Maya Horta (’23) Starts New Job at Epic Games

November 21, 2023

Montserrat alumna Maya Horta is one month into her new job at Epic Games; a job she began a short six months after walking across the stage at Montserrat’s 2023 Commencement ceremony. The way she tells it, she was applying for work almost as soon as the ceremony ended.

“I was on the hunt for it. Every day I was putting out five to ten applications.”

Anyone who’s been through that process knows the drudgery of the job board. Listings become rote and repetitive, often sitting on the same pages for weeks. Eventually Maya found one that stood out. Evidently so did Horta, because she got hired.

Since October 9th, Horta has been working as an Asset Implementer for Epic Games. Epic is one of the largest and most successful companies in video games today. They operate the wildly successful multiplayer game Fortnite and are the developers responsible for the Unreal Engine, which serves as the developmental backbone to everything from Ace Combat and Batman: Arkham to Spongebob Squarepants and Zumba Fitness: World Party.

Which is to say, Epic is a big company; it was valued at $32 Billion in 2022. Among the big names attached to them is George Borshukov, whose name you may not remember but whose work you certainly would. Borshukov won an Academy Award in 1999 for his work on the slow-motion “bullet time” sequences from The Matrix. Now he works for Epic and serves as a creative lead on a project Horta and her team are working on.

Horta is bound by a non-disclosure agreement and can’t share anything about her team’s current work. Every one of her team members is new to the team’s current project is relatively new to their position; all have come one within the last three months. But that does not necessarily mean they are all arriving quite as fresh faced as Horta has.

A screenshot from Horta’s senior thesis project, Aboretum

Fresh faced maybe, but not unprepared. Horta credits her time at Montserrat with her ability to get this position (or at least as important as her tenacity).

“I came late to . For the first two years I just focused on animation, but that changed Junior year. Then I thought, what if I could put my art into a moving, interactive form? What a video game does better than anything else—it immerses you… you’re directly interacting with the visuals, with the other artistic elements.”

Behind that change were classes Horta took with Associate Professor of Animation Hannah O’Neal (Animation and 3D-Modeling) and adjunct instructor Matthew Brelsford (Video Games). Maya especially credits her mentor and fellow Montserrat alum Jean Romero (’19). Romero encouraged Horta to develop her skills with Unreal Engine and Adobe Substance 3D. Both programs are vital to Horta’s current work, and are part of why she was able to get the job in the first place.

Her position at Asset Implementer sees Horta adjusting work from various vendors to better fit the character models with which her team is working. So far most of her workweeks are busy with tasks bouncing back and forth among her team members based on individual responsibilities and skills.

“Every week we’re learning something new,” she says, excited.

During slower stretches, Horta and her team get to playtest yet-to-be released projects—including the one they’re currently working on. She promises, with no small amount of confidence, that the next season of Fortnite will be “spectacular.”

Asked if she had any advice for current students, Horta had this to say:

“My mentor told me it isn’t about if it’s about when. You’ll get a job no matter what as long as you keep working and keep improving. Be true to yourself and be positive. You’ll get there.”