MCC grad dreams of developing video games

David Zheng

As he is playing video games like “Apex Legends” or “Rainbow Six Siege,” Meridian Community College sophomore David Zheng desires to become a video game developer.

“My dream job is to be a video game designer in the entertainment industry,” said Zheng, a computer science major and MCC graduate. “I have always enjoyed playing video games, and I have some ideas for games that I think kids would like.”

Zheng received his associate of arts degree during MCC’s spring virtual commencement ceremony. The graduation was streamed live on MCC’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Like the other graduates, Zheng was able to interact with the live event as he watched from home.

A University Transfer Program student, he plans to enroll in Mississippi State University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a minor in art and mathematics. Eventually, he wants to pursue a master’s degree in computer science.

Zheng knows the world of video game development is highly competitive and demanding. He will still hold on to his dream because it is what motivates him in the computer science field. If it does not pan out, he knows he should quickly find work in the computer science field.

A 2018 honors graduate of Meridian High School, Zheng was a member of the National Honor Society and the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC). He is the son of Ming Zhen Zheng and Xiu Feng Tang, owners of OEC Japanese Express in North Hills, where Zheng works part time as he goes to college.

One of four children, Zheng, and his siblings, are first-generation college students. His parents immigrated to the United States from China. Zheng was born in Oklahoma and then live in North Carolina before the family moved to Meridian when he was 12. One of his older sisters, Wendy, is also a Meridian High and MCC graduate. His younger brother, Henry, will be attending MCC next year.

Zheng has been very involved during his two years at MCC. He is a member of the Phil Hardin Foundation Honors College at Meridian Community College and Phi Theta Kappa international academic honor society. He served as a webmaster of the PTK officer team this past year. He worked as a tutor on campus in the Success Center and participated in My College Cares, an annual community service event where MCC students spend the day participating in community service projects. He has participated in the PTK’s Queen City Race for Life and Street Strut, helped clean up along Highway 19, volunteered as a reading fair judge for a local elementary school, and collected donations for a toy-a-thon.

Zheng is one of 41 students in this spring’s graduating class who were recognized as members of the Circle of Excellence. They were chosen for the honor based on their academic achievement, leadership, community service and spirit.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed watching David grow as a student and leader while attending Meridian Community College,” said Phyllis Holladay, a math instructor at MCC and Phi Theta Kappa advisor. “David is naturally shy and reserved, but he has made a genuine effort to be more engaged on campus.

“I first met David when his sister was a PTK officer, and I first taught him as a dual enrollment student. So, it truly has been exciting to watch his transformation,” she added.

Since the first day she met Zheng, Holladay said two things have not changed about him: his enthusiasm and infectious smile.

“David is an incredible young man, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him,” she said.

Zheng is also one of two recipients this spring of a Phil Hardin Foundation Scholarship and received the Sue Key Excellence in Mathematics Award.

“I am so thankful they chose me to receive the Phil Hardin Foundation Scholarship,” Zheng said. “It will go a long way to helping ease the financial burden of paying for college, and I am forever grateful for their generosity.”

Named for a former mathematics instructor at MCC for more than 30 years, the Sue Key award is given to a student who demonstrated outstanding mathematics achievement.

Zheng, who loves math, said he originally planned to go to MSU out of high school but changed his mind and decided to spend his first two years at MCC.

“I love MCC. I am so glad I decided to come here because I have met some really great people. I am thankful for the help and cooperation the faculty and staff have given me,” he said. “I am going to remember my time here for years to come.”