As new and returning Digital Arts & Sciences students filled the blue seats in the Digital Worlds Institute’s Polymodal Immersive Classroom Theatre (PICT) on a Monday morning, Institute director James Oliverio rang in a new school year.
“As our family grows, know you are joining an elite group of students from various backgrounds. As technology converges, you have opportunities to do things here that you may not have had in a traditional academic discipline,” he said.
After introducing the Digital Arts and Sciences (DAS) minor in 2016, Digital Worlds (DW) is teaching more students than ever before.
On the first day of the fall 2017 semester, students from each class of the DAS program wore either orange, blue or white T-Shirts in the high-tech auditorium to indicate their respective cohort. They were introduced to the Institute’s faculty and staff, and Oliverio encouraged students to get involved in the many opportunities for research and special projects available through DW.
After the opening remarks, both undergraduate and graduate DAS students were introduced to Jennifer Setlow, the College of the Arts (COTA) new associate dean for academic and student affairs.
Dean Setlow, who recently joined COTA after serving at Arizona State University, said she was drawn to the program by the potential for creativity it gave students.
“At this moment in time, what a set of opportunities you all have,” she said. “That really got me excited to come to the University of Florida and to the College of the Arts.”
Following Dean Setlow, the audience was introduced to the professors and administrators of the program and were shown brief excerpts from two digital media projects created by DW, “CO2 and You: The Power of Personal Choice” and “The Tree of Life.” The excerpts showcased the types of projects students can work on in the program and were both focused on the combination of Digital Arts and Sciences with subject matters related to the environment.
For new student Felicia Martin, that was the best part. Although she doesn’t know exactly what path she wishes to concentrate on in her career at this point, she said her dream is to work in the digital realm at Disney or Universal one day.
“The DW program is just such a good opportunity to explore all the different areas of this field,” Martin said.
Returning student Aria Hight agreed.
“It was really cool to meet the dean,” she said. “And I could tell that they added in so much over the summer. As is the way of DW, everything is new and evolving all the time.”