Not just a number: SGD Major Skyler York on Why WPU

March 15, 2021

Skyler York never had a dream school, just a dream. 

Since seventh grade, Skyler had been focused on a future in game design, after first coding blocks together to enliven a video game character. 

“I’ve always loved storytelling, and once I saw this little thing move on the screen, everything clicked,” she said. “I knew game design was it – this is what I wanted to do for my entire life.”

But it wasn’t until she toured the Simulation and Game Design (SGD) classroom at William Peace University that she realized her dream could become reality. 

“As soon as we hit the SGD room during my admissions tour, I just went crazy and nerded out hard. I knew right then that I wanted to go here” she said, adding that she was already interested in WPU because of its small size and amazing volleyball program.

Even with her enthusiasm in the University, the 6’3” freshman from the Outer Banks was worried about enjoying college. Growing up, Skyler hadn’t been the biggest fan of school, coasting through her classes and preferring to spend time with family rather than grow a friend group.

“I was really nervous to go off on my own,” Skyler said. “I’m not an overly outgoing person.”

Less than a year in, however, those fears have melted away. Now, there’s so much she loves about WPU, from its supportive teachers to the connections she’s made with her team and fellow students.

“It’s really easy for me to talk to the WPU teachers and have a personal connection with them so they can help me with anything I’m struggling with,” she said. “I’ve always had a hard time connecting with teachers, but not here. They are willing to sit down with me and make sure I understand the material, because I learn best by doing.”

The lifelong athlete calls the volleyball team the most supportive team she’s ever played on. “My teammates and coaches are always there to back me up, make me better and encourage me. It helps me stay confident in what I’m doing.”

But perhaps the best part of her experience has been in finding her tribe in the SGD lab. She quickly connected with other SGD students and even founded the new Multimedia Production Club with some of them.  

“The people here are so nice,” Skyler said. “I’ve never really had a friend group, but now I’m close with other students and doing things I haven’t done before like videography, animation and even running a Minecraft server for people to play on around the globe.

“I’ll take any chance to gain more experience, even if I have no idea what’s going on; I always want to learn and try new things.”

As the oldest of five children in her family and the first to go to college, Skyler is setting the bar high for her brothers and sisters. 

“My plans are really big,” she said. “I want to have my own video game company. I would also love to work on really big games with groups of people, but eventually I would like to have my own area of work where I can control everything that goes in the game and build it the way I want it.”

As long as she continues on the path of doing what she loves, Skyler said she’s open to the future. 

“It took work to get here and will take considerably more to get where I want, but I’ve found something I love, and I’m going after it.”