials said; she credits her sisters’ game playing for allowing her to realize her career path at a young age.

“My sisters would play Super Mario and I would just watch them for hours,” she said in a statement. “I never really wanted to play the game myself — I always begged them to play so that I could watch. I was fascinated by their interaction with the game.”

Internicola, a student ambassador for RIT’s School of Interactive Games and Media and the Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC), is currently conducting research on augmented reality and location-based gaming.

When she graduates in December, Internicola hopes to land a job as a technical designer, melding the work of game designers and programmers, according to RIT.

“It’s exciting to be a young woman in this field,” she said. “Sure, there is room for improvement with the integration of diversity in the games industry, but it’s important that we aren’t discouraged or intimidated. Diversity makes us stronger, and it’s those unique points of view that make developing a game even better.” 

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