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Kaylene Keller Scholarship for Video Games at DigiPen

DigiPen by Gexydaf

The DigiPen Institute of Technology is one of the leading schools for video game development degrees. It offers programs of study in computer science, computer engineering, and fine arts, all with a focus on digital entertainment technology. The school is also now the home of the Kaylene Keller Scholarship, which was created to honor a young woman interested in video game development who was the victim of a tragic crime.

When 41-year-old Peter Keller started to feel bored with his life and troubled by working and paying bills like everyone else in society, he acted on his feelings in an extreme and tragic way. In April 2012, he shot his wife Lynnettee and his 18-year-old daughter Kaylene at their home in North Bend, Washington. He then lit the family’s home on fire before going to hide in a bunker in the woods that he’d been building and stockpiling with supplies for about 8 years.

After a tough search, detectives finally tracked Keller down at the bunker. SWAT officers approached his hiding spot, but Keller shot himself before they were able to get inside and arrest him. In videos recorded weeks before the incident, Keller admitted that he planned for death to be his escape from getting caught. He said he would be content with shooting himself because at that point, he wouldn’t have to worry about the effects of his death on his family and it would be a solution to his boredom. The video Keller recorded about his extensive plans to kill his family and drop out of society was called “breathtaking in its evil” by police.

In addition to the guns and other supplies investigators found in Keller’s bunker, they found tens of thousands of dollars. Lynnettee’s family has announced that they intend to use this money to create a scholarship fund in memory of Kaylene. She had a dream of attending DigiPen in Redmond, Washington and studying to become a video game designer, and now the family wants to help other individuals with the same dreams “who may not otherwise be able to attend such a wonderful school.”

To honor Kaylene, the family wants to help other female students who aspire to enter the field of digital game development. The scholarship is “geared toward individuals who emulate Kaylene’s persona.” The program was created in partnership with The Seattle Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bettering the greater Seattle community, and will be offered for years to come as long as the family continues to receive contributions to the scholarship fund. DigiPen stated that the school feels privileged to be a part of the effort.

Kaylene and her mother Lynnettee were “vivacious and creative individuals” and their memory will live on through their family’s efforts and through other students who share Kaylene’s dreams.

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