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Capella University – Making a Difference


While working in the IT industry, I’ve had a positive impact and made a difference, over and over, across the world. Before I went to college, I worked as a software QA tester and I also did software how-to documentation. Because I picked up new software programs with ease, I constantly learned new things and fun things. This piqued my interest in the Gaming Industry and I continued this trend during college and after I graduated.

While I was at college, I did volunteer work on a Multi-User Dungeon (text based game), which was eventually turned into an English language teaching tool in Japan for Japanese students wanting to learn English. I wrote Non-Player Character (NPC) dialogue, item descriptions, settings and scenery, which helped students to perfect their grasp of the English language. I conducted testing on the game and wrote support documentation to help the instructor so that he could maintain and update the game for his students. It was really neat to me that I was at college in Tennessee, yet I was having an impact on the lives of students in Japan!

After I graduated from college with my B.A. in Anthropology, I went to work for a video game development company. We created video games that could be played by people of all ages. I created wikis and self-help player support webpages that were written for a wide audience range of 10 and up. I often still functioned as a software QA tester. While weekly releases had to be tested for bugs, so did the payment systems, the ad systems and mobile games. There is really never an end to testing for bugs in software if you’re continuously having releases. Being a software QA tester requires you to be methodical and organized. You need to keep track of the bugs you find, if the bugs are reproducible, the steps required to reproduce the bug, and more. Keeping the games, payment system, and ad systems bug free was often a never-ending responsibility. Plus, you never get bored! There’s always something new to try and break, or new software and technologies to research.

I also worked as a technical writer. Writing is my passion, so I always find ways to incorporate it into whatever I do. I created help wikis to be accessible by audiences of all ages. Trying to think from the perspective of a 10 year old to create easy to follow ‘how to’ guides was fun and challenging, as was writing soothing pieces for parents explaining gaming terminology.

By choosing to work in IT for just these companies, I helped over one million people. I’ve since gone on to work for other companies and reach more people. I’ve expanded what I write about to include beauty and I’ve even incorporated videos! I know that I’ve touched so many lives through my choices. I’ve helped college students in Japan who I will never meet, as well as many children and adults around the world, all because of my love of video games, writing, and testing. This makes me feel good about my choices!

I was given the opportunity to share my story by Capella University. Capella University is a rigorous and supportive learning community that can transform your education into work that makes a difference in the lives of others. At Capella, you will develop the knowledge to help others reach their potential. Your degree will change more lives than just your own. They offer several different IT degrees. Learn more on their website and by visiting the following links:

· Graduate stories: http://www.insidecapella.com/our-graduates.asp

· Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CapellaUniversity

· YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/CapellaInspires

Now, BlogHer will donate $1 for every comment on this post, up to $500 to my favorite charity, Reading Is Fundamental. Just answer this question: Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did they influence you?

Donation Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total donation entries by leaving up to two comments in response to the prompt on this post.
This promotion is open to US Residents age 18 or older.
The Official Rules are available here.This promotion runs from 9/17/2012 – 9/30/2012.
Visit the BlogHer.com Capella page to check out more blogger stories and for more donation chances!

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    • triner

      I have too many favorite teachers. They always encouraged me to read, and always challenged my thoughts on a subject.

    • LauraVRizzo

      I was homeschooled until college, so my favourite and only teacher was my mum! After that, I was lucky enough to get an internship studying Odonata (dragonflies) with one of my favourite bio profs from my school.

    • daintynymph

      My favorite teacher was Mr. Main. He taught writing/literature classes, and I took a King Arthur class and a Shakespeare class from him. The biggest thing for me was his infectious excitement about whatever it was we were learning. It made every class incredibly fun, and it was great to see a huge nerd that was so enthusiastic about his passions being well regarded by everyone. He definitely inspired me to embrace my interests, whether they were popular or obscure. 

    • http://lacqueredpaintedpolished.blogspot.com/ Jessi M

      I have two favorites so this works out really well!My first is my third grade teacher Mrs. Bolter. She nurtured our minds through activities beyond what other teachers were doing. We wrote and performed plays, learned about other cultures, learned the basics of science through experiements, made bread, had a class garden, etc. It was one of my favorite years in school.

