We recently caught up with Carlos Rodriguez, Dearborn class of 2019. Carlos was a graduate of our first Computer Science Pathway cohort.
Having dreamed of a career in game design, Carlos was able to make it a reality by dedicating himself to the work of the thoughtfully designed Computer Science Pathway. Carlos credits Dearborn’s Director of Technology Education, Jon LoPorto, with helping jumpstart his career in gaming and encouraging him to be creative in the classroom. He says, “The first day I came to LoPorto’s class I knew we were making games from scratch. I told LoPorto that after that very first class, that I wanted to do whatever it took to try to be in game development. And it turns out that LoPorto sort of paved the way, and I’m here where I am now, thanks to him.”
When reflecting on his time in the classroom, the ability to be creative and to imagine possibilities outside the box was what set pathways classes apart from the typical high school workload. “There’s always one right answer right in the math equation. In (the computer science) classes I never felt that way. I felt like I could express myself in a creative way because in programming, there’s multiple solutions to one answer, and you’re sort of constantly improve on what you’ve built. And that’s incredibly important for my work because obviously you don’t want to make cookie cutter things in a gaming industry, you want to make things that people will remember, that will be something that they’ve never experienced before.”
When asked to provide the pathways program with areas of growth, Carlos suggests that the program continue to allow students to be creative and express their personality “The one thing I always say is allow the students to be creative, allow them to express themselves and reward that, because I feel like that’s really what pushed me forward.”
Carlos has been at Ghost Story Games for a few years now. He began as a coding intern shortly after his high school graduation. He is now an assistant producer, a role he has held for over a year. He has since returned to Dearborn to coach current Computer Science Pathway students. “I feel like I’ve been blessed, honestly, and it’s only fair for me to try to help other people who have similar aspirations as I did.”
When asked to share one piece of advice with current Dearborn students, Carlos strongly suggests researching and studying as much as possible. “It’s really about finding what’s useful to you and finding out what you can learn and not being frustrated by your limitations. Really, the most important thing for me is being excited about all the things you can’t do because eventually you’ll be able to do it all. It’s just a matter of getting there.”
The Dearborn continues to improve and strengthen our career preparation programs. This year we are launching a post-graduate support program called Dearborn Next to build on the relationships between school faculty and graduates, to follow their career trajectory and support them in accomplishing their goals. The program content will include mentoring, advising, and advocating for students as they attend a four-year college, two-year college, vocational training programs, the military, and more. Program staff will work alongside alums when they hit snags and setbacks that might otherwise discourage them from persevering and will help them pivot to the next opportunity so that they continue on the road to success in a rewarding career.