For years, 23-year-old Lauren Robertson couldn’t figure out how to translate her love of video games into a career.

Today she’ll be New River Community College’s first to graduate with a specialization in game design, a specialty field introduced in the information technology and computer-aided design departments in 2006.

About 35 other students from both departments are studying game design.

Robertson enrolled in general studies classes at New River Community College after graduating from Giles High School in 2003. But she later decided to pursue a degree in information technology because ’IT people have more fun.’

Robertson now plans to attend Radford University to pursue a four-year degree in information technology this fall, something that Eaton recommends to her students.

’In the game field, it’s so competitive that if you don’t have a four-year degree it really hurts,’ Eaton said. Robertson hasn’t decided yet whether she’ll pursue a master’s degree or a job after graduating from Radford.

She said the hot spot for game design on the East Coast is Raleigh, N.C.

’That’s where a lot of businesses are located, and that’s where you get your start,’ she said.