Sibling success story
To most, the dream of starting and managing a new business will remain just that, a dream. It is certainly something that many aspire to achieve, but the task can prove too daunting and overwhelming. For the Dugan siblings – Sean (24), Jared (23), Alyssa (21), and Tristan (18) – the dream is quickly becoming a reality.
Sean and Jared graduated from Indiana Tech with software engineering degrees this past May, and Alyssa and Tristan are both seniors pursuing degrees in elementary education. Education has always been of great import to the close-knit Dugan family. Each of the Dugan siblings was homeschooled with an emphasis on developing computer skills. A desire for continued learning was fueled by the Early Start program at Indiana Tech where Sean and Jared were enticed by former Tech faculty member Monique (Anderson) Ross to join the newly developed Software Engineering program, and a couple of years later Alyssa and Tristan were drawn to the newly created elementary education program.
Spurred on by their mother’s entrepreneurial spirit – she created a non-profit organization geared toward educating poor children in Dhaka, Bangladesh – the four siblings combined their passion for education with their penchant for computer software to form Honor Education. The goal of Honor Education is to develop educational computer software that is simple, dynamic, and user-friendly that helps make education fun, entertaining, and practical.
There are three current projects under the name of Honor Education: 1) Project Forge – the central product of the company which allows users to develop realistic, virtual worlds for video games, computer generated movies, and education; 2) Visual Python – a simplified visual programming environment that enables faster, easier programming capabilities for projects related to the Python programming language ; and 3) Tech Academy – hands-on computer education courses aimed at students ages 12–14.
With the use of the Forge product, world history students and teachers will be able to develop virtual worlds to bring ancient civilizations back to life, biology classes can build a realistic model of a frog for virtual dissection, students in math classes can develop computer games using valuable math principles. There are endless applications for both education and fun. The Dugans’ vision includes developing specific, themed sets such as Medieval Forge, Space Forge, Pirate Forge for individuals to create movies and games in addition to educational sets such as Biology Forge, Physics Forge, etc., for use in schools.
Tech Academy will be launched this fall with two courses at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. With a spacious classroom full of new technology, the Dugans have the perfect location to share their knowledge with an even younger generation (courses recommended for students ages 12–14). And at just $10 per week to attend these 10-week courses, the price is certainly right. Both courses are formatted as one, hour-and-a-half class per week for 10 weeks beginning September 17 and ending November 20, 2010. Each student will work from a laptop provided during class time. All software used during the courses is free and open-sourced, which means that students will be able to continue to use it even after the course ends. No art or programming skills are necessary prior to taking either of the courses.
One of the first two courses to be offered is Introduction to Game Programming. This course will teach students the art of programming modern, three-dimensional video games by transforming the classic Pac Man game into a 3D environment. The other course will be Introduction to CG Modeling. Students in this course will learn the techniques of modeling and texturing computer graphics objects. Each person will build his own virtual Egypt by starting with the development of simple objects and progressing to complicated pyramids, secret passages, and more. The skills learned in these classes can be used in a wide range of scenarios from movies, to video games, product design, architectural visualization, and much more.
These bright Dugan siblings are a shining example of the top-quality students that Indiana Tech attracts, as well as the type of exciting opportunities that an education at Indiana Tech can help generate. All four siblings shared how much support they have received from their professors and advisors. Sean and Jared sited the benefits of working in teams to manage projects in their software engineering classes, and Alyssa and Jared attribute their many hours of teaching in the classroom through their elementary education courses with helping them gain knowledge and insight into developing products that will meet the needs of the students of today.
We look forward to celebrating the continued success of the Dugan siblings and their upstart company, Honor Education. For more information about Honor Education, please visit their website at www.HonorEducation.com.