Q: Where are you from, what are your undergrad and graduate studies?
I grew up in Northwest Indiana and completed my undergraduate in animation at Ball State and continued my studies here throughout grad school.
Q: Why did you choose to go into animation?
I’ve always been interested in all things art and technology, and particularly the merger of
the two. My passion for these fields led me to a crossroads in which I had to choose to go into either IT, graphic design, or animation. Ultimately the prospect of becoming a visual effects artist
was the most alluring.
Q: How did your job offer at Ball State come about?
Throughout my graduate studies I worked as a graduate assistant for the Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts (IDIA Lab). My hard work and perseverance paid off and I was fortunate enough to be offered a full-time staff position after finishing my coursework.
Q: Tell us about the work you are currently doing for Ball State.
The work I do for Ball State University primarily focuses on the creation of virtual worlds throughout the use of animation software and game engines. Many of our contracts are grant-funded projects that involve the recreation of cultural heritage sites, such as stonehenge, Chichen Itza, or the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s villa, and serve as a sort of virtual field trips into the past. We also work closely with scholars from varying fields to create accurate scientific simulations that test theories of solar and lunar alignments and have even produced a virtual nursing simulator used here at Ball State in
the nursing department’s classrooms.
Q: What have been some of your major accomplishments so far?
My most prominent personal accomplishment, in terms of my work, is the creation of the short film currently in production which serves as my MFA creative project. Creating an animated short film is quite a major feat, and throughout the experience I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a small handful of phenomenal artists who have been generous to donate their time to my
project. I hope to finish the film some time this coming spring. Personal work aside I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity, through IDIA, to work on an episode of the History Channel’s The Universe. The studio I work for did all of the 3D renderings and animations for the season opening episode based on Stonehenge. In fact, a large portion of the episode and the data referenced was focused around our Virtual Stonehenge Simulation, which we created in the Unity 3D game engine
and I played a part in creating. This was the first (and hopefully not the last!) time I ever saw my
name in the credits of a major production.
Q: What are some of your future goals?
After finishing my MFA I intend to move out west. My ultimate goal is to work for a large scale company on the production of either a feature film or AAA title video game.
Q: Tell me about your experience with the fraternity and how you think it has impacted your career, if at all.
My experiences with the fraternity, both during my studies and after as a part of the CAB, have taught me what it means to work towards something for the benefit of an organization, team, or project for the sake of its betterment rather than personal gain. It has also taught me to always represent the best version of myself through the work that I do. Going the extra mile and devoting time, talent, and resources to projects I have been a part of has paid off in landing me a great intro position in the industry right out of college, which I could not be more thankful for.