Monday, August 24, 2009

Alumni Success: Hayley Kohler

Bachelor of Science – Media Arts & Animation
December 2008
Storyboard Artist – Omation Studios

The most common advice offered to students is to build relationships with fellow students because they could be helpful in a future job search. For Media Arts & Animation alumna Hayley Kohler, this came true much earlier than expected.

“The lead storyboard artist from Omation Studios walked around the portfolio show asking students who the storyboard artist was and everyone pointed him in my direction,” Hayley said. “After the show, I was called to do a storyboard test and was offered the job.”

Hayley feels her experience at The Art Institute of California – Orange County has helped her be successful in her new career.

“My film, editing and storyboarding classes taught me the language and mechanics used in the industry,” Hayley said. “I learned to work as part of a team in a fast-paced setting through my portfolio and production classes.”

Currently Hayley is working on the animated series, Planet Sheen. Her multitasking skills are being put to the test as she must work on two to three episodes at once.

“As I am working on the thumbnails for an upcoming episode, I am also revising and cleaning a previous episode’s storyboards,” Hayley said. “My favorite episode so far is the one that features a character whose name I pitched to the executive producer.”

One of Hayley’s instructor’s offered the following advice and it is a message that has stuck with her: “You have to prove yourself everyday and learn something everyday.”

Her own advice to students is to never give up on their dreams so they’ll never lose sight of their goals.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Orange County Interior Design Program Receives CIDA Accreditation

The Council for Interior Design Accreditation awarded The Art Institute of California – Orange County its highest level of accreditation

The Art Institute of California – Orange County Interior Design program has been recognized by the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) for having met their high standards of post-secondary interior design education. CIDA awarded the school a six-year accreditation, which is the maximum amount a program can receive.

“CIDA is recognized as the authority in Interior Design education by the industry,” said Interior Design academic director Ronni Whitman. “Receiving this accreditation reinforces the industry-specific curriculum we’ve always provided our students.”

Accreditation requires an extensive review process that involves self-evaluation by the program applying for accreditation, a site visit from a team of trained evaluators and a review from a six-member accreditation commission.

According to the CIDA Web site, “Accreditation promotes achievement of high academic standards while making education more responsive to student and societal needs.”

The goal of CIDA is to set high standards for interior design education in order to contribute to the advanced professionalism of the interior design field.

“The Art Institute of California – Orange County and CIDA share the common goal of preparing students for entry-level employment,” said Dean of Academic Affairs, Melinda Lester. “This accreditation can give our students a competitive advantage as they prepare to enter the workforce and adds another level of achievement for our well-established Interior Design program.”

Media Contacts
Tricia Cook at or 714.338.1303
Veronica Orozco at or 714.830.0221

Alumni Success: Sandra Chavez

Bachelor of Science – Graphic Design
Summer 2008
Graphic Designer – PartnerPeople

Designing a package for class is one thing; designing a package that will one day be in someone’s home is what Sandra Chavez, The Art Institute of California – Orange County Graphic Design alumna, is working on now.

Before she joined PartnerPeople as a graphic designer, Sandra learned to become a better designer through classroom critiques.

“I know how to take criticism in a positive way and how to effectively communicate my creative process,” Sandra said. “People want to know the story behind your creation.”

In addition to her communication skills, Sandra credits her diverse portfolio with helping her land her job.

“Whether it’s a potential employer or a new client, your portfolio should be entertaining and make the viewer want to see more,” Sandra said. “Your portfolio is also a reflection of you as a person and demonstrates what you care about and how you perceive things.”

Currently, Sandra is working on a new package design for a company that produces digital display and presentation equipment. Her concept was so well-liked by the client that they decided to rebrand based on Sandra’s design. She will soon see her work on store shelves.

Sandra admits that graphic design is a fun field to work in but it still involves hard work. Her advice to students is to take in as much information as possible while in school and to respect fellow classmates.

“Network with students from different programs because one day they may be the ones to decide whether you get a job or not,” Sandra said. “Oh, and don’t forget to backup your files – especially during finals week!”

