Title: Zero to sixty

Ringling students don’t mess around—they are dedicated to living their dreams as professional artists and designers from the moment they step on campus to the day they graduate. 

And they go above and beyond to attain it by connecting with recruiters, attending presentations and portfolio reviews, working with our Center for Career Services (a resource for our graduates for life!), landing internships, giving back to the community through volunteerism, and participating in actual client work through our Collaboratory Commitment programs.

After all of that work, who wants to wait? Well, many of our graduates don’t have to. Here is just a handful of the 2018 alumni who made the leap from student to professional within 60 days of graduation.

Recent graduate Lauren Dellapa

Lauren Dellapa, 3D Designer at Hasbro

Major: Illustration
Graduated: May 2018 Hired: June 2018

Hello from Hasbro
Lauren can’t say enough great things about working for Hasbro. She was first attracted to the company by the brands it works with, such as Star Wars. After working there for nearly a year, she now has a laundry list of even more reasons to love it. Unlike game or animation studios, Hasbro offers her the opportunity to sculpt and to focus on her art, instead of on the technical aspects of animating. She always has projects going and juggles a full schedule, and she loves it for the experience it gives her: different types of sculpting. “There are always opportunities for learning new skills here, and that keeps me motivated,” she says. She doesn’t do it alone—she works closely with her team, which has a friendly, open-door approach to communication. “Hasbro is really open,” she says.

Lauren chose Ringling College because the students she met were the most confident about finding a job after graduation. And she’s happy she did; as a student, she learned from the Illustration instructors to approach her assignments as work for her professional portfolio, and she was encouraged to work with her faculty to connect to the industry. “Octavio Perez was a really good teacher, and I went to him for help. He had run a workshop for Hasbro, too.” Lauren credits her peers, instructors, and the Center for Career Services for helping her find her position at Hasbro. She advises current students to take advantage of the resources they have at Ringling College and to “make sure you have a plan for how you want to nail down a job and start that plan early. This way you know what you have to do and have the time to do it.”

Recent graduate Shreeya Shetye

Shreeya Shetye, CG Modeler atDreamWorks Animation

Major: Visual Studies
Graduated: May 2018 Hired: June 2018

Dream Big at DreamWorks
Shreeya strongly believes in finding what you love to do and going after it. Her love for animation, art, and film drove her to Ringling College where she would spend her next four years engulfed in passion. 

During her college years, Shreeya became exposed to the entire pipeline of animation. She was fascinated with all the different parts it took to make an animated film. Shreeya eventually found her passion for 3D Modeling and decided to focus on it. She wanted to create characters and environments on screen people could relate to. “It was what I wanted to do. And that’s really powerful,” she explains. “In school, my passion drove me to work a 1000% like crazy. I worked 24/7, not even sleeping sometimes, but I just loved it. I loved what I was doing.”

Her hard work eventually paid off. As she was nearing graduation, she got a call from DreamWorks Animation. They told her she would be working on Trolls 2 (2020). All those hours in the labs were finally worth it. Her dreams of entering the animation industry were finally a reality.

Shreeya now lives in Los Angeles where she works at DreamWorks Animation. She loves the company and its culture. “It’s like going to a resort every day and meeting so many friendly people. It’s unreal.”

She also loves the city. “LA is my dream. I always wanted to be in LA,” she says excitedly. She and several of her classmates from Ringling College have built a very close-knit community there. They all support and root for each other through everything. 

When asked about her experience in launching her career, Shreeya has one thing to say, “Go for what you love at full force. Remember why you are working so hard, and if you just keep going, you can go anywhere you want. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!”

Recent graduate Peyton Varney

Peyton Varney, Environmental Texture Artist at Naughty Dog

Major: Game Art
Graduated: May 2018 Hired: June 2018

Creativity Unleashed at Naughty Dog
Peyton is always immersing himself in information and expanding his mindset — and he loves the responsibility that comes with making art. “I am making video games and art for a living, which is pretty hard to beat,” he shares. Peyton works at Naughty Dog, where he collaborates with his lead and coworkers to apply his ideas and vision to a greater vision or project. His favorite thing about the job is inserting a story, a history, and a feeling into an environment without a character present and making it believable as “a place or location that you feel immersed in and can walk around in as the player.” 

Peyton was not always a Game Art major at Ringling College. When he first set foot on campus, he was enrolled in Computer Animation. He enjoyed animating and bringing life to a character but found that he enjoyed creating the world and environment around them even more. When he saw that he could achieve that with the Game Art program, he decided to switch.

Surrounded by talented people with a ton of experience, he enjoys the constant learning and sharing of knowledge with his colleagues at Naughty Dog. Peyton gives credit for his success in finding a job he loves to his peers, professors, and Center for Career Services, which helped him with his social skills. “Nearly everyone can learn the technical skills of a program or a way of doing something, but what really sets you apart is your artistic skills, having a trained eye, and the sensibility to create something unique,” says Peyton. He believes the key to success is in pushing himself as much as he can to learn and improve his skills, being friendly with the people around him, and sharing what he has learned to help others grow as well. Peyton plans on staying with Naughty Dog for a while because in his own words, “I always want to be in a place where I am learning, and Naughty Dog offers a lot of that, while also giving me the opportunity to be a part of and create some of the most impactful stories and titles.”

Recent graduate Nada Khan

Nada Khan, Associate Strategist at Heat/Deloitte Digital

Major: Business of Art & Design
Graduated: May 2018 Hired: June 2018

Driven to Success at Deloitte
At the age of seven, Nada knew she wanted to go to Ringling College. As she grew older, her career aspirations changed but her dream school stayed a constant. So, when it came time, she enrolled at Ringling College as a Business of Art and Design major where she learned to think creatively and strengthen her skills as a strategist.

For Nada, making sure she has job opportunities has always been a priority; “I am a foreign citizen and I want people to understand why I chose to study business at an art school. At Ringling College, I put myself out there, made connections, got internships, and tried my best to work in teams. Fortunately, I found the right team that embraced my creative approach to business and appreciated my education greatly.” 

This team was the Ringling College National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) team, and Nada’s role was as a presenter. This opportunity enabled her to connect with one of the judges, who was the Head of AI Advertising at Deloitte Digital. This judge referred Nada for a strategy internship at the company following the NSAC 2018 Competition. And the rest is history. All Nada had left to say to Ringling students was, “Join NSAC. It changed my life and it can change yours for the better.”

The culture of Heat/Deloitte Digital keeps Nada going because the team is incredibly invested in her personal development and she never feels alone. She always has someone to seek advice from, a mentor, and she is consistently cultivating friendships. “This incentivizes me beyond the challenging work we do. It feels as though I have a sense of belonging.”

By Clonia Charite
Clonia Charite is a third-year Film student with a minor in Business of Art and Design at Ringling College.