#WomeninTech · Computer Science · Hackathons · inspiration · Technology · women who reign

Women Who Reign: Dana Christo

“Try not to mistake what you have with what you hate.” (C’mon – Panic! At the Disco, Fun)

Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
Hiya! My name is Dana, I’m a fifth year computer science student at NC State, with a concentration in game development. I’ve been making video games since I was 16 years old, and honestly I don’t know what I’d pursue other than game development. I started out making digital art on forums when I was 14, which got me interested in 3D modeling and animation during high school, which got me interested in doing that for video games.

When I was in my junior year of high school, my tech teacher showed me Game Maker, and I started making my own games completely. For senior year, I decided to do an independent studies class in technology where I made a game to see how the camera affects gameplay (or really player experience) using the Unreal Development Kit. Since then I’ve made games in classes, like Unseen, and also in my free time for fun, like Corgi Petter!

This past summer I was a programming intern at Bethesda Games Studios, and it was honestly a dream come true. If someone had told 17 year old me what I’d be doing while still in school, I’d have died of shock (in a good way!). I worked on mostly gameplay and UI tasks, which was really awesome since I’d never really done any UI work before but I ended up loving those tasks!

During the semester, I do a lot of things: I’m media director of Women in Computer Science at NCSU, a junior officer in the Video Game Development Club, a workshop leader in STARS SLC, an ambassador for the computer science department at NC State, and a PTF for CSC216 (Java 2).

Fun fact: I’ve had eight different colors in my hair at once. And I’m going to have that again in about a month for DiamondHacks 2017!

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What # would define your life journey?
#whatstheworsethatcouldhappen #famouslastwords #sleepisfortheweak (don’t be like me, please get a full night’s sleep!)

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Favorite website / app:
Probably YouTube (only because of my love of gaming YouTuber’s), Twitter, and Spotify.

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My best friends, Michele and Stephen, inspire me. They’ve both been amazing friends, they’re the kindest and most loyal best friends I could ask for, and they’ve helped me through so much, even though they’ve both had more than their share of struggles in life.

And of course, my fellow WiCS officers have inspired me! Some of the most badass women in tech I’ve ever met. ❤

Song that makes you want to dance:
“Hey Now” – Matt and Kim

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Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
I’m underestimated a lot. I don’t know if there’s just something about me that gives off a “you don’t belong here” or a “you don’t know what you’re doing” vibe to others, but it’s like I have to constantly fight twice as hard for people to give me a chance. That’s been a thing for as long as I can remember, even as a little kid. This shaped my personality so that I have this drive to prove people wrong. It sucks to be underestimated, but I use it to fuel myself at this point. The best way for me to fight it has been to be like “hey you’re wrong, I do belong here and I’m going to prove it” and then proceed to prove it.

Ideal Job:
My ideal job would be making games that entertain others. To me, the coolest part of making a game is seeing someone else play it and enjoy it and have fun with it! One day I’d like to be a tech or creative director making games.

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What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Don’t underestimate yourself and what you’re capable of. Plenty of other people are going to do that for you, don’t make it easier for them. You’d be surprised what you can do when you’re not fighting yourself while doing it!


Learn more about Dana: http://www.invaderlucky.com/

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