The Selkirk College advantage
Deciding a career path is a challenge for most people and for those who are more creative it can be difficult to find a career that is financially viable and satisfies the creative urges.
For two former Selkirk College students the digital arts and new media program provided them with the skills and passion to succeed.
Aaron Veale graduated from the program in 2007 after a friend recommended he look into it.
“It actually made sense for where I was at in my life compared to other bigger schools say in Vancouver offer,” said Veale, who grew up in Balfour. “Selkirk offers more than what Vancouver offered.”
He has been living in Vancouver for the last five years and has worked on everything from web design to directing commercials and music videos.
“I just finished directing a commercial for the BC Children’s Hospital and the Canucks with the Sedin twins,” said Veale.
“I was really lucky because usually it takes five or 10 years to get where I wanted to get and I was really lucky to learn a lot of the digital things that Selkirk taught me. Surprisingly in Vancouver a lot of the people that have been in the industry for 10 or 15 years were still completely analog or old school. I used that as a leveraging chip to trade skills and teachings.”
Veale said because the program doesn’t focus on one aspect of digital arts, he was able to learn a variety of skills.
“When I first came to Vancouver I was going to do web design and when I was in school I remember one teacher saying that web design is like your bread and butter and basically that’s so true,” he said.
“I was able to survive and do something creative while what I really wanted to eventually get into was film. In the film industry I was able to design some pretty big websites for well-known people around town and they sort of took me under their wing.”
Like Veale, Kelsey Rosner, 21, graduated from the digital arts and new media program and was able to find a job only a few months after graduation.
“I wasn’t interested in web design really,” she said. “When I graduated from high school I really didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I applied for late entry at Selkirk and got in and didn’t really know where I wanted to take it, but after taking the program I really fell in love with it all.”
Rosner is the lead artist for a Calgary company called Mobilesce Inc. that makes games and mobile applications for the iPhone and iPad.
“I started off as the lead artist working with two other artists, and now I’m the only artist that works there,” said Rosner, who is originally from Rossland. “I’ve worked on over seven applications for the company. I do a lot of character design. I’m more artwork than anything else.”
In her position Rosner uses what she learned at Selkirk around work flow the most.
“Learning when you have a deadline which is very practical for my job now, how much time you can allocate to research before you take on the project and how much time you need to do testing and that kind of stuff,” she said.
Rosner worked with artists who attended similar programs in Vancouver and said she really found that the small class sizes were an advantage at Selkirk.
“The atmosphere and the teachers and also the students make the program really great,” she said. “Everyone is helpful and wants you to succeed. It’s a great environment to be creative and showcase your work.”
“Aaron and Kelsey are just two examples of many students that have come out of our program,” said instructor Daryl Jolly. “They really highlight the opportunities that are available to students who come out of our program. We really teach skills that allow our students to hit the ground running.”
The program’s first and second year students will be showcasing their work at their year end show at Mary Hall on April 13 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.