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Students Scope Out Sony PlayStation

Approximately 100 Academy students gathered at 491 Post to hear about summer 2016 internship opportunities

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Students learned about summer internship opportunities at Sony PlayStation on Thursday, Oct. 8. Photo by Bob Toy.

“I do this because I love the students and the energy,” Sony PlayStation University Recruiter Darchele Smith said. “I love meeting and connecting with students who could be potential interns.”

On Thursday, Oct. 8, Smith and Leesa Dreo, senior recruiter at Sony PlayStation under Sony Computer Entertainment America, talked with approximately 100 current Academy of Art University students of various disciplines about possible paid summer internship opportunities. Smith shared that of the 82 PlayStation internships held by students last summer, four were from the Academy, making it the second largest school the company recruited from.

“We really love the Academy students,” Smith said. “Our artists really love the artists from here. We have had many come from the animation program, and the internships are open to multiple disciplines. The School of Game Development certainly has merit because we know they like games and we want people who like games, so there’s an inherent benefit.”

Example areas of internship opportunities include: user interface, tools and technology, web development, game design and audio and sound design. Game development student and all-around gaming enthusiast Wade Saxton said he attended the event because he was interested in working with Sony PlayStation and learning the ropes.

“I’ve been playing video games my entire life, and now I want to make games for the next generation,” Saxton said.

During the internship presentation, Smith encouraged the audience of students to research intern positions that specifically interest them.

“Don’t be the guy who applies to all 82 positions—you don’t want to stand out in that way,” Smith said. “We really like to take people and put them in the role that works for them. Sometimes hiring managers take inspiration from what you’re good at.”

Dreo shared that Sony PlayStation interns don’t just do menial work.

“You get credits on the game and work with different facets of the business, getting as much exposure to different departments as possible,” Dreo said. “Every intern gives a final presentation to executives at the end of summer.”

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(Left to right) Ninah Solidum, Sony PlayStation human resources intern; Leesa Dreo, senior recruiter at Sony PlayStation; David Goodwine, executive director of the School of Game Development and Darchele Smith, Sony PlayStation university recruiter. Photo by Bob Toy.

Current human resources intern and University of California, Irvine graduate Ninah Solidum said events like the one held at Morgan Auditorium that evening are very important.

“You don’t really know how the work will be unless you interact with the people,” she said. “This is a great way for us to get to know the students, too.”

Smith encouraged applicants to really target their application materials to the job they’re applying for—and really pull their skill set to the forefront of their admission materials. Her other advice included grabbing the job description and making sure students use it to craft their resume and cover letter.

“Think about ways you can showcase how you stand out from everyone else who knows as much as you know and probably love gaming as much as you,” Smith said, adding that the company had a record-breaking number of applicants for internships last year. “If your URL isn’t working we may have to move on to the next candidate, so make sure your links are working and your materials have your name and contact number on them.”

Soft skills are also important, according to Smith. She said applicants who have great communication skills, that aren’t arrogant, are pretty self-directed as well as able to work in a large team and are able to work in a fairly casual yet professional work environment are most favorable.

“Make sure you’re doing projects outside of your classes,” she said. “It shows us you’re really interested in gaming. Entering festivals and contests shows us you really like to push yourself.”

Academy graduates can apply for internships up to one year after completing their education. The opportunities include housing and last 12 weeks. Positions for next summer, which will include work for 37 hours per week, will be posted in mid-December. The deadline for applications is Feb. 15 and decisions will be made around mid-April.

Sony PlayStation was founded in Japan and this past September marked the global company’s 20th anniversary.