Combining technology, art and media in to one program

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By Zoe Bernardi, Staff Writer

For those looking to combine technical skills with creative art skills, the Department of Technology at USM offers a minor in digital media and design. This minor intertwines both art, media studies and technology. It can be matched with majors outside of that department and applied to various careers.

The minor was created in 2003 to blend the lines with art, media studies and technology. It was a collaboration between the three departments of art, media studies and technology. In 2012 this group then made a cluster of courses that would create a full curriculum in order to be a complete minor, this was possible due to a $5,000 grant, and in 2015 it was officially approved, Carl Blue, Chair of the Technology Department, said. Blue said that the minor was created for the targeted student who want to combine these specific technical skills, and wanted some creative space too. According to the USM website, the minor is described as, “A key focus of those conversations cited the need to develop interdisciplinary courses within those disciplines that focused on the diversity of new media in art, communications, design and technology.”  

As of right now only 13 students at USM are enrolled in this minor. One of those students is Norliyana Menes, a sophomore studying anthropology and criminology in hopes of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. She explained her after career plans as a “bone doctor or forensic anthropologist. Think Bones with Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz but less exciting.” Menes decided to pick up the minor due to her love of digital art and was looking to try and create some of her own. “I have been a freelance designer for the past five years, and I thought why not pick up the minor to make my skills more official,” Menes said. Her immediate plans for after graduation includes more schooling, she hopes to graduate and then go on to medical school. Her explanation was that, “I am part of an Asian family and have to make them proud. I’m hoping to continue freelancing in digital art and design as side income as well as a hobby.”

Another student in the minor is Amelia Hoffman. She is a double major in communications and media studies, and also a sophomore. She picked up the minor recently in the past two weeks, saying that, “I’ve always had a love for art growing up and I thought this minor would help me apply it in a practical way but also help fuel personal creative projects.” Hoffman is getting more involved with photography as well, and thought this minor would also help her get more information in that area too. She hopes to learn more about animation throughout her studies as well. Her after graduation plans are to save money and travel the world, she wants to experience more before she settles down and gets a steady job. However her dream job would be to, “make promotional videos for small companies or businesses or create advertisements for them, or potentially my own business some day.”

For more information about this minor, students can talk to Professors David Pierson in the Media Studies Department, Jan Prirbeck in the Art Department and Carl Blue in the Technology Department. Or online at usm.maine.edu/tech/minor-digital-media-and-design.

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