This is the first installment of a series featuring the winners of the 2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge. Stay tuned for a new profile of each of our student winners each week!
We’re not sure if it was Brianna’s drive, clever strategizing, or keen shirt-designing skills that helped her clinch the title of Best Scratch High School game in the National STEM Video Game Challenge, but we’re happy to introduce you to Brianna Igbinosun and to share her game with you!
A 10th grader from Lawrenceville, GA, she describes herself as hard-working and goal-oriented. “If I start something, I need to finish.” And it is that drive that helped her work for over eight months on her entry to the National STEM Video Game Competition.
Brianna, the Scratch High School winner, designed I F.L.Y., a literacy game to both teach and help students practice French and Spanish. The player is introduced to French and Spanish vocabulary words and then must use the words in context while saving one of three themed worlds.
A teacher originally introduced Brianna to the STEM Challenge, but she wasn’t sure if she should enter. She had already won the Georgia Tech Scratch competition, but a National competition felt a bit out of reach…until a classmate said that he was going to enter. Brianna acknowledges that she can be a little competitive and “I knew that if he could do it, I could too!”
When asked why she chose to develop a language game, Brianna explained that it was part of her strategy, “I thought about the types of games kids were making [math, science, health, community, and literacy] and couldn’t decide what to make, but then I realized that fewer kids would probably make a language game. And, if I made a language game, I could probably get the judges’ attention!”
To keep herself interested throughout the lengthy development process, Brianna taught herself French and Spanish. “I’m learning German in school, but it would get boring if I just used what I knew and learning the languages would make teaching them more fun!”
And languages aren’t the only things she’s taught herself. Inspired by the other winners, she has decided to teach herself some other game development tools. “I figure I’m pretty much as good as I can be at Scratch if I’ve won a national competition, I really want to see what other stuff can offer and challenge myself to make amazing games on that too.”
Brianna has been using Scratch since she attended a Georgia College Tech camp the summer after 5th grade. After that first taste, she was hooked on game design, robotics, and programming. She continued tinkering with Scratch and computer programming, while making her own mini-games, an interest she pursued in a Computing in the Modern World camp she enrolled in.
In general, she describes herself as a STEM nerd. Lucky for her, she finds math “plain and simple. I love how many equations and theorems that you can solve. There are so many elegant ways to get the answer and it all just fits together. Math is endlessly entertaining. ” Brianna loves learning about the insides of computers and finds binary numbers fascinating. “I can’t wait to learn more about how they work.”
When not playing with computers, Brianna loves to read and is a “music fanatic”– she particularly enjoys music from the 80s and 90s. She is very involved in her church, has been playing the cello for six years and enjoys hanging out with friends.
When asked about her future plans, Brianna admits to a long-standing obsession with MIT. She hopes to major in Computer Science and minor in Math. But for now, she is just excited to win the STEM Challenge. While she confesses that her parents might be prouder than she is, “They’re totally blasting it to EVERYONE at church and all our friends,” she was thrilled to see the number of results for her game on Google. “I put my name in…and stuff came up! It was SO COOL!”
Well Brianna, we think you’re so cool! Congratulations on winning the STEM Challenge!