Alex Rohr

he/him/his Upstate New York

Program

Experimental Animation

Year

MFA3

Favorite Memory from Orientation

Getting to welcome everyone to school for the first time since covid hit - I will never not be grateful that we're able to have class on campus!

Advice for Incoming Students

Have some focus, so you know what you want to find depth with and can follow that thread, but also be flexible and do a few things that are outside your typical repertoire. It's difficult to achieve but the balance between these two mindsets is an ideal one while at school.

Fun Fact

I'm not necessarily an avid reader, but when do get a hold of a book, everything else dissolves and I'm totally immersed until the end.


Photo of Arden DiManno

Arden DiManno

she/her/hers

Ashburn, VA

Program:

Film/Video

Year:

BFA3

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

The drag show with Karen Beaches! I remember sitting next to someone who mentioned they've never seen drag in real life. After the show they turned to me and said "I know I belong here." All year they've been making art about their discovery of their identity. It became my favorite memory because it was unforgettable fun and changed lives.

Advice for Incoming Students:

Get involved! The best way to make friends outside of your school is to work on projects and collaborate! Never be scared to ask someone you don't know well for help on your project, you'll be surprised how involved the whole campus wants to be.

Also, try new things! College is a great way to do things you've never done and you may learn skills that will come in handy sooner than you think.

Fun Fact:

A special talent that I have is wiggling my nose to Jason Derulo's "Wiggle"


 

Ben Formella

he/him/his

Stevens Point, WI

Program:

Acting

Year:

BFA3

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Meeting my friends from Zoom

Advice for Incoming Students:

Be yourself! Truthfully there is no one here you need to impress but yourself. Get out of your comfort zone! Trust your instincts!

Fun Fact:

I box.


 

Cassy Sottile

she/her/hers

Frederick, MD

Program:

Stage Management

Year:

MFA2

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Seeing the campus for the first time on a tour, where I met the rest of my MFA 1 Stage Management cohort. That tour solidified our close friendship! Without taking that tour, I never would have met some of my friends outside of the stage management program and I definitely wouldn't know my way around campus as well as I do.

Advice for Incoming Students:

Take advantage of everything that happens on campus — plays, music recitals, art installations, gallery night, and so much more. There's always something new and exciting happening on campus and you'll never know what you can see and maybe find an interest in!

Fun Fact:

I have flown a plane before.


 

Connor Fitzmaurice

he/him/his

San Antonio, Texas

Program:

Acting

Year:

BFA3

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

My favorite memory from Orientation was definitely the snow cone truck and tacos. With good food, new friends from orientation, and terrific weather, just hanging out in Mom’s cafe is so much fun and it really gave me time to get to know fellow CalArts students.

Advice for Incoming Students:

Practice a lot of time management! Chances are you’re going to be in a show, a huge project, and a bunch of other activities all on the same day. So learning how to manage all of that will help you to not get overwhelmed and have the most fun possible.

Fun Fact:

My favorite musical artist is Phoebe Bridgers


 

Dionne Robinson

she/her/hers

Columbus, Mississippi

Program:

Acting

Year:

MFA2

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

My favorite memory from my orientation was the graduate student social! It gave all the MFA students the opportunity to come together and meet one another! I was able to network and make connections from the start! I made new friends and collaboration partners!

Advice for Incoming Students:

My advice would be to just dive in, but to also know your boundaries! Be open and be honest with/about yourselves! And don't be afraid to use your voice!

Fun Fact:

I am also a teaching artist! Before coming to CalArts, I was an elementary school teacher. I was limited to teaching a state standardized curriculum. Now, I have the opportunity to explore teaching an art-based curriculum with CalArts' Community Arts Partnership program!

 


Emma Xu

she/her/hers

Chengdu, China

Program:

Experimental Pop

Year:

BFA4

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

I met many friends who I still have good connections with, and collaborated with some of them too! I was scared a little by the haunted night, which makes me think my college experience would be fun.

Advice for Incoming Students:

This is going to be an unforgettable four years of your life. Congratulations on making the right decision and be ready to enjoy every beautiful moment you spend here. You are gonna miss it so badly! People here are extra-friendly, they are among the kindest people in the world. So don't be afraid to ask any questions or seek help. You can always find someone to trust and sort of rely on when you need to! CalArts is a small community, which makes it more like home.

Fun Fact:

I look like I can never rap, but I rap incredibly well. I also do speed rap by the way.

 


Grace Hlavacek

she/her/hers

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Program:

Experience Design and Production

Year:

BFA2

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Getting to meet new people everywhere, from specific events to lines for food.

Advice for Incoming Students:

You belong here!! Your art is wonderful and amazing and you deserve to be at this school. Keep creating and show the world what a badass you are!

Fun Fact:

I am also this year's Student Union Vice President!

 


Grace (Sung Eun) Park

she/her/hers

Seoul, South Korea

Program:

Character Animation

Year:

BFA2

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Talking to the orientation leaders about their experiences at CalArts! They all had such interesting things to say, ranging from which is the best bathroom to poop to what cool and fun traditions CalArts has to offer. Even if the OL isn’t from your specific metier, they can still tell you so many fun stuff that really gets you excited about your first year!

