Jeffrey Kuhn, Instructional Designer
Games Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab at Ohio University
Bachelor of Arts in English, 2002
Ohio State English alum Jeffrey Kuhn made a minor adjustment early in his educational career and found the connections and personal attention of Ohio State’s Marion regional campus was the perfect environment to foster his love for learning and subsequent rise to a successful career in the world of gaming, virtual reality, and immersive design.
Kuhn began his undergraduate degree on the Columbus campus but, as a first-generation college student, didn't have the easiest time in college and even dropped out for a year. He later found a home in the English program at Ohio State Marion and credited the campus with getting him on track toward a successful career.
According to Kuhn, his career path has been one of constant growth. After graduation he moved to Japan to teach English as a Second Language - thanks to the encouragement of former Ohio State Marion staff member Lynda Behan. Afterwards, he joined the Peace Corps and served in Mongolia as a teacher-trainer. When his time in Peace Corps came to a close, he returned to the U.S. and received both a Master of Arts in Linguistics and a Ph.D. in education, each with a heavy focus on technology for learning. Between his masters and doctorate program, Kuhn taught classes on educational technology and served as a producer for an English-teaching video game for the U.S. Department of State.
Today, Kuhn utilizes his strong educational foundation and global career experience to teach others. He is a member of Ohio University's Games Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, where he works in virtual and augmented reality development. Alongside his work in GRID, he is the coordinator for Ohio University's esports initiative, overseeing all aspects of our competitive video gaming curriculum, student club, competition facility, and outreach.
“In my current position I work with students and faculty across campus to innovate in education and utilize new technology to advance learning,” Kuhn explained. “Sometimes that looks like virtual reality to teach history, or work to develop an esports-themed statistics class.”
“What I have learned over the years is that concise ideas communicated clearly is a skill set in every field,” Kuhn explained.
“Those who can communicate their ideas well, both in written and spoken mediums, have an advantage,” he said.
“English is more than grammar and creative writing - it teaches you how to analyze information, synthesize the ideas of others, collaborate with colleagues, and communicate the new ideas you generate to others effectively,” added Kuhn.
“Although my varied work experiences seem quite far from a typical English degree on the surface,” he said, “they all have at their core a foundation of creativity and the communication of that creativity, which I learned in Ohio State Marion’s English department.”
His work life, shared Kuhn, is lived in email, chat channels, memos, publications, grants, and meetings.
“The primary skill I learned during my English degree is understanding genre and that there are ways to communicate effectively in specific contexts,” Kuhn explained. Knowing how to frame a message based on the way the recipient will receive is a critical skill I learned at Ohio State Marion that I use every day,” he added.
Kuhn felt that his career marketability derived entirely from how dedicated his professors were and the skills they transferred to students both inside and outside of the classroom.
“That level of mentoring from the faculty is what pulled me back from main campus to finish my degree on the Marion campus,” said Kuhn
“That's how I knew the English program was right for me,” he added. “The level of interaction with faculty and the collaboration we had with them gave me the confidence to leverage my degree in new ways and understand it wasn't just the degree that made me marketable, but the skill sets earned toward the completion of that degree that made me marketable.”
College isn't only classes and degrees, said Kuhn. “It is also personal development, and networking.”
“The secret to success in college and after is leveraging the access it provides you,” he said. “Access to smart helpful people, research, collaboration, and others who share your passions.”
Kuhn credits his professional success in life to The Ohio State University at Marion's English major and having all of that so close to home.
Kuhn’s advice? “Don't just go to class,” he said. “Do your best to engage with the community around you and that is where you'll find your path to success.”