The University of Nebraska–Lincoln ignited a spark within Justin Watt.
Visiting campus on a whim between priority stops at Kansas State and Iowa State, the Chicago-area native discovered that Nebraska U (and, in particular, its Emerging Media Arts program in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts) was — by far — the “coolest” in terms of future possibilities.
“When I learned about Nebraska’s Emerging Media Arts program, I knew this is where I needed to be,” Watt said. “I had looked at programs at several other universities, but there was nothing quite like EMA anywhere.”
An interdisciplinary specialty focused on experiential and project-based learning, the Emerging Media Arts program is designed to prepare Huskers for creative jobs of the future. The program continues to build momentum, graduating its first cohort in spring 2022 and with students completing work on Disney’s “Kenobi” series and Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
That range of opportunity and hands-on experience — both in the classroom and through internships — were what drew Watt to the program.
“Honestly, I never thought I’d be at a Big Ten university or have the opportunity to do something big, like work on a Star Wars or Marvel production,” Watt said. “But, here I am at Nebraska and in a program that offers that and so much more.”
Buoyed by talents in music and art, Watt is using his first year on campus to explore options on potential career paths. While not 100 percent settled, Watt has an initial interest in sound design.
He’s also inspired by the instructors in the EMA program.
“Meeting all the people and professors has been amazing,” Watt said. “They’re all so creative. And it’s an incredible opportunity to explore their journeys and see how it all has come together for them — it gives me hope for the future, like maybe I could do something as cool as they are after graduating.”
For the time being, Watt is content to be “riding the wave” of his first semester, meeting new people, learning all he can about campus and experiencing everything that is available through the EMA program.
“I look forward to everything the university has to offer,” Watt said. “This is going to be an amazing adventure.”
Watt is part of 1,170 students who have come to the university from the nation this fall to pursue their undergraduate degrees, an increase of 3.6% from last year. He is also part of growth in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, which saw an increase of 6.2% in students from the fall of 2021. Learn more about the university’s fall 2022 enrollment.