Advice for Incoming Students:

Don’t rush! I know things can be daunting when you first arrive to this new, exciting, peculiar community and it can kinda make you a bit intimidated, but rest assured that every single one of your peers is feeling the same way. You’ll find the friend group that embraces who you are loves you for it sometime or another! Take your time to get adjusted, give yourself plenty of breathing room, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Fun Fact:

I majored in International Relations at a college before switching into animation and coming to CalArts!


Hannah Panov

they/she

Toronto, Canada

Year:

BFA4

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Haunted CalArts tours!

Advice for Incoming Students:

Take classes in other programs!

Fun Fact:

I've seen Mamma Mia! (2008) at least 20 times.

 


Jeannette Srinivasan

she/they

San Antonio, TX

Program:

Acting

Year:

BFA4

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Hiking with a bunch of future classmates at Towsley!

Advice for Incoming Students:

Take advantage of the vibrant and talented community, BUT also schedule some "me time" throughout your week!  Also, go to Gallery nights!

Fun Fact:

Had to get 4 premolars removed my first year at CalArts (my orthodontist made me).


Jessica Goh

she/her/hers

Singapore, Singapore

Program:

Experimental Animation

Year:

BFA3

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Going down to downtown LA for a field trip!

Advice for Incoming Students:

If you live on campus, the film library is a really nice spot to step away from the world for a sec! We all need that sometimes.

Fun Fact:

Bona fide SM Entertainment historian

 


Joshua (Josh) Salgado

he/him/his

San Jose, CA

Program:

Music Technology

Year:

BFA3

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Hanging out with all my new friends eating food from the food trucks after the Big Welcome!

Advice for Incoming Students:

Be yourself! Have fun and mingle as much as you can, you will meet a lot of beautiful and talented artists who will become great friends and possible collaborators in the future!

Fun Fact:

I love to DJ and MC!

 

 


 

Josie Anders

she/her/hers

St. Louis, Missouri

Program:

Dance

Year:

BFA4

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Going to Venice Beach during orientation!

Advice for Incoming Students:

Make friends in other métiers, don’t overwhelm yourself with outside projects, and remember that you deserve to be here!!

Fun Fact:

I have two cats named Scout and Luna!

 


 

Martina Mattar Basille De Donno

she/her/hers

São Paulo, SP

Program:

Film and Video

Year:

BFA4

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

My favorite memory from my own Orientation Week in 2018 was when we went to the beach. I was mesmerized to see the Ocean after being surrounded by desert landscapes, which are also just as beautiful.

Advice for Incoming Students:

As a BFA4, I’ve threaded many different paths in the school. I advise that incoming students try to diversify their activities as much as possible, that is, that they participate in events, take on-campus jobs, lead clubs, etc. That way, you will meet many different people and when you get to your last year, you will feel like CalArts is your home and everyone is your relative (because you will know so many people!).

Fun Fact:

I am from Brazil, and I love comparing my culture with other cultures. I love traveling and getting to know people from different countries. It is always so fascinating to me when we discover other ways of living, behaving and thinking. I always learn so much about myself and our world!

More of a fun fact:

I have the sweetest Sphinx cat back home and I will definitely show you pictures of him if we meet.


 

Quinn Argent

he/him/his

Denver, CO

Program:

Jazz

Year:

BFA4

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Haunted house tour!

Advice for Incoming Students:

Don’t forget to have fun!

Fun Fact:

I love scary movies!


 

Ryan Mesidor

he/him/his

Laurel, MD

Program:

Character Animation

Year:

BFA2

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

I loved the time where my friends and I watched the movie Soul. It marked the time where I felt I belonged to CalArts.

Advice for Incoming Students:

Enjoy the process of being a new student because time flies and you may regret the time you didn't appreciate exploring college life. You only have four years or less so make the most of it!

Fun Fact:

I'm the youngest of six older siblings.


 

Pablo de Larrañaga Aramoni

he/him/his

Morelia, Mexico

Program:

Experience Design and Production

Year:

BFA3

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

What I liked the most about orientation was meeting people as passionate as me and sharing with each other what we love most! It is very exciting and surreal to become part of CalArts.

Advice for Incoming Students:

Don't be afraid of success, dare to explore beyond your comfort zone. At CalArts you will meet amazing people and live incredible experiences all the time, it is from these opportunities that you will truly learn and grow as an artist. Be yourself! Remember that you belong!

Fun Fact:

I speak Spanish, English, French, and some Mexican Sign Language!


 

Wesley Prussing

he/him/his

Port St. Lucie, FL

Program:

Character Animation

Year:

BFA2

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

Meeting and talking to anyone and everyone on campus.

Advice for Incoming Students:

You just got to wing it. The world can end tomorrow.

Fun Fact:

I can teleport anywhere I want.


 

California Institute of the Arts

Zoe Tiller

she/her/hers

Petaluma, CA

Program:

Photography and Media

Year:

BFA4

Favorite Memory from Orientation:

The pool BBQ party! Great food and fun activities like the bounce house and with all the music and swimming it was a great way to better connect with the people I met

Advice for Incoming Students:

Orient your choices at this school to align with the outcome you’d like to see at graduation

Fun Fact:

I’ve done hand modeling for BEBE advertising