“Our goal,” said Dr. Chester Haskell, Cogswell President, “is to provide a forum where local, underserved high school students are introduced to the skill needed to pursue careers in the digital media industry. We also believe that when students experience being part of a college setting, they are more likely to continue their education after high school.”
The collaboration began when Bob Nunez, Eastside Union High School District Superintendent, suggested that SVAP contact Cogswell about becoming part of their afterschool enrichment program.
“I felt that Cogswell was a great fit for what they want to accomplish – encouraging students to raise their expectations,” said Nunez. “Cogswell’s small size would help our students feel comfortable and begin to visualize college as an option. The creative and collaborative environment I witnessed when I toured the campus would give them the tools they need to help each other succeed.”
Eleven students from eight different schools participated in the pilot program. Eastside Union High School, San Jose Unified, Evergreen and Milpitas were among the districts that were represented in the program. Most participants had no previous experience working with 3D software programs but were eager to challenge themselves.
“I didn’t know it would be so hard,” said Ekua Armah from Leland High School. “I thought it would be more about drawing but I really like the class and have learned there’s a lot more involved in the process of creating animation than I thought.”
Cogswell alumnus Michael Castro and Digital Art and Animation senior Ryan Rogers led the class which met over a period of ten weeks. Students learned the basics of 3D modeling, character movement and scene development as they relate to the animation process. Each student planned and created a brief animated project for the final class.
“SVAP’s mission is to provide innovative educational experiences that promote a student’s academic and leadership potential,” said Program Founder Molly Uzoh. “Our program provides high quality opportunities for local underserved youth to set highly challenging goals and to explore multiple avenues to personal and professional success imbedded in positive media spotlights and high paying jobs. We are very grateful to Cogswell for working with us to make our dream come true and enable 32 Future Stars to participate each semester. To stay in the program, students must maintain high academic standards and community involvement.”
Due to the success of the pilot program Cogswell and SVAP are offering a second session of eight classes that began on January 31. The Intro to Animation with Maya has filled its 16 slots and has a waiting list. Students who completed the first session were eager to continue building their skills so Advanced Animation with Maya is being offered as well.
“The Digital Media industry is an emerging growth industry offering high paying jobs for a skilled workforce,” said Haskell. “The companies – many of them located in the Bay Area – are looking for people who can manage the complexity of this career field. Employers know that a well-rounded, college education is often the key to success.”
About Cogswell Polytechnical College
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Cogswell Polytechnical College offers bachelor degree programs in Digital Art and Animation (with majors in Game Development, Animation and Modeling), Digital Audio Technology, Digital Arts Engineering, Computer Engineering and Software Engineering. With a distinguished 121-year history in California, Cogswell has always been highly regarded by the industry. It is well known for its capacity to adapt its programs and to educate its students to meet the demands of changing workplace environments.
Cogswell Polytechnical College
Bonnie Phelps, Dean, Institutional Advancement
408-541-0100 ext. 145 (Editorial)