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    Underwater Photographer Dives Into Helping Cancer Survivors

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    Breast cancer survivor, Kim. Photo by Erena Shimoda.

    Ever since she was a little girl, Erena Shimoda fantasized about being a mermaid and calling the ocean her home. As an adult, she felt like her childhood dream had almost come true the first time she went scuba diving during a trip to Honduras 14 years ago.  

    “It was the closest I’d felt to living underwater,” said Shimoda, a native of Tokyo who graduated from Academy of Art University in 2001 with a B.A. in new media. “I was hooked on scuba diving. I just loved those moments underwater. I started taking photographs of fish and sharing them with other scuba divers back on the surface.”

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    Academy Grad's New Book Helps Kids Embrace Different Cultures

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    Academy of Art University alumnus David McBride's new children's book "Kazumi Racer Pig." Image courtesy of David McBride.

    Animator and children’s book author and illustrator David McBride has always enjoyed learning about different cultures. He hopes his latest book, Kazumi Racecar Pig, will encourage kids to love and respect all people, no matter what their culture or background.  The story’s main character—Kazumi, a cute animated pig—is afraid of anything that’s different from the world he knows. But when he gets stranded on an alien planet, he must learn to accept unfamiliar creatures and customs in order to get home again. His journey teaches the racecar-driving pig that being different can be a good thing and also leads him to new friends.

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    Photography Grad's Work Helps People Heal From Loss

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    An image from Susan Mah’s Loss Project collection. Photo by Susan Mah.

    As a young girl, Susan Mah inherited a passion for photography from her father. “He was a fantastic photographer and my first mentor,” said Mah, who delved deeper into the art form in a ninth grade photography class. She learned how to process film in a darkroom and shoot manually on her first real camera. Like her architect father, Mah enjoyed taking pictures of buildings as well as places she visited. She even dreamed of becoming a photographer for National Geographic one day.

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    Producer Leky Lin Harnesses Film Festivals' Promotional Power

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    The Lottery team. (L–R) Jialiang He (Director of Photography), Jingwei Zhou (Composer), Xixi Liu (Editor) and Leky Lin (Producer). Photo courtesy of Leky Lin.

    As producer of the short film The Lottery, Academy of Art University School of Motion Pictures & Television graduate student Leky Lin wasted no time putting classroom teachings into practice. The lessons from Patricia Pawlak’s film distribution and film festival preparation class, in combination with Lin’s work ethic and the strength of the film itself, have propelled The Lottery to remarkable success on the film festival circuit.

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    Academy Grad Samar Shool Wins Emmy Award

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    Image from Emmy-winning PBS show, The National Mall—America’s Front Yard. Image courtesy of Samar Shool.

    The Emmy Awards, the highest honor bestowed by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, annually recognize excellence in television production across various sectors of the industry, including entertainment, news, documentary and sports programming, as well as craft categories. Samar Shool, who holds an M.F.A. in computer animation from Academy of Art University, was among those honored on June 25, 2016, at the 58th National Capital Chesapeake Bay Regional Emmy Awards.

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    Photography Student Wins Chance to Participate in Red Bull Illume Workshop

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    Photo by Matt O'Brien, B.F.A. photography student.

    Academy of Art University photography major Matt O’Brien hadn’t planned on trying to win a spot in Red Bull Illume’s first collegiate workshop for action sports photographers. He was heading out of town when the email soliciting submissions from students at 300 colleges throughout the country arrived in his inbox.

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