Ringling students don’t mess around—they are dedicated to living their dream as professional artists and designers from the moment they step on campus to the day they graduate. They go above and beyond, connecting with recruiters, attending presentations and portfolio reviews, landing internships, and participating in actual client work through the Ringling College Collaboratory programs.
After all that, who wants to wait? For many of our graduates, they don’t have to. Here is just a handful of the 2017 graduates who went from student to professional within 60 days of graduation.
Leo Burnett/Arc Worldwide
Laszlo Bogdan, Graphic Design
Jr. Art Director
Hired: June 2017
Laszlo Bogdan’s journey to one of the world’s top advertising agencies was anything but typical.
Growing up in the Hungarian Roma community, he attended the only Roma high school in the world, where he first encountered American missionaries who taught English. He dove into the language with gusto and accompanied the group on a trip to the United States, where he saw a potential to build a life and a career. From there, Laszlo decided to apply to a precollege in Italy that would open doors to higher education opportunities around the world, leading him to Ringling College.
Despite the fact that he had very little art and design experience, he applied to Ringling “because of its exceptional Graphic Design program, idyllic location, and vibrant and enshrining community,” he says. “And when I got here, I was pleasantly surprised that so many countries were represented, which was important to me.”
He quickly discovered his passion and talent for design, and he began working in the Design Center. Here, he learned the process of tackling design challenges from start to finish. The skills he acquired have served him well at Leo Burnett, and his portfolio landed him both an interview and the job. He’s now working with a team that supports taking risks, and he urges new creatives to keep trying new things: “Have fun and take risks. If you aren’t taking risks, you aren’t learning. And that’s what it’s all about. Risks, mistakes, and finding a new angle— that’s how you get to someplace new.
Sony Pictures Imageworks
Anna Prado, Computer Animation
Hired: March 2017
At Ringling College, Anna Prado learned more than the technical skills to become an animator. Her instructors, like Paul Downs, “showed her who she could be,” and the program pushed her work—and her confidence—to new heights. So, when a recruiter from Sony Pictures Imageworks came to campus, she applied for the Associate Animator position. It was her first application, and her interview was five minutes long. But a few hours later, she was hired.
Her portfolio got her in the door, but her work ethic, confidence, and ability to take criticism have made her successful. At Sony, she was thrown in immediately to work on the movie Hotel Transylvania, where she animates on shots—and undergoes several rounds of critiques per day. “Ringling critiques prepared me for my position,” she explains. “I know it’s a part of making a movie better. Critiques aren’t about shooting me down. They’re about helping me up.”
Anna credits her teachers, classmates, and Career Services for landing her dream job. But the hard work, brilliant animation, and positive attitude came from within. Her advice to aspiring animators? “Work hard and keep a positive attitude. Attitude is everything. What you want is not out of reach—you can get there. You may even surprise yourself by what you’re capable of.”
Home Shopping Network, QVC
Jena Pirozzolo, Photography + Imaging | Minor in Business of Art + Design
Post Production Artist
Hired: June 2017
“I am extremely happy with my position,” remarks Jena Pirozzolo. “At HSN I get to utilize my entire skillset and be a part of a team. I love my job.” As a post production artist at Home Shopping Network, QVC, Jena is responsible for priority jobs that come through the studio. As such, she works with all types of photography including fashion, product, celebrity, and headshots.
When she applied for the position, she felt confident in her abilities and in the preparation she received at Ringling College. And so did HSN. The hiring process was quick—just two weeks.
She credits her readiness to the rigorous curriculum of the Photography & Imaging program. “One of the first questions asked in the interview was whether I could keep up with the workload,” she remembers. “Not a problem. At school, I edited hundreds of images after each photo session. I can keep up. And my ability to do so came from Ringling.”
In addition, Jena brought something new to the table: a minor in Business of Art & Design. “Without a doubt, this prepared me,” she explains. “My interviewers even commented on how rare it was to see in my field.”
For now, Jena is happy, but she’s not standing still. “You can’t expect things to be handed to you. You have to keep putting yourself out there, meeting new people, and trying new things. That’s how you keep learning.”
Hoyt Architecture Lab (HALVR)
Nick Marten, Game Art
Hired: 2017 Full-time
“I started working with Hoyt part time as a student,” explains Nick Marten. “And that’s where I first encountered VR. The great thing is, I could bring those lessons back to my experience as a Game Art student. Then I could carry over what I was learning as a student back to my job.”
Nick first landed a position in 2015, after faculty member Martin Murphy connected him with Hoyt Architecture Lab (HalVR), which was looking for someone with his skillset. There, he discovered the breadth of the then-emerging field of virtual reality, and its implications beyond gaming. He took a position full time after graduation, where he is now pioneering new boundaries for architecture clients, as well as designers.
“By showcasing and presenting our ideas in VR, we can invite people into the units to explore and get a better feel for what the building does. It’s really a living, breathing model that also streamlines the design and approval process because you can really see what you’re working with,” he remarks.
Naturally, Nick is an advocate for the College’s newest major, Virtual Reality Development, because it brings Ringling College and Sarasota to the forefront of this breakthrough industry: “I think it shows that we’re ahead of the curve and looking out for what’s coming. And that’s really important for people wanting to work in a creative industry—you have to always be keeping up with the industry and what’s new. That’s what it takes to be successful.”
Christian Huthmacher, Motion Design
Hired: May 2017
“I have hit my big dream,” says Christian Huthmacher. “And I am happy. I want to stay with Nickelodeon as long as I can.”
Just before graduation, Christian landed his job. Working with a team of animators and designers, including classmates from Ringling College, he works on major campaigns that can be seen across channels, from online to inside NYC cabs. His work is fast-paced and collaborative, just like his curriculum at Ringling.
“The Motion Design program gave me a broad skillset. I can work in simple 2D to complex 3D to compositing. This is different than traditional motion graphics programs at other schools where graduates only know one aspect.”
Christian met recruiters from Nickelodeon during the department’s Professional Week, when SVP Creative Director Michael Waldren delivered a presentation to students. He landed an interview and some one-on-one time with the team, and a month later he received a call from the company. He applied for the position through Career Services, and he was hired. To current students, he recommends, “Become friends with Career Services. They are incredibly helpful, and they work with a lot of recruiters looking for talent.”
He also tells aspiring designers to “love what you’re doing. You’re making art—you have to get up every morning and enjoy it. It demands passion.” And passion he has. Christian concludes, “As long as I get to animate, I think I will be happy for the rest of my life.”
Images courtesy of the graduates.