Two Miami University students turned into co-workers and even friends after graduating in 2021. Today, they thank the Emerging Technologies in Business & Design (ETBD) program for their success.
Mason Thompson, an interactive media studies alumnus, finished a semester before interactive media studies major Emma Todys, but now they both work as Motion Designers at Silent Partners Studio (SPS) in Los Angeles. SPS is a full-service creative practice specializing in live events and immersive experiences like concerts and world tours, brand activations, music videos, and more.
Both alumni had their best experiences in ETBD assistant lecturer Benjamin Nicholson’s Capstone course. Nicholson connected them to their employer by gladly providing co-signs and exposure for them.
“The way he’s taken his entire network from his life and career of working on the biggest shows and opened that to his students is something I’ve never heard of at any other school’s program,” Thompson said.
Todys credits Nicholson and other faculty for introducing her to the different programs used in the industry.
“Through all of this learning, I felt support from all ETBD faculty as they would constantly check out our presentations and make sure we were connected with the right people to make sure we had all the resources we needed,” Todys said.
These ETBD alumni have even brighter futures ahead of them – thanks to Miami!
Mason Thompson, 2021 interactive media studies alumnus
Mason Thompson currently works as a motion designer at SPS. But before he could get there, he learned everything he needed to know from Miami’s ETBD program.
Thompson’s background in graphic design was initially with static mediums like logos and websites, but taking classes in Nicholson’s entertainment design track pivoted his passions.
He also credits associate lecturer Molly Moran, visiting assistant professor Garrison LeMasters and teaching professor Artie Kuhn for guiding him through ETBD. Thompson cherishes the advice Moran gave to him on his thesis, which was that rather than just focusing on making great designers, he should also focus on making great people.
“That really contextualized a lot of my coursework looking back, as so much of it was about how we’re making a difference or designing with a purpose that adds to our collective experience,” Thompson said.
Thompson slightly changed course while at Miami. He said he could have easily specialized in only his most comfortable field, but feels grateful today that he understands the development/integration process that follows his work. Because of his discoveries in college, he can better translate and problem-solve.
“Get your hands in as many pots as you can,” Thompson said. “The more diverse mediums you expose yourself to, while still specializing in what you want to do, will only enrich your experience.”
Emma Todys, 2021 interactive media studies alumna
Emma Todys is a 2D motion designer creating animated visuals at SPS. Before she could do that, she learned so much through Nicholson.
In her classes, Todys explored real-time motion graphics, 3D animation and modeling, projection mapping, XR stages, and even contributed to a concert with SPS before she ever got hired.
Todys’ advice to present and prospective ETBD students at Miami is to collaborate with their advisor to pick the best courses for their pursuits, as well as to add a minor. Todys minored in creative writing and studio art, which she said helped her build around the skills she acquired in ETBD.
“Really pay attention to all of the classes that are available to you,” Todys said. “You don't always just have to go on the basic path of classes.”