A Norco College student won three awards, including the top honor, at a Dec. 14 ceremony that honored students in the college's video game art program.
Jason Norman won the most outstanding student and best student awards for two classes: Materials and Lighting and Anatomy for Game Art.
"I was surprised," Norman said. "I was just working my hardest. But it's not so much about winning as it is about getting better at what I do."
Norman, 22, lives in Rancho Cucamonga but is a former Riverside resident who graduated from Martin Luther King High School. After high school he attended Riverside City College part time and worked full time as a data entry clerk. After finding out about Norco College's game art program, he decided to enroll in that program full time and find a part-time job.
Two years later, he doesn't regret the change.
"I have been thoroughly impressed," he said. "The campus is great. The equipment is always being updated. They keep adding more classes. And the teachers are fantastic. They know their stuff. They're the idols for all the students."
One of those teachers is Mike Williams. Norman took his Materials and Lighting class this past fall. Williams named Norman best in class.
Williams, who has worked for 12 years in the game art, animation, visual effects and graphic design fields and has been a teacher for nine years, said Norman has a great work ethic.
“If I expect something will take 10 hours, he will put in 100 hours,” Williams said. “He goes so far and beyond what I would expect.”
Williams also said that Norman has both the technical and artistic skills needed to succeed in the video game industry.
“So many people are good at one and not the other,” Williams said. “He has both the artistic eye and also the smarts to do the software and programming side.”
After completing two final classes for his associate’s degree, Norman hopes to work in the video game industry doing environmental and vehicle modeling and also begin work on his bachelor’s degree.
Here is a list of the other honored students (course, name, hometown, instructor):
Photoshop for Game Art, Gregory King, Norco, Taber Dunipace; Photoshop for Game Art, Jason Hernandez, Mira Loma, Gilbert Marquez; Photoshop for Game Art, Cody Walchli, Colton, Jim Busike; Introduction to ProTools, Sterling Fairfield, Corona, Brady Kerr; Introduction to 3D Modeling, Brayden Wlassek, Corona, Gilbert Marquez; Introduction to 3D Modeling, Sean Farrar, Riverside, Mike Williams;
And, Introduction to 3D Modeling, Lorena Prieto, Corona, Jim Busike; Introduction to Music Technology, Chris Dubois, Corona, Scott Vance; Designing Game Characters, Kenneth Trowbridge, Riverside, Gil Marquez; Materials and Lighting, Jason Norman, Rancho Cucamonga, Mike Williams; Environment and Vehicle Modeling, Thomas Marsteller, Riverside, Mike Williams;
And, Anatomy for Game Art, Jason Norman, Rancho Cucamonga, Steve Hampton; 3D Character Animation; Trevor Feierabend; Riverside, Tabir Dunipace; Introduction to ProTools, Dillon Droke, Corona, Brady Kerr; Game Design Principles, Christopher Chance, Riverside, Judy Perry; Level Design, Tom Holas, Corona, James Finley.
The Simulation and Game Development program at Norco College offers state of the art facilities with industry-driven curriculum. Game industry professionals routinely visit Norco College to meet with faculty and students and to assist in the development of curriculum. This ensures that Norco College graduates are equipped to work in game studios or transfer to 4-year institutions to complete their education. NC’s new Industrial Technology building houses the innovative Game Lab and state-of-the-art gaming classrooms where students learn and perfect their skills. The Student Game Creation Club is one of the most active clubs on campus and holds bi-annual game tournaments.
About the RCCD CTE Community Collaborative: The Riverside Community College District CTE Community Collaborative is a grant funded effort to strengthen California’s workforce development efforts by linking the State’s investment in economic development with its investment in public instruction and other significant public investments. CTE Community Collaboratives can be found throughout the State. The role of the collaborative is to create seamless, non-redundant education and training in the region that corresponds to economic demand; strengthen CTE sectors; establish career exploration programs for middle school and high school students; and meet critical professional development needs and capacity building needs as it relates to career and technical education.
CTE Community Collaborative Partners: Three community colleges: Moreno Valley College, Norco College, and Riverside City College; Riverside County Office of Education Career Technical Education Unit; and six unified school districts: Alvord USD, Corona-Norco USD, Jurupa USD, Moreno Valley USD, Riverside USD, and Val Verde USD.