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Four Students Awarded Over $75,000 in Master of Digital Media Scholarships

Sep 24, 2013 By Crissy Campbell

Four of this year’s MDM students—Haig Armen, Kishore Venkateshan, Nahum Silva and Vincy Wing Sze Kwong—were awarded a total of over $75,000 in Master of Digital Media Scholarships.

Here’s what the 4 scholarship winners had to say about why they chose the MDM program, what role their scholarship is playing in their studies and what they’re most looking forward to this year.

Haig Armen, winner of the Centre for Digital Media Scholarship [valued at $15,000]

Haig Armen

Haig Armen is the founder and creative director of Vancouver-based LiFT Studios and is an Assistant Professor of Design and Dynamic Media at Emily Carr University. He was a producer for CBC Radio 3′s groundbreaking online magazine and has won numerous awards throughout his career, including three Webby Awards, two Prix Italia for Web Arts and Drama and a Gold Medal from the Art Director’s Club of New York.

 1. Why did you choose the MDM program?

I spent about two years deciding on where to do my graduate studies. After being accepted in both CCA and RCA's design programs and a number of excellent conversations with Richard Smith, I chose MDM. Personally I believe MDM offers an exceptional balance between academic rigour, research and industry engagement.

As someone that's spent a great deal of time as a professional designer I feel that delving deeper into the research and development of digital culture is essential in understanding the impact—both positive and adverse as we shape the ways in which digital media influences our future. 

2. How is your scholarship helping you this year?

My scholarship to MDM is crucial. Without it I would be unable to take the time away from my position as a Assistant Professor of Design at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. The scholarship gives me the opportunity to pause my professorship and still support my family here in Vancouver—something that would have been difficult to achieve had I decided to study in San Francisco or London, UK.

3. What are you most looking forward to this year?

I'm looking forward to a number of things this year. This year's cohort is an amazing group of accomplished people from all over the world. They bring exuberance and their own brands' of intelligence to everything they do. It's great to be part of what feels like a serious MDM growth spurt.

Kishore Venkateshan, winner of the Tom Calvert Award [valued at $20,000] and a full housing award [valued at $10,788] 

Kishore Venkateshan

Kishore comes from Bangalore, India where he completed his Bachelors degree in Computer Science and Engineering. He’s taken part in nation-wide programming contests (and won 6 of them) and has published 2 papers at international conferences in the field of Computer Vision and Robotics: Baseball Hand Tracking from Monocular Video and Switch State Mechanism for Digital Life Assistant, which was awarded the best paper at the conference. 

1. Why did you choose the MDM program?

I spent most of my childhood playing video games, watching cartoons and reading comics and knew that I wanted my career to focus on entertainment. After I learned programming concepts and the physics behind games, I wanted to learn how to apply these concepts to actually create games. My brother is an MDM grad [Karthik Venkateshan from Cohort 1] and he felt that the MDM program would be the best fit for me—it’s a chance to learn through industry-supported projects in a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment before stepping out into the highly competitive games industry.

2. How are your scholarships helping you this year?

The scholarship and the rent-free living at the CDM apartments took a huge financial onus off my shoulders and allows me to focus my attention on the program.

3. What are you most looking forward to this year?

I am looking forward to working with my highly skilled classmates as well as our super experienced and friendly faculty.

Nahum Silva, winner of the Centre for Digital Media Scholarship plus subsidized housing [valued at $14,800]

Nahum Silva

Nahum graduated from Tecnológico de Monterrey in Monterrey, México with a degree in Information Systems Engineering. He has over 10 years experience as a programmer and web application developer.

Last year, Nahum received funding from the National Council of Science and Technology of México to do research for a prebiotic beverage enriched with inulin of agave and explore the agave’s efficiency in protecting the gastrointestinal system. The beverage is now in production. 

1. Why did you choose the MDM program?

My family owns a high school in Oaxaca, México where I used to work and I was planning on getting my Masters Degree in Education. I went to Columbia University and was talking to the admissions department about their Masters in Education program when I realized that working in the family business wasn’t my dream. So I quit the family business and, when sorting out what I was going to do with my life, I came across the MDM program online. I grew up in Oaxaca and it is one of the poorest states in Mexico and there’s no digital media industry. The MDM program was a chance for me to meet people, make connections in the industry and "find my pack."

2. How are your scholarships helping you this year?

A lot. I thought that I was going to have to sell everything in order to afford the program plus the living expenses in Vancouver, but getting the scholarships made it much easier to attend MDM.

3. What are you most looking forward to this year?

I came here to reinvent myself and find opportunities in the digital media industry. I’ve decided to stop controlling my life and let things happen.

Vincy Wing Sze Kwong, winner of the Centre for Digital Media Scholarship [valued at $13,500] and the Diane Sinclair Award for the Woman with the highest GPA [valued at $1,000]

Vincy Wing Sze Kwong

 Vincy recently graduated from The University of Western Ontario with an Honors BA in Digital Media, Communications & Technoculture—a self-designed degree through the Scholar's Electives program— along with a Minor in Creative Writing. Her skills include graphic design, web design, filmmaking, photography and creative writing.

1. Why did you choose the MDM program?

When I was looking at different programs, I found that MDM was a unique and interdisciplinary program that would allow me to develop a wide range of skills, interests, and experiences. I've had a passion for digital media since I was little, so I thought I would give it a try and applied. Now that I’m here I feel that, yes, this is definitely the program I was looking for.

2. How are your scholarships helping you this year?

Aside from aiding me financially, these scholarships are recognition for my hard work in the past and also provide a significant source of confidence for my future in MDM and afterwards. I feel honoured to receive these scholarships, and they will definitely keep me motivated to work harder and aim higher this year. 

3. What are you most looking forward to this year?

It has only been two weeks since I met my cohort, but I've already learned a lot from my peers during group projects and social gatherings. I definitely look forward to being able to grow and graduate together sixteen months from now. 

Applications for September 2014 intake open on October 1st. If you’re interested in finding out more about the applications process and scholarship opportunities attend one of our webinars. 

All photos by Kareem Negm.