Archive for '2015'

    Francisse Bondoc Wins 'Academy Idol' Season Five


    'Academy Idol' season five winner Francisse Bondoc. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the School of Multimedia Communications hosted the Academy Idol season five finale at 79 New Montgomery. Led by Director of the School of Multimedia Communications, Jan Yanehiro, and Associate Director Steve Kotton, the senior-level class wrapped their final episode of the reality singing competition, which streamed live all semester-long at

    But before hosts Aundria Jolivette, Frank Diaz and Lorena King got to the results, the live studio audience and those following along at home were treated to performances from the final three contestants, Francisse Bondoc, Janel Chanté and Sabrina Anderson.

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    Film Review: 'Joy'


    Jennifer Lawrence stars in 'Joy,' the story of a family across four generations, centered on the woman who founds a business dynasty and becomes a matriarch. Photo credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox - TM and © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

    Director David O. Russell has once again brought out the best in Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence in his latest film, Joy. Drawing from the life of Joy Mangano, Joy explores a young life filled with imagination that fades into the background following her parents’ divorce. As an adult, Joy is living a life unfulfilled as she is constantly inundated as the role of the fixer. She’s divorced, raising two kids and trying to keep everything and everyone in her family afloat.

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    Beyond Restoration

    IND’s new Automotive Restoration Associate of Arts Degree Program announced at annual Auto Show reception


    A classic 1935 Duesenberg SJ Walker-LaGrande Convertible Coupe and a 1930 Cadillac V-16 on display at 58th Annual San Francisco Chronicle International Auto Show. Photo by Susana Bates for Drew Altizer Photography.

    On the evening of Nov. 20, over 30 beautifully restored vehicles selected from the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum captured the attention of guests at the cocktail reception in honor of the 58th Annual San Francisco Chronicle International Auto Show.

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    Athletes Volunteer at SF Toy & Book Festival


    L–R) President Stephens, Safua Elisaia (volleyball), Bailey Soolsma (volleyball) and Jarred Gregory-Grimes (cross country/track & field).

    Academy of Art University student-athletes headed to City Hall on Dec. 2 to lend firefighters a hand by distributing toys to 1,200 children at the San Francisco Children’s Toy & Book Festival.

    The annual event is held by Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Department of Child Support Services in partnership with the San Francisco Public Library and San Francisco Firefighters’ Union Local 798. Toys for the festival are collected through donations to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program, the oldest toy drive in the country run by off-duty firefighters and their families.

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    SF Board of Supervisors Re-Appoint Rebecca Delgado Rottman to SF Graffiti Advisory Board


    Academy of Art University Vice President of Community & Government Relations Rebecca Delgado Rottman was re-appointed by the SF Board of Supervisors to the Graffiti Advisory Board, a seat that she has held since 2007. Among her many contributions to the board so far have been to chair the Education Sub-Committee in 2008-2009. As the chair, she led the committee in the development of an anti-graffiti curriculum for the SF Unified School District to educate children about the costs and consequences of graffiti vandalism. The Education Sub-Committee researched best practices in curriculum development and partnered with the SF Arts Commission who reviewed, approved and executed the recommended curriculum entitled, “Where Art Lives.” This program, instituted in 2008, is still ongoing in the SF Unified School District. “Although it is difficult to measure outcome, one thing we know today is that youth arrests involved in graffiti vandalism has gone down,” Delgado Rottman said. 

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    Campus Safety Volunteers Put on Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at Family House


    (L–R) Campus Safety Patrol Supervisor Kevin Martin, Officer Edie Lewis of SFPD and Campus Safety volunteer James Holman. Courtesy of the Campus Safety Department.

    On Monday, Nov. 23, the San Francisco Police Officers Association, the San Francisco Police Department and Academy of Art University joined forces to put on a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday dinner for the wonderful and courageous families at UCSF Family House.

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    Homelessness in a New Light


    A portrait from Aaron Draper’s ongoing photo series, 'Underexposed.' Photo by Aaron Draper.

    It turns out that putting a beautiful light on an ugly issue resonates with millions of people around the world. Academy of Art University M.F.A. photography alumnus and current CSU Chico photography professor Aaron Draper discovered this when he created a beautiful portrait series featuring homeless Americans. His series, Underexposed, has been published more than 200 times in more than 20 languages.

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    No Butts About It!

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    A Kappa Sigma member cleans the streets of San Francisco. Courtesy of Rebecca Delgado Rottman.

    What would you rather do on a wet, cold and windy day in San Francisco? If you ask Academy of Art University fraternity brothers, Pi Upsilon chapter of Kappa Sigma, they would rather be picking up cigarette butts at Fisherman’s Wharf and Aquatic Park. Wind and rain often carry cigarette butts into waterways, where the toxic chemicals in the cigarette filters leak out, threatening the quality of the water and the creatures that live in it. The fraternity brothers picked up nearly 5,000 cigarette butts from these locations in one day. And last month, they were at Ocean Beach with a similar result. Last year, in Union Square alone, they collected nearly 10,000 cigarette butts.

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    Valentin Pepiot Named All-American, Pierre Fontanarosa 71st

    MXC - LtoR Valentin Pepiot & Pierre Fontanarosa (by Torrey Olson)

    Valentin Pepiot and Pierre Fontanarosa. Photo by Torrey Olson.

    On a cold morning at Tom Rutledge Cross Country Course in Missouri for the NCAA Division II National Championship, senior Valentin Pepiot (Multimedia Communications) became the first Academy of Art University men’s cross country NCAA All-American on Nov. 21.

    Finishing the highest of any Urban Knight in program history at seventh overall, Pepiot completed the 10k course as the second runner from the elite West Region. Fellow Frenchman graduate student Pierre Fontanarosa (Multimedia Communications) came in at 71st overall out of 246 total competitors.

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    Softball Urban Knights Interning With Oakland Raiders, NFL

    Oakland Coliseum - Oakland Raiders (photo by Andrea Gill) Coliseum. Photo by Andrea Gill.

    Continuing a tradition of artist-athletes working for professional sports organizations, Academy of Art University softball artist-athletes Haily MacDonald, Jasmine Dickenson and Andrea Gill have embraced the once in a lifetime opportunity for the National Football League and the Oakland Raiders this season. MacDonald, a graphic design major, is currently involved with the NFL Player Participations Crew for the Raiders, while Dickenson and Gill, both photography majors, have been serving as photography interns for the Raiders since August.

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    Volleyball Sends off Seniors With a Win

    VB - Seniors Rachael Smith & Isabel Emrich (by Cameron De Lay)

    Seniors Rachael Smith and Isabel Emrich. Photo by Cameron De Lay.

    Following an emotional Senior Day ceremony prior to first serve on Nov. 21, Academy of Art University volleyball overcame Pacific West Conference rival Dominican for the 3–1 victory (15–25, 25–9, 25–16, 26–24). Senior setter Rachael Smith (Advertising) and senior opposite Isabel Emrich (Fine Art) both made strong contributions to the win in their final career match.

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    Telling Stories Behind the Headlines

    Alumna and new multimedia communications instructor Euna Lee shares her own personal story of capture in North Korea and her joy at passing on her knowledge to students

    In March of 2009, Academy of Art University School of Multimedia Communications instructor and former student Euna Lee was working on a documentary in Asia for now defunct Current TV. Lee and fellow journalist Laura Ling were focusing on the plight of North Koreans—especially women—who defected to neighboring China in search of a better life only to become victims of human traffickers. The two journalists and a cameraman were wrapping up a successful week of filming when, at the urging of their guide, they agreed to visit one more place, a safety house for people crossing the border. While following their guide across the frozen Tumen River in the dark, they inadvertently entered North Korea.

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    School of Animation and Visual Effects Celebrates 'Soar's' Success

    Commitment and collaboration proved a winning combination for director Alyce Tzue


    School of Animation & Visual Effects Graduate Director Tom Bertino, Academy alumna Alyce Tzue and Associate Director of Visual Effects Derek Flood. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Spirits were flying at Academy of Art University’s Atelier Gallery on Nov. 12, when the School of Animation and Visual Effects celebrated Soar, a highly acclaimed short film by 2014 M.F.A. graduate Alyce Tzue.

    “It feels amazing! We’ve rarely ever been in the same room together,” said Tzue, referring to the approximately 100 students and instructors who worked with her on the film over a two and a half year period. “There were so many stages in the pipeline and each student came in and did their part, but rarely did we have everyone come together. I’m really thankful to the Academy for hosting this party. Having an event just for Soar means a lot, and seeing all these familiar faces in one place is really rewarding.”

