Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (June 14, 2013) – A Wilkes University professor is one of three individuals nationally awarded a fellowship from Sony Pictures Imageworks. Eric Ruggiero of Shavertown, Pa., associate professor and chair of the integrative media department, was selected for the Faculty Fellowship Program known as IPAX, and will spend six weeks this summer at the Sony Pictures motion picture lot in Culver City, Calif. where he will shadow production team members working on current animated feature films. Program participants also attend meetings, screen dailies and artist shot reviews.
IPAX, Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence Program, is a joint venture of three divisions of Sony Pictures, including Imageworks, Animation and Interactive, a digital marketing agency and production studio. The goal of IPAX is to connect teaching faculty, students and industry professionals with real-world production issues to help prepare graduates for professional careers in the industry. This goal is reached by providing firsthand exposure to the production pipeline and processes of digital animation, visual effects for live action, CG features, and stereoscopic productions.
Ruggiero submitted essays written by his students and links to their projects as part of the highly competitive application process. He has taught at Wilkes since 2005, and is looking forward to becoming immersed in the digital production process during the fellowship. He hopes to develop contacts in the industry, which will open the door for potential employment opportunities for Wilkes students who pursue the integrative media program.
“This is a tremendous opportunity in name recognition for Wilkes,” says Ruggiero. “The fellowship will also help expand the department’s awareness of technology and develop internships for Wilkes students.”
Remaining ahead of the curve is vital to success in the entertainment industry. Sony recently unveiled a look at the new PlayStation 4, and Ruggiero says the continued increase of processor speed and graphic capability will further the visual realism of the game experience. “This will also continue to narrow the skill-sets required for the animators between the features market and the game industry,” he says.
Ruggiero’s decision to apply to IPAX was strategic. Two major trade shows will bookend the fellowship, adding even greater exposure of the Wilkes program to the broadcast media industry.
Departing Wilkes-Barre on June 16, Ruggiero will first attend a three-day PromaxBDA conference, where more than 10,000 companies and individuals from 65 countries convene and engage in further developing the media and media marketing sectors of television and video content.
Following the six-week fellowship at Sony, Ruggiero will also attend the annual ACM/SIGGRAPH conference in Anaheim, Calif., where the theory and practice of computer graphics and interactive techniques is explored. The five-day conference is attended by an international community of researchers, artists, developers, filmmakers, scientists and business professionals who share an interest in computer graphics and interactive techniques. The event inspires progress through education, excellence and interaction.
Ruggiero holds an MFA in Computer Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, a BFA in Computer Graphics from Syracuse University, and an AAS in Architectural Technology from Onondaga Community College. Since joining Wilkes, he has been instrumental in developing local and national relationships, fostering community involvement and brokering internships and permanent positions. He continues as an independent producer, director, and art director and currently serves as an advisory council member of PromaxBDA.