Author: Lauren Ciulla

(Via UConn Today) Adjusting to Pandemic Reality, 2020 MFA Thesis Exhibition at Benton Museum Moves Online

Photographer Elizabeth Ellenwood was working at a photo lab in Boston making prints when she decided it was time to further explore her own artistic endeavors.

“I also had an interest in teaching. I wanted to find a place that would give me the opportunity to try out teaching and see if that’s something that I wanted to continue working on,” she says about enrolling in the MFA program in Studio Art three years ago. “While I enjoyed being in the dark room, I was making prints for other people. I just really wanted more time to focus on my own artwork.”

Ellenwood’s exploration of her own photography and art can be seen in the unique 2020 edition of the annual Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition at The William Benton Museum of Art, which is posted on the museum’s website due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The online exhibition in Studio Art is titled “Tideland” and in addition to Ellenwood includes the works of painter and sculptor Olivia Baldwin, multimedia artist Shadia Heenan Nilforoush, and artist and printmaker Chad Uehlein. The Digital Media & Design online exhibit is titled “Square One” and includes the works of Jonathan Ampiaw, Karin Ching, Stefan Lopuszanski, Laurel Pehmoeller, and Jasmine Rajavadee.

Read more on UConn Today

(Via The Daily Campus) Research Spotlight: Pushing the boundaries of digital media with UConn’s DX Lab

Faculty in the University of Connecticut’s Digital Media and Design program have come together to collaborate on the Digital Experience (DX) Lab.

The DX Lab is led by Joel Salisbury, director of research and user experience design, Michael Vertefeuille, director of operations and emerging technology and Brian Daley, director of infrastructure and app development.

The lab’s work covers a wide range of projects involving digital experiences and interaction, Vertefeuille explained.

“Quite simply, we love to build really cool stuff. Our projects have run the gamut. We work with electronics, connecting it to interesting digital experiences, large-scale databases that serve the non-profit sector, and sometimes we just build things to see if they’ll work,” Vertefeuille said.

(Via The Daily Campus) UConn Gaming Club Brings Gamers Together

UConn Gaming Club (UCGC) manages to stay connected with its 1,200 members and host online events despite students remaining at home for the rest of the semester.

According to UCGC president, Digital Media & Design major Devyn Lowry (BA ’20), the club has hosted online community nights in an effort to keep members active and connected with each other. In the past two weeks, Lowry has hosted movie nights over the live streaming software Kast and plans to have a game night where members play various Jackbox party games.

(Via UConn Today) Social Media Analytics to Break Through the Political Noise

In the 2016 elections, a vast majority of traditional polls had predicted Hillary Clinton would be the winner. When Donald Trump won, many in the nation were stunned. While standard polling missed the mark, social media data had accurately predicted Trump’s victory.

A team of UConn faculty and students are using a social media analytics command center to better capture public opinion around the 2020 presidential elections and be a key resource for journalists and the public.

Learn more and read the full article on UConn Today.

(Via UConn Today) Projecting a New Image for Films and Animations at The Bushnell

Fifteen films and animations created by UConn students (were) featured at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

The UConn Film & Animation Showcase is a juried selection of works that is part of the event celebrating the premiere of the new projection installation in the Grand Foyer of The Bushnell, which includes animation produced by students in UConn’s Digital Media & Design (DMD) Projection Mapping course taught by Heejoo Gwen Kim, assistant professor of Motion Design & Animation.

UConn Digital Media & Design Work Honored with Creative Awards

UConn Digital Media & Design Work Honored with Creative Awards
DMD student work won CT Art Directors Club awards and the international Telly Awards

STAMFORD, Connecticut, October 22 – The UConn Digital Media & Design Department is proud to announce that several of our students and professors were recognized over the summer for their talent in the creative sphere. The 44th annual Connecticut Art Directors Club Awards took place on June 27th. All three DMD teams that submitted work were honored with awards.

DMD Stamford’s Beachball firm wins CADC Gold and Silver Awards
DMD Stamford’s student-led design firm, Beachball, won two awards for their client work in the Student Online Interactive Category. The team’s Fresh Nation New Vendor Campaign, aimed at educating potential new vendors about the services the Fresh Nation client provides, received a Gold Award. This campaign combines messaging and motion design.

