Skip to main contentSkip to main navigationSkip to footer content

Judy Perry


Judy Perry

Professor, Computer Science and Game Development

Norco College School of Math, Engineering Computer Science & Game Development

Judy Perry has a degree in Industrial Engineering and Management from Oklahoma State University and a Master’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering from USC, but she is not an engineer. She could be one— she has the knowledge and expertise— but she decided to pursue a career in computer science instead. While working for a container glass manufacturing company in the Industrial Engineering department as part of a summer co-op program, Judy designed, wrote and validated a computer program to automate monthly calculations. This was a taste of the power of computer science and a first step in what eventually became an 8-year stint developing naval battle simulations for General Dynamics, one of the country’s leading defense contractors. Though the work was challenging and she traveled extensively, Judy eventually realized that creating more effective weapon systems was not how she wanted to spend her life. One day, a friend asked her to substitute for a class, and she discovered what she did want to spend her life doing: teaching.

“The most inspiring teacher I ever had taught me how to use my computer skills for a purpose, to solve complex problems.” Judy says. “I strive to do that for my students as well, to help them find their passion and purpose, reach their goals, and create a meaningful life. Teaching is my chosen profession. I will teach until I retire.”

A 22-year veteran of the Riverside teaching community, Judy has been at Norco College for 18 years. She initially taught DOS-based software, computer programming languages such as C++, Pascal, and Java and standard computer courses which eventually evolved into Microsoft Office. However, a trip to a conference in 2005 opened her eyes to the fact that while the computer science industry might have become stagnant due to the dot com bust, the field of video game development was poised for exponential growth. Only a limited number of colleges in the country taught game development at the time, since it required interrelated components such as a solid art department, digital 3D art, computer programming and faculty with game design knowledge. Norco College had all of those things, and though Judy’s background was in battle simulations, it wasn’t far off from game development. She knew she’d be able to parlay her expertise into the creation of digital entertainment.

Judy worked to originate a digital game art certificate at Norco College and in 2008 the school was awarded a 2.5 million dollar Title V grant. This facilitated the expansion of the single game art certificate into a full game development suite of programs that includes game art, game design, game programming and game audio. In the fall semester of 2015, she taught game design and programming classes in Florence, Italy, as part of the RCCD Study Abroad program.

“Many of the kids we teach grew up playing video games, spending hours on a computer, N64, PlayStation, Xbox, you name it,” Judy explains. “They enter the game dev programs with a passion for games. We pull back the curtain to reveal how games are made. And we show them that by mastering technical skills and with a lot of hard work, they can turn their passion into a viable career option. Game Development is a competitive industry. You have to be dedicated and willing to put in long hours to learn the skills in order to be employable, but I have never seen such engaged students. It’s infinitely rewarding to work with them.” As part of her mission to ensure that she remains on top of industry trends and technology, Judy will be taking a sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year, to work for a local game development studio. In addition to working as a game developer, she will work on personal game development projects including the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in games.

Judy is the proud mother of two children: Emily; the principal of an alternative high school in New Orleans and Cody; a commercial photographer in San Francisco. When class is out of session, she and her husband John enjoy traveling together and exploring the world, often climbing to the highest spots around to enjoy the view and consume gelato.

To view the Game Development program page, click here.

Norco College