Become a Mentor

Mentoring Program

Our mentoring program pairs driven and passionate students and early career professionals with seasoned leadership in the field to transform lives.  Through our program, mentees have met with industry luminaries that provide them invaluable feedback, networking opportunities and a human connection at the beginnings of their careers.  Past mentees speak to the power of having a human connection in a sometimes difficult to navigate industry.  Mentors speak to the fulfillment they get from helping someone learn from their experiences and the recharge of passion they get from those new to the field. 

The AIAS Foundation is enrolling for its 2018/19 program year.  We are looking for the following:

Mentors are individuals who:

  • Minimum 5-10 year work experience in the industry
  • Working in any discipline of the interactive entertainment company
  • Are willing to attend at least one in-person meeting with mentee at the 2018 D.I.C.E. Summit.
  • Have a desire to support the professional growth of a younger individual in the gaming industry
  • Agree to a one-year commitment to the program
  • Are willing to spend a minimum of two hours a month with the mentee, using any form of communication
  • Are willing to communicate regularly with the project manager and submit quarterly meeting information

We asked our scholars what they are looking for in mentors this year, and here are their responses:

 Scholar 1.  After giving it some thought, I would love a mentor with an engineering background and a significant interest/contribution to game design. Perhaps someone who acts as a bridge between the worlds of engineering and design would be a mentor I would get fantastic insights from. I also love meaningful storytelling games so anyone who has worked on something like that would be wonderful too. I would love to see the thought process that goes behind making such games.

Having said that, any mentor from the industry would be just as insightful for me, so the above is just an indication of my interests and nothing more.

Scholar 2.  I would really love to have a mentor who is a senior game AI programmer working in a AAA company, having an interest in action-adventure and open world games, and specialized on architecture and character behaviors. I hope the mentor is passionate about game AI and has a severe interest in improving the existing techniques, and willing to help me with my exploration and experiments in AI programming.

Scholar 3.  Professionally, I act as a 2D/3D generalist. This means I do concept art and texturing alongside character creation (3D modeling, rigging, and animation). A mentor in any of these disciplines would be fine, but I think I’d most want to meet and talk to someone who does character art (specifically modeling and texturing) for high poly games. I’ve been searching for advice in that field the past few months.

Scholar 4.  I would like to have a mentor that is in technical art, tools programming, or has experience in working in cinematic experience in games.

I'm still new to the gaming industry and thus I feel like I still have a lot to learn in terms of learning to transition from being a student to getting your foot in the door. So, I guess a mentor that could speak to those things.

Scholar 5.  I am hoping to have a mentor from an EdTech company so that I could learn about the best practices to follow in this field. As I am a designer, I would like to have a mentor who could guide me in that role specific to designing interactive educational games. Designing educational games is different from designing entertainment games. This is because, for educational games, we not only need to make the game educational but also make it entertaining. Currently, many games are lacking that balance between education and entertainment and I am still learning how to create the right balance for such games. Additionally, I am hoping that in the future, I could be an entrepreneur and start my own EdTech company, but before starting that journey, I would like to learn about the business models and the process to follow to start an EdTech company. I am hoping that my mentor would be able to guide me in the following fields:

  1. Designing successful interactive educational games and best practices to follow to in this field
  2. Help me network in the EdTech field by connecting me with his/her contacts
  3. Guide me with starting my own EdTech company in the future and help me understand the process to do so
  4. Give me guidance regarding designing for connected play (apps that connect to toys)

Scholar 6.  My biggest consideration around a mentor would be having someone with a business (consulting, tech) background or who has worked as a product manager in the gaming industry. A mentor who has had entrepreneurial experiences or shares that interest would also be ideal!

Scholar 7.  I am an artist I am really interested to know more about game art aspects like character design, environments, animating tools for game engines etc.

Scholar 8.  Here's some possible ideal mentors for me:

  1. A senior/lead designer or product manager type that is currently working in an innovation lab inside an AAA developer.
  2. A more strategic or product manager type that is innovating games through development of new business models (I'm thinking Fig, for example, or someone working on cryptocurrencies for games).
  3. A creative type that has developed new innovative services for big AAA studios (thinking of what Nintendo is doing with Labo).

Those are not in any order. At the end, my biggest wish is for someone doing innovative services and products with the time to dedicate to deep thoughtful conversations. Oh, and if that person has an interest in design thinking for games, even better (since then we'll have a common language)!

Scholar 9.  Because I am interested in pursuing a career doing primarily 2D artwork for computer and board games, such as concept art, illustration, texturing, and pixel art, I would appreciate a mentor who has knowledge in those fields. It would also be beneficial to be paired with a mentor who has worked in various industry environments, including larger AAA companies, smaller indie companies and even freelance work because I would like to gain insight on the different types of work environments that exist in the game industry and which one might be the most appealing to me. Likewise, a mentor that has held different positions at different companies would also be interesting to work with to get more of an idea of what different job positions entail, such lead artist versus junior artist, for example. Additionally, since I studied abroad in France for a year, became proficient in French and have Japanese heritage, I would appreciate working with a mentor who has international experience in the game industry because working abroad or in the global market is something I am considering doing in the future.

Equally important, I would like a mentor who has a desire and willingness to teach someone else. Mentoring another person successfully is a significant responsibility that requires patience, time, and effort, so if he/she does not have that to offer, it is unlikely to be a productive match. Along with that, he must be able to be enthusiastic. It sets a good example and helps encourage a mentee to be excited about the possibilities of work in the industry; plus, it shows that she is following a fun and meaningful career that offers satisfaction, which is ultimately what I strive for, especially in the video game industry since it is not guaranteed to be lucrative.

If you are interested in mentoring, please contact Kelly@interactive.org.  Thank you for your time and interest.