Jorge Sandoval “Whenever I’m not at the Academy or in the studio, I’m giving my father a helping hand with his business. I’ve got a great family.”

Once upon a time, ‘portals’ were doorways you walked through, ‘drivers’ wore livery, ‘servers’ brought you lunch, ‘engines’ hunkered in Oldsmobiles, and ‘cookies’ were served with tea. But all of these meanings seem archaic these days: Now, they belong to the computerized future. And notions of what Latinos can—and will—accomplish in America have also been relegated to the past.

When you call Jorge Sandoval’s phone number, you might get an outgoing message for his father’s gardening and lawn service. Call him ten years from now, and you’ll be lucky to reach his assistant. “Straight from my first class at the Academy, I got a job in web animation, and they put me in charge of my own show!” says Jorge excitedly. “I’m the lead animator, and it’s because of Jim Keeshen, who suggested I try for the job. There are such great people at the Academy; people like him and like Ian Dellota, who teaches the 3-D stuff,” adds Jorge. “In some kinds of animation, you actually get to create whole worlds, because you’re modeling everything, working with lights—even calling in the ‘extras,’” he says with a laugh. “It’s really almost like making an entire ‘movie in a box’ at times.”

Though he’s known he’d be an animator since he was “a little kid with big eyes,” Jorge says that he truly owes his success to his family. “My dad is so proud that I’m in college and realizing all of my potential” says Jorge. “And I’m proud that I can help him out with his work, too.” But Jorge reports that, even without a close family backing you, you’ve got friends at SMC. “Oh, we’ve got everything for the students here, man. I’ve been to other schools, and they don’t teach nearly as well. And the contacts here? It’s not out of the question that I could end up at Disney.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.