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    Designer Serena Zanello Continues Fulfilling Life-Long Passion


    School of Interior Architecture & Design instructor Serena Zanello. Courtesy of Serena Zanello.

    Academy of Art University instructor Serena Zanello said she knew since she was a kid that she wanted to be in design. “I grew up in a family of artists and I also lived in a house that was a big art atelier for my parents that was full of materials and colors,” said Zanello, who has worked in design and architecture for 10 years.

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    Academy Printmakers at Their Best

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    A selection of prints from the 2015 Printmaking Exchange Portfolio. Photo by Dennis Peterson.

    This year, the talented community of faculty and students in the School of Fine Art – Printmaking will be hosting its 12th Annual Printmaking Exchange Portfolio. For over a decade, this exchange has been a tradition for both students and faculty alike as they come together to collect and admire each other’s work.

    The idea behind print exchange is simple. A group of like-minded printmakers decide on a standard size and theme for their portfolio. Based on the number of participants, each artist creates a set (or edition) of hand pulled prints. The edition quantity is always large enough so that each artist can collect one print from every other member of the exchange. Thus, each person goes home with an assortment of work from many talented artists.

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    Creating Joy Through Cartoons


    Working on 'Sisters' in the 2-D M.F.A. Lab. Courtesy of Chiara Ferrari.

    The latest animation profile in our ongoing series focuses on Chiara Ferrari. Twins, Chiara and Kim, are the creators of the short, Sisters. Their film won second place for the 2-D Animation Short Film Full Color category at the 2015 Spring Show. After graduation, Ferrari received a job offer at DHX Media in Vancouver, Canada.

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    'Eggventure' Finds Success on the Festival Circuit

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    Danielle Johnson’s final review. (L–R) Stewart Lew, Sherrie H. Sinclair, Danielle Johnson, Michael Vickner and Scotland Barnes. Courtesy of Danielle Johnson.

    At the beginning of the semester, the “Fantastic Five Females in Traditional Animation” series was intended to feature five recent female graduate students who have completed their M.F.A. degrees in traditional animation. It seems that a sixth student has been sneakily applying to film festivals and has won a number of them.

    Our sixth profile in this series features Danielle Johnson. Johnson’s short, Eggventure, was the winner for the 2-D Animation Short Film Full Color category at the 2015 Spring Show. Since the completion of her film, Eggventure has been selected in nine festivals.

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    Academy Students Crack The "Internet of Things" Code


    Students from the “Internet of Things” field trip. Photo by Mark Hellar.

    You’ve probably heard of the “Internet of Things” (or IoT for short), but are left scratching your head as to what that term really means, or what it looks like in real life. To unlock the answer, I sat down with School of Web Design + New Media part-time faculty and 20-plus year tech guru, Mark Hellar to talk about our new class, “The Internet of Things,” and how Academy of Art University students are learning to build cutting-edge WiFi-enabled experiences.

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    Academy Alum's Apps Make Learning Good Values Fun for Kids


    A scene from Brandon Chappell’s 2014 book and app 'Drew Meets Boo.' Courtesy of Brandon Chappell.

    Since graduating from the Academy of Art University in 2009, Brandon Chappell has been busy putting his graphic design and animation skills to use in a variety of projects, including creating interactive apps that help kids learn good values in a fun way. His latest app, SPOOF, is based on an animated short film of the same name that he directed while attending the Academy.

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    Fall 2015 Costume Carnival: 'Beastly'


    The menagerie. (L–R) Teresa Kabba, Marvin Gardner, Courtney Russell, Anthea Tuley, Sarafina Murphy-Gibson, Kelsey Sailors, Mick Glenn, Veronique Bohne, Claudio Tudisco and Connie Foster. Photo by Shahin Fathi Djalali.

    The Fall 2015 Costume Carnival brought an opportunity for our model team to show their wild side.  The theme was “Beastly” and starred anthropomorphic beasts personifying the seven deadly sins. Among the menagerie there was a gluttonous rococo pig, a proud lion boasting of his hunting trophies and a snake charmer who enchanted herself in mirrors. Students were delighted by their debaucherous poses as they preened, overindulged and pulled each other’s tails.

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    Nonprofit Encourages Creative Writing in an Inspiring Classroom

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    Academy student work visualizing the work “The Universe to Fly to with My Wings” by 826 Valencia author Marlon Hernandez, age 10. Courtesy of Lillian Guo.

    It’s safe to assume you are reading this. Literacy makes thought solid and transports communication across time and space. Sharing the gift of reading and writing is an urgent task, but sometimes the instruction and mentorship of training young readers and writers is banal, dry or just plain absent. Worse, writing can be seen as an insider activity, with few young people identifying as “authors.”

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    Designing the Timeless: The Growth of House of Borel


    Eve by House of Borel. Courtesy of House of Borel.

    Following my trip to fashion week this past September, I had the pleasure of attending the Michael Costello fashion show. The designs and runway were beautiful, but what caught my attention the most were the bags that each of the models carried down the runway. Knowing Michael Costello does not make handbags, I immediately asked around to find out who designed the bags. To my surprise, I was told the bags were from a new fashion house in San Francisco, House of Borel. After looking on Instagram to find more information, there they were: “Standout Luxury. Designed in San Francisco. Made in Italy.”

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    Annual Faculty + Alumni Fine Art Auction Celebrates 20 Years

    Supporting the Fine Art Student Scholarship Fund, the event raised over $120,000 this year


    Attendees browse the many items on display at this year’s Fine Art Auction. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Numbers flew, wine flowed and pulses raced at The Cannery on Nov. 14 when art enthusiasts from the Bay Area and beyond jostled to bid on 409 works of art in the silent auction, and 30 pieces showcased in the live auction at Academy of Art University’s 20th Annual Faculty + Alumni Fine Art Auction. A fundraiser for the Fine Art Student Scholarship Fund, this year’s event raised over $120,000, with half going toward the scholarship fund and half going directly to the artists.

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    Academy Launches Social Media Center

    The new resource will help students and faculty develop their skills to meet the changing needs of the online world


    Stephan Rabimov, director of the Social Media Center at Academy of Art University, leads a discussion on social media strategies. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Academy of Art University has launched a new Social Media Center ( at the heart of San Francisco. The Social Media Center is comprised of a professional development series of courses in social media, a hub for academic social resources and a gateway, in the form of a Global Advisory Board, connecting the Academy to the industry giants of San Francisco, Silicon Valley and beyond.

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    Link+ Now Available at Academy of Art University Library

    The Academy of Art University Library is proud to announce that it has become a member of Link+. Link+ is a library material borrowing program, which takes place between participating libraries throughout California and Nevada. This program allows patrons to request and borrow library materials that are not present in their home library’s collection. 

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    Academy Student Saves Surfer From Shark Attack


    Brando Keoni Bowthorpe paddling Colin Cook back to shore. According to bystanders on the beach, the splash in front is said to be the shark’s tail fin thrashing about, as it positioned itself between the surfers and the shore. Photo by Glen Fowlie.

    On Oct. 9, former Academy of Art University student Brando Keoni Bowthorpe headed to Leftovers, a beach that’s a half-mile from his home on Oahu’s North Shore. Though he’s an avid surfer, that day, Bowthorpe went out on his stand up paddle board. As he ventured into the ocean, he had no inkling that his life—and that of Colin Cook, a fellow surfer he’d never met—was about to change forever.

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    Kim Ferrari Talks Love of Art and Her Film 'Sisters'

    The animation student and her twin sister Chiara’s thesis project has been highly praised for its quality


    A still from 'Sisters.' Courtesy of Chiara Ferrari.

    Our latest animation profile features Kim Ferrari. Ferrari and her twin, Chiara, created their film, Sisters, for their thesis project. The short won first place for its background painting and layout design at the 2015 Spring Show. At the end of spring, Ferrari was offered a position to work on the show The Awesomes.

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    Creating Lasting Memories Through Creativity

    Meredith Scott Lynn, actress, producer and creator of Write Brain Books, has a creative energy that ignites those around her. This has helped her succeed as a child in school and is how she built a successful career as an adult. Now with her new company, Write Brain Books, and the artistry of almost 30 Academy of Art University illustration students, she is using that creative drive to help school children honor their creative side, their right brain, in an ever increasing left brain world.

