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You’ve heard about DigiPen Institute of Technology. Maybe you’ve downloaded and played some student games. You’re thinking about the possibility of devoting your next four years to learning the ropes of the game and animation industries, but you’re still not sure if DigiPen is the school for you. What’s the next step?

DigiPen sophomore Sean Riley suggests you do what he did when he was a prospective student: Let one of DigiPen’s student ambassadors be your guide for a day as you sit in on a class lecture and meet members of the DigiPen community.

Today, while pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Game Design, Riley also volunteers as a student ambassador, welcoming prospective students to the college and helping them get a feel for what attending DigiPen is all about. We recently spoke with Riley about how his own experience visiting the campus helped inform his decision to attend.

Q: What was your professional and/or educational background before coming to DigiPen?

I did six years in the Navy in the nuclear power program. I was an engineering laboratory technician — that basically means I was a “nuclear pool boy.” I checked chemistry and stuff for a nuclear reactor. When I got out of the Navy I decided I didn’t want to go into utilities, and I was already living in Washington. So I tried to check and see if DigiPen was cool. And it was.

Q: How did you first hear about DigiPen?

This was probably 10 years ago. I remember someone linked me to the game gallery, and I downloaded this game. It was like a fighting RPG where people had to use office supplies as their weapons. It was all goofy and ridiculous and it got me thinking, “You know, I want to make something goofy and ridiculous.”

Q: Describe your experience shadowing a student on campus.

The student ambassador program was probably the final straw that got me to come here, because it took all these unrealistic, intangible ideas that I had been thinking about and I actually got to see some of them in action.

I’d actually been here and walked around. I’d been to a class. I met some people. The idea of going to DigiPen seemed much more grounded in reality and less of just this fantasy idea.

It’s almost like in our game design classes when you have to prototype the game just to make sure that the game is fun. I had to come here and see that the school was cool for me.

Q: What is it like to now be a Student Ambassador who helps other prospective students?

I really like it. I’m a pretty social guy. I like talking with people. I like sharing my opinion on things. And this is something that I have positive opinions about. They have questions; I have answers.

To shadow a student, contact the Office of Admissions at (425) 629-5001, text us at (425) 414-3633, or email us at You can also combine your visit with a one-on-one meeting with an Admissions or Financial Aid representative. Requests should be made at least a week in advance.