2D animation

The Fresh Nation New Vendor Campaign was created exclusively by DMD students. Daria Yaseva was the lead designer and project manager. Other team members include Kaila Baker, Doreen Maclellan, and Bryan Santiago. These students worked together to build a collection of marketing materials for their client. Fresh Nation uses the animated GIFs created for the campaign on social media and in email marketing messages. These clean, colorful, and fun animations will serve as valuable assets the client can utilize to convey their message.

The Beachball firm was also awarded a Silver Award in the Student Online Interactive Category for Kelp the Planet, an integrated campaign created for the client, Sea Greens Farms. This campaign promotes kelp as a viable food product and positions the plant as a “center-plate” item for restaurants.

The multifaceted team that created the Kelp the Planet campaign includes motion designers, Lucas Lazarre and Kristina Frattaroli, and programmers, Nina Drozdenko and Jasneet Chawla. Drozdenko also worked as a video editor alongside Juwan Dumas. Daniella Mossa and Juliana Velez held additional creative roles. Together, this team created a landing page, recipe videos, social media posts, and an explanatory animation.

DMD Stamford’s Beachball project wins CADC Gold Award as well as Silver and Bronze Telly Awards, Silver W3 Awards
UConn Digital Media & Design – Stamford’s Beachball agency was also awarded CADC’s Gold Award in the Public Service Video Category. The team’s Connect to What’s Next animation was created for Digital Media CT by student, Daria Yaseva, and DMD Professor Steve Harper. The two worked as designers and animators on the project, and Harper held the additional role of copywriter.

Connect to What’s Next seeks to raise awareness of the myriad educational and career opportunities relating to digital media in the state of Connecticut. The project paired abstract animations with a concise and engaging message. The project was also honored with two international Telly Awards in May, a Silver Award in the Branded Content Category and a Bronze Award in the Non-Broadcast Category, and two Silver W3 Awards in Non-Profit Video and Video Art Direction.

student artwork

DMD Stamford also won Telly Awards in 2018
DMD students racked up several impressive awards over in summer 2019, but that wasn’t the first time. The Stamford Beachball team also won two Telly Awards last year. In 2018, the Telly Awards received over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents. DMD’s #myStamford animation won the Gold Award in the Fully Animated Piece for Social Video Category. Out of all 12,000 entries, only two received Gold Awards. The Beachball agency’s Spirit of the Sound video was awarded a Bronze Award in the Non-Broadcast, one of the largest categories of the Telly’s.

The UConn Digital Media & Design Department is thrilled to be able to share this news about its students’ accomplishments. Each team worked tirelessly to create a product that succeeded in impressing their clients, the Department, and most importantly themselves.

UConn Digital Media & Design provides an innovative and transformative experience to educate students in animation, gaming, web design & development, digital media business strategies, film/video production, and the digital humanities. Learn more about DMD at

If you would like more information about this topic, please call Stacy Webb at 860-486-6765, or email

DMD Student Animators – Winning Hearts and Awards

STORRS, Connecticut, October 13 – UConn Digital Media & Design’s 3D Animation and newly renamed Motion Design & Animation concentrations have always been brimming with talented and passionate student artists, but recently students have been making waves with their work all over the northeast. Several of our talented animators recently had their work juried into competitive festivals. Standing alongside filmmakers from across the globe, Katie Sawosik, Lucas Lazarre, Ali Loftus, Cassidy Keller, and Liam McNeece, proudly showcased their work and are helping to build UConn DMD’s national reputation as a top program to study digital animation.

image of Katherine Sawosik

Katherine Sawosik, a May 2019 BFA in 3D Animation graduate, has had incredible success with her BFA Senior Thesis project, Stand. The film has won two awards so far, “Best of Individual Category” at the MetroCAF 2019 Festival in New York, NY, and 2nd Place at the 8th Annual Trinity Film Festival in Hartford, CT. MetroCAF is the annual NYC Metropolitan Area College Computer Animation Festival organized by the New York City chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH (Association of Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques). Started in 2003, MetroCAF has grown into the most important local festival of its kind. Trinity Film Festival also features short films made by college students from around the world. Stand was the first animated film to win an award in the festival’s history.  Joining Katie at MetroCAF were Ali Loftus with her 3D animation, Butterscotch & Beetle, and Lucas Lazarre with his 2D animation, Mayhem, which also was a finalist in NASA’s ProjectMars International Film and Art Competition.  All three animations screened at the New York Institute of Technology’s Auditorium on Broadway on September 27.

artist wooden mannequin doodling

2D artwork

Cassidy Keller and Liam McNeece, juniors in DMD’s Motion Design & Animation concentration, created a short film titled A Life of Dreaming that was featured in Art All Night: the 7th Annual Trenton Film Festival. This festival took place the weekend of June 15, 2019 and featured more than 200 short films from over 40 countries.