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    Pixar's Bill Cone Illuminates the Magic Power of Light


    (L–R) Nicolás Villarreal, Director of the School of Visual Development; Bill Cone, Production Designer at Pixar, and Chris Carman, Associate Director of the School of Visual Development. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Pixar production designer Bill Cone is a little obsessed with light and how it changes the way we see the world. On Nov. 10, a large crowd of Academy of Art University animation students gathered in Morgan Auditorium to listen to Cone discuss what he’s learned about light as a landscape painter, and how he applies that knowledge to his work in film.

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    Ethics and Leadership Panel Gives Architecture Students Plenty to Ponder


    (L–R) Mimi Sullivan, executive director of the School of Architecture; Mallory Scott Cusenbery, architecture faculty and guest speaker; Jeff Oberdorfer, guest speaker and Jennifer Asselstine, B.Arch director. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On Nov. 9, while rain drummed on the roof of the atrium at 601 Brannan Street, Academy of Art University architecture students listened to a compelling discussion about the importance of design and building practices that support social equity. School of Architecture Executive Director Mimi Sullivan moderated the event and introduced the presenters: guest speaker Jeff Oberdorfer—a housing, urban design and sustainability consultant—and School of Architecture instructor Mallory Scott Cusenbery, who is also a design principal at Ross Drulis Cusenbery.

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    Bringing Pakistan's Film Style to the World Stage

    MPTV alumnus Bilal Lashari is making history with his filmmaking

    Academy of Art University has always prided itself on its international outreach to aspiring filmmakers. In recent years, that outreach has been solidified by Bilal Lashari. Since graduating from the Academy in 2008 with a B.F.A. from the School of Motion Pictures & Television, he has gone on to direct the movie, WAAR (translates to The Strike), which is the most successful Pakistani feature film in history. WAAR has been nominated for numerous awards overseas, including Best Picture and Best Director at the ARY Film Festival and the Lux Style Awards. The success has already green lighted a much anticipated sequel. 

    Lashari is currently directing a reboot of the Pakistani cult classic Maula Jatt, which is being produced with a multi-million dollar budget. In an interview with The Express Tribune, Lashari said, “The entire world has been exporting their own styles and versions of cinema outside their territory, but we have been silent.


    Bilal Lashari. Courtesy of Bilal Lashari.

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    Students Go Behind 'Inside Out'


    (L–R) Pixar animators Stephen Wong, Austin Madison, Paul Mendoza and Terry Song. Photo by Bob Toy.

    The hallways of 79 New Montgomery started filling up at around 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6 with students eager to hear from the evening’s presenters, who are living the careers of their dreams. Hosted by Tea Time Animation, four talented artists from Disney Pixar, Stephen Wong, Terry Song, Austin Madison and Paul Mendoza, were on hand to discuss the animation of Inside Out.

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    Mixing the Sounds of the Industry

    Academy alum wins Emmy for work on HBO documentary series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways

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    Academy of Art University alumnus Eddie Kim. Courtesy of Eddie Kim.

    When Eddie Kim attended Academy of Art University in the ‘90s, he originally envisioned gaining the skills he needed to fulfill his boyhood dream of making a movie that would change the world. But Kim, who worked as a deejay while he was a student, soon found his interest shifting to sound design. 

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    Tattooing as a Fine Art

    School of Illustration alumnus Mario Delgado runs successful San Francisco tattoo studio Moth and Dagger


    Academy of Art University instructor Nick Ross getting a tattoo done by alumnus Mario Delgado at Moth & Dagger, Delgado’s tattoo studio in San Francisco. Photo by Miguel Elias.

    Tattoo artists aren’t especially known for their Samaritan ways, but acts of kindness come naturally for Mario Delgado. From offering free pink ribbon tattoos during breast cancer awareness month, and free nipple tattoos to mastectomy patients, to donating posters to San Francisco Women Against Rape and running a holiday toy drive, the proprietor of Moth and Dagger Tattoo continually proves that he’s a tattoo artist with a humanitarian heart.

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    Academy Grad's Role as Producer Key to 'Soar's' Success

    M.F.A. animation and visual effects alumnus Anson Yu gained valuable experience alongside top awards


    Harriett Barren, Palm Springs Film Festival Director of Development; Ginny Foat, Palm Springs City Council; Alyce Tzue; Anson Yu; James Egan, Executive Director of the School of Motion Pictures & Television. Courtesy of the School of Motion Pictures & Television.

    Anson Yu, producer of the animated short Soar, knew the quality of the film he helped director Alyce Tzue create was good. He even thought it might win a few awards. But he never imagined Soar would win top honors from some of the world’s most prestigious film festivals, including a gold medal for Best Animated Film at September’s highly competitive Student Academy Awards.

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    'Academy Idol' Recap - Season 5: Episodes 3 & 4


    'Academy Idol' season five judges. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Episode 3: October 14, 2015

    Week one’s Academy Idol contestants are back for another round. Sadly, Zachary Santos was the first contestant to be eliminated. The judges were curious to see how the contestants took their critiques and applied them to their latest performances.

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    An Emotional Journey to Independence


    Saoirse Ronan and Director of Photography Yves Bélanger on the set of 'Brooklyn.' Photo by Kerry Brown. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

    In Brooklyn, Saoirse Ronan stars as Eilis Lacey, a young Irish immigrant who leaves her home and family in the 1950s to start a new life in America. Directed by John Crowley and based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, the movie is a poignant coming of age story. Eilis’s rough voyage across the Atlantic from a tiny village in Ireland to a place that couldn’t be more different—the bustling New York City borough of Brooklyn—is an apt metaphor for her tumultuous emotional journey.

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    Catherine Hardwicke's 'Miss You Already' Brightens Unexpected Places

    Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette lend comedic flair to an inherently heartbreaking storyline


    Drew Barrymore, Toni Collette and Dominic Cooper in 'Miss You Already." Photo credit: Nick Wall.

    The emotional intensity of director Catherine Hardwicke's new film, Miss You Already, is offset by alacritous humor. It's a story of cancer – the diagnosis, the treatment, the way it affects friends and family – but it's also a story of an extraordinary friendship between two women.

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    Unique Short Film Inspires Collaborative Course

    Created in Studio X, Thomas de Maleingreau’s Grounded is heading to film festivals worldwide


    A still from 'Grounded.' Image courtesy of Thomas de Maleingreau.

    For filmmaker and animator Thomas de Maleingreau, the collaborative class at Academy of Art University called Studio X was a pivotal point in his career. In Studio X’s collective environment, he not only created a totally unique style of animated film with his short film Grounded, but had a hand in shaping how different departments at the Academy work together. Grounded, a heart warming animated short film about the last journey of Hector, an old pilot, and Waldo, his pet goose, is groundbreaking in that de Maleingreau melted hand painted texture (from the School of Game Development) into his film to create a more stylized look.

    As an animation student, his goal was to incorporate the School of Game Development in order to combine elements of game style in his film. “I literally created a collaborative class between departments,” said de Maleingreau. “I am very proud and happy about that. It was really a class created for Grounded. It will take place at Studio X and it’s a first step toward a bigger collaboration and could open so many new opportunities between game and animation students.”

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    Students Scope Out Sony PlayStation

    Approximately 100 Academy students gathered at 491 Post to hear about summer 2016 internship opportunities


    Students learned about summer internship opportunities at Sony PlayStation on Thursday, Oct. 8. Photo by Bob Toy.

    “I do this because I love the students and the energy,” Sony PlayStation University Recruiter Darchele Smith said. “I love meeting and connecting with students who could be potential interns.”

    On Thursday, Oct. 8, Smith and Leesa Dreo, senior recruiter at Sony PlayStation under Sony Computer Entertainment America, talked with approximately 100 current Academy of Art University students of various disciplines about possible paid summer internship opportunities. Smith shared that of the 82 PlayStation internships held by students last summer, four were from the Academy, making it the second largest school the company recruited from.

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    John Waters Visits the School of Motion Pictures & Television


    John Waters and Executive Director James Egan. Courtesy of the School of Motion Pictures & Television.

    Legendary writer/director John Waters stopped by Academy of Art University to take an informal tour of the School of Motion Pictures and Television with Executive Director James Egan and MPTV students.

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    Online Student Puts Education into Practice While Celebrating Affirmative Action


    (Left to right) Leslie Ralston, Brian Gessner, Bern Rexer, Academy of Art University online student Kristi Pelzel, Aaron Shivley and Peter Alvey. Photo by Nichole Edwards.

