Interior design major Stephanie Lopilato ’14 won second place in the Student Design Competition at the Interior Design Career Day 2012. Held at The Boston Design Center, this event was organized by the New England chapters of the International Interior Design Association and American Society of Interior Designers. Budding designers had the chance to enter the design and technology competition to showcase their cutting-edge projects.

Lopilato’s project was created in her Interior Design 202 Commercial Design Studio course with Professor Courtnay Wallace who has a thriving architectural practice called e-volutions Designs on Newbury Street in Boston. The course focuses on design issues and presents students with the criteria that must be considered when selling spaces. Additionally, in the studio course, students learn how to expand their creativity as well as enhance product displays in small to medium-size design projects.

Many schools in New England participated in the 2012 Student Competition, including Wentworth Institute of Technology, New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, Newbury College, Endicott and the Boston Architectural College. Congratulations again to Stephanie Lopilato for representing Mount Ida with her prized project from Professor Wallace’s studio course.

Julie Smith ’14 has always had a penchant for photography. She has dreamt of it, seen it up-close in magazines, and marveled at the best photographers. But, she has only seen it from afar, through someone else’s eyes. Until one day, last spring, when she had the confidence to reveal her images to the world in a solo exhibition at the School of Design. And, in that moment, when she opened the doors to critics, she was pleasantly surprised.

Taking chances

“Graphic design has introduced me to a new side of photography with digital editing that has given me the ability to learn so many different skills and techniques,” said Smith. “When I first began taking photos, I only used myself as a model and was embarrassed to ask anyone else for help. Now, I enjoy pushing the limits and I am much more confident in taking risks.”

Chosen for Getty Images

In a photo shoot last summer, back in Smith’s hometown of Richmond, Rhode Island, she enlisted her family and friends as her subjects. Taking photos at her house, on the beach, and in the woods made for a lot of early mornings and late evenings.

Her hard work paid off, however, in the fall 2012 when she was approached by Getty Images, a stock photo agency in partnership with Flickr. In particular, three of her images from her photo sets were chosen: Off to Neverland, Horizon, and How Do You Know.

Practice makes perfect

Soon after Getty Images; Smith entered the Photographer’s Forum College Photo Contest and was selected as a finalist among 16,000 entries for her photo called Irony. Smith originally entered this contest with the motivation of simply completing a class project.

“When I entered, I had no intention of winning anything,” stated Smith. “Learning that I was chosen as a finalist has given me the reassurance I need to continue making art. It’s what I love doing and can’t wait to see what’s next.”

As a game art and animation student, Dan Cherkassky ’14 is constantly exploring the science of motion. In his classes, he studies interactive graphics development, taking his visuals to the next level in crafting the look, feel, movement, and production of digital artwork.

Summer innovation program

Last summer, Cherkassky was an intern for the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute’s (Mass DiGI) Summer Innovation Program for game developers looking to break into the industry. During this time, he had the chance to create video game prototypes alongside industry leaders, mentors, and fellow interns. This real-life experience of working in a production studio has connected Cherkassky with digital games professionals.

Specializing in the classroom

Gearing up for senior year, Cherkassky is ready to showcase his technical talents through specializing in character modeling. He finds that his small classes allow him to collaborate with faculty in ways that would be impossible at larger universities. During one of his projects at Mount Ida, Cherkassky remembers conceptualizing a robot model where he experimented with new skills that had never been applied in his artwork before.

“The School of Design’s game art and animation program is the right fit for me because of the personalized attention and focused curriculum,” said Cherkassky. “Students here are learning what it takes to become artists since their studies combine traditional design with an in-depth training on 2D and 3D graphics.”

Learn more about game art and animation

If you are interested in finding out more about the Game Art and Animation program, please contact Eric Hunn, Program Director, at