Lee Stemkoski, Ph.D., has helped students have fun while they learn to create video games.
by Cecil Harris
For the past two summers, Lee Stemkoski, Ph.D., has helped high school students have fun at Adelphi University while learning to create video games. He teaches an intensive course, Introduction to Game Programming, as part of Adelphi’s Summer Pre-College program, in which high school students reside on the Garden City campus for two weeks, learn new skills and earn college credits.
“High school students are looking for courses where they can learn computer science,” said Dr. Stemkoski, an associate professor of mathematics and computer science in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“The Pre-College course in video game programming has been successful because the students have fun and grasp the concepts very quickly. I could show a student how to make a video game like Asteroids (a player steers a spaceship and blows up asteroids) in two hours. At the end of the course, the students say, ‘Wow, look at what I did in two weeks!’ Then I tell them, ‘If I could teach you that much in two weeks, imagine what I could teach you in four years.’”
Evan Leider got the message. He took Dr. Stemkoski’s course in Summer 2013. Today, he’s an Adelphi freshman majoring in computer science.
“The Pre-College course was definitely my motivation to come to Adelphi,” said Leider, a Long Beach, New York, resident whose father, Donald Leider ’72, M.B.A. ’76, uncle Roger Leider ’82, M.B.A. ’85, and sister Alana Leider, M.A. ’13, are all Adelphi graduates.
“Even though I have all these Adelphi graduates in my family, I didn’t know what college I wanted to go to,” Evan Leider said. “Professor Stemkoski’s class made that decision easy. He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had in any subject. He’s very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.”
Leider, a video game devotee before taking the course, learned coding—telling the computer what to do—and Construct—a computer programming language—from Dr. Stemkoski. And the professor’s assistant, Zachary Brandt ’14, taught him 3D modeling, a computer application.
“The most exciting thing I do is make video games,” said Leider, who said he has created 10 “small” games since taking Dr. Stemkoski’s course. “One of the guys in my class in the Pre-College, Matthew Mallory, goes to Adelphi now too.”
Dr. Stemkoski offered his Introduction to Game Programming course to Adelphi students for the first time in Spring 2015.
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