Fox Chapel Area grad studying at Ringling to pursue career in gaming
Alessia Fontecchio, 18, is an energetic, tech-savvy student who has mastered electronics for learning and for fun.
The Fox Chapel resident made a mark last year as a Fox Chapel Area High School senior whose video documentary earned a national award. Earlier this month, she flew off to Florida to take the first step toward creating engaging entertainment.
Fontecchio’s goal is to create video games. She attends Ringling College of Art and Design and while her major in game art, design and video seem like something Elroy and Judy Jetson might study, it isn’t futuristic for her.
“Art is something I’ve been interested in as long as I can remember,” she said. “Games are a natural progression.”
Gaming, whether on the computer or the phone, comes down to the basics for the creative young adult.
“I really like the ability of the medium to tell stories — story-driven games and ones that people can connect with,” she said. “I want people and [the game] creators to connect.”
She appreciates games where the player becomes the main character and can influence the path. She likens it to choosing your own adventure.
“That’s kind of where my love for video games came from,” Fontecchio said.
Her ideal games are “almost like books, history-driven. In all my creations I want to make a connection.”
Video games should be interactive and players should learn to tackle anything, in her opinion.
In real life, Fontecchio is ready to tackle new goals. Last spring, she created a video for a contest sponsored by the Federal Bar Association and Federal Judges Association.
She wrote, produced and edited a documentary, trying to demonstrate her creativity. Her submission earned her a three-day trip to Washington DC, a tour of the Supreme Court and a meeting with Justice Neil Gorsuch.
“It was a humbling experience, especially at the Supreme Court. It was really exciting to be honored at that level,” she said.
The topic of her video was the XIV Amendment of the Constitution.
This law, enacted in 1868, provides for equal protection for all people requiring due process by state and local governments.
“It ensures civil rights for everybody,” Fontecchio said.
Her video explained the history of the amendment’s enactment. Then she explained how it works in real life. Finally she focused on judgment in civil cases up to the highest level at the Supreme Court.
“It was a crash course on the subject,” she said.
Fontecchio undertook the project as part of her Advanced Placement government course last spring.
Speaking to other teens she said, “It’s incredibly important to understand what is going on around you. It’s difficult to jump into all these responsibilities when you become an adult. You are the future of this country.”
Sharon Drake is a freelance writer.