News & Stories
Sydney Brown
May 14, 2024

Creative Technologies: A Game-Changing Major for an Innovative Future

An avid gamer with diverse interests, Sydney found choosing a college major confining. Then she discovered creative technologies (CRT), a major that allowed her to explore her passions while gaining valuable technical and design skills. Now she’s learned to build hardware, apps and video games. She especially enjoys working on the digital aesthetic and immersive experiences for users. She recently graduated, prepared for the job market thanks to hands-on classroom experiences, student work positions and strong mentoring.

Before college, Sydney loved video games but lacked experience designing technology. Challenged at Berry, she built a game from scratch in a creative computing class. By her senior design course, she created hardware and software for different applications, such as tracking student walking patterns for health awareness and measuring light exposure and building temperatures.

“Creative technologies taught me to always see the light at the end of the tunnel,” says Sydney. “I love the process of problem-solving, and I learned not to give up on a project until it is working well.”

Outside the classroom, she grew skills through jobs in Hackberry Lab, Berry’s makerspace, where she worked as a lab assistant, CRT teaching assistant, content developer, curriculum developer and lab director.

“These jobs defined my college experience as much as my academic pursuits,” says Sydney. “They gave me a toolbox of skills that I never would have imagined I could acquire. Now I’m a confident problem-solver.”

Whether guiding students to learn something new or training lab assistants, mentoring brought joy. “I love helping others reach their lightbulb moment,” Sydney reflects. “It’s equipped me to be a patient, persistent leader. The beauty of the CRT community is no two students are the same. Differences are at the core of innovation here. Whether working on my projects, helping students complete theirs or simply sitting and talking, I never felt alone at Hackberry. Can you tell I loved my job?”

Sydney attributes the lab culture to Zane Cochran, clinical assistant professor of creative technologies — also her mentor, advisor and friend. Beyond lab work, he recommended a study abroad program in Norway where she built a printed-circuit-board activity for elementary students. He also connected Sydney to engineering challenges and a maker camp at Darlington School in Rome, Georgia. There she coached elementary students on building and programming robots, writing code and designing creative solutions for various challenges.

She praises Cochran’s commitment: “I hope that I will impact at least one person the way he impacted me. With his support, I have grown professionally and learned so much about myself and my capabilities. I genuinely hope all college students have an advisor like him.”

For students considering a CRT major, Sydney says, “You just need to be willing to fail, adapt to challenges and remain authentic to yourself and your goals. If you master these, CRT will be an unmatched experience for you, and you will build some incredibly cool things.”

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