Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television
Peyton Hagerty “showcases a diverse array of production abilities” and is hard working, according to film Professor Hans Rosenwinkel. During her studies in film, Peyton demonstrated a unique approach to filmmaking as well as positive and effective communication abilities. More than anything, though, Rosenwinkel says Peyton’s ability “to find the deep intricacies of the characters and stories she wants to portray” really set her filmmaking work apart. Film faculty members agree that Peyton’s attention to detail and deep sense of story and her team-player mentality will help distinguish her as she pursues a career in film.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television
During their studies at CU Denver, Rachel Sochinski developed their skills in all areas of film production, but they really proved theirself when it came to production design. “Rachel is a dedicated and outstanding student who not only excels in their studies, but has proven herself with exceptional skills in the area of film and television production,” writes David Liban, chair of Film & Television. All the faculty members who have worked with Rachel believe they have what it takes to go far in the film industry.
Bachelor of Science in Music Business, Non-Audition
In her classes, Tessa Barker distinguished herself as a leader and diligent student. Tessa conducted research into how CAM’s Music Business area can improve and properly update its curriculum. “This work, along with her advocating to ensuring that CAM maintains its dedication to inclusion, equality, and respect for all students in helping them to reach their goals exemplifies her qualities as a future leader in her career pursuits,” writes Storm Gloor, Associate Professor of Music Business. During her time at CU Denver, Tessa served the university community as a student ambassador and social media manager. She also completed several internships while diligently maintaining her studies. “Her self-determination, as well as her ability to maintain life balance and manage her time effectively, has always impressed me,” says Gloor.
Bachelor of Science Recording arts (audition track, drum set principal)
Words like professional, talented, and kind are often used to describe Forrest Raup. “I had the pleasure of having Forrest perform in my Hip Hop R&B ensemble for several semesters. He is a phenomenal drummer and musician who, while pursuing his degree, has managed to tour nationally, record albums, and even play a sold-out show at Red Rocks amphitheater!” writes Instructor Andrew Guerrero. An accomplished drummer, Forrest has contributed to the recorded songs and live music gigs of fellow students and professional musicians alike. “I enlisted him to sub on drum set for my platinum-selling band Flobots on a gig when our drummer fell ill. He only had a few days to prepare and played perfectly,” says Guerrero. Forrest’s hard work during his studies and pursuit of performance opportunities has convinced faculty members that his career in the music industry has only just begun.
Master of Science in Media Forensics
Jesus Valenzuela started studying in the National Center for Media Forensics (NCMF) program in 2020. In addition to excelling academically in the program and producing scientifically sound and thoughtful work, Jesus also became co-chair of the Scientific Working Group on Digital Evidence (SWGDE) earlier this year. Jesus’s thesis “An Examination of the Digital Multimedia Created and Transmitted by the Axon Capture mobile Application for iOS” is “poised to be impactful research of an important platform used in law enforcement across the country,” says NCMF director Catalin Grigoras.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Design
During her studies in Digital Design, Kayleen Lawson was “attentive, productive, and engaged” and grew into a “competent designer,” according to Associate Professor Travis Vermilye. Kayleen used her grasp of design concepts whenever her peers needed extra help in classes. She also expanded her design training by going on a study abroad trip to Copenhagen with CAM in summer 2022. Kayleen created a mobile app design for her senior thesis which helps pet owners understand the medical problems and conditions their pets may be experiencing. Kayleen’s design used empathy and prioritized accessibility, making it very user-friendly. Helping pets and their owners is central to Kayleen’s approach to life. When she is not in class, she works for Coal Ridge Animal Hospital.
Film & Television major Davina Vetter-Drake always turned in work early and of the highest quality, according to her professors. During her studies in CAM, Davina was on a team of film & television majors that received one of the Dean’s Future of Creativity Award for a project called “Big Mama Ohana”. Davina says she is particularly proud of her junior thesis film “Cross the Forest Styx”. In CAM, Davina was able to learn about many different aspects of filmmaking and appreciates how the program helps students “as individuals to find and work to improve on our personal specialties and focuses.” Despite missing an opportunity to study abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Davina is positioned to carry her passion for all things film into a promising career due to her great work ethic and admirable skills. Davina’s professors believe she will represent CAM well in the world at large as she pursues her filmmaking aspirations.
