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High School Students Learn Computer Graphics in U Summer Program

Different projects in varying stages of completion.

June 7, 2011 – This summer, the University of Utah’s highly ranked Entertainment Arts and Engineering program is not just for U students.

For 30 high-school-age students, this summer means the door to the stellar computing facilities and creative instructors—normally available only to those at the U—is open through a summer camp in computer graphics and video game development beginning June 11.

In this program, students can attend one, two or three weeks of class to learn how to create their own animated character that they can take with them to future projects; go on field trips to local game developers like Disney Interactive Studios and EA Games; and get help from class instructors in finding college programs that fit with the student’s interests and talents. Instructors will also write letters of recommendation for students if needed.

“This program is a great way to build math, problem-solving and even physics skills over summer break,” says Mark van Langeveld, a professor in the U School of Computing and creator of the summer program. “Developing computer games is a great precursor to careers in aerospace and engineering, but it can also be applied to many different fields. For instance, computer games have been used to simulate emergency room scenarios.”

Van Langeveld says that summer program students will learn the same concepts that he teaches to undergraduates and some graduate students at universities across the country. But, the U summer camp is more affordable than other programs. Each week is $200, and financial aid is available for those who qualify. The fee includes instruction from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, as well as field trips and lunch. The first week of class is mandatory and to really get the full benefit of the course the students should plan on all three weeks.

As the name Entertainment Arts and Engineering indicates, the summer program is geared toward those who are technically or artistically talented—or both. Students at any level can sign up for the course. There are no prerequisites, so teens who have never had any experience in game development are welcome to attend.

Students will work individually and in groups at the U’s state-of-the-art technology facilities to develop their own 3-D character and a character-based scene. The summer program aims to help students learn skills they can build upon in their careers or future academic pursuits and also helps students to keep fresh the skills they have already learned.

To sign a student up for the program, parents are encouraged to mail in the completed form located at or call 801-581-8224.

The School of Computing and the Department of Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah offer an interdisciplinary emphasis in Entertainment Arts and Engineering. This emphasis provides an academic path for students interested in careers in the digital entertainment industry including video games, digital animation, computer generated special effects, and more. Additional information is available online at

The University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves more than 31,000 students from across the United States and the world. With more than 72 major subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine, the university prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace. Learn more about all the U has to offer online at