Leylanah Mitchell is a fourth-year CAMD student pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Art and Animation. She discovered her passion for animation and design in her senior year of high school, and has continued to forge her path in the field at Northeastern.
Recently, Leylanah’s co-op experience as a Project Manager in MIT’s Information Systems & Technology Department further broadened her horizons, and she plans to use the management skills she learned there, as well as her design knowledge, in her journey after college.
We had the opportunity to catch up with Leylanah and learn more about her time at Northeastern and her future plans. Read more below.
How did you first become interested in game art and animation?
Like many others in my generation, I grew up immersed in video games and 2D animation films. However, I did not consider working in the games/animation industry until I enrolled in an interactive media class during my senior year of high school. Now knowing that this was a possibility, I entered Northeastern as a Computer Science/Media Arts major. However, after a year, I learned that computer science wasn’t for me. I wanted to focus more on design, so at first, I switched to the Media Arts program, and later, into Game Art and Animation.
What makes your major unique?
The best part about my major is that I have the opportunity to experience working in every part of the pipeline for making animations and games, from the concept to the final production. With that exposure, I have gained many skills, broadened my horizons, and learned more about what I want in my career.
Furthermore, there is a huge sense of community, not only within my major but in CAMD as a whole.
All of my teachers are not only experienced in their field but passionate about it as well. Also, students are always helping each other and sharing their tips and tricks. It makes going to class enjoyable and easier during stressful times.
What advice would you give someone looking into majoring in Game Art and Animation?
I advise students choosing this major to exhibit these two traits, open-mindedness and curiosity, and to use these traits to further their education. This major helps students build the foundation for working in the games and animation industry, but it is the job of the students to take what they learn and their interest to develop themselves into the type of designer or artist they want to be. The student is the one who has to craft their future, and that’s a good thing.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. I would have saved myself so much time, stress, and anger if I had just asked for help sooner.
Where have you worked on co-op, and how were those experiences?
During my time at Northeastern, I have had two summer internships and one spring co-op. I co-oped at MIT, working as a Project Manager in their Information Systems & Technology department.
My experiences helped me become more efficient, resourceful, and communicative when organizing and executing projects.
I also had the chance to see what managing a team and working with business partners looks like.
Last, what is the future looking like for you?
My time at Northeastern is coming to an end, as I graduate this upcoming spring (2021). After graduation, I plan on working as an associate producer at a game or animation studio, using both my project management skills and design knowledge.