Ben Villanueva grew up in Foster City, California. Villanueva went to the College of San Mateo, in California, for a year and a half in 2010.
At a crossroads in his life, Villanueva needed to decide what to do next. He wanted to do something meaningful, something that would make a difference. Early on in his life, his family members, particularly his grandfather, who served in the military, inspired him to join the Air Force. “Growing up, joining the military had always been something in the back of my mind,” Villanueva said.
In 2011, he joined the Air Force and served his country for ten years. During that time, Villanueva’s primary duty in the Air Force was Security Forces which included: dispatcher, patrolman, anti-terrorism officer and detective.
Villanueva was stationed in Mountain Home, Idaho for eight years and Wyoming for two years. After ten years of service, he decided to continue pursuing his education at Boise State University. In considering what area of study to pursue, Villanueva went back to his childhood roots. As a kid, he always enjoyed games and wondered how they worked and what went into making them. His childhood friend’s father was in the Marines and went into game development after serving. This piqued his interest.
After researching other universities, Villanueva decided on Boise State University because of the Games, Interactive Media & Mobile Technology (GIMM) major, in the College of Innovation and Design. It is a unique program that he didn’t see offered at other universities. He is currently in his junior year at Boise State.
“I love the teaching style of GIMM faculty. They get you involved, working together and include hands-on projects as a key part of the curriculum, which is the way I learn best,” Villanueva said. “Boise State has a great atmosphere, a welcoming environment and GIMM faculty are very approachable.”
In his free time, Villanueva enjoys hiking, fishing, hunting and playing video games, such as World of Warcraft, BioShock and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
The Air Force taught him skills such as commitment, time management and self discipline, Villanueva said. These skills have helped him to be successful at college and beyond. Villanueva’s advice for those interested in pursuing college or the military? “Be willing to try new things. It may be a trial by fire, but it will be worth it in the end,” he said.
Following graduation, Villanueva plans to pursue game development programming through either working for a game development company or becoming an independent developer.