Nandhini Giri, MSDAS 2008, is a Ph.D. Candidate in Media Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington. After completing her master’s degree at the University of Florida, she gained over five years of industry experience as a Production Coordinator with DreamWorks Animation before pursuing doctoral studies. Her current research interests are designing human-centric entertainment systems, design practices in computer graphics, and the interactive entertainment industry (XR, Gaming, Animation, VFX Industries).
In what ways did your Digital Arts & Sciences (DAS) experience [at the Digital Worlds Institute] prepare you for your career?
I enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the projects at Digital Worlds. It has helped me look at things, not just from a single discipline or theory of practice, and have a broad understanding of how to bring in things from different disciplines and put them together. I carry over the interdisciplinary skills I learned into my profession and education. It taught me collaboration. Working with people from different cultural backgrounds is something I’ve enjoyed and began learning at Digital Worlds.
What do you like most about your current career?
Currently, I’m in the space where I’m following a design theory, a design inquiry of approach, which is all about a solid unification of theory and practice. After working in the industry for many years and now getting into academia, it really helps me have this balanced understanding of the theory and if it really works in practice. I can take it as feedback and refine my theory.
What are your favorite DAS memories?
I really enjoyed some of the collaborative work we did, like the [Motion Capture] project. I also really enjoyed one of the projects where I could dance as one of the performing artists. It was unexpected because I was the media engineer doing technical stuff, putting the content together in the immersive theater. But then there was also this part where I exhibited my other talents, and it was really memorable for me.
What advice would you give to current Digital Arts & Sciences students?
I think this is a very fertile field of inquiry, and would definitely have students take a T-shaped approach where you develop a broad understanding of everything that’s going on in the digital media field, but also have your own specializations. So pick a couple of skill sets where you’re like really the best person to do and also have a broad understanding of how that fits in the broader field.