BRENHAM, TX — The Blinn College District's Brenham campus will soon offer new educational paths for those interested in video game programming, or work servicing and customizing drones.
Blinn College of Brenham’s newest structure, the Science Technology Engineering and Innovation [STEI] building, will open up to students this fall semester. Two associates of applied science, or [AAS] programs, will be brand new debuts for the college.
The first is a degree in simulation and game programming; the second, a technician degree in unmanned aircraft systems.
"We didn’t really have the ability to offer these degrees until this building opened," said Max Hibbs, dean of engineering, computer technology, and innovation at Blinn. "It has high tech engineering and technology labs, high tech computer science and programming space - we call it the ‘dry lab’ - that’s classroom and lab space together.”
The two-year degree in unmanned aircraft systems will prepare students for a variety of careers, with applications in fields such as law enforcement, agriculture, and disaster response.
"We believe there are many companies that will have fleets of drones that actually need technicians to keep them flying," Hibbs said. Blinn’s simulation and game programming degree will prepare students not only within the field of video game development but also for careers in creating professional training simulations.
Dr. Bruce Gooch has years of experience in computer science, teaching at Texas A&M, Northwestern University, and the University of Victoria in Vancouver. Gooch came to teach at Blinn in 2019, and he has designed the curriculum for the upcoming simulation and game programming degree.
"So I've had students who have built a game for firefighters," Gooch noted."...They showed it to the fire chief in Bryan, and he thought, 'oh okay, this is great, but what I really want to do is be able to create animations on the fly, and I could use it for teaching purposes.'”
Gooch says, he has mentored former students in the creation of 25 video game startups, and explained, that he plans for Blinn's program to give students hands-on experience relevant to what an employer would seek in a job candidate.
"We’ll put the students into teams," Gooch said. "And when they graduate, they’ll have an artifact, like an iPhone app, that they can show an employer.”
Blinn College plans to bring these programs first this year in Brenham, then extending them to Bryan’s RELLIS campus by the fall of 2022.