Every year when we interview potential MFA students for our Sound Design program, Mike and I always lament how hard it is to choose just two students from a qualified pool. There are generally three or four students that are strong candidates, and it can be an excruciating decision to select which students to invite to join us for three years. Part of selecting two students means necessarily saying 'no' to many more, including the few top-ranked alternates.
This year was much harder, due mostly to COVID-19. Because our industry is basically at a standstill, many folks are deciding that now is a good time to get their degree. The number of qualified interested students shot up 500% this year. Instead of a pool of three or four top candidates, we had nine. And, while in a normal year, we'd invite those three or four applicants to campus to sit in on classes, meet with faculty/staff/students, tour the facilities, and generally get to know us, this year UCI's campus is virtually shut down to outsiders. So, we pivoted, scheduling Zoom sessions so that all nine top applicants could sit in on classes, meet with faculty, staff, students, get a portfolio review, etc. It was a bit of a logistical nightmare and something I hope we don't have to repeat next year, but it gave us a chance to meet so many students that we'd never have gotten the chance to meet before.
It also made our decisions harder, because while the number of excellent applicants increased, the number of people we could accept didn't. We still had to choose two. So while we're thrilled with the two women who are joining us this fall, we also want to publicly say that we wish we could have taken more of you! Those applicants who are reading this - we wish you all the best and look forward to seeing your careers grow!
This year, Mike and I are thrilled to welcome to the UCI Sound Design MFA program two extraordinary designers. I've asked them to write their own bios. Here they are: