“I knew I wanted to join before I knew there was a position,” says Hack Reactor’s new Dean Caroline Esmurdoc. She was drawn to Hack Reactor’s focus on students, data-driven philosophy and the sheer effectiveness of the program.
Esmurdoc comes to Hack Reactor from another education innovator, Animation Mentor. Animation Mentor is a leader in bringing animation instruction online, and, under Esmurdoc’s guidance, was a pioneer in creating an online distributed film studio. These innovations broke down geographic barriers for artists and reimagined the studio model outside of a brick-and-mortar operation into something accessible to animators across the world.
Caroline Esmurdoc comes to Hack Reactor after extensive experience leading gaming studios and the pioneering film school Animation Mentor.
“The education bug hit me after joining Animation Mentor,” she recalls. “I was moved to see how strong a community they built with students that had never met each other. It is a powerful feeling to witness the impact an excellent educational experience can have on an individual. It can literally change someone's life.”
Prior to Animation Mentor, Esmurdoc spent two decades in the gaming industry, working her way up through the production management and executive ranks, until she was running gaming studios.
“Looking back, I was fortunate to have extraordinary mentors in my career that afforded me opportunities to develop a broader and broader holistic view of game and studio development -- from limited responsibility for one feature of a game, to game and team management, to studio leadership,” she recalls. She shipped games across every genre at such highly regarded studios as Double Fine Productions, Circus Freak Studios, Infogrames and Crystal Dynamics. In her free time, she enjoys playing action and adventure games. She notes another appeal of working in the gaming industry, which has become a common thread throughout her career:
“It is extremely exciting to work in the games industry given the rapid pace of technology advancement. As my purview over the game development craft increased, so did the capabilities of the hardware and software tools we worked with.”
As someone with extensive experience viewing organizations from a high-level, Esmurdoc found exactly what she was looking for in Hack Reactor.
“The entire network of coding schools is completely aligned behind student outcomes and student experience,” she observes. “Hack Reactor’s key performance metrics center on redefining what is possible in education.”
As Dean, Esmurdoc will focus on those two missions of creating the best possible student outcomes and expanding Hack Reactor’s influence in the field of education.