WORCESTER -- Ryan Osbaldeston of Ayer is one of 46 Clark University students selected to serve as a Liberal Education and Effective Practice Project Pioneer -- the first class of students conducting projects under LEEP, Clark's model of education that combines a robust liberal-arts curriculum with life-changing world and workplace experiences.

The LEEP Pioneers have been working closely with faculty mentors as well as Clark alumni and organizational partners on projects of shared interest or leading-edge research and analysis. The projects, some of which started this summer, and others which will commence during the 2012-2013 academic year, allow the students to creatively address actual problems and apply their knowledge in authentic workplace settings before they graduate. The LEEP Projects span the full breadth of academic studies, from arts/humanities to natural and social sciences.

Osbaldeston spent the summer at EMC, a global leader in Cloud Computing and Big Data analysis, learning valuable programming techniques to utilize while working on his thesis project. His project: to create a role-playing video game -- the storyline of which will be closely aligned with his 500-page fantasy novel -- using the Creation Kit, a graphical and physics engine. Osbaldeston is also building a computer capable of handling both the graphical demands of the engine, and a small server, which will eventually host the game online for the beta testing phase of the project.

Visit: clarkvoices.clarku.edu/2012/11/05/videogame to view a short video of Osbaldeston and his EMC supervisor, Tom Hudgins, discussing his project.

"Clark's LEEP Project Pioneers initiative is the inaugural run for an exciting new feature of our undergraduate curriculum. LEEP Projects provide opportunities for students to blend academic learning with professional development," said Colin Polsky, associate dean for undergraduate research and active pedagogy and associate professor of geography. "LEEP Projects not only allow Clark students to dive deep into a topic about which they are passionate, but also require students to learn how to communicate about the topic to multiple and diverse audiences."

Osbaldeston is a member of the Class of 2013 at Clark; he majors in computer science. On campus, he works in system administration. Osbaldeston is a 2009 graduate of Ayer High School.