Kylie Nicholson

Kylie Nicholson

BA, Media Arts + Practice '15

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How has the School of Cinematic Arts changed your view of the media arts?

The Media Arts + Practice program has rocked my world. It has confirmed and furthered my belief that images and technology are intertwined. It has allowed me to pursue my passion for images while exploring new media such as web design and mobile application development. Most significantly, however, it has made me aware of the social impact of media: how media can give voices to people or causes. I am inspired by the creative uses of new media in empowering people, whether it’s Youth Radio, the Occupy movement or citizen journalism in the Middle East. I enjoy learning about new, innovative applications of media in class.

What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to your program? Get excited! The Media Arts + Practice program is cutting-edge. If you’re interested in still or moving images, interactive media, web design, mobile technologies or some new technology that’s come out since I’ve written this— apply. I would especially encourage anyone who wants to combine multiple interests in an interdisciplinary and technological fashion to look into the program. The faculty is extremely creative and supportive, so you’re only limited by your imagination. Combinations such as biology and music, math and photography, or psychology and sports make for some interesting explorations and discoveries.

How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in your discipline?    

I’ve learned to be okay with not knowing exactly what job I’ll be doing after graduation. I know that I’ll have a career in new media, but the broad range of areas covered by the Media Arts + Practice program leaves the door open to a wide range of job options! I’ve seen internships ranging from coding to graphic design. It’s made me well aware of the types of jobs in the industry, but also that it’s important to take things one step at a time. I know that I’ll be leaving school with a full arsenal of media techniques, so it’ll be up to me to decide what I want to do with them. Also, I’ve learned to keep up with technologies—today’s technology may be outdated in 6 months! 

What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? Finding time to study! There are so many amazing people to meet, places to explore and things to learn outside of the classroom! I find myself wrapped up in my projects, in my photography business, activities and work. It’s difficult to slow down to study—and to stay in the library when it’s sunny and 80 degrees outside.

What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? My father is in the Navy, so I moved around about every 2-3 years. I was born in Virginia, then moved to Hawaii (sadly I don’t remember it- I was only two years old), then back to Virginia, down to Georgia, across the country to Monterey, California, and then finally to Maryland when I was in 6th grade. I have lived in Maryland ever since, which was such a blessing. However, moving around this often afforded me to see many different areas of the country. Both times my family moved across country, we took two weeks to drive across and see the natural wonders America has to offer. The stunning rock formations at Arches National Park, the Grand Canyon and even the big city of Chicago inspired me to want to see as much of this world as I can while I am alive. I am inspired by natural beauty—something that is found in such places. Living in Monterey, California gave me an appreciation for nature and wildlife as well. I spend my elementary years watching sea otters, bobbing black specks on the surface of Monterey Bay. I went back a few years ago with my camera in a kayak and was able to experience these creatures I loved first-hand. I photographed some amazing images. It was such a wonderful experience.