Graduate visualization student wins Sony scholarship

Sarah Beth Eisinger

Sarah Beth Eisinger

Texas A&M graduate visualization student Sarah Beth Eisinger’s work earned a $10,000 scholarship from Sony Pictures Imageworks, an Academy Award-winning, state-of-the-art visual effects and character animation company.

“The scholarship selection committee found your achievements exemplary and was especially impressed by your truly special talent and passion for film, effects, and animation,” wrote Ken Maruyama, vice president of Sony’s Imageworks’ Professional Academic Excellence (IPAX) program, in the award announcement letter.

The IPAX Sande Scoredos Memorial Scholarship, named after one of the founders of the studios’ professional development program, awarded Eisenger the scholarship after reviewing a submission package that included a demo reel, essay and a resume.

“My chosen specialty is visual effects because I have found studying this field to satisfy my intellectual curiosity and allow me to create beautiful images using my knowledge of algorithms and programming,” said Eisinger in her application essay.

Eisinger interned in the shading department in Pixar’s 2007 hit “Ratatouille,” where she was mentored by former visualization student Sarah Fowler ‘05, worked as a software engineer at Google, then went to Walt Disney Animation Studios, where she worked in the look development department of  “Tangled.”

“Though I was given the opportunity to work as a full-time effects artist at DreamWorks Animation last year, I chose instead to pursue a masters degree at Texas A&M so that I will more easily be able to expand upon the work of those who came before me to develop new ways to create special effects, rather than simply mastering existing, established techniques,” she said. “I am also excited that Texas A&M's program includes a thesis component, so that I will have the chance to explore in-depth aspects of computer graphics I would not have had as much time to explore had I gone directly into the industry.”

The Fairfax, Va., native, who earned bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley in May 2007 is aiming for a position as an effects artist at a feature animation studio after she graduates.

posted September 6, 2011