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Digital Arts & Media Alumni Profiles

Digital Arts and Media (formerly Technology and Society) alumni have gone on to work in various sectors of the film, web design, and entertainment industries. They have also enrolled in a variety of graduate school programs. If you are a Digital Arts and Media alum, we would love to hear what you’re doing and share your news with other alumni. Please contact us at bdp@austin.utexas.edu any time!

Spotlight

Sarah Imboden

Sarah Imboden

Graduated Spring 2010
Undergraduate Major(s): Computer Science
BDP topic: Digital Arts & Media
Favorite BDP course: RTF 351: Digital Animation



Place of employment/title: Apple, Inc., Graphics Engineer

How did your Bridging Disciplines Program influence your current career path and interests?
I had been interested in both sides of graphics for the longest time—the computer side and the artistic side. I saw that UT offered digital animation courses, but that you’d have to go through all sorts of other RTF courses to get there. BDP cut down the amount of courses I had to take and put me in a digital animation course my sophomore year, which freed up a lot of time for me in school. I was able to get through my computer science curriculum early and was able to enroll in the integrated 5-year masters program early as well. I came out of UT with my BS and MS in computer science as well as my Digital Arts and Media certificate. I couldn’t be happier.

In what ways did an interdisciplinary education prepare you for what you are currently doing?
For my undergraduate research, I worked with Dr. Bruce Pennycook on USB controllers. It was actually my first introduction to drivers, which is what I’m working on now. All the animation-related courses gave me such a relief from the grueling CS courses and made me realize that Computer Graphics is where I wanted to wind up in life. Not to mention, anytime anyone read my resume, they always wanted me to expand on the BDP program.

What advice would you give to current BDP students?
Take your 101 course FIRST! It will open a world up to you within the school that you had no idea about. I put it off until my senior year, and I regretted it because I didn’t have any more time to take other courses that Digital Arts and Media offered.

Read on to hear about what other Digital Arts and Media alumni have been doing since they graduated.

Kevin Hsu
Biology and Plan II, Graduated Spring 2004
Through the BDP, Kevin worked at Austin Free-Net in the summer of 2002 to design touch-screen kiosks with health information in the Austin WIC centers. He has also worked with Dr. Patricia Stout in researching how “mental illnesses” are represented and constructed in emergent technologies such as the Internet and video/computer games. After he graduated, Kevin went on to pursue an M.A./Ph.D. program in Media and Communication at the European Graduate School, University of Valais, Switzerland.

Sarah Tierney
Government, Computer Science and Plan II, Graduated Spring 2004
As an undergraduate at UT, Sarah worked in the artificial intelligence laboratory with Dr. Bruce Porter, worked with Dr. Gary Chapman at the LBJ School researching emerging technologies that could be beneficial to non-profit and low-budget organizations, and worked with Dr. Joseph Straubhaar in the RTF department on international communications policy. As part of her Connecting Experiences, she had the opportunity to travel to the UN World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, Switzerland last December. Sarah was awarded the Gates Fellowship and attended the University of Cambridge to pursue a Masters degree in Development Studies in fall 2004. After completing this one-year program, Sarah attended Stanford Law School where she specialized in technology law and policy. Sarah currently works as an attorney for Dropbox, Inc.

Omar Chatriwala
Journalism, Graduated Spring 2005
Omar joined the BDP to expand his “new media” horizons. After he graduated from UT, Omar moved to California, where he was the web editor for SqueezeOC, a lifestyle magazine covering Orange County. He then moved to Doha, Qatar to join the launch team of Al Jazeera English, where he spent four years as a journalist, producer, and editor, reporting from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Washington D.C. After leaving Al Jazeera, Omar taught multimedia journalism at Northwestern University’s campus in Qatar. He also reported and wrote for international publications, including Foreign Policy and the Guardian. Omar now works as a consultant for the Doha Centre for Media Freedom to redevelop the organization’s digital presence. Most recently, he launched Doha News, an online, real-time news source for Qatar.

David Drell
Radio-Television-Film, Graduated Spring 2002
David joined the Bridging Disciplines Programs to gain more hands-on experience with designing visual effects for movies. For his first Connecting Experience, he produced a digital portfolio that advanced his skills in DVD and web authoring, video editing, photography, and producing an original soundtrack for his animated work. David later used these skills to create 3D models for a U.S. military project with the Digital Media Collaboratory. Following graduation, David enrolled in graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in visualization sciences from Texas A&M University. Through a course, he was exposed to character rigging, a technique used to prepare fantasy characters for animation by giving them the ability to move. While at Texas A&M, David had the opportunity to meet with recruiters for DreamWorks, who encouraged him to apply for their Character TD Challenge program, which includes 3 months of intensive training, followed by production work, and a three-year contract. Since 2009, David has been working for DreamWorks, first as a Character Technical Director and most recently as a Pipeline Lead. He feels that the work is a great combination of programming and artistic direction skills acquired through his educational experiences. David plans to finish his master’s degree in summer 2013.

Adria Jessie
Corporate Communications, Graduated Spring 2006
The BDP allowed Adria to complete internships with Austin Free-Net and Goodwill Industries. Adria was also the Chair of the UT Blacks Online Committee of the Multicultural Information Center within the African American Affairs Agency. After graduation, Adria moved to New York and interned for the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising agency. She currently works for an online title company in the Data Acquisition Division of IT, and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Houston-Victoria.

Jared Kinsler
American Studies, Graduated Fall 2010
Jared Kinsler graduated from UT in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies, a minor in Music Business, and a BDP certificate in Digital Arts and Media. As a BDP student, Jared studied innovation in music and digital arts, and he participated in the game development pilot project. After graduating he was hired to produce an iPad application for a local software company, Gamesalad. Jared currently works as an Audio Engineer at Mood Media specializing in music production and interactive design. In December 2012, he co-founded SoundNoodle, a music firm that provides distinctive sound designs for a variety of media projects.

Michelle Okeke
Advertising, Graduated Spring 2011
Michelle joined the Digital Arts & Media BDP to complement her advertising major. She specifically wanted to learn digital technical skills related to video editing and website design. For her Connecting Experience, Michelle conducted an independent research project examining the use of digital technology to create Yoruba music in Nigeria. Following graduation, Michelle worked as a med