During her time studying Singing/Songwriting with a minor in Multidisciplinary Research methods, Katie Yeager’s passion for music led her to hold a variety of leadership positions and fill important roles on many projects. In addition to being a CAM Merit Scholar, Katie served as a Mentorship Ambassador for CAM’s Mentor Collective (a project which pairs mentors with students interested in careers in the arts); she was President of CU Denver’s chapter of #Fight4HER; and she was involved in the University Honors and Leadership Program. Katie is particularly proud of her role organizing the Singer/Songwriter 2021 Spring Break Tour, which featured herself and fellow singer/songwriter students, Finn O’Sullivan and Genevieve Glimp. Katie has also taught high school LYNX camp attendees in the songwriting camp for the past three summers. She also spent a summer interning at the Levitt Pavilion. In addition to graduating this semester, Katie has also released her first EP, Adeline. “I am so grateful for the support, encouragement, and guidance I've received, especially from teachers like Owen Kortz,” Katie says of her experience in CAM.
Katelynn Eckles started studying for a Master of Science in Recording Arts with the intention of teaching in higher education. During her graduate studies, Katelynn worked full time as the Ticketing Manager & Executive Assistant at Levitt Pavilion Denver. Her dream of teaching college classes came true this semester by teaching Audio Production classes in CAM. Besides being a hard worker and truly passionate about recording arts, Katelynn attributes the career opportunities to the strong connections she made with the faculty in CAM. “I had professors who genuinely cared about my career goals and connected me with the right people to get me where I am today,” Katelynn says. The projects Katelynn is particularly proud of are a full business plan for a concert series which led to her job at the Levitt Pavilion, and a collection of sample lectures in a pedagogy course which led to her position as an adjunct professor at CU Denver.
A background in audio helped Steve Wells take to the Master of Science in Media Forensics degree program, but it was his enthusiasm for learning about multimedia forensics that caused him to excel at his coursework. During his studies in NCMF, Steve worked on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) SemaFor research project and quickly became an instrumental part of that team. SemaFor’s mission is to develop technology designed to help analysts detect falsified media assets faster. NCMF director Catalin Grigoras describes Steve as curious and persistent, even the face of his thesis work, which took many twists and an eventual shift in topic. Steve’s completed thesis represents a “great addition” not only to the NCMF research catalogue, but also to the broader field of media forensics. For his part, Steve is most excited about being able to use his degree to develop a career that he can look forward to every day.
Graduating with a BFA in 3D Animation and a minor in Leadership Studies, Madison wore many hats during her time at CU Denver. In addition to her exemplary work as a Digital Animation Center student, she was a part of the University Honors and Leadership Program (UHL) while also serving as a Resident Assistant. Through her commitment to UHL, Madison volunteered at the Denver Botanical Gardens and various other campaigns. Her senior UHL thesis saw her investigating food insecurity issues in Denver and interviewing immigrant and refugee communities. A Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis Madison received as a child motivates her to strive for better representation of this marginalized population in the media. Not only does Instructor Jeremy Brown believe Madison will succeed in a career in the animated film industry, “I am encouraged that she will use her abilities and disposition to lift up others and make the world a better place,” he says.
Aldo Ruiz’s studies in CAM began when he was still in high school and got the opportunity to attend LYNX Camp. A year later, Aldo was awarded a 4-year scholarship after participating in the University’s Pre-Collegiate Summer Bridge Program. While studying for his digital design BFA, Aldo was an incredibly active member of the CAM community. Aldo served on the Dean’s Council with a personal aim "to help the college serve students of marginalized backgrounds better as well as reflect that diversity within CAM staff and faculty." He also served on CAM’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Task Force; was a student graphic designer at the Center for Identity and Inclusion (CII), where he created a brand and marketing material for the Latinx Undergraduate Leadership Advancement (LULA) program; interned with CU Marketing & Communications under the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI); finally, Aldo is a graphic designer for LynxConnect, a student-centric hub for services such as study abroad. Described by his professors as a “gifted designer” and a "deeply caring individual", Aldo’s performance in his classes matched his enthusiasm and commitment to the equity and inclusion efforts he made on campus. As he reflects on his time in CAM, Aldo's most proud of his digital design thesis titled, "When we apologize and forgive: Integrating design into the practice of healing from interpersonal relationships". Aldo's thesis explores "the important reality that all of us, at some point, will be people in both sides: apologizing for the harm we have caused and forgiving those who have harmed us."
Assistant Professor Yang Wang, PhD, Art History, teaches courses on Asian art as well as modern and contemporary art. Wang was awarded a Getty/American Council of Learned Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship in the History of Art for the academic year 2020-2021. The prestigious honor is given to scholars whose projects Getty believes will make a “substantial and original contribution to the understanding of art and its history.” Prof. Wang’s forthcoming work, Yellow Earth: Regional Chinese Ink Painting in the Age of Postwar Modernism, will be the first scholarly work of its scope to establish Chinese art in the expanded terrain of postwar modernism. Despite a rigorous research endeavor, however, Prof. Wang continues to be an active faculty member and supportive colleague in CAM.