Alumni Success: Joseph Reynoso

Bachelor of Science – Advertising
Fall 2008
Art Director – Innocean Worldwide

While the rest of the world is busy playing with Facebook applications, Art Institute of California – Orange County Advertising alumnus Joseph Reynoso is developing new ones.

Joseph is an art director at Innocean Worldwide where his projects also include TV and outdoor advertising. He credits a well-rounded education with helping him secure his first job out of school.

“I gained experience in Web design, photography, advertising and some film work through my classes,” Joseph said. “It showed my employer that I could think laterally across all mediums.

His most recent project was developing a Facebook application that allowed users to share their favorite hometown hot spots with people across the country.

“The Rediscover America app features a map of North America where people share the location and photos of their favorite local finds,” said Joseph. “People can share the local secrets of their own city or let everyone know about a place discovered while traveling.”

Although he already has a title many students aspire to obtain, Joseph does not yet consider himself an expert. He feels grateful to the senior level people around him that are willing to share their expertise.

“No matter how well you do in school, don’t let it go to your head,” Joseph said. “Be friendly. You will be working with the same people that you see walking down the halls.”

Friday, August 14, 2009

Industrial Design Students Show There is Art in Science

Industrial Design students presented three animatronic characters at the Discovery Science Center during the Robots & Us exhibit.
From left to right: German Gutierrez, Jackie Cress, Eric Bye, Brian Choo, Hansen Linek, Gordon Richins

On Saturday, August 8, five Art Institute of California – Orange County Industrial Design Students presented work from their Theatrical Effects and Props class to an audience of approximately 20 at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana.

The students were invited as part of the Robots & Us exhibit that runs through September 23. While the exhibit aims to explore how building artificial life can help in understanding the real thing, the students’ work demonstrated the fun ways in which robot technology can be used.

Instructor Gordon Richins provided a brief explanation of the Industrial Design program and an overview of the students’ assignment to start the presentation. Then each student briefly described their design process to the audience and guests were invited on stage afterwards to get a closer look at the students’ work.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Culinary Student Goes the Extra Mile on Class Assignment

An Art Institute of California – Orange County student organized a canned food drive and cooking lesson for emancipated youth from Olive Crest

For some students, a homework assignment ends as soon as they receive their grade, but for Deborah Gillespie, a Culinary Management student at The Art Institute of California – Orange County, it was just the beginning.

Gillespie’s initial assignment was to develop a weekly menu plan for Olive Crest at-risk youth emancipated from the system now living on their own. Gillespie took it a step further and organized a food drive and cooking workshop.

“When I was working on the menus, I realized that the recipes needed to appeal to the kids visually,” Gillespie said. “I thought if we could get the food donated, I could work with the culinary department to bring the kids to the school kitchens and bring the menus to life.”

Just four weeks after placing collection bins all over the school, Gillespie was able to deliver six full boxes of canned food to Olive Crest.

“As word began to spread about what we were doing, students started asking what else they could do,” Gillespie said. “Once I knew there was volunteer interest, I worked with the culinary academic director, Chef Daniel Mattos, to coordinate the cooking workshop.”

She knew she had her work cut out for her when she realized the workshop would take place during finals week but she was able to recruit four other students and one alumnus. On Friday, June 12, a group of teens from Olive Crest came to The Art Institute of California – Orange County to receive hands on training from the students and instructor Chef Larry Milner.

“The goal of this workshop was to teach the kids not only a few recipes but also to help them gain some life skills,” Gillespie said. “We also thought it would be great if it sparked their interest in culinary arts.”

Dressed in professional chef coats, the Olive Crest kids spent the evening learning how to cook one of three chicken dishes and how to plant and grow their own herbs. The group enjoyed their homemade meal together and everyone went home with some basic kitchen utensils and a copy of the recipes they’d learned to make.

“Getting to work with the culinary students in a professional kitchen was a tremendous experience for these kids,” said Tamara Koch, Community Involvement Manager for Olive Crest. “The chef coats were a huge hit and everyone wanted to know when they could do it again.”

