March 3, 2014

The Creative Career Speaker Series is a collaboration between the UCF College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) and UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD), recipients of a Florida IT Performance Grant.

Rudy McDaniel, Assistant Dean for Research and Technology for the College, noted that “the Speaker Series was established to showcase cutting-edge careers in the arts and humanities which create pathways for students to obtain jobs that are connected to information technology.”

McDaniel explains that Senate Bill 1076 created a “performance funding pilot program for a select category of degree programs associated with computer science and technology… The bill authorizes performance funding for state universities that are most successful in educating students who earn degrees in, and become employed in, technology fields.” He also noted that SVAD’s emerging media programs and FIEA’s gaming MA are included in this award funding.

According to McDaniel, the College of Arts and Humanities was charged with “implementing better and more frequent engagement with industry partners and potential employers, incorporating tools and procedures for better tracking and analysis of student employment in the College, and exploring new opportunities for creative design and media positions with local employers.”

McDaniel reported that the College has provided students with “additional software training opportunities, equipment upgrades and new labs, reimbursement for certifications, a Guest Speaker Program, and mapping and tracking of alumni employment.”

The kickoff event for the Creative Career Speaker Series was held Friday, February 7, and was a huge hit with UCF students who lined the walls and floors to listen to a panel of leading industry experts from Universal Creative/Art & Engineering.

The panel consisted of Lauren Rickles, Media Producer for Universal Creative under the NBC Universal Division, who has produced media for attractions such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Despicable Me, and Transformers; Justin Schwartz, a Ride and Show Engineering Senior Manager who is involved with the development of new attractions; and Rob Wiedemann, a Senior Attraction Designer who has worked on projects such as Transformers, Toy Story and Despicable Me.

The next Creative Career Speakers event will be held on Monday, March 10, 6-8pm on UCF’s main campus in Classroom Bldg II, Room 101 and will consist of a panel of four alums, Nick Briz, a new-media artist and educator-organizer based in Chicago IL; Bryan Kasm, a lifestyle and portrait photographer from St. Petersburg, FL; Julio Lima, President and Creative Director of the Orlando advertising agency and design studio Say It Loud!; and Sara Raasch, an Experience Engineer with 42 Entertainment based in Pasadena, CA. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about Senate Bill 1076 visit:
For more information about the College of Arts & Humanities and the School of Visual Arts & Design visit: