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About Drew Sikora – Computer Game Development: The Game Institute

When Drew first became involved with The Game Institute (GI) in 2001, it was merely as a support role – answering emails from students and prospective students, and helping to manage the forums, using his experience from the even larger boards over at In return, he was given free access to the various courses that GI was offering. He also worked on an orientation guide for new students dubbed Project Welcome Wagon and put together the first course map, which has since been updated.

By 2003 GI had expanded its course offering and was looking to bring on more community members as interns or Teaching Assistants. These members would have shown significant aptitude and willingness to help others. In addition to helping the GI team select these interns, Drew also helped get them settled into their roles and offered support to enable them to begin working with other students and the course instructors.

Drew also worked to foster relations between GI and various other online resources like and the IGDA. Both sites worked with GI to offer up member discounts on courses. In addition, he also monitored both forums and those elsewhere on the Web to help people who were posting questions about GI. Other educational companies as well fell under his sphere of influence, and he worked with several other providers like student book outlets and software companies to allow GI members to purchase books and software at discounted prices.

At the end of 2005, Drew began his largest project with GI to date, which was the creation of an online seminar program using GI’s interactive classroom system, which could display static PowerPoint slides, supported voice chat and had a white board for diagramming. After his proposal was accepted, he helped to draft up the legal contracts for speakers giving the seminars, his first major brush with legalese. By the middle of 2006 he was holding seminars himself along with two other speakers, completely free for anyone to attend. After a year, the seminar program was only mildly successful. While the people who attended were highly satisfied with the content and presentation, the number of attendees never really grew beyond a handful to a dozen for each seminar. Six speakers were in the rotation, giving talks 2-3 times per month. By the end of 2007 a mutual agreement was made between Drew and the rest of the GI staff that the number of people being drawn to the program, and thus the site, was not enough to maintain the seminars, and they were canceled at the end of the year with hopes to bring the program back at a later date.

In September of 2006 Drew worked with the GI staff to create a Cafe Press store to sell GI merchandise. The store opened in late October carrying numerous items from the Cafe Press inventory stamped with the GI logo. It was very much similar in nature to the store, from which Drew initally got the idea. Currently all merchandise is priced without markup.

Currently, Drew is involved with GI mainly as a judge for the regular Game Programming Challenges that the site hosts for its community members. The Challenges started halfway through 2007 and have been going on since at regular intervals of 9-12 weeks. He also continues to remain watchful over the community of GI students, offering help and expertise where he can, as well as continuing to monitor other communities to help people interested in taking courses at GI.

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