At ten years old, Sydney Cruz created her very first website. This project was a marriage of two longterm interests: art and technology. In high school, she thought this love of design and computers meant a career in architecture might be a good match, and sought out an internship at an architecture firm. She soon realized, however, that she did not enjoy the work as much as she had imagined. Looking back on the experience, Sydney says, “You don’t really know until you actually do it.”
In her first year at UT, Sydney decided to explore a related field, enrolling in Radio-Television-Film courses. Something clicked in Intro to Digital Media. She loved the coursework, and it was this that told her RTF was a good fit.
While taking RTF classes, Sydney discovered another way to refine her design and technology skills: the Bridging Disciplines Programs (BDP) in Digital Arts and Media. The program’s focus on arts and technology caught her eye, and by the end of her first fall semester, Sydney had applied and been admitted to the certificate program.
Through her BDP advisor Katrina Kosted, Sydney heard about a paid summer internship offered by UT’s Center for Teaching and Learning. The Digital Media Internship program—with its focus on developing skills in digital media including animation, 3D modeling, and web development—clicked with Sydney, who dreams of someday working for Pixar. Sydney gathered references, polished her resume, submitted an application, and soon after the spring semester ended, Sydney started the internship.
Students spent the first half of each day learning a new skill, then after lunch, they applied the new skills to ongoing projects related to their particular areas of interest. While some students chose to focus on either design or development and computer programming, Sydney delved into both areas, collaborating with fellow interns on projects requiring an understanding of both.
Her personal summer project was a short animated film starring a whimsical creature appropriately named Blob. The work required creative thinking and problem solving, along with quite a few late nights. She plans to use the finished piece to strengthen her application for next summer’s UT in LA internship.
Looking back, Sydney says she received so much more from her Digital Media Internship than she had expected. She continues to apply and expand her new design and programming skills to her work in academic courses and in her job.