Meet Marissa Wilkins

I was able to be a student at IDM and keep my full time job, and I wasn’t alone in doing so. IDM gave me the ability to grow and explore without forcing me to sideline my career.



 

Have you taken an IDM course(s) online? If you did, how would you describe your experience?


I took Creative Coding online at IDM, which is one of the required courses. For me, it was great to set up and maintain my own schedule and workload, and the instructor, Kevin Siwoff was incredibly helpful and accommodating in finding time for office hours.

I also took Media Law online, which while convenient, definitely took some getting used to as it's a discussion based class. There were some technical difficulties during final presentations and rebuttals, but overall it was a good online class experience.

 

What inspired you to pursue a Master's degree in integrated digital media?


My main inspiration behind pursuing a Master’s degree in Integrated Digital Media was to combine my varied interests in design, film, and philosophy. My undergraduate background is in philosophy and film, but I had found myself working in the digital design space on very specific products in very specific verticals. The interdisciplinary nature of the program was a huge draw in my decision to even consider a Master’s degree. Another important factor was that I was able to be a student at IDM and keep my full time job, and I wasn’t alone in doing so. IDM gave me the ability to grow and explore without forcing me to sideline my career.

 

What set the integrated digital media program at NYU apart from others you considered?


IDM is a very flexible degree. I love that it afforded me the opportunity to grow in various new areas, while keeping me focused and aligned to a coherent program of study. It was important to me that I had the ability to forge my own path in a wide range of mediums while not getting lost in all of the exciting opportunities NYU has to offer. Many of the other programs I was considering were too specialized in what they had to offer, or broad for what I wanted to accomplish.

 

Which courses in the program made the biggest impact for you, and why?


My first semester I took an elective called Game Design—I was not particularly familiar with the space, but it opened my eyes to a new way of framing rapid prototyping and iteration, which has been invaluable since. Even the seemingly disparate courses have a way of tying into the larger course of study at IDM, and usually in unexpected but incredibly useful ways. Another class that was impactful for me was Narrative VR with Todd Bryant. It was awesome to take some the rules I knew from film and see where they didn’t translate in VR. I learned so much in every single class, from workflows in Unreal Engine to creating an animated sequence using motion capture.

 

What specific skills or mindset did you develop here which were pivotal to your career?


The mindset that I was able to develop at IDM was that of experimentation—whenever there’s an unknown, be willing to look to other places for parallel experiences if not inspiration. A key aspect of design thinking is to test and iterate, and my time at IDM has helped me find ways to do that better and more often.