Maia Dupuis

Cowell '20, computer science and game design

Maia Dupuis (Cowell '20, computer science and game design)

Maia Dupuis started out focusing on computer science but added game design because of her interest in combining the creativity of arts with technology.

She has always enjoyed playing video games and counts as her all-time favorite the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. She currently loves Animal Crossing and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

For her, a great video game is one that is well designed with mechanics that are structured around the narrative.

“Everything has meaning and everything is well thought out,” said Dupuis, who is currently looking for a job in the video game industry.

Dupuis, 22, grew up in Antioch where she attended the performing arts academy at Deer Valley High School. She plays five instruments: piano, guitar, ukulele, violin, and harmonica. She performed in her school’s show choir, singing and dancing at competitions at Disneyland every year.

She has played golf since age 8 and was playing on the UC Santa Cruz golf team through her junior year (she stopped playing this year to focus more on her career).

“Everybody in my family plays golf,” she said. “We all go out on the weekends and play golf together.”

Dupuis is so serious about her academics that she took on two capstone projects, one in computer science and one in game design—an unusual feat.

The one she is working on now is her game design project. She is the producer, which involves managing her 14-member team’s schedules, scheduling with professors, running meetings, and doing networking. The game is the Trials of Tonalli, an Aztec-inspired four-person game where four demigods work to save the world. She has enjoyed working with the team.

“Everyone’s really responsive, and we have a very strict schedule we abide by to keep track of everything,” she said.

Since the state lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all the work has been done remotely with Dupuis doing her part from her family’s home in Discovery Bay.

Overall, she is grateful for her experience at UC Santa Cruz. Coming from a conservative background, she learned a lot and experienced personal growth attending a more liberal school.

“I definitely don’t think I would have the opportunities or connections I have right now, if I didn’t go to UC Santa Cruz,” she said. “It taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be.”