    As an Academy of Art University online student, I’m always looking for opportunities to use what I’m learning as a platform. I did just that when I participated in a live event at the United States Department of Labor Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as an assistant sound engineer.

    September 24, 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of Executive Order 11246 and the establishment of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. 

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    ART U Cross Country Cheered to Top Half at SF State Invite

    It was a buoyant atmosphere for the Urban Knights as they finished strong to sixth place

    XC Group (by Rob Garcia)

    Cross Country. Photo by Rob Garcia.

    More than 170 Urban Knight Nation faithful seemed to be there at every turn on Oct. 9, cheering on Academy of Art University cross country to strong finishes at the SF State Invitational. The women’s team, led by sophomore McKaela Christenson’s 19th place individual result, took ninth overall. On the men’s side, senior Valentin Pepiot (Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media) placed second, helping ART U earn sixth as a team.

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    Kamyle Glover, Hunter Allen Named NFCA Scholar-Athletes

    SB - Kamyle Glover (by Kenny Chacon)

    Kamyle Glover. Photo by Kenny Chacon.

    SB - Hunter Allen (by Kenny Chacon)

    Hunter Allen. Photo by Kenny Chacon.

    Recognized for their academic accomplishments and ability to achieve the NCAA Division II motto “life in the balance,” Academy of Art University softball student-athletes Kamyle Glover and Hunter Allen were among the 2014–15 All-America Scholar-Athletes as announced by National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) on Oct. 6.

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    Stine Raben Claims Second PacWest Freshman of the Week

    VB - Stine Raben (by Ronald Palarca)

    Stine Raben. Photo by Ronald Palarca.

    One of several threats shown in the ART U volleyball offense in two home victories, outside hitter Stine Raben (Advertising) was selected as Pacific West Conference Freshman of the Week. Career highs both offensively and defensively came for the Schwerin, Germany native at home this past week. The award was based on games played Sept. 28–Oct. 4.

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    Three Wins Leads Kevin Mendez to PacWest Freshman of the Week

    Holding the line with consistently tough defense in three wins on the Urban Knights’ Hawaiian roadtrip, goalkeeper Kevin Mendez (Advertising) earned his second Pacific West Conference Freshman of the Week this season. The award was based on games played Sept. 28–Oct. 4.

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    Alumni Shine at Roadworks Printing Festival

    In it’s 12th year, the event was a hit with artists and enthusiasts


    Leah Jachimowicz of Coffee n Cream Press. Photo by Meri Brin.

    Each year, the San Francisco Center for the Book hosts the Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival. Artists, printmakers, book artists and enthusiasts all come together to visit with vendors, play with equipment, make pieces of art at do-it-yourself tables and watch as a seven-ton 1924 Buffalo Springfield steamroller prints 3-foot by 3-foot large hand-carved linoleum blocks. This was the 12th year of the event, and quite a few Academy of Art University alumni were there participating and celebrating.

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    Kendra Williford's Journey to the Festival Circuit

    Kendra and Michael

    By Jessica Chan

    The next installment of our animation profile series features Kendra Williford. Williford graduated in Spring 2015 with the completion of her film, Leonid in Space. Within these few months, her short has been selected into nine film festivals with awards and merits.

    Why an M.F.A. degree in 2-D/traditional animation & stop motion at the Academy?

    I have loved two things since I was a young kid—drawing and traditional animation. I grew up watching Disney films and wanted to study with [instructors] who had first-hand experience working on those films and in the industry.


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    Social Sierra

    “I think the simplest answer is to go to work ready to work hard.” Sierra Sanchez hits the nail on the head when she talks about her work ethic, current position with Pottery Barn and the impact that Academy of Art University has had on her career. As a member of the millennial generation, the digital space is not a foreign idea for Sanchez. With this, she has accumulated much success.

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    Succeeding Through Determination


    Alex Suarez backstage at Academy of Art University’s New York Fashion Week Spring 2015 show, interviewing designer Madison Detro. Courtesy of Alex Suarez.

    Alex Suarez, a graduate of Academy of Art University, received her B.A. in fashion journalism in 2014. I caught up with Suarez about her successes after graduation, which include writing gigs for Modeconnect and Fashion Times. During our chat she shared incredible advice, encouraging experiences and a clever sense of humor. Suarez considers herself “still far from making it” right now, but is motivated to keep “moving onward and upward.” This is her story.

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    A Fashion Giant Recruits at the Academy


    (Left to right) Gary Miller, associate director of the Academy’s School of Fashion; Iliana Ricketts, online director of the Academy’s School of Fashion; Natalie Vance, Academy alumna and associate apparel designer for Hollister Men’s Denim/Twill; Bobby English, Abercrombie & Fitch design recruiter; Melissa McGhee, associate relations manager for Abercrombie & Fitch Merchandising/Styling and Meghan Riggs, Abercrombie & Fitch associate relations director of design. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 13-14, the Abercrombie & Fitch team came to Academy of Art University’s fashion building at 625 Polk, to recruit senior fashion students to join their burgeoning creative team. Full-time positions and internships are open for stylists, apparel designers, CAD designers and technical designers. Unlike the majority of internships available for students, Abercrombie interns are paid $800 a week along with a monthly housing stipend. Full-time employees enjoy the perks of traveling, health insurance and three weeks worth of vacation days. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not. Though the presentations were specifically for fashion stylists and designers, Abercrombie also offers positions across the company including merchandising, marketing and graphic design. Don’t fret if you weren’t able to attend the event—Abercrombie’s online career center ( is easy to navigate and they are always looking for new talent.

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    Voice of Brands

    WorkspaceAtHome_HI RES.jpg

    Academy of Art University alumna Sara Iravani. Courtesy of Sara Iravani.

    Sara Iravani is no stranger to ambition, and since graduating from Academy of Art University with her master’s in 2013, she has put that ambition to the test with an array of creative jobs. Her latest career move: taking on the role of chief copywriter at Stella & Dot. Iravani also contributes regularly to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Style section and has had her work published in SOMA Magazine, SF Gate and Refinery29. We sat down with the alumna to discuss her experience, work and how Australia played a factor in her decision to get a master’s in fashion journalism.

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    Street Style: Back to Basics

    Black will always be the new black. This color has spread beyond its stereotypical business boundaries: bohemian, lounge, party/evening, casual, business casual, you name it. Its versatility and the endless messages it exudes are the exact qualities a girl looks for in a signature color. When spotted walking down these San Francisco streets, Mana Syed embodied the effortlessly chic woman San Francisco is known for. With the latest technology and an updated knowledge of the latest platforms, she is ready to go from day to night.

    Describe your style.

    Usually minimalist, focused on black, whites, anything in that group. A complete contrast to my occasional Pakistani style, which tends to include more colors and even patterns.

    Who is your style muse?

    Quite a few! Lou Doillon and Kate Lanphear.


    Mana Syed, visual merchandising major. top: Zara, pants: H&M, shoes: H&M, necklace: Forever 21 & sunglasses: Le Specs. Photo by Alexandria Ceranski.

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    An Inspiring Introduction to the Cinematography Industry

    Student S.O.C. advisor, Hugh C. Litfin, takes students to visit L.A. Cinegear Expo

    photo 4_

    (Left to right) Academy of Art University and S.O.C. students Jessie Brickley, Joy Zhang, Brenton Cooper, Trevor Smith, Genevieve Evans, Chenlu Zhu and Levi Salas meet with International Cinematographers Guild President Steven Poster, A.S.C. pictured center. Photo by Hugh Litfin, S.O.C.

    Cinematography instructor Hugh C. Litfin exemplifies Academy of Art University’s way of going above and beyond to provide his students with extraordinary hands-on learning experiences. He takes his students behind the scenes of the most cutting edge production houses in Hollywood and helps them get up close and personal with the industry’s latest technologies.

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    Talking Passion

    Steven “NugLife” Solis talks local showcases, creative influences and goals

    I sat down with Steven “NugLife” Solis the evening of Saturday, Oct. 10 after an album release show for band War of Icaza at One Fam Café in West Oakland, Calif. NugLife and rappers Rocky G, Kaly Jay, Kwesi and more, have been popping up at many showcases in the area recently. I first met the DJ last summer when he started doing sets at Dolores Park, something I hadn’t seen before. I decided to catch up with him and ask him some questions.

    So Steven, who would you say are your main influences?

    Forward thinking people, creatives. People who wake up everyday and want to do something different. One person for a few months lately has been my homie Nite Owl. We’re doing totally different things, but I respect his drive. He makes me want to do more.

