A Game Changer​

Jacqueline "Yurika" Imai, Entertainment Technology​

Jacqueline “Yurika” Imai wanted to be an animator from an early age. After earning a math degree from the University of California, San Diego, and taking courses at California Institute of the Arts, she decided SMC was the place to turn her long-held dream into a viable career path.

“A CalArts professor recommended SMC,” she says. “As someone who already went through college, I wasn’t in a hurry to dive back into another four-year program. The affordability was nice.”

Yurika now calls the decision to come to SMC “a game changer” in terms of building her future.

The skills she learned enabled her to assemble a demo reel that attracted attention from a number of animation companies. “I had the good fortune to work as a character animator for two different studios,” she says. “And now I’m in the process of interviewing for a third.”

Ultimately, Yurika plans to work in feature animation, but she is also dabbling in game design.

She is grateful for the opportunities that have arisen and appreciates SMC’s help in the networking process. “The classes were wonderful, but it was really the people that I met at SMC who stood out,” Yurika says. “You get the full support of your peers, and the professors had undying patience and were willing to share their knowledge and give critiques and suggestions on my animation without any sugarcoating. That was important for me.”