    • http://lacqueredpaintedpolished.blogspot.com/ Jessi M

      My other favorite teacher was my 7th grade English teacher. I had always before been in “regular” English classes and this was my first year being in the “gifted and talented” program. After this class I realized how stunted creatively and mentally I was from the teaching methods in “regular” classrooms. I didn’t know how to be creative or think outside the box. This one class changed my way of thinking for the rest of my life and I’m really grateful for it.

    • TrippyPixie93

      My favorite teacher was Mrs. Schmid. I was able to have her as a teacher for both 4th and 5th grade, so I was extremely lucky. In grade school, we had to take tests twice a year that measured the level we were able to read at. In 5th grade, I was able to read at a college level (though perhaps I wasn’t able to truly comprehend everything at that level). We only had advanced math classes at school (we didn’t get advanced English classes until I was in 6th grade), so I was understandably bored during my regular-level English class. However, Mrs. Schmid would assign books for me to read outside of class, and we would meet once a week during recess to discuss the book. She did a lot of other things as well, but she was a great teacher and is a terrific person. On my days off from school, I still go back and visit her. She’s set to retire in 2 years.I’m double-majoring in Secondary Education and History. Even though I won’t be teaching the same level that she did, if I’m anywhere NEAR as great of a teacher as she was, I’ll be happy.

    • TrippyPixie93

      My favorite high school teacher was my junior year Physics teacher, Mr. Swider. My older sister had him for that class and liked him a lot, and my younger sister is going to have him as a teacher for that class next year.I’m very bad at math, and since physics is practically all math, I was worried. However, Mr. Swider was able to explain things in a way that I was able to understand. He would reward hard work, and I was really motivated to do well in his class. He didn’t let students get away with any sort of nonsense, which I loved, since many of the kids in that class were ill-behaved. Aside from that, his personality was also great. We were both very sarcastic, so we would just exchange witty quips all period. We’d also talk about pop culture, the news, and the world. It was great, since I can’t really talk about those things with people my age (they just don’t care about those things). I also plan on visiting Mr. Swider some time in the future, especially since he’s also going to retire in a few years.

    • balloonhat

      I have two favorite teachers, one from high school, one from my community college (I start my first quarter as a transfer later this month!).  My high school had a decent animation program taught by an… interesting man who only wore black.  He was a very intense individual, and a lot of students found him abrasive and complained, but it was the first time a teacher treated me like an adult, rather than a know-nothing teen, and by that I mean he was a no-bs kind of person, one who wanted me to succeed and know that high school is not life.  My interests at the time were in stop-motion and scripts; he got me books on script-writing, got me scripts to study, and when my best friend and I asked if our final project (a stop-motion film) could be done together, not only did he say “THAT SOUNDS AWESOME, DO IT, JUST DON’T LET IT HURT YOUR FRIENDSHIP,” he got us a private room so we could set up our sets and camera without having to worry about others messing with anything.  I was going through a lot of problems both at home and at school (the office told me to my face that I would just have to “learn to be a student who fell through the cracks” because they could not and would not help me; in hindsight, I should have just gotten my GED and gotten out, because I didn’t graduate unscathed), so the animation program helped me focus on something else, and I know that without him I probably would have not gotten through high school.  Later I found out that the books and scripts were things he bought with his own money, that he was the one who had paid out of pocket to buy a replacement camera when another student broke the one we were using for stop-motion, and that he’d defended me in the office when they were talking about how all I was good for was my excellent state test scores.My favorite college prof is actually an Anthropology professor!  She is kind and wise and hilarious, and her dedication to helping people is inspiring.  The first time I had her course (I ended up taking all of her courses, then switching my major to Anthropology), it was Fall and Thanksgiving was coming up.  She said told her classes that, if anybody needed a dinner or just a place full of friendly welcoming people, nobody should have to be hungry or alone on a day of thanks, and opened up her home to everybody who needed it.  I was her TA for one semester (before the grant paying me died) and she brought me the most delicious cake I’ve EVER had for my birthday, because somehow she’d remembered it even though I only mentioned it to her just once, since I was bitter about how my family uses my bday to buy themselves things.  Like my HS teacher, she supported me when times were hard and gave me hope and something to look forward to, albeit in a more human way than my HS teacher.BTW, the work you did for the video game company sounds exactly like the work I’d like to do as an Anthropology grad.  I’d love to pick your brain about it someday, if that’s permissible.

