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In the Fold: Autodesk news and opinions

When a Moroccan Woman, Interested in Video Games, Gets to San Francisco

Autodesk
November 1, 2016

Hello,

My name is Meryem and I’m from Morocco. I got the opportunity to spend three weeks in San Francisco thanks to a US State Department initiative called TechWomen. All 90 of us got to share what we’re professionally interested in, which was my opportunity to express my love for video games, leading me to Autodesk.

Autodesk really values LUMA training. I found this to be a very enriching experience as I learned new tools to help define problems and also how to work with a team to find solutions.

There’s a surprising amount of paper involved!

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Aaron Epstein, the co-founder of Creative Market, made the time to meet and gave much advice on how to start my own business and advised not to be scared and just do it, even if I feel like I don’t know everything. Hearing about how he started his company and ended up a part of Autodesk was a great path to learn more about.

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The timing of the internal X Summit coincided with my San Francisco visit. These three days full of design related talks, and creativity, blew my mind as it showed me that when you give a human being tools, they will surprise you with their creativity. There is no limit!

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Oculus Story Studio was next and that was one of the best experiences of my life! I got to watch their creations, award-winning “Henry,” and got a peak of their yet to be released, “Dear Angelica”… A few key employees made time to talk to me including the director of these works. I asked him questions even though I was in total awe and was just mumbling…).

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Zynga made time for me as well. There, I tried more VR, but this time I didn’t just watch, I got to interact virtually with things – even milking a virtual cow! I feel lucky to have gotten the chance to visit this company that produces so many well-known games.

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As a group, we went to Lucas Film and that was incredible, especially for a geek like me. I was literally jumping up and down, and fangirling over everything, including the Yoda fountain outside.

PlayStation has an incredible team, looking after pixalupus, that I got to meet with! While I can’t talk about what I saw there, I can tell you that it was SO EXCITING… I read once that art isn’t just supposed to look beautiful, it’s supposed to make you feel something, and the game these guys created did exactly that!

Autodesk, has some incredible people like: Eddie Perlberg, product manager for Autodesk 3ds Max; Louise Rasmussen, Shotgun Software engineer; Jacob Hennessey-Rubin, Autodesk Workshop at Pier 9 and Shalom Ormsby, Autodesk User Experience. These diverse people took the time to meet and speak with me and it is really humbling.

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I have learned so much in three weeks. Before all this, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I was too scared to dream big, and I was pretty clueless.  This time made me realize my story is important. I really didn’t realize my story is valuable until I was offered the opportunity to be a part of this program, which wasn’t only told to me but showed to me as well. Back home, I was the first female game designer hired by Ubisoft Morocco. I have taken this great TechWomen adventure, which was created to inspire women like me, and I can truthfully say it was successful. I now want to mix my interests. My dream is to start my own education games design studio back home. It is still far from me, but at least now it’s clearer than ever what I want to do. I have the support I need and I am sure that, step by step, I will get there.

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