How has the School of Cinematic Arts changed your view of your discipline animation? The School of Cinematic Arts has not only immensely widened my appreciation for animation but has also opened my eyes to the endless possibilities that animation can conquer. At USC, we focus on many types of animation, from hand-drawn to 3D, and each is challenging in their own way but allows you to discover different artistic niches that you haven't discovered before.

As you go on taking classes, you discover what you are passionate about and what you aren't, what you are good at and not so good at - that is the beauty of it.  The faculty is wonderful too, and each teacher, with their unique artistic background, offers so much creative insight to your work that really helps you grow if you are proactive in expanding your skills.

What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to your program? I would say the most important thing is to sell yourself, not your artwork. Really show your unique self through your work, and don't pick pieces that you think the faculty will be impressed with. Also, come in prepared to work hard, and take the extra step to go beyond classes to really improve. Try to work on student projects in all divisions, such as production or interactive media, because that helps widens your film community and teaches you a lot about teamwork!

How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in animation? The many events SCA hosts, such as Career Day, movie screenings, etc., really give you opportunities to get out there and network, which is important. Also, the animation faculty that is always there for you is an amazing resource that every student should remember!  Taking the time to meet with them and getting their advice on your own work is probably one of the most beneficial things a student could do.

Also, they give you a chance to study abroad in FLORENCE, Italy, which EVERY student should do! It will enrich your experience and open your eyes so much!

What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? Personally for me, transitioning into the 3D animation world during spring semester of junior year was the hardest for me because I am not a technological person by nature at all. I consider myself more of a fine arts person, which is why learning Maya was a struggle and took a lot of time and practice to learn. Nonetheless, when I sucked it up and committed to working hard, I actually grew to like Maya, and I would say it was one of the most productive semesters. 

Another huge learning opportunity that I am so grateful I was able to partake in was working on Thralled [] as Producer and Art Director, an Advanced Games Project of 2013.  Co-leading a team of 22 people was extremely challenging, but I learned immensely about how to effectively create pipelines and direct the artistic vision of the game, which was one of the most important components of Thralled.  From pitching the game idea to faculty and industry members to having a year to create a unique, interactive experience that addressed the sensitive subject of the transatlantic slave trade, I learned so much about the importance of teamwork and time management.

What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view which you bring to USC? For me, I would say that growing up playing three instruments and drawing all my life has allowed me to draw lots of inspiration from music and nature.  I am constantly fascinated with how animation, music and art are all intertwined, and digging into those possibilities is what constantly fuels my love for animation. Through animation, I want to explore the deep relationships that music has on moving art and vice versa, and how their interplay can evoke new emotions and innovative forms of art.