Amber Choo graduated with her BFA at UBC Okanagan. She was drawn to FCCS because she had taken an interest in artistic endeavors during high school. Her passion for a broad range of creative outlets led to her taking the opportunity to work in many different fields on campus. While at UBCO, she worked with Dr. Aleksandra Dulic in the Centre for Culture and Technology. In an interview, she explains: “I became a work study student, which helped me hone my skills in 3D modelling and constructing virtual spaces in the Unity game engine. The Phoenix campus newspaper also hired me as their Arts editor for three years, which helped me hone my writing skills. Both jobs gave me the skills I would need for a master’s degree researching game design, games for health, and virtual reality applications.”
Her experience with UBCO’s FCCS helped her anticipate her future path as both an artist and a student: “The people you meet during the BFA program help you develop a rough context behind what to expect in the real world outside of academia. I think a lot of students come into the BFA program expecting to become best-selling artists but eventually realize their dreams will take a different form, which is often not what they initially expected.” However, she also says that “artists and designers are needed in the most magically obscure interdisciplinary research spaces, and sometimes you don’t know they exist until they ask you to join them, which is what happened to me.”
Amber is now a graduate student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC: “My latest graduate research work consists of constructing virtual reality applications to help acute and chronic pain patients better manage their pain experiences. We make our software in Unity and use head-mounted displays similar to the Oculus Rift. Next month, we’ll be running formal studies in a Vancouver pain clinic with the virtual realities I helped create.”
Amber Choo represents one of many success stories for students of UBC Okanagan’s FCCS. Her BFA was integral in developing both her technical and
artistic skills, which have proven vital to her continuing studies. She concluded: “I would strongly encourage new students to grab at opportunities as they appear, even if they don’t directly align with your current interests. The work study program was phenomenal and I made some of my dearest friends at the student newspaper. Pairing these types of on-campus opportunities with your undergraduate art studies creates a holistic learning experience and opens many doors for you.”
This story was written by Brandon Taylor, English major in FCCS. Brandon is a Research Assistant in FCCS, contacting alumni to find out about their experiences here at UBCO.