“Mentorship Matters” by Salehi, Leahy and Uzan

  • ©Kirstyn Salehi, Ann Marie Leahy, and Devin Uzan



Entry Number: 11


    Mentorship Matters



    Opening the industry to historically underrepresented artists is vital to the growth and development of the world of VFX. In an effort to support this, a pilot program was conducted at Santa Monica College to integrate a mentorship experience into a community college composition course. Existing research tells us that students are more successful when they are mentored by an industry professional. However, this mentorship often looks like an internship. Due to location, time, and money, this is unattainable for many student populations. In its place, stakeholders from across the VFX community partnered with the school to integrate mentorship into scheduled course times. While not a perfect solution given time constraints and time zone limitations, this did open the door for students to access priceless guidance from established industry professionals.

    From our initial meeting to the program exit surveys, we will share our journey to embed industry experiences into an advanced composition course. Additionally, we will address the bumps along the way and where we see room for improvement.

    Is an integrated mentorship element the next step in secondary and postsecondary programs? What are the implications of the program for best practices in VFX education? How do we hope to see this program grow from the pilot? What methods of evaluation could be used to determine the impact of the program?

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