Tyler Campanelli is still a teenager, but already he’s got an associate degree and some awards under his professional belt.
The newly minted Stark State College graduate recently was recognized as one of three outstanding young professionals in the area’s advertising industry at the Thrive Under 35 awards presented by the Canton Advertising Federation. The winners were touted as “overachievers who demonstrate innovation in the path they pave and make a positive impact on the environment they thrive in.”
Campanelli earned an associate degree in 3-D animation along with certificates in graphic arts and video game design after just one year at the College. After racking up courses as a post-secondary education opportunity student during his junior and senior years in high school, his academic achievements earned him a full scholarship to complete his degree at SSC. His final year “kept me pretty busy,” Campanelli said, “but I had a blast with it.”
He donated his design skills to campus groups such as the C3 Club, of which he was vice president, and at GlenOak High School where he created 3-D scoreboard graphics for the football stadium. He also worked with Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio as a freelance student designer.
A video game aficionado since his Nintendo days at age 5, Campanelli started thinking about a future in game design by the time he was 11 or so. Although his Asperger’s Syndrome sometimes made focus a challenge, he said, “passion” is the word he chooses when it comes to 3D animation and graphics.
And when he came to Stark State, he said, he found a wealth of support.
“Tyler has been one of my most talented and diligent students over the past two years,” said interactive media instructor Matt McComb. The local advertising industry elite’s Thrive Under 35 awards were not only a great experience for Tyler, but also put the College in the industry spotlight, McComb said, “demonstrating that Stark State is training talented, employable students.”
Although Campanelli originally intended to head to sunny Florida for a bachelor’s degree in game design from a top digital media school, the local recognition, freelance base and an ongoing internship at G2 Media Group made him rethink his game plan as he sees local opportunities burgeoning.
While cartoon animation, anime, science fiction and the fantasy genre have influenced his work, Campanelli describes himself as someone who thinks laterally instead of linearly. “I never aim for realism,” he said, smiling. “Real life’s just boring.” He believes his “outside-the-box” thinking will serve him well into the future.
“There’s no one way to approach a situation or problem,” he said. “There are always infinite possibilities.”
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