DMU student Shay is thriving in the EA games environment

De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) Game Art student Shay Palmer is loving life as a 3D artist at Criterion Games during her year-long work placement.


Since September, the 21-year-old from London has been creating environments and props for the EA games studio, best known for its racing series’ Burnout and Need for Speed.

“It’s a really lovely place to work - my colleagues are so friendly and always happy to help me. The best thing is that they don’t treat me as an intern. They treat me as any other colleague and because of that, I feel like I’m having an impact on the games themselves,” said Shay.

“Making the worlds of our games look real is so rewarding and knowing that my work will be seen in future games is a great feeling.”

Shay has already won ‘rookie of the year’ in her team’s annual awards, as well as being nominated for the ‘purpose and beliefs’ award - the highest accolade available to EA employees – thanks to her drive and ability to learn new techniques and workflows.

Making such a good impression on her team has led to conversations about Shay potentially finishing the final year of her degree while continuing to work at the company, or returning once she graduates.

She said: “No one wants to worry about doing a degree and not being able to get a job in their chosen field, so these options would be a massive relief and would make me really happy.

“I think my team was especially impressed by how quickly I picked up their game engine from my experience of using a similar one at DMU, and by applying my transferable skills.

“I’ve learned so much already by being assigned lots of different tasks. They recognise that I excel at making sets more realistic and immersive, but also encourage me to get involved in different aspects too so I can become a well-rounded 3D artist.

“The company is a massive advocate for not overworking - they want you to have a good time and enjoy what you’re doing. As a result, I’ve taken up pole fitness and sewing as new hobbies. It’s so cool having the time outside of work to try new things.”

Shay’s faculty placement team, which sits within the university’s DMU Works careers programme, supported her with writing a CV, applying for jobs and preparing for interviews.

“I still had to put in a lot of work outside of my studies to boost my portfolio, but the help from the placement team was really valuable,” she said.

“My friend from the year below recently applied for my Criterion Games placement for next year and I was able to pass on all my experience and knowledge. I’m super proud that she got the internship.”

Since she was a young child, Shay has been ‘obsessed’ with the world around her, thinking up stories while listening to music and taking in her environment.

When it came to choosing universities, Shay was drawn to DMU’s Game Art degree, which is recognised for its top-quality teaching and facilities by world-leading industry giant Epic Games.

She said: “I looked into where DMU students went once they graduated and the impressive companies they work for told me that this was a good choice.

“Funnily enough, once I started my work placement at Criterion Games, I found out that two people on my team went to DMU, which goes to show that DMU alumni are everywhere.”

Posted on Thursday 19th May 2022

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