    What is your ultimate goal?

    Work with those I look up to. Just be beside them. Collaborate with like-minded beings.


    Steven “NugLife” Solis. Photo by Mia Felder.

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    Director Tackles Universal Themes of Survival and Parenting in Riveting 'Room'


    Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in A24’s 'Room.' Photo by George Kraychyk. Courtesy of A24.

    In Room, the film based on the acclaimed novel by Emma Donoghue, director Lenny Abrahamson deftly draws viewers into the lives of five-year-old Jack (Jacob Tremblay) and his mother, whom he calls Ma (Brie Larson). The two have been captives in the tiny reinforced shed, which they refer to as “room,” for all of Jack’s life. Ma, who was kidnapped as a teenager and eventually impregnated by her captor, Old Nick (Shawn Bridgers), sees room as a prison.  But Jack considers it home—even a magical place—thanks to his nurturing mother and his imagination and innocence.

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    Film Review: 'Experimenter' - The Inescapable Experiment


    Peter Sarsgaard in 'Experimenter,' a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

    Human psychology has been the subject of many an interesting story over the years and now, with Experimenter, Michael Almereyda brings us a look behind the scenes at social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s 1961 experiments that explored the human dispensation to obedience.

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    Film Review: 'Victoria' - A Study in One-Take Realism

    Victoria Still 12

    Courtesy of Adopt Films.

    There are many factors that make Victoria a unique film worthy of praise for the sheer amount of planning and organization involved in its creation. From director Sebastian Schipper, the film is shot by Sturla Brandth Grøvlen in one continuous take, so fans of Birdman can rejoice as this style of filmmaking seems to be, rather like Michael Keaton’s character, taking off.

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    Community and Connectivity

    Interior design students’ installation at DIFFA Designs event benefits HIV/AIDS research at SF General Hospital’s Ward 86


    (Left to right) Chantal Yakou, Fadi Alnumaani, Kevin Veitch, Alex Allen and Agustin Sanders in front of their installation at this year’s DIFFA Designs event. Photo by Bob Toy.

    Just after entering The NWBLK’s cavernous gallery space where a rollicking cocktail party and silent auction was in full swing, Academy of Art University School of Interior Architecture and Design (IAD) instructor Agustin Sanders stopped in his glittering gold shoes and struck a pose. Behind him, armed with a thick kelly green marker, IAD student Kevin Veitch traced his shadow onto a wide white canvas. By the end of the night, the centerpiece of an installation by five IAD students was covered in a colorful melange of overlapping silhouettes.

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    School of Interior Architecture and Design Graduates Launch Successful Firm

    Mitra Gholami and Nik Seif are going from strength to strength as they transform spaces with Deleap


    Academy of Art University School of Interior Architecture and Design alumni Mitra Gholami and Nik Seif. Photo by Celeste Sunderland.

    When Mitra Gholami and Nik Seif met in a light and color perception class in 2011, little did they know that one day they would be working together as partners in their own interior design firm. In fact, during their time as students at Academy of Art University, the designers mostly went their separate ways. “We were ‘hi and bye friends,’” said Seif.

    Four years later, the designing duo, both of whom earned Master’s degrees from the Academy’s School of Interior Architecture and Design (IAD) in 2014, work together most every day at their interior design firm Deleap and are as close as sisters.

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    Mastering Limitless Artistic Development

    Academy of Art University alumna Camille Przewodek is a master plein air painter, adept self-promoter and admired teacher. She has honed her extraordinary skill through years of hard work and dedicated study, yet her key to success boils down to one simple thing: she knows herself.

    “I have carved a career in fine art for myself and I have developed my own unique vision,” said Przewodek, who has a trove of plein air painting awards, eight published books, dozens of exhibits and a calendar packed with workshops and teaching engagements.

    “One of the things I’ve always admired about her is she drives herself to find something more personal in her observations and to take the style and the approach further,” said Chuck Pyle, director of the School of Illustration, who worked with Przewodek when he was a young instructor in the ‘80s. “She’s just very savvy and very committed to her art and to making a good living at it, which is really the Academy idea.”


    Camille Przewodek. Courtesy of Camille Przewodek.

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    A Passion for Sculpture

    'Eel Walker' bronze sculpture

    'Eel Walker,' bronze sculpture. Sculpture by Mark Newman.

    School of Illustration alumnus Mark Newman has carved out a successful career in the collectibles industry and beyond, by melding his skills as an illustrator with his passion for sculpture. After graduating from the Academy in 1986, Newman landed work immediately, sculpting and prototyping for clients such as Bowen Designs, Department 56, Hallmark, Sideshow Collectibles, Lenox Inc and more.

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    Want To Help Change The World? There’s An App For That.


    Image courtesy of Helper Helper.

    Student-athletes at Academy of Art University are competing in something other than sports this fall semester. The Academy and 119 colleges and universities from across the country are competing not just for wins and losses, but for something much more impactful, community service hours.

    Through the NCAA Team Works™ Competition, 120 NCAA schools from Division I, II & III will be participating in the largest community service competition in the history of college athletics. Over 40,000 student-athletes in 38 states will be challenged to see what school can do the most good for their respective community.

    During the 3-month competition, Academy student-athletes will be using the Helper Helper app to find volunteer opportunities and track their community service efforts. For the month of September, the Urban Knights found themselves in the top spot of the Division II competition.

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    Drama at Kezar Lifts ART U Past SF State

    The Urban Knights secure an exciting victory in overtime after a 0-0 game

    MSoccer - Kristof Urbanyi (by Rob  Garcia)

    Kristof Urbanyi. Photo by Rob Garcia.

    They did it again.

    Three years after the first time it was done, the Academy of Art University men’s soccer team again turned suspense into glory on Sept. 12 inside historic Kezar Stadium, defeating crosstown rival San Francisco State in front of a big crowd with a goal in overtime for a sudden 1-0 victory.

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    Kevin Mendez Named PacWest Men’s Soccer Defender of the Week

    Academy of Art University men’s soccer freshman goalkeeper Kevin Mendez (Advertising) continued a stellar start to his career and earned his second straight Pacific West Conference weekly award in the process, as he was named PacWest Defender of the Week for the week of Sept. 7-13.

    Mendez was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2015 Kezar Classic. He posted a 1-0-1 record with two overtime shutouts and 10 total saves. He did not allow a goal in 208 minutes played. He earned his second win of the season after shutting out San Francisco State for 98 minutes on Sept. 12. He also led the Urban Knights to their first draw versus Chico State on Sept. 10, playing 110 minutes of shutout soccer.

    Mendez’s award is the third PacWest weekly award the Urban Knights have received in the first two weeks of the season. In the opening week of 2015, Mendez was named Freshman of the Week while teammate Kristof Urbanyi (Motion Pictures & Television) was named Player of the Week.

    MSoccer - Kevin Mendez (by Marley Sutter & Jasmine Dickenson)

    Kevin Mendez. Photo by Marley Sutter and Jasmine Dickerson.

    Réa Laudat Earns PacWest Women’s Soccer Player of the Week Nod

    Thanks to playing a big part in the Academy of Art University women’s soccer team’s first win of the season, senior forward Réa Laudat (Interior Architecture & Design) was named Pacific West Conference Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 7-13.

    Laudat totaled three points (1 goal, 1 assist) in the Urban Knights’ (1-3) first win of the season versus Cal State Monterey Bay on Sept. 8. She tallied the game-winning goal in the 64th minute of the second half and assisted on the game-tying goal in the 43rd minute right before halftime. Her game-winning goal broke a two-way tie and gave her the ART U career record for game-winning goals (5). The victory over Cal State Monterey Bay was the program’s first-ever over a California Collegiate Athletic Association program.

    This was the first PacWest Player of the Week award of Laudat’s career.

    WSoccer - Rea Laudat (by Marley Sutter & Jasmine Dickenson)

    Réa Laudat. Photo by Marley Sutter and Jasmine Dickerson.

    Women’s Soccer Earns NSCAA Academic Award

    Academy of Art University’s women’s soccer team was recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) for its academic excellence during the 2014-15 school year. The NSCAA annually honors college and high school soccer programs that have excelled in the classroom, in addition to their work on the field. A total of 859 soccer teams (305 men, 554 women) posted a team grade point average of 3.0 or higher, thereby earning the NSCAA College Team Academic Award for the 2014-15 academic year.

    “We are very proud of our artist-athletes and all of the hard work they put in throughout the school year while balancing soccer,” said head coach Katie Awerkamp. “They are really setting an academic standard for our program for the years to come.”

