Needing a challenge, this year’s valedictorian for the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus found her path at an Albuquerque charter school — Digital Arts and Technology Academy.
Miriam R. Garcia, a Valencia County resident, said she wasn’t being challenged by the school she was attending.
“It was not helping me with what I needed to do. It was not helping me with my goals,” Garcia said.
A friend told her about DATA, which focuses on digital arts and technology, so she spent two years carpooling with him and achieving her goals.
“I learned so much in my two years there,” she said.
Garcia was the valedictorian of her graduating class at DATA, earning a 3.967 GPA, as well as at UNM-Valencia Campus, with a 4.27 grade point average. Garcia graduated from the branch campus with an associate of applied science degree in game design and simulation in the fall of 2021.
The next step in her journey is in Arizona at the University of Advancing Technology this fall, where Garcia will be studying for a bachelor’s degree in game art and animation with the ultimate goal of becoming a concept artist for video games.
“Those are the people who come up with the base ideas that go into make a game — everything from the characters to the weapons. It’s all about the visuals and environments. Its about collaboration and sharing ideas,” she said.
Garcia said one of the key reasons she chose UAT was its connection to the gaming community, with studio representatives visiting frequently to show works in progress and do some recruiting.
Looking at her academic accomplishments so far, Garcia said what any student needs to remember is they have to work for the grade.