Due to the success of the first workshop, The Art Institute of California – Orange County will be hosting another group from Olive Crest on Friday, September 11.

“As an instructor, I’m proud to watch my students develop as future chefs,” said Chef Milner. “It is even better to watch them use the skills they learned in the classroom to do something for the community.”

Student volunteers:
Angel Esparza, alumnus
Ben Nichols
Kay Dupaloa
Mallory Saunders
Oscar Villanueva

Media Contacts
Tricia Cook at or 714.338.1303
Veronica Orozco at or 714.830.0221

Friday, August 7, 2009

City of Orange College Student Earns $5,000 Tuition Scholarship in Hurley Design Competition

Candice Winer designed three articles of clothing that could be transformed into several different outfits

Candice Winer, an Industrial Design student at The Art Institute of California – Orange County, may be interested in a career in consumer design but her venture into the world of fashion paid off. Winer’s innovative clothing designs earned her a $5,000 tuition scholarship in the Hurley Design competition.

Current and incoming students across all programs were challenged to design a three-piece outfit that could take a person from zip lining through the jungle, surfing in the ocean to wandering a busy market on the island of Bali. The pieces would need to be sturdy and versatile enough to endure a month-long stay.

“She was very resourceful with her designs and each look had a unique twist,” said Catherine Redmond, a designer at Hurley who judged the competition. “The style was contemporary and crossed age groups so a lot of people could wear it.”

The base of Winer’s winning outfit was the reversible bikini that with two simple snaps could become a monokini. The second piece was a wrap made of wrinkle free fabric and could be used as a head scarf, hooked onto the swimsuit to create a dress or tied around the waste and used as a sarong. The final piece of the outfit was a pair of adjustable length shorts that could be tied to fit any occasion.

So is Winer considering a switch to the Fashion Design program?

"I enjoy fashion but I'd like to come up with ideas that can apply to all facets of design, from clothing to architecture."

The Art Institute of California – Orange County partners with industry leaders like Hurley to bring students real world work experience and scholarship opportunities. To learn more about the programs and scholarships offered at The Art Institute of California – Orange County, go to

Media Contacts
Tricia Cook, 714.338.1303 or
Veronica Orozco, 714.830.0221 or

Summer Quarter 2009 Student Clubs

This summer, Art Institute of California – Orange County students across all programs of study have several ways to get involved with their fellow students. There are 12 different student clubs including one for fashion, photography and even gardening. Below is a brief description of each club that is active this quarter. For more information on meetings and events, or to learn how to start a club, stop by the Student Affairs department in C207.

Ai Storytellers: open to all students
This club is for anyone interested in creative writing.

AIGA, the professional association for design: Graphic Design students
AIGA is dedicated to helping students be successful at every stage of their career.

American Society for Interior Designers (ASID): Interior Design students
The student chapter of the national organization connects members with industry professionals specializing in residential interior design.

Developing Programmers Society: Visual & Game Programming students
A club dedicated to furthering knowledge and opportunities for programming students.

Emerging Green Builders: open to all students
The student chapter of The Emerging Green Builders of Orange County is interested in learning and discussing trends in green building practices.

Fashion Elite: Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing & Management students
Dedicated to creating mentorship programs for students in either Fashion program.

Gardening Club: open to all students
Get hands on experience with planting and harvesting organic food by working on the school’s garden and learning from guest speakers and special field trips.

Industrial Design Student Association (IDSA): Industrial Design students
Club organizes workshops to help students improve the skills needed to become professional designers and provides members access to nationwide resources.

Photography Club: open to all students
Anyone interested in learning digital photography techniques is invited to join this club.

Righteous Animation Club: open to all students
This club is for students interested in learning more about animation history and trends or for those looking for tip on creating a quality portfolio and demo reel.

Student Activity Club: open to all students
Students are invited to work with Student Affairs to develop, plan and implement student activities that help strengthen the school community.