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News Release

Date: May 24, 2006
Media Contact: Steve Simon, 301-251-7952; Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970

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Montgomery College Computer Gaming Students Awarded for “Hijinks”
Class Project Places Second in U. Southern California Competition

Montgomery College students from the new computer gaming degree program captured second place and $2,500 at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Reinventing Public Policy Through Games competition.

Students in Professor Deborah Solomon’s “Building Game Words” class created the award-winning game prototype, “Hydro Hijinks,” in only the first semester of the course’s existence. In “Hydro Hijinks,” players go on an interactive adventure designed to promote the discussion of international water rights and identify sources of international conflicts over water rights.

When “Hydro Hijinks” was identified as a finalist, students Jen Tonon, Mark Chang and Steve Coupe were chosen to fly to Los Angeles and represent the rest of their class at the May 8 awards ceremony.

The Reinventing Public Policy Through Games competition was part of a USC Center on Public Diplomacy research project that is investigating the interaction between Massively Multiplayer Online Games and public diplomacy. All contestants were given the task of creating a video game that utilized fundamental public diplomacy skills.

The following students contributed to the creation of “Hydro Hijinks:” Alex Bernal Tovar, Christopher Briggs, Jonathan De Vriendt, Nathan Epstein, Ryan Hall, Ryan Odom, Gregory Smith, Ryan Wanamaker, Ken Mackel, Jen Tonon, Mark Chang and Steve Coupe.

Montgomery College’s Computer Gaming and Simulation degree was implemented last fall, in response to Maryland’s role as an emerging hub for the gaming industry. The degree currently has three available concentrations – game programming, game production and game graphic design.

For more information about Montgomery College’s Gaming and Computer Simulation degree, contact Professor Deborah Solomon at 301-279-5136 or visit

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Montgomery College is a public, open admissions community college with campuses in Germantown, Rockville, and Takoma Park/Silver Spring, plus workforce development/continuing education centers and off-site programs throughout Montgomery County, Md. The College serves more than 55,000 students a year, through both credit and noncredit programs, in more than 100 areas of study.

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