    WSoccer - NSCAA logo
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    Valentin Pepiot Claims PacWest Cross Country Runner of the Week

    Following an impressive finish at the Urban Knights’ second meet of the season, the Ash Creek Invitational hosted by Western Oregon, senior Valentin Pepiot (Music Production & Sound Design for Visual Media) garnered his first Pacific West Conference Runner of the Week honor of 2015. The award was based on all conference member competitors in races Sept. 7-13.

    Pepiot finished fourth overall out of 150 runners and completed the 6.3k course in 18:15.2, just one tenth of a second behind the third place finisher. He battled a contingent of five Chico State runners around him, delivering an average mile time of 4:39.8. In the end, his performance helped ART U place fifth as a team.

    This is the fourth PacWest weekly honor for Pepiot in his career and the first by an Urban Knight this season.

    MXC - Valentin Pepiot (by Marley Sutter & Jasmine Dickenson)

    Valentin Pepiot. Photo by Marley Sutter and Jasmine Dickerson.

    Landscape Architecture Students Take Part in Park(ing) Day 2015

    The annual event brought design to the streets with the creation of urban public spaces

    LAN Parking Day  2015

    Park(ing) Day outside The Cannery building. Photo by Jerry Doan.

    Every year, since 2005, on the third Friday of September, PARK(ing) Day has made an impact on cities around the world. Global citizens, from artists to activists to landscape architects, temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public places. The purpose of Park(ing) Day is to make the public revalue their needs of space by impacting the way they experience the urban environment.

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    'LADY and the frog' Creator Discusses Her Animation Journey


    A still from 'LADY and the frog.' Courtesy of Tina Hsu.

    Our first profile features Tina Hsu. Hsu’s LADY and the frog was the First Place Winner for 2-D Animation Short Film (full-color) at the annual Spring Show in 2014. Since the completion of her film, LADY and the frog has screened in 27 domestic and international film festivals. While Hsu currently works at Laika, she is doing some freelance work and developing personal projects.

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    Meet Your Models: Tulle Snell & Andre Speckert


    Getting into the swing of things. Photo by Shahin Fathi Djalali.

    Tulle Snell is a natural muse bringing her soulful untamed beauty to the podium, while Andre Speckert’s avant-garde panache shakes up a classroom with its magnetic appeal. Together they are San Francisco’s figure modeling power couple. As versatile artistic mavens, they collaborate on stirring photography projects, have taken courses in circus arts and practice culinary wizardry. When the pair isn’t gallivanting internationally, they can be found delighting Bay Area artists with their creativity, exuberance and intellectual mayhem.

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    Workshop Teaches IAD students how to HOUZZ


    (Left to right) Vanessa Brockway from HOUZZ partnerships group, Director of the School of Interior Architecture and Design Archana Myer and Lauren Gold, a member of the HOUZZ industry marketing team. Photo by Bob Toy.

    On Wednesday, September 30, representatives from HOUZZ—the leading platform for home remodeling and design—showed Academy of Art University’s School of Interior Architecture and Design students how to leverage the website now and in their careers. In addition to offering a vast array of inspiring design photos, HOUZZ is an online community where homeowners and industry professionals can connect and exchange information.

    Headquartered in Palo Alto, HOUZZ receives a whopping 35 million unique user views each month. Workshop leader Lauren Gold, a member of the HOUZZ industry marketing team, said 90 percent of residential users visiting the site own their own house. Of these, 76 percent are planning to renovate their current home or build a new one. Many HOUZZ users are searching for professionals to help them with such projects.

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    School of Fashion’s Graduation Fashion Show named No.1 Fashion Industry Event in BizBash’s Top 100

    The high quality show tops the list for the second year in a row


    A shot of the finale at the 2015 Graduation Fashion Show. Photo by Anthony Rogers, B.F.A. photography.

    For the second year in a row, the School of Fashion’s Graduation Fashion Show at Academy of Art University was named in BizBash’s Top 100 List of Events in San Francisco, notably nabbing the number one spot as the Best San Francisco Fashion Industry Event for 2015. BizBash’s Top 100 list includes everything from meetings to parties to any industry gathering that has the most impact for that year. The list, which includes SF staple events such as Bay to Breakers, the Chinese New Year Festival and our Graduation Fashion Show, includes events from 10 categories such as sport events, benefits and parades as well as film and media events.

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    Street Style: New York Fashion Week

    New York Fashion Week isn’t complete without some street style watching. Being that this was my first fashion week, I wasn’t sure what to expect or if there was a specific place to find the best looks, so I teamed up with my friend Sofala Ntweng-Knapton, who is a photographer from Southern California.

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    Styling the Way to New York Fashion Week

    Lynee Ruiz is a hairstylist who started in the Milwaukee and Brookfield areas doing local test photoshoots and charitable runway shows, along with some smaller company photoshoots. She was working at Corenza Salon in Brookfield, Wis., when a spark lit inside of her.

    Friends of Ruiz have said that she simply stated to herself and her co-workers that she wanted to do hair for the next New York Fashion Week. Ruiz went on to do hair at some of the 2014/2015 NYFW shows. Having worked with Ruiz, I have personally experienced how she changes a set’s atmosphere. There is a seriousness and attention to detail, but it never distracts from her connection with the model or client. Her success derives from her spirit and determination.

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    Open Doors, Open Minds


    Lee Anna Mariglia, Director of Communications at NewCo, training Academy of Art University blogging students on the latest apps for social media reporting. Photo by Stephan Rabimov.

    The concept of open art studios is at the heart of Academy of Art University’s talent showcase and community outreach. Inspired by the same principal of the Academy’s Open Studio for artists, author and former Wired magazine editor John Battelle founded NewCo—an unorthodox business conference where participants have a unique opportunity to meet, interact and experience companies in their native habitats.

    This month, across San Francisco and Oakland, 40 Academy students will have unprecedented access at NewCo 2015 Festival to Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Bloomberg, Wired, Uber, Betabrand and beyond.

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    MPTV Grad's Podcast Helps Other Filmmakers

    Listen to the journeys of those working hard for their passion


    Image courtesy of Timothy Plain.

    Up-and-coming filmmakers often face numerous obstacles as they pursue their passion. Raising money, casting actors and handling rejection are just a few examples. It’s a world Timothy Plain, who graduated from Academy of Art University’s School of Motion Pictures & Television in 2001, knows well. And the reason he and fellow filmmaker Alrik Bursell recently launched a weekly podcast called Making Movies is Hard!

    The idea for the podcast came about after the two met through Slated, an online entertainment industry marketplace. They discovered that they both lived in the Bay Area and were interested in making the same types of science fiction-fantasy movies.

    “We got together and couldn’t stop talking,” said Plain, who is a full-time producer for local advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. “We talked about our frustrations, what worked for us, what didn’t.”

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    Into the Battle Arena with 'Game Changer'

    Alumna aims to pitch eSports reality show


    Image courtesy of Savannah Spencer.

    School of Motion Pictures and Television alumna Savannah Spencer had some outstanding opportunities right out of the gate with work on major reality TV shows like American Idol, The X Factor, MasterChef and The Bachelor. Now she’s starting her own company in hopes of pitching her own reality show that will capitalize on the highly popular eSports industry.

    “This is something that has been gaining popularity in the last couple of years,” said Spencer, an avid gamer herself. “It’s still sort of underground and I think the bubble is just about ready to burst.”

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    School of Advertising Instructor Champions Creativity in Class and in New Book for Parents

    Kids these days. They’ve got movies, video games, iPads, some even have their very own smartphones. As more and more children turn to screens for entertainment, parents are wondering how they can engage their progeny in more practical, hands-on activities—and we’re not talking about touchscreens.

    A new book by Academy of Art University School of Advertising instructor Matthew Jervis, How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids: Tricks, Tools, and Spontaneous Screen-Free Activities (Skyhorse, 2015) offers fresh ideas (“An All-American Junk Drawer Challenge”), tried and true classics (“Shelling Beans”) and ambitious pursuits that get the brain cells firing (“Redesign Your Room!”)—all with the aim of keeping the offspring occupied without handing them the iPhone.


    'How to Entertain, Distract, and Unplug Your Kids: Tricks, Tools, and Spontaneous Screen-Free Activities' by Matthew Jervis. Courtesy of Matthew Jervis.

