Digital applications internship with HudsonAlpha allows UAH students to apply classroom learning

Cyndi Flint

Cyndi Flint describes a project she worked on as a digital applications intern during a showcase hosted by the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology last month.

Michael Mercier | UAH

For the second year in a row, the Department of Art, Art History, and Design at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology partnered on an internship program that tasks UAH students with creating digital content on behalf of the Institute’s Educational Outreach team.

"It’s not a ‘we need coffee’ kind of internship," says Vinny Argentina, an assistant professor of art, animation and game design. "The students are active members of the team, implementing the tools they’ve learned in the classroom."

This year’s interns are both seniors working toward their Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees; Cyndi Flint’s concentration is in digital animation, while Hugo Ocampo’s is in graphic design. The two spent eight months using their animation and graphic design skills to create digital resources for clinical and education purposes.

Hugo Ocampo

Hugo Ocampo says his experience was "a good transition from art to science."

Michael Mercier | UAH

"They’ve been a fantastic addition," says Dr. Adam Hott, who serves as HudsonAlpha’s Expanding Solutions Expert and Digital Applications Lead for Educational Outreach. "They brought professionalism and talent to the projects they did for the Institute."

Some projects required the students to learn new software programs, while others challenged them to create assets from scratch. The pair also partnered when needed, with Ocampo providing visual elements for animations that Flint produced and edited for length and content. "There’s a lot of reviewing that goes into it," says Flint. "Revisions can really change the way an animation looks."

One unexpected advantage was their lack of any previous exposure to biotechnology, particularly when translating complex topics into accessible content for visual learners. "It’s beneficial to have someone who isn’t entrenched and doesn’t really understand the concepts at first," says Argentina. "It makes things more relatable."

With this year’s internship complete – and Flint and Ocampo’s portfolios now bursting with evidence of their valuable real-world experience – a new set of students will have the opportunity to follow in their digital footsteps.

"We provide students with a versatile foundation in design, creative problem solving, and how to work successfully in a collaborative environment," says Department chair Dr. Lillian Joyce. "Partnering with HudsonAlpha has allowed our students to rise to challenges and apply their skills in a high-tech environment."


Contact

UAH Department of Art, Art History, and Design
 256.824.6114
art@uah.edu

Educational Outreach at HudsonAlpha
 256.327.0510 
edoutreach@hudsonalpha.org

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