In April 2021, the ACM SIGGRAPH Student Chapter at IUPUI & MacGuffin Media hosted seven graduates of the IU School of Informatics and Computing (SoIC) Media Arts and Science program for a Women of MAS moderated discussion panel, covering topics such as the MAS program, industry, mentoring, imposter syndrome, and the future and affecting change in their industry, co-moderated by MAS alumni Amira Malcom and Milena Lukic. After the success of this wonderful event, we wanted to give our alumni who were unable to attend an opportunity to learn about some of the participants in this panel, and the amazing work they have been able to do in the field of Media Arts and Science since their graduation.
Amira Malcom is a Philadelphia-born visual strategist and social media commentator. In 2018, she graduated with a BS in Media Arts and Science from Indiana University’s School of Informatics and Computing and a BFA in Photography from Herron School of Art and Design. Currently living and working in Indianapolis as the Multimedia Project Manager for the Center for Black Literature & Culture at Central Library, she enjoys indulging her passions with imagemaking, cultural and community enrichment, and petting every dog she finds along the way. With experience working in some of Indianapolis’s largest arts institutions, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Big Car and the Harrison Center, Amira’s attention to detail and creative touch have been applauded by clients and colleagues alike. Career highlights include contributing to the inception the Greatriarchs series at the Harrison Center, currently serving as the liaison to professional chapters of ACM SIGGRAPH in North America, and working to bring forth a deeper dive into Indianapolis Black history with progress on Phase II of the CBLC.
Milena Lukic graduated with high distinction from SoIC in May 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in MAS, and as a Cox Scholar, focusing on 3D character art and digital storytelling. She also has an Associate of Applied Science in graphic design, which she obtained with high honors in May 2013. For nearly two years now, Milena has worked for Bradley and Montgomery (BaM), a creative ad agency based in Indianapolis. At BaM she works as a 3D artist, motion graphic designer, and illustrator. Other highlights in Milena’s career include working a remote internship with Theory Studios who collaborated with Barnstorm VFX on Man in the High Castle season 3 on Amazon Prime. During her time at BaM, she also got to see animations she created for a spot for Pride month in Times Square in New York.
Kara Long is a writer, artist, and musician gone entrepreneur, born in the little historical town of Irvington, Indiana. In her childhood, she experienced several losses of close family members that shaped her life and interests. Her lifelong passion for writing, music, and art followed her into college, where she studied Music Technology and Media Arts and Science. After graduating from both majors in 2015, she was hired as a 3D modeler at a local company but found herself feeling out of place, unfulfilled, and struggling with mental health. She left the industry to focus on mental health and seek a career where she could have a higher, positive impact on people’s lives not just with her artistic and technical skills, but also her experiences with grief, education, empathy, mental health, and deep conversation. Months later, an idea for a business revealed the beautiful intersection of her cumulative skills, interests, experiences, and goals. That idea was The Memory Collective—a service to help people preserve, store, and pass down their oral stories for themselves, their family, and future generations. In August of 2020, Kara presented The Memory Collective in a local pitch contest, delighted the judging panel, and won the contest. Since then, Kara has been hard at work developing oral storytelling resources such as her Oral Story Kits and Courses, and personal services of interviewing, audiobook making, transcription, and bookmaking. Kara has ambitions to create local, national, and international jobs and to reach people worldwide as her company grows.
Jordan Nelsen is a freelance Concept Artist and Illustrator who has been working in the video game industry for the past five years. She graduated from IUPUI in 2018 with two degrees, a BFA in Drawing and Illustration from Herron School of Art & Design, as well as a BS in Media Arts and Science from the School of Informatics and Computing. She specializes in concept design for characters and creatures, and has worked with companies like Wildlife Studios, Iridium Studios, and both AAA & indie game developers. Jordan’s experience also branches into the medical visualization and maxillofacial prosthodontic spaces, where she worked in developing innovative pipelines for 3D printing and prototyping facial prosthetics and surgical guides.
Kylee Pena earned her BS degree in Media Arts and Science, Video and Sound Production concentration from IUPUI in 2019. She will be attending University of Southern California for grad school starting this fall, earning a Masters in Integrated Design, Business, and Technology from the Iovine and Young Academy. She is currently the Manager of the Creative Technologies Program Management Team at Netflix. She also founded a non-profit earlier this year called The Second Act Foundation which cultivates the second careers of women over thirty through direct financial aid and access to communal resources as they shift to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math related fields. Kylee’s career highlights include rallying an amazing team around an innovative UI prototype focused on accessibility to win Netflix Hack Day, doing her part in growing the non-profit Blue Collar Post Collective to the west coast to support emerging post talent (and seeing midwestern mentees thrive in particular!), supervising the workflow in New Mexico for the feature film Fast Color, and serving in leadership locally and nationally for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE).
Hannah West, a 2018 alumna of the MAS program at the SOIC, is a director, producer, and editor at Complexly. Her work is dedicated to the goals of educating, inspiring, and empowering people through video. At her job at Complexly, she is the lead editor and producer for Ours Poetica, a show that brings poetry to life on the page, editing and publishing upwards of 150 videos in the span of a year. She is also the director of multiple documentary films that have screened in festivals across the country. Her films Reversal and Not In Vain revolve around the opioid crisis in America, and have been in academy award nominating festivals.
Mary Katherine Fitzpatrick has a degree in in MAS with a specialization in digital storytelling and works as a graphic designer.