Among the 123 May graduates from the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts are 18 students receiving their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Emerging Media Arts.
These graduates are the first to complete four years in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.
“I’m immensely proud of these first four-year graduates from our program,” said Megan Elliott, the Johnny Carson Endowed Director in Emerging Media Arts. “They took a chance on a program that was being built as they arrived on campus, and I could not be more thrilled with what they accomplished in their four years in our program. They have exceeded all of our high expectations.”
Sophia Stueven, who is originally from Pierre, South Dakota, is staying in Lincoln to work at Lola Visual Effects.
“The faculty and staff at the Carson Center do a great job of preparing us to be bold with our ambitions and creative ideas,” Stueven said. “I feel prepared to lead teams, work technically and collaboratively, and to develop engaging stories. They are also great at supporting students’ personal goals and are often willing to open assignments to better include our learning goals. This helps us students devise a skill set that will be applicable for our future jobs.”
She was drawn to the Emerging Media Arts program because of its blend of art and technology.
“It fuels my creative brain while keeping the more logical problem-solving side constantly engaged,” she said.
Her interests have evolved during her time in the program.
“When I was a freshman, I wanted to make more cinema/commercial content,” Stueven said. “Now, I love all immersive content from VR to immersive theater to games. I’m just finishing up my game Wisteria for my capstone, something I never thought I would be doing four years ago.”
Sydney Peters, who is originally from Arlington, Virginia, plans to move to Dallas after graduation.
“(I’ll be then) getting a job to get more experience in the industry and learn more to eventually be able to continue with my own business,” she said.
Learning in the Carson Center helped her learn more about her passions.
“I had a passion for the entertainment industry, and the Carson Center was new and exciting, just like my passion,” Peters said.
Cameron Cerny, who is originally from Gretna, Nebraska, is job searching after graduation.
“A job in the film industry is my goal,” he said.
He said the Carson Center introduced him to the creative industry and the people who share his interests.
“I did video production all throughout high school, but I never considered that it could be a job or what the path to get there would look like,” Cerny said. “I originally chose a business major, thinking I could do creative work in marketing, but I spent way too many nights crying over my accounting homework and it gave me a push to pursue what I want and to join the creative industry. The Carson Center opened me up to newer and niche industries I didn’t know were growing so quickly (AR, VR, 3D printing, etc.).”
His favorite experiences were working on film sets with his friends.
“I gained experience and connections I’ll have for the rest of my life,” he said. “Everyone is given an opportunity to show who they are and how they work, and when everyone hits a consistent workflow together, it’s a great feeling. I’ve had such an incredible time surrounding myself with other creatives and genuinely some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.”
Izzy Pineda, who is originally from Bellevue, Nebraska, has accepted a full-time position as a Creative Media Specialist for the Athletic Department at Nebraska.
“The Carson Center offered me the opportunity to explore many different fields while staying within the major, as well as having the privilege to study and work in a new, state-of-the-art building with amazing resources,” she said.
She is thankful for everything the Carson Center has allowed her to experience.
“I’ve grown up in this center, and I’ve learned so much,” Pineda said.
The first four-year EMA graduates are:
- Olivia Benson
- Cameron Cerny
- Brady Cundall
- Taylor Groppe
- Kaylee Hatfield
- Derek Hytrek
- Megan Kanger
- Cara Lechtenberger
- Ethan Ma
- Josi Morgan
- Dillion Muirhead
- Hadley Olson
- Sydney Peters
- Izzy Pineda
- Maricel Reinhard
- Samuel Rice
- Aliya Sime
- Sophia Stueven