3D artwork

UConn DMD students are striving to create and share meaningful work with the world. The Department and faculty takes great pride in their students’ achievements and are thrilled to see these talented, hardworking students recognized for their efforts.

UConn Digital Media & Design provides an innovative and transformative experience to educate students in animation, gaming, web design & development, digital media business strategies, film/video production, and the digital humanities. Learn more about DMD at


If you would like more information about this topic, please call Stacy Webb at 860-486-6765, or email

Announcing The Colony

Wondering what those ants on Bishop are all about? In DMD, we’ve been busy over the past three years making ant-inspired art! We’re now excited to invite you to the world premiere of the ant-inspired, art-science performance The Colony the weekend of September 6-8 at the Studio Theatre at UConn Storrs. The performance was conceived by DMD Professor Anna Lindemann and includes animations and video developed by DMD students and alums Sarah Shattuck, Allie Marsh, Jasmine Rajavadee, Ryan Glista, and Alex Rouleau.
The Colony is about sisterhood and the evolution of communication in two of the most social creatures on earth: humans and ants. Produced as part of AntU, The Colony ventures into speculative fiction and includes projected animations and imagery alongside live spoken and musical performance, all informed by scientific research on ant colonies.
For more about the performance, visit
Seating is limited and reservations are encouraged.

2019 BFA in Digital Media & Design Senior Thesis Exhibition, Storrs

2019 marked the inaugural gallery exhibition for the 2019 senior class of Bachelor of Fine Arts Digital Media & Design students! This year we had a cohort of 21 talented students, 17 who have created a diverse body of senior projects – ranging from 2D and 3D animations, live-action films, interactive sites, and physical works. Also featured were our four DMD interns who, in lieu of a senior project, shared their incredible experiences working as professional interns at a variety of corporations.

More on the exhibiting artists here
Exhibition Dates
April 8 to April 29, 2019
Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts
2132 Hillside Road
Storrs, CT  06269

Gallery hours: 

Mon – Fri   10am to 4pm
Prior to performances and during intermissions
Friday, April 12, 5-8pm
Light refreshments provided!

Annual Awards Ceremony Scholars

On March 26th, UConn honored its Babbidge and New England Scholars at the annual award ceremony. A Babbidge Scholar must keep a 4.0 GPA for the year, and a New England Scholar must keep a 3.7 GPA. We are incredibly proud that we DMD had 13 of the 15 (87%) School of Fine Arts Babbidge Scholars, and an additional 43 New England Scholars. We are so incredibly proud of our DMD scholars.

Congratulations to:

Babbidge Scholars:  
Nicholas Bartos, Madison Busick, Nina Drozdenko, Corlis Fraga, Anna Jannott, Ronald Jones, Allison Marsh, Nicole Mason, Devin Quinn, Rebecca Rosen, Sharah Shattuck, Sheryl Wang, and Daria Yeseva

New England Scholars:
Simone Alston, Isaac Bilmes, Sean Bollman, Owen Boyle, James Brockett, Aidan Brueckner, Harrison Burr, Tianxian (Dave) Cai, Abiegael Canova, Thomas Carter, Kailee Collins, Alexander Crosset, Shane Deptula, Mackenzie Fox, Brett Glynn, Jeremy Gonzalez, Alisia Gruendel, Malik Harris, Cassidy Keller, Julian Kinney, Chelsea Kuarasz, Eve Lenson, Allison Loftus, Mia Marasco, Christina McDonnell, Timothy Morris, Victoria Nazworth, Max Nonken, Julia Padget, Gillian Partyka, Lily Pashapour, Cynthia Reinert, Michael Russel, Alvaro Sanz-Perez, Katherine Sawosik, Erik Schweitzer, Courtney (Bean) Senior, Bridget Smith, Shanna Surena-Mattson, Hillary Therriault, Dana Wachsmuth, Rachel Wolther, and Rachel Wright