November 13, 2012

SCA Student Lands Women in Technology Award

IML Student Honored With Scholarship

By Valerie Turpin

Kylie Nicholson

There are very few places that math and photography come together. One of them is the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML). For sophomore Kylie Nicholson, the two blended well enough to warrant scholarship attention. Nicholson, a student in SCA’s IML program, was awarded a 2012 scholarship through the Association for Women in Technology in recognition of her work in combining digital photography and math.

“Digital photography and digital images are my passion,” explained Nicholson. “However, I [am] also math-minded. I came to college wanting to combine the two of these interests but was unsure how to do it. I had numerous people tell me that math and photography were extremely different, on two ends of the spectrum, but I didn't believe them. I just didn't know why this wasn't true.”

Founded in 1998 by SCA’s Dean Elizabeth Daley in conversation with filmmaker George Lucas, the Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML) is an organized research unit within the School of Cinematic Arts. The IML is dedicated to sustaining and developing models of teaching and scholarship based on the use and development of new digital media technologies and applications.  

This summer, Nicholson received the Provost's Award to work on the Large Scale Video Analytics Project under the direction of Professor and Associate Director of the IML Virginia Kuhn. On the project, she worked with computer algorithms that analyze digital images. The project affirmed her objective that it was possible to successfully combine her interests in math and photography under a single project.

Of her award, Nicholson said, “The project affirmed my inclination about the interrelation of math and photography. I am now inspired and driven to continue into this new field in technology-- this is why I applied and received the scholarship. This scholarship supports my work and encourages me to continue pursuing my passions.”

The Association for Women in Technology is a non-profit organization dedicated to empower women in all fields of technology. Based in Orange County, and also serving women of Greater Los Angeles and San Diego, AWT holds four quarterly technology forums and one fundraising events per year, attracting women in every area of technology. AWT also facilitates networking and career development through informal and professional events.  

Nicholson ended by saying, “I've learned that it's not necessarily about what you major in- what's more important is having curiosity. Find your passion and follow it.”

For more information about the Association for Women in Technology, visit