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The DigiPen Student Senate announced the winners of the Student Life Excellence Awards. The annual awards are presented to students, staff, and faculty in recognition of their outstanding contributions to the DigiPen community.

These are the award recipients for 2017, along with brief excerpts from some of the students who nominated them.

Student of the Year: Josu Garay Criado

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to encapsulate in a single box all the reasons why Josu deserves the award. I can’t imagine DigiPen without him, and more importantly, I can’t imagine many of us surviving this year.”

“Josu was an all-star this year. He has always been, but this year he shined more than ever. He helped our cohort (seniors) finding full-time jobs, juniors with internships, sophomores with tech mentorship, and freshmen with understanding what DigiPen is about. Josu is the true DigiPen Dragon.”

Josu recently graduated from the BS in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation program.

Faculty of the Year: Matthew Mead

“His lectures are incredibly informative, and he has a very engaging way of speaking. He’s the first computer science (CS) teacher you have coming in, and he grinds you into a proper programmer so that second year he can start being real with you. He is clearly a huge part of the quality of CS students that come out of here.”

“He is the coolest and nicest person at the school by far. He helps anyone and everyone who asks and is amazing.”

Matthew Mead is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science.

Staff of the Year: Mojan Ahmadi

“As one of the newer staff members she has revolutionized the way our school is presented to companies. With her expertise in resume building and interviewing for various professions, she has elevated the DigiPen student body to a higher level of professionalism.”

“Her hidden superheroine power is that when you speak, she empathizes with you to a whole different level. She does this in a marvelous way, empowering your thoughts to allow introspection, making you feel smart, and seeing mistakes as growth opportunities.”

Mojan Ahmadi is the Coordinator of Career Services at DigiPen.

Club of the Year: Technical Art Club

“Technical Club and its leader, Alex Lindman, have provided a secondary education to the BFAs in an amazing way. By bringing in industry professionals and knowledgeable students to guest lecture — and taking a field trip to Bungie’s MoCap studio! — Technical Art Club has allowed students to get in-depth, hands-on experience with topics we would otherwise know nothing about.”

Read more about student clubs at DigiPen.

The Gordon Dutrisac Award: Matt Brunner

“Brunner has done so much to empower the artists. He really wants to integrate them and make sure they’re prepared to work with game teams.”

“He is the best.”

Matt Brunner is a Senior Lecturer in Animation and Production.