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    Davis Guggenheim’s Documentary Reveals Ordinary Side of an Extraordinary Girl


    'He Named Me Malala': Director Davis Guggenheim and Malala Yousafzai in New York City. July 12, 2013 Photo by Bob Richman. © 2015 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved.

    Malala Yousafzai became known around the world when, as a 15-year-old Muslim living in Pakistan’s Swat Valley in 2012, she was shot and severely wounded by the Taliban for daring to speak out against them. After a miraculous recovery, Malala was more determined than ever to fight against tyranny and advocate for girls’ education around the world.  

    Oscar-winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim’s compelling new documentary, He Named Me Malala, delves into the lives of the courageous teenager (now 18) and her close-knit family. During a recent conference call with reporters, Guggenheim fielded questions about the movie and what he hoped to accomplish with it.

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    Captivating the Runway

    During a stunning show, six collections created by Academy students took to the stage at New York Fashion Week


    NYFW at Skylight at Moynihan Station. Photo by Lenny Groysman.

    It was a sunny day in Manhattan when Academy of Art University’s School of Fashion students presented their collections at New York Fashion Week. It was also the school’s 10th anniversary showing at this prestigious event. This year, the Academy presented six collections designed by eight talented students.

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    An Intensive Architectural Expedition Through Europe

    School of Architecture students see a staggering 100 buildings on two-week study abroad trip

    Students in Ruhr Museum Essen Germany

    Students on the longest free hanging escalator in Europe at the Ruhr Museum by Dutch architecture firm and Pritzker Prize winner OMA - Rem Koolhaas. (L–R) Yubo Shen, Chao Chen, Vincent Meade, Liu Chunyao, Misch Alvarez, Nick Manderscheid (AIB), Fikret Cihan Asena, Reid Schultz. Courtesy of Mark Mueckenheim.

    For graduate student Michelee Alvarez, the significance of last summer’s study abroad trip to Europe became clear during a walk through a wheat field on the very first day. “We get off the bus and we’re in the middle of a wheat field, all the wheat is dry and it’s quiet,” she recalled.

    After landing in Frankfurt, overnighting in Bonn and traveling by bus to a tiny German village, Alvarez found herself on a path leading to the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel. The tiny structure designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor marked the first stop on the School of Architecture’s tour of Germany, Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Led by Graduate Director Mark Mueckenheim, a group of eight students visited 100 buildings in two weeks. 

    “It transformed I think from just an academic tour to where we really felt like we were on a pilgrimage,” said Alvarez. “Walking through the wheat field you hear the buzz of the insects around you ... it was idyllic.”

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    Making an Impression as a Leading Lady


    Camille Grenier. Courtesy of Camille Grenier.

    School of Multimedia Communications student and Parisian Camille Grenier has a flair for the dramatic. It’s a lucky trait for someone as furiously devoted to the art of acting as she is. Her zeal has paid off with a chock-a-block summer packed with film projects with crews ranging from Los Angeles to New York and one trailer done with accomplished director and Academy of Art University School of Motion Pictures & Television instructor Jack Perez in which she is cast in the leading role. 


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    Academy Graduate Wins Gold at Student Academy Awards

    Alyce Tzue’s Soar was awarded Best Animated Film at the prestigious awards ceremony


    Alyce Tzue, winner of the gold medal in the animated film category for 'Soar,' during the 42nd Annual Student Academy Awards® on Thursday, September 17, in Beverly Hills. Photo by Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S.

    Since she began submitting her 3-D animated short Soar to top international film festivals last year, Academy of Art University graduate Alyce Tzue has accumulated an impressive collection of awards. But on September 17, she received an honor that was especially sweet: a gold medal from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for Best Animated Film at the 42nd Student Academy Awards. 

    “I definitely didn’t go in thinking we would win,” said Tzue, who credits more than 100 Academy of Art students and instructors for helping her with the film during the three years she worked on it while obtaining her M.F.A. in animation. “I got to watch all of the other films, and each had its own merits. It was definitely a toss-up for who would win gold.”

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    Exploring the Failure of the System

    Andrew Garfield opens up about his new film, 99 Homes

    99 HOMES

    Andrew Garfield stars as Dennis Nash in Broad Green Pictures release, '99 Homes.' Photo by Hooman Bahrani/Broad Green Pictures.

    In 99 Homes, Andrew Garfield plays Dennis Nash, a single dad and an out of work contractor living in Florida that is desperate to hang onto his family home that’s in the process of being foreclosed on. When Nash and his family, young son Connor (Noah Lomax) and mother Lynn (Laura Dern), are evicted by merciless real estate broker Rick Carver (played meticulously by Michael Shannon), he finds himself in the position of needing to support his family, taking on whatever work he can get, even if it means crossing the line between doing what’s right and wrong to make ends meet. Directed by Ramin Bahrani, 99 Homes has been heralded at several film festivals since its debut at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. In September, the film was the recipient of the renowned Grand Prize Award at this year’s Deauville American Film Festival.

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    'Academy Idol' Recap: Season 5 - Episodes 1 & 2


    Photo by Bob Toy.

    Episode 1: September 30, 2015

    Following a brief introduction from this season’s three hosts, Aundria Jolivette, Lorena King and Frank Diaz, season five of Academy Idol was underway. This year’s panel of judges, Keanna Moody, Alexis Moore, Elizabeth Sweeny, Matthew Cesca and Kiyomi Mitsuda, were on the edge of their seats waiting to see what kind of fresh talent they were about to encounter. In no time, the first contestant, Zachary Santos, was with Aundria Jolivette in the pre-performance interview anxiously awaiting his time in the spotlight.

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    Recognition on an International Platform

    Creative Quarterly issues 39 and 40 feature winning work from students in the School of Graphic Design


    'Fluidity' poster series by M.F.A. graphic design student Hsuan-Yun Huang. Courtesy of Hsuan-Yun Huang.

    Several students from Academy of Art University’s School of Graphic Design were named winners and runners-up in Creative Quarterly magazine’s most recent design competitions.

    “This is a highly sought after publication in the art and design field so it’s very visible,” said Tom McNulty, undergraduate associate director for the School of Graphic Design. “It’s very, very significant making it as a winner in this publication or as runner-up. It’s international and national.”

    Creative Quarterly was recently named one of the top 100 art and design publications in the world. The publication strives to not only showcase great work but also asks the question, “Where does your inspiration come from?”

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    ART U Sports Medicine Assists With 49ers Training Camp

    49ers - Jessica Reinhart2  (photo by Meg Williams)

    Jessica Reinhart. Photo by Meg Williams.

    As the country’s spirits rose with the return of football season, Academy of Art University graduate assistant athletic trainers Jessica Reinhart and Kevin Williams had the privilege of being closer than any to the action. Both served as summer athletic training interns for the San Francisco 49ers in Levi’s Stadium for the entire preseason after a year of dedicated work with the Urban Knights.

    “I was most excited about being the first female athletic training intern that has worked with the 49ers,” said Reinhart. “I wanted to show them that females can successfully work in this type of setting, and I want to pave the way for more females to have this same amazing opportunity.”

    “I have only worked in high school and college settings, so I was excited about learning what it is like to work as an athletic trainer at the professional level,” said Williams. “Also, this camp gave me a great opportunity to network and meet other athletic trainers in the Bay Area.”

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    Pulp Artist, Online Instructor Honored for Work

    Academy of Art University online illustration instructor Thomas Gianni has won his second Robert E. Howard Foundation award and joked that he feels like a two-time Oscar winner.

    Gianni, who resides in Chicago, won the award for his dust jacket work for a western, pirate and four Fists of Iron books. He also won his first Rankin Award from the foundation last year for his pulp art. 

    “The first one was a boxing scene in the ring and some indication of crowd in foreground,” Gianni said, describing the jackets he won the award for. “They’re all from pulp stories of the 1920s and ‘30s and capture the feeling of the era. The art from the pulp magazines was very distinctive and there are many different kinds of titles for pulp magazines: detective, fantasy and science fiction. There’s a very big following for old pulp stories and artists.”

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    Academy Alum Continues to Build on His Recipe for Success

    When Academy Art U News interviewed David McBride last spring, he had just finished writing and illustrating his first children’s book, Dimitri Has His Head in the Clouds. Dimitri is a young boy with a rich fantasy life who doesn’t always fit in with his peers at school and sometimes gets in trouble with his teachers. But at home, his imagination is allowed to flourish and takes him on exciting adventures. 

