Few graduate gaming programs hold a candle to Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. Founded by a dramatist and computer scientist (the latter of whom is the late Randy Pausch of The Last Lecture renown), the program balances art and technology. Research and development take a central role in this interdisciplinary sandbox where students are encouraged and expected to “learn, work, play”. To do so, they work with a host of corporate and non-profit sponsors for the most up-to-date and experiential education possible.
Drew Davidson is just the right person to immerse students in the world of interactive media. Joining ETC as a faculty member a decade ago, his passion has catapulted him into the spotlight and he has become a leading advocate and researcher in the field. Today, Davidson serves as Director of the ETC graduate program in addition to Founding Editor of ETC Press. We caught up with him to pick his brain on the origins of ETC, the unique sponsored projects that his students tackle, and the impact that he hopes they will have. (This interview was conducted via phone and has been edited minimally for clarity).