A Morning with Walt Disney Animation Studios
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Please register and join us for a morning with Walt Disney Animation Studios.
We will start with a panel to discuss what the future of work will look like in the fields of animation and film. What new tools will animators use and what capabilities will they need? What concepts and requirements will those who are designing tools and systems for the animation and the film industry need to know? In what ways can we expect these fields to become more collaborative and interdisciplinary?
After our panel, we will have an Ask Me Anything session with our guests from Walt Disney Animation Studios about the types of work and the working environment you could expect if moving into a position at Disney.
10:00 am Welcome/Intro - Faculty
10:05 -11:00 am Moderated discussion: Interdisciplinary Collaboration and the Future of Work
in Animation and Film
11:00 -11:45 am Let's Talk About it! Animation Careers with Walt Disney Animation Recruitment
& Talent Development
11:45 am Closing remarks
Chair, School of Literature, Media, and Communication
Ivan Allen College, Georgia Tech
Prior to coming to Georgia Tech, Ritter was LAS Alumni Distinguished Professorial Scholar, Professor of English and Writing Studies, and Interim Head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Kelly Ritter’s scholarship focuses on archival histories of U.S. writing programs and pedagogies, and cultural-historical conceptions of social class and literacy education.
Senior Recruiter, Walt Disney Animation Studios
Fueled by curiosity, empathy, and grit Erika Becerra, also known as “Duchess of Hirability”, enjoys making meaningful connections and serving as the bridge between the external world and Walt Disney Animation Studios. In her current role as Senior Recruiter, Erika supports the Modeling, Look Development, Set Extension, and General TD departments.
Erika grew up in Compton, CA, attended The University of Wisconsin Madison, and returned to California to pursue a career in Entertainment. She thrives being surrounded by creativity and innovation.
When she is not in the “Hat” helping shape stories, she is taking in the world with her loving Husband, charismatic sons, and loving pups.
Nicole Méndez Dial
Nicole Méndez Dial
Associate Manager, School Relations
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Nicole Dial joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2017 and currently drives school outreach initiatives by connecting the studio and its filmmakers to educators and university-level students around the globe. Her Disney Animation film credits include “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Frozen 2,” “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Strange World” and “Encanto,” where she was a part of Familia, a group of Latinx Disney Animation employees who served as a cultural resource on the film.
Prior to Disney, Dial started her career in live-action production management before finding her way to animation at DreamWorks Animation in university relations.
Professor and Director of Computational Media, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Georgia Tech
Jay David Bolter is the Wesley Chair of New Media at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is the author of Turing's Man: Western Culture in the Computer Age (1984); Writing Space: The Computer, Hypertext, and the History of Writing (1991; second edition 2001); Remediation (1999), with Richard Grusin; and Windows and Mirrors (2003), with Diane Gromala. In addition to writing about new media, Bolter collaborates in the construction of new digital media forms. With Michael Joyce, he created Storyspace, a hypertext authoring system. As a member of the Augmented Environments Lab, he develops AR applications to stage dramatic and narrative experiences for cultural heritage and informal education.
Regents' Researcher and Director of Research, Institute for People and Technology, Georgia Tech
Maribeth Gandy Coleman is a Regents' Researcher and Director of Research for the Institute of People and Technology at Georgia Tech. She received a B.S. in Computer Engineering as well as a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Georgia Tech. In her twenty years as a research faculty member her work has been focused on the intersection of technology for mobile/wearable computing, augmented reality, AI, human computer interaction, healthcare, assistive technology, and gaming. She is a computer scientist focused on developing novel and scientifically validated systems at the “human technology frontier” designed for purposes such as training, rehabilitation, and cognitive therapy, utilizing cutting-edge technology such as augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR). For example, she led a multi-year initiative (funded by National Science Foundation, Dept of Education, and ACT Inc.) to research the design of interventions for cognitive training and assessment for older adults, persons with disabilities, and K-12 students. She also previously led a projects funded by Georgia Tech’s Health Systems Institute and NIH to develop immersive systems for stroke rehabilitation. She is a project director in the TechSage Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) where they are developing wearable and Internet-of-Things computing systems to support persons with disabilities as they age so that they can continue to live independently. Similarly, her work with the AI Caring Institute and the Emory Cognitive Empowerment Program is focused on understanding how AI systems could support people with mild cognitive impairment in activities in the home and community. With funding from NIH, NASA, and industry partners she is currently developing AR/VR systems to support task performance in high stress environments including the intensive care unit.
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Digital Media, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Georgia Tech
Brian Magerko is a Professor of Digital Media, Director of Graduate Studies in Digital Media, & head of the Expressive Machinery Lab at Georgia Tech. He received his B.S. in Cognitive Science from Carnegie Mellon (1999) and his MS and Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan (2001, 2006). His research explores how studying human and machine cognition can inform the creation of new human/computer creative experiences. Dr. Magerko has been research lead on over $15 million of federally-funded research; has authored over 100 peer reviewed articles related to computational media, cognition, and learning; has had his work shown at galleries and museums internationally; and co-founded a music-based learning environment for computer science - called EarSketch - that has been used by over 160K learners worldwide. Dr. Magerko and his work have been shown in the New Yorker, USA Today, CNN, Yahoo! Finance, NPR, and other global and regional outlets.
Senior Academic Professional and Director of Film and Media Production, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Georgia Tech
John Thornton is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work reflects anomalistic stories of strength triumphing over adversity, where the characters compel audiences to take action. He has worked with ABC Family, TLC, HGTV, AXS TV, Meddin Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, UpTV, Student Quarters, From the Root, and Broadcast Management Group on documentary short films, narrative feature films, independent short films, episodic television shows, and reality television shows. John is an active member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Documentary Association, and Film Independent. In the School of LMC, he serves as the Director of Film and Media and is a part of the Black Media Studies cohort. He teaches Video Production (LMC 3406), Advanced Video Production (LMC 3407), Documentary Film Production (LMC 3258), Global Documentary Theory & Practice (LMC 8803), and Producing Black Documentary Film and Podcast (LMC 3454).