A Wealth of Opportunity

When Angela Petrone, an international student from Napoli, Italy, first researched universities and degree programs online, it was easy to see how she clicked with Illinois Institute of Technology. In addition to seeking a school with a diverse student population and liking the city of Chicago, Petrone knew that the digital humanities program on offer was a fantastic match for her dual interests in humanities and computer science.

“The major in digital humanities is very much about exploring how to craft digital solutions with the user experience in mind—communication, research, and immersive design are main components of what makes a product user-friendly and successful in the digital world today,” Petrone says. “I enjoy the creative side of my degree provided by the game design specialization, along with the abundance of technical requirements in various realms of computer science.”

Petrone has taken advantage of a number of unique learning opportunities as a student. She has participated in a study away course in Florida that was focused on theme park design and involved visits to the Disney parks and Universal Studios; she works as a supplemental instructor for CS 201: Intro to Object-Oriented Programming; and she also gained firsthand research experience working with Professor of Digital Humanities and Media Studies Carly Kocurek.

“In spring 2022 I was able to participate in a research project led by Professor Kocurek exploring the Games for Girls movement,” Petrone says. “I was extremely excited about working on this project that intersects with my identity, my academic interest in research, and game design history. I watched and sat in interviews with industry professionals, having the chance to connect with many of them. I was extremely impressed and inspired by their stories.”

Most recently, Petrone’s work has resulted in winning first place in the undergraduate division of Lewis College of Science and Letters’ 2023 Research Day. Her paper, titled “Re-evaluating perceived toxicity for players of violent MMORPGs” addresses how changes to user experience could better satisfy achievement-oriented players while reducing toxic player behavior. The poster started as a project in GEM affiliate faculty member Arlen Moller's class.

Looking to the future, Petrone intends to pursue a master’s degree in design thinking and a career in user experience.

“What I would like to do for society is be part of what ensures a balance between technological development and human autonomy, dignity, and equality,” she says.

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