Workshops let teens sample careers

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Instructor Maya Erdelyi teaches animation to high school students Friday as part of Southeastern Louisiana University's 'Zoom Into Careers,' a weeklong camp for teens to help them learn about career paths. At left, Bryce Smith, 12, of Livingston, works on his animation project.
Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- Instructor Maya Erdelyi teaches animation to high school students Friday as part of Southeastern Louisiana University's 'Zoom Into Careers,' a weeklong camp for teens to help them learn about career paths. At left, Bryce Smith, 12, of Livingston, works on his animation project.

Josh Hutchinson eyed the computer screen closely as a shark moved slowly across the screen en route to devour a smaller fish.

The ocean waves on the screen moved as bubbles extended from the unsuspecting fish’s mouth.

Josh took just three days to create the short animated film at Southeastern Louisiana University’s Zoom into Careers animation workshop.

As Hutchinson, 15, of Denham Springs, added more elements to his film, Emeri Broderick, a Live Oak High School sophomore, was just about finished on her stop-motion film.

The 14-year-old had spent much of Wednesday drawing her ideas on paper, taking 179 photographs of shapes and drawings and then using stop-motion software to produce her film, which lasted only a few seconds.

“I really wanted to learn how to work the (software) programs Flash, Stop Motion and After Effects,” Emeri said. “I was surprised how this turned out exactly how I had pictured it in my mind.”

The Division of Extended Studies at Southeastern sponsored Zoom into Careers, which is being held this summer on the SLU campuses in Hammond and Mandeville and at the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center in Walker.

Zoom into Careers offers workshops on animation, automotive, criminal justice, culinary, health care, industrial technology and engineering, kinesiology, movie making, photography, radio, television, theatre, web design and welding.

“Zoom into Careers is a wonderful way for junior high and high school students to explore career opportunities and experience Southeastern’s beautiful campus or regional locations,” said Charlotte Collins, director of Zoom into Careers for Extended Studies. This summer’s offerings are already filled.

Zoom workshops are hands-on, using the latest technology in specialized labs to create an interactive experience in the career field of choice. Participants can receive a glimpse into college life with the overnight option in Southeastern’s dorms, which are offered to high school students participating in workshops on the main campus.

Maya Erdelyi, who taught the weeklong animation workshop, said she presented students with “a taste of a lot of things over a short period of time.”

In addition to giving the students a quick history about animation, Erdelyi, a professor who teaches animation at Southeastern, taught the students how to use a variety of software programs to create their short films.

While she said that she was impressed with the students’ work, Erdelyi said she could have delved deeper into the subject had the workshop been two weeks long.

“But there is something good about having a deadline,” she said.

Erdelyi, who works as a professional animator in New York City and Los Angeles, said the students can benefit from being taught by a professional animator.

The Zoom into Careers program also gives students a taste of college life, she said.

For information on other courses offered at Southeastern, visit http://www.selu.edu.