    McBride, who earned an M.F.A. in animation through the Academy of Art University’s online program, was also enjoying success with his animated short film, David and Dax False Reality. A spoof of reality TV, the film was featured at this year’s Animfest in Athens, Greece.

    We caught up with McBride to find out what he’s been up to lately. In addition to continuing to promote Dimitri Has His Head in the Clouds at events such as a recent reading at a local library, the New Jersey resident is busy with a number of other projects. 

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    Cartoon Network Storyboard Artist, Recent Grad Shows Off Personality


    'Frog Knight.' Illustration by Mark Galez.

    Cartoon Network storyboard artist Mark Galez said he didn’t really know anything about the art niche until he talked to Shaun Featherstone, storyboard coordinator for the School of Animation & Visual Effects at Academy of Art University. “He explained that it was basically like animating except you draw out the whole story. That sounded awesome,” Galez said. “So I tried it out and instantly loved the whole process and felt that storyboarding is what I should pursue. From then on, I did everything I could to understand more about storyboarding and it eventually led to where I am today.”

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    Architecture Students Set the Scene at Night Light


    Three architecture student models hang in the entrance to the SOMArts building during the Night Light exhibit. Photo by Aleyna Carvalho.

    On the night of Saturday, July 18, SOMArts Cultural Center hosted the fifth annual Night Light: Multimedia Garden Party as part of their ongoing exhibition, “Making A Scene: 50 Years of Alternative Bay Spaces.” In the foyer of their main building—a 26,190-square foot warehouse in SOMA that contains exhibit and performance spaces as well as facilities for ceramics, photography and printmaking—a series of structures hung suspended from the rafters and LED lights glowed above the heads of entering guests. Animal, alien, spiky and elegant, at first glance these works could be labeled as mobiles or sculptural installations, but a closer look at the placard below revealed their true origins: architectural explorations and propositions.

    Students from Academy of Art University’s School of Architecture had the opportunity to exhibit their work from spring 2015’s studio course in site operations and tectonic systems, self-generating logics. Geared towards second-year students, the course has a strong emphasis on collaboration, as students work together in groups to innovate, design and construct models.

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    A "Fantabulous" Guide to the Fashion Styling World


    Celebrity wardrobe stylist Nicole Beckett. Courtesy of Nicole Beckett.

    Ever wonder what it takes to break into the fashion and film industries? Celebrity wardrobe stylist and costume designer Nicole Beckett knows. She has worked with some of Hollywood’s top talent throughout her career, including Sofia Vergara, Ben Stiller and James Van Der Beek. In Beckett’s new book, The Fantabulous Girl’s Guide to Wardrobe Styling, she shares her knowledge with aspiring wardrobe stylists and costume designers about what it takes to get your start in two of the most notorious industries.

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    Film Review: 'Sleeping With Other People' - Unconventionally Romantic


    Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) in Leslye Headland’s film 'Sleeping With Other People.' Courtesy of Linda Källérus. An IFC Films Release.

    Directed by Leslye Headland, Sleeping With Other People, comes from Gloria Sanchez Productions, a branch of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions that focuses on female-helmed projects.  With the latter company behind films like The Other Guys, from the outset Sleeping With Other People has the same stamp of quality all over it. Both hilarious and supremely touching, this is a story that explores the multiple facets of infatuation, friendship and love, while offering us a little something different from the predictable rom com. This, all wrapped up nicely in the talented countenances of Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis, makes for funny and entertaining viewing.

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    Students Showcase Designs For Jaguar Sports Cars of the Future

    Jaguar designers “impressed” by final presentations for Jaguar + AAU Corporate Sponsored Class


    One of the designs on display at the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum was the Jaguar M-Type by Guangxu Jin (Keen). Photo by Bob Toy.

    Jaguar Design Director Ian Callum and Dr. Elisa Stephens paused to admire a 1964 Jaguar XKE during a stroll around the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum last month. A beauty, for sure. But Jaguar’s design director hadn’t flown all the way from England to see classic models from the past. On the contrary. He was there to see what a Jaguar sports car might look like in the future. 

    On Tuesday, August 18, 12 students from the School of Industrial Design’s Jaguar + AAU Corporate Sponsored Class showcased their final projects. Tasked with designing a sports car for 2030, they presented an array of futuristic vehicles that incorporated autonomous driving with new possibilities for steering, data display and social interaction.

    “I was impressed and pleasantly surprised at the depth of exploration of ideas,” Callum said. “And it has inspired me, I have to say.”

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    MPTV Students Create Web Sitcom During Collaborative Course

    Skill sets were combined and flexibility was the key during the fast paced sessions that emulated behind the scenes life 


    Katherine Genge, Alex Sandru and Pawan Tangsritrakul on the set of web sitcom 'Grounded.' Photo by Bob Toy.

    Over the summer, a group of Academy of Art University students transformed an empty room at 466 Townsend Street into a bustling film studio where they shot five episodes of a web sitcom called Grounded. The show revolves around two flight attendants, Roz and Stuart. Both have had flings with a philandering, bisexual captain whose shenanigans are putting their airline in jeopardy. The two are forced to be roommates and deal with the captain’s antics, when they’re grounded in his love shack. 

    Grounded was the result of a course that gave students from different departments the chance to work together in an environment designed to mimic the behind the scenes world of an actual TV sitcom.  

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    Study Abroad: Italian Odyssey


    Graduate students at the Ara Pacis in Rome. Courtesy of Susan Ogilvie.

    We always hear of a “once in a lifetime trip,” and I am now amongst the fortunate to have traveled in May and June of 2015 with Academy of Art University instructors David Riffert, Steven Williams and Kevin Forman and 19 other Academy students to beautiful Italy. 

    I had considered such a journey beyond my reach in so many ways, considering what I imagined to be a very expensive trip; too much time away and personally exhausting. But with encouragement, I decided to go and loved every moment.

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    A Fashion Scholar Takes New York

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    Stephanie Michelle Hendrawan. Courtesy of Stephanie Michelle Hendrawan.

    She’s the winner of a $5,000 YMA Scholarship, an Oscar de la Renta intern in New York and a B.F.A. fashion merchandising student here at Academy of Art University. Who is this inspiring individual? Her name is Stephanie Michelle Hendrawan. 

    Hendrawan’s journey into her promising career took off after she received her YMA FSF scholarship. YMA is an international non-profit organization composed of influential members of the fashion industry. Scholarships are regarded as a very worthwhile investment in the future of the fashion industry. “At first, I had no idea that winning the scholarship would generate a lot of opportunities to come in the future,” Hendrawan said. “Marie Colletta from the YMA [organization], gave me a really huge opportunity that I could never even dream of getting, which was to intern for Oscar de la Renta’s production team.”

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    Fashion Dreams in the Big City

    This past January, Busara Boussard was one of the lucky Academy of Art University students that were awarded a $5,000 YMA FSF scholarship along with an opportunity to select an internship in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City or Greensboro.

    At first, Boussard could not believe that she had actually won the scholarship. “I didn’t know I was going to win. I was crying, it was so exciting ... and winning the scholarship felt like a big wake up call,” she said during a recent phone interview.

    Attracted to the city life, Boussard selected a design internship at Ralph Lauren in New York City. These past few months, she has been learning the ins and outs of how a multi-million dollar company runs. “My biggest surprise of all has been seeing how each department relies on one another to function properly,” said Boussard. “It felt great to know that they also relied on me even though I was just the intern.”


    Busara Boussard. Courtesy of Busara Boussard.

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    Animation Instructor Bruce Nicholson Adds Cinematography Courses to His Repertoire

    The Academy Award-winning visual effects artist has worked on nearly 50 films from Star Wars and The Matrix Reloaded to Iron Man 3

    In 1976, Bruce Nicholson landed his first big job on a feature film—a little movie known as Star Wars. A springboard into the realm of battling starships and snow-stomping AT-AT walkers, that film propelled the visual effects master on a journey into the magic of cinema. 


    Academy of Art University animation instructor Bruce Nicholson. Courtesy of Bruce Nicholson.

    Nearly 40 years later, with two Oscar wins and a filmography spanning dozens of beloved blockbusters, Nicholson, who has taught visual effects classes in the School of Animation & Visual Effects since 2013, will be teaching M.F.A. cinematography courses as well. 

    “The [School of Animation & Visual Effects] is thrilled that Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Bruce Nicholson will be teaching visual effects cinematography and history of visual effects classes,” said VFX Supervisor and Compositing Lead Catherine Tate. “Bruce has worked on nearly 50 feature films, including The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Poltergeist.”

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