Las Vegas, NM — New Mexico Highlands University media arts graduate Veronica Black landed a position as a digital educator in the Adventures in Science program at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
“I’ll be developing interactive educational games for middle school youth using the Second Life 3D computer platform that creates a virtual world,” Black said. In the Second Life world, users can interact with each other through avatars and participate in individual or group pursuits. “I’ll also develop stop-motion animation videos and other projects.”
The Highlands alumna will also present her thesis research on wearable sensor technology in Barcelona, Spain Sept. 25 — 26 at the international conference titled “New Materialism Methodologies — Gender, Politics and Digital.”
“I wanted to design for the body using technology to create wearable art and garments. My thesis research explored wearable technology, the next generation of mobile devices,” Black said.
She gives the example of how Nike uses sensor technology in shoes and wristbands that monitor your heart rate and the distance you run or walk, while interfacing with your smart phone.
“The face value of this wearable sensor technology is staying connected, but there’s much more to it — like creating new ways to solve problems such as alerting people to dangers of air pollution. The potential applications are endless. It’s what’s hot and trending now,” Black said.
In May, Black completed her MFA in design and technology from Parsons School of Design in New York City, one of the premier design schools in the world. She earned a University Merit Award, was awarded a Graduate Dean’s Scholarship, and graduated with a 3.8 GPA.
She said Parsons provided a rich learning environment.
“At Parsons, the overall theme of the curriculum is very exploratory, which gives you freedom within the context of design and technology. The teachers are amazing, and I had a wonderful experience,” Black said.
The 32-year-old from Huron, South Dakota, was also a stellar student at Highlands, making the dean’s list and garnering a Seabury Fellowship for cultural technology. She graduated in 2011 with a BFA in digital filmmaking and a minor in studio art.
“The Media Arts and Technology Program at Highlands is cutting edge, so I already knew the latest computer coding language, software and design principles that some of my fellow classmates had to learn,” Black said. “Highlands was perfect for teaching me how to work with clients and deliver projects.
“The Program for Interactive Cultural Technology, PICT, and the Advanced Design Practice course were especially important in my success at Parsons,” Black said.
Media arts professor Miriam Langer described Black’s work at Parsons as powerful, brave and meaningful.
“Veronica is highly proficient in the technology — especially video production and physical computing — and, along with that, she is a superb communicator who knows that the work isn’t just about technology,” Langer said. “It’s about conveying an idea, a concept or a story.
“What makes Veronica such a great story is she always said yes to every opportunity at Highlands and always gave 100 percent — whether it was doing her documentary film for the Santa Fe Railyard or her work with teens for the Youth Media Project,” Langer said.
Langer said she is unabashedly thrilled about her former student’s success at Parsons School of Design, and for landing a professional job so quickly.
“Knowing that Highlands played a pivotal role in Veronica’s professional development and confidence in the industry is unbelievably rewarding. When we met in New York recently, we talked as peers about our research, which is fabulous,” Langer said.