Alison Goodrich loves to create the mirror image of reality – with the slide of pastels across paper and, someday, with the intricate software that programs animation.
That’s why she chose to major in Visual Communications Arts at SUNY Broome. It’s not just fine arts and the stereotype of the starving artist, the first-semester student pointed out.
“It’s an art major geared toward digital and modern day applications,” she said. “There are different careers that can build off Visual Communications Arts.”
Of course, she has fine arts skills, too, and has been drawing horses ever since she could pick up a pen. In fact, outside of school, she has her own portraiture business, pictureyourhorse.net, in which she creates custom horse portraits with soft pastels. A member of 4-H, her paintings have made it to the organization’s state competition.
She chose her medium for its heightened realism, which is also her draw toward animation. She enjoys animated movies, particularly How to Train Your Dragon, and hopes to become an animator herself.
“I enjoy visual storytelling and doing it in a realistic form,” she said. “The software to do it is extremely complicated and hard to learn. They say ‘start early,’ so that’s what I’m doing.”
From homeschooling to college
Alison was homeschooled which, contrary to popular belief, isn’t a lonely experience. She was a part of several homeschooling groups that offered classes and other organized activities. In fact, when it comes to college experience, homeschooling has some benefits.
“Homeschooling helped me realize I was in charge of my schooling. There are strict regulations, but flexibility within those regulations. It taught me what time management is, and taking ownership of my studies,” she said.
She was introduced to SUNY Broome early, as her mother teaches English classes at the college. To learn more about her future alma mater, Alison attended two open houses, where she connected with professors and learned more about the college’s academic programs, including the Honors program.
“I was impressed by how friendly the faculty were,” she said of her decision to come to SUNY Broome. “I wasn’t ready to look at colleges further in the distance.”
She eventually opted for the challenge of Honors, and particularly appreciates how Professor Jesse Katen remembered her from Open House. Her first semester included an Honors seminar, in which she had the opportunity to engage in discussions with her peers and work on a research paper relevant to her interests. She chose the impact of “deep fakes” and special effects on American psychology – an eye-opening exploration of a timely topic.
She’s looking forward to her Spring 2020 classes, including architecture, drawing, history and children’s literature; the last connects with her job at the Vestal Public Library, where she works in the children’s section. Her advisor knows people in the animation field and offered to help put them in touch.
“It’s nice that it’s a place where people encourage you to look around and decide what you want to do,” she said of her SUNY Broome experience. “It’s a great place to start forming networks.”