Alumni Spotlight — Kenny Wilson

Kenny Wilson graduated from the Digital Arts and Sciences undergrad program in 2007. In 2012, he achieved the status of “Double Gator” by earning his M.F.A. in Art + Technology from the College of Fine Arts. In between working on his two degrees, he worked as a videographer for UF. Kenny is currently an instructional designer in Maker Education at Colgate University, and has done amazing work around the world — from a film production project in Namibia to an online presence project in the Dominican Republic.

Outside of football games and Gainesville’s vibrant cultural and social scene, Kenny says that one of his favorite memories from his time in the DAS program is of making connections across different disciplines. “Don’t allow yourself to be pigeonholed into one kind of degree,” says Kenny. “It is important to recognize that the skill sets you’re learning will open you up to a broad array of possibilities.”

In what ways did your Digital Arts and Sciences experience prepare you for your current career?

The thing that I enjoyed about the Digital Arts and Sciences program is it taught me to be a two-minded thinker. Getting a grasp and understanding of analytical and computational thinking, but concurrently sparking and encouraging a sense of creativity and making. Being able to think very technically and analytically AND be creative with that skill set was valuable, and I believe it has helped me as my career has grown.

What do you like most about your current career right now?

My entire career post-graduation has been academic. I worked in academia as a videographer before I went into my master’s program, and then I taught graphic design. And then, I was a technology coordinator for an interactive media program. Currently, I’m an instructional designer for Maker Education. I work with faculty who want to incorporate 3D printing and scanning, and emerging maker technologies into their curriculum. I have a maker space that I try to maintain with the equipment. I like the ability to be able to utilize both sides of my brain.

My career path has been STEM-focused, but always with creative and artistic outlets. [In my current position, I enjoy that I have a variety of analytical and technical skills together, as I can utilize that to think creatively.] I learned many of the fundamentals in my Digital Arts and Sciences classes, and the skills translated well into working with 3D modeling, printing, and scanning. During Covid-19, I’m doing a lot of work with 3D scanning of artifacts from Colgate University’s geology museum. I love 3D scanning them and then presenting them to students. We’re digitizing them so that the students can at least catch them in a three-dimensional virtual environment. It’s great.

What are some of your favorite memories of the DAS program?

I tremendously miss Gainesville. It’s such a great city and a great community. One of the things that I miss is just the amount of activity around campus. I could go to shows over in the art department and go to hear guest speakers. Some of my favorite memories are the great connections that happen through the program. The skills that you get over the course of the program translate well into other disciplines. You continuously find other fields coming to you to say, “We want to be able to accomplish this, and we know you have the skill sets to do it.”

What advice would you give to current Digital Arts and Sciences students?

I would say, don’t allow yourself to be pigeonholed into one kind of degree. It is important to recognize that the skill sets, tools, and creativity you’re learning will open you up to a broad array of possibilities. There’s a lot of different directions you can go with that skill set. During the degree, I thought maybe I’d end up working at a studio somewhere, doing coding or doing modeling or whatever. And I ended up working in education and doing a bunch of different things in education. I would also say that the skill set is broad, and you can move in many different directions with those skills.

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