Las Vegas, N.M. – Two New Mexico Highlands University media arts and technology students have each received $2,500 fellowships to develop independent projects, thanks to the Seabury Foundation and the Highlands Foundation.
Becca Sharp, an Albuquerque native and third-generation Highlands student, received the 2018-2019 Seabury Fellowship and Jamie García, a native of Las Vegas, New Mexico, received the 2017-2018 fellowship.
Sharp is a senior pursuing her bachelor of fine arts degree, with an emphasis in multimedia and interactivity. She is on track to complete her BFA in December 2019.
Sharp said that from a young age, she has cared about animals, especially those who cannot fight for themselves.
“My Seabury project focuses on wildlife and conservation, specifically with penguins and glacier change,” Sharp said. “I incorporated all my skills I learned in media arts to build an exhibit with design panels with information and infographics about penguin populations. I also used physical computing to create animatronic, or robotic like, penguins from recycled materials for the exhibit. In addition, I created a 3-D model of a penguin and placed it into Unity, a video game platform.”
Sharp said the exhibit’s primary goal is to inform people about the overuse of plastic and how it is affecting the Earth’s oceans and animal life.
“According to National Geographic, more than five trillion pieces of trash are currently floating in our oceans,” said Sharp.
Garcia graduated from Highlands in May 2018 with a double major in media arts and technology as well as music. She is a performance artist and composer, playing trumpet and trombone for the Las Vegas band Contrafact.
“For my Seabury project, we developed Music-Ops, a music program for children that benefits the communities of Las Vegas and surrounding areas,” Garcia said. “We provide children with the fundamentals in music that are applicable to any instrument or genre of music in order to achieve musical excellence. Music education is crucial to early childhood development and plays an important role in academic performance. Our students have the opportunity to grow as musicians and to learn the importance of self-confidence through team work.”
In the summer of 2018, García collaborated with community developer Heru El to present a two-month summer band camp at the Highlands Champ Tyrone Music Building for 40 Las Vegas area youth aged 9 to 12. The popular camp ended with the youth orchestra performing in concert at the Historic Las Vegas Plaza Park gazebo.
“Our goal is music mastery for rural youth, and we want to fulfill the knowledge-of-music void that exists in rural communities. With Music-Ops we envision a world where regardless of socioeconomic conditions, every child has the opportunity to master the art of music,” García said.
The Music-Ops team is already planning its curriculum for this summer’s youth band camp.
Media arts faculty Lauren Addario, the adviser for the Seabury fellows, said the projects are impressive.
“Becca’s vision is bold, and her project stands out for its connection to community and global climate change issues,” Addario said. “Her talents range from graphic design to multimedia and interactivity. They’re all on display in this powerful installation.
“Jamie’s Seabury project is the most comprehensive since we began awarding the fellowships in 2008. Music-Ops is not only a music program for Las Vegas youth, but a place for children to learn how to express themselves in a constructive way,” Addario said.
The Seabury Foundation was established in 1947 by Louise Lovett Seabury and Charles Ward,. Since 2008, the foundation has awarded fellowships to Highlands University media arts and technology students.