    • balloonhat

      My high school had a decent animation program taught by an… interesting man who only wore black.  He was a very intense individual, and a lot of students found him abrasive and complained, but it was the first time a teacher treated me like an adult, rather than a know-nothing teen, and by that I mean he was a no-bs kind of person, one who wanted me to succeed and know that high school is not life.  My interests at the time were in stop-motion and scripts; he got me books on script-writing, got me scripts to study, and when my best friend and I asked if our final project (a stop-motion film) could be done together, not only did he say “THAT SOUNDS AWESOME, DO IT, JUST DON’T LET IT HURT YOUR FRIENDSHIP,” he got us a private room so we could set up our sets and camera without having to worry about others messing with anything.  I was going through a lot of problems both at home and at school (the office told me to my face that I would just have to “learn to be a student who fell through the cracks” because they could not and would not help me; in hindsight, I should have just gotten my GED and gotten out, because I didn’t graduate unscathed), so the animation program helped me focus on something else, and I know that without him I probably would have not gotten through high school.  Later I found out that the books and scripts were things he bought with his own money, that he was the one who had paid out of pocket to buy a replacement camera when another student broke the one we were using for stop-motion, and that he’d defended me in the office when they were talking about how all I was good for was my excellent state test scores.Now that I see we’re allowed two separate, different entries, I deleted my former one (which had turned my comment into one big wall of text). I hope that’s okay!

    • balloonhat

      My favorite college prof is actually an Anthropology professor!  She is kind and wise and hilarious, and her dedication to helping people is inspiring.  The first time I had her course (I ended up taking all of her courses, then switching my major to Anthropology), it was Fall and Thanksgiving was coming up.  She said told her classes that, if anybody needed a dinner or just a place full of friendly welcoming people, nobody should have to be hungry or alone on a day of thanks, and opened up her home to everybody who needed it.  I was her TA for one semester (before the grant paying me died) and she brought me the most delicious cake I’ve EVER had for my birthday, because somehow she’d remembered it even though I only mentioned it to her just once, since I was bitter about how my family uses my bday to buy themselves things.  Like my HS teacher, she supported me when times were hard and gave me hope and something to look forward to, albeit in a more human way than my HS teacher.BTW, the work you did for the video game company sounds exactly like the
      work I’d like to do; I’m an Anthropology major right now.  I’d love to
      pick your brain about it someday, if that’s permissible.

    • RealForUs7

      My favorite teacher I have ever had was my Humanities/Art History teacher in my junior and senior years in high school.  He was so energetic and enthusiastic about his subject, one that I loved.  He made learning exciting, and actually inspired me to not only major in History, but work towards teaching certification!

    • OhPossum

      My world history teacher in high school was a favorite. He had the knack of making history come alive for kids who didn’t give 2 hoots about it. I wasn’t one of them – history geek from birth – but it sure didn’t hurt.

    • OhPossum

      One of my fav college profs was Dr. Gilliland in the Counseling dept. He was the only human I have ever encountered who truly had that Rogerian unconditional positive regard for others – all the time.

    • misfitgirlie

      I have three favorites: one from middle school, one from high school, and one from college. Middle school was Mr. Bowen. He was my biology teacher in 7th grade (when I first moved to CA) and my leadership teacher in 8th grade. He was a “cool” teacher who was known for setting his desk on fire on the first day. He had something called “The Can,” where if you got caught breaking the class rules, you drew your punishment from it. It was amazing that he had a disciplinary method that everyone feared yet respected at the same time! I exceled in his class and we got close that way, which continued during leadership class the following year. I remember we had to go on a retreat for leadership and I said, “Is this like camping? Because I’m from New Jersey, I don’t camp,” and he remembers that to this day. I visited him a couple of times after I graduated college and moved back to the area, but he has since retired.High school was Mr. Sims, also my biology teacher. It was a similar situation…I did well in his class and therefore we got along well. He was just a nice guy…I T.A.’d for him senior year.College was Prof. Hampsey. I decided on an English minor last-minute and I really enjoyed his courses…I wished I had decided earlier so that I could have potentially taken more. My boss (I was a technical writer at the time!) recommended him and we grew close through that connection. The thing I remember the most was that I knew his classes were hard, so I tried harder (not typical of my senior year in college) and felt proud when I earned As from him and proud that my boss was impressed by that. I still remember a paper I wrote where the entire first page was basically about driving home for Thanksgiving break and wondering if that would fly with him…it did, I got an A :)