Willow Lynne Evans “Declawing cats is an amputation down to the first knuckle. It’s like you losing the last digit on every one of your fingers.”

That’s Willow Lynne Evans on the right with her pal, Jennifer Conrad, DVM, who also takes classes at SMC. The two women have bonded together to expose the barbaric practice of amputating the claws of animals. And they have passion in their message. “Jennifer is the founder of the Paw Project (, and she had about 100 hours of video of lions, tigers, bears, and other animals who’ve been crippled by declawing. She wasn’t sure what to do with all of it,” says Willow. “But when I saw her PowerPoint presentation, I saw it as a script, and I saw that the whole story was there.”

Willow has studied at SMC’s Academy of Entertainment & Technology for years and has developed skill sets that have allowed her to charge to the technological rescue of abused animals. “We’re going to make a DVD and take it to festivals. People need to learn that it’s easy to train cats and other animals, and that they need to scratch. It’s just part of who they are,” she explains. “I’ve learned every program I need to make this documentary at the Academy. And the teachers and counselors there are wonderful artists themselves, and they are really there to help you.”

Determined to tell an emotionally wrenching story in digital technology, Willow soon found herself being surrounded by an entire creative community at the Academy. “Steve Toyama is contributing motion graphics to the project, and he is amazing!” says Willow. “Stu, our lab technician, is doing 3D stuff, and my instructor, Warren Heaton, has also been very helpful. We know that the power of the media is the only way to educate people about these procedures,” says Willow. “So we’re coming to the rescue of all animals, big and small.”

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