Student Creative Projects Featured in Undergraduate Research Journal

Arts and Technology students displayed their creative talents in the newest edition of The Exley, UT Dallas’ undergraduate research journal.

Creative projects published in the journal include poetry, game design, comics and an animated film.

The Fast and the Fjorious

Cara Curley and Kelly Padgett were among the 15 students who created The Fast and the Fjorious, featured in The Exley. The project is a 3D, two-versus-two racing game that features spring cartoon Vikings on a mad dash to obtain Thor’s hammer. The game was developed in the fall 2013 session of Game Production Lab taught by Monica Evans and supervised by Kyle Kondas and Skylar Rudin.

Curley is a junior arts and technology major. As a proud Bryce Jordan Creative and Performing Arts scholar, she aspires to become a professional graphic artist and illustrator.

Padgett completed a bachelor’s degree in arts and technology with a focus on game production in December 2013, graduating summa cum laude.

Bird in a Cage

Also featured is Bird in a Cage, a 3D animated short film that tells the story of an inventor who creates a set of wings enabling him to fly, only to realize that he is trapped inside his laboratory. Work for the short began in August 2011 and was completed in summer 2013.

“While the original creative team consisted of a mere handful of students, the final product is the cumulative work of more than 20 students,” said Greg Slagel, director for the short.

Slagel was a founding member and first president of the Animation Guild at UT Dallas, as well as one of the first members of the Undergraduate Dean’s Advisory Council. In his senior year, he was awarded the Presidential Achievement Scholarship, and upon graduating cum laude, received major honors for his senior thesis film, Bird in a Cage.

Projections and Reflections

Desirée Alicea-Aponte and Joseph Castillo’s piece “Projections and Reflections” explores identity and isolation.

“The comic revolves around the idea of who a person is versus how the world sees them. The final product, we hope, is something that the audience will be able to readily interpret and relate to,” said Alicea-Aponte.

Although he originally planned a career in biomedicine, Castillo changed course during high school and chose to pursue his dream of creating video games. Currently, he aspires to become a game writer but states that “becoming any sort of writer would be pretty great, too.”

Alicea-Aponte is a freshman majoring in arts and technology, with aspirations of becoming a storyboard artist and animator.

About The Exley

The Exley is named after UT Dallas supporter and former staff member Elizabeth Exley Hodge. She began work in the University’s administrative offices in 1967, when the institution was called the Southwest Center for Advanced Studies.

When the center became UT Dallas in 1969, Hodge transferred to the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, where she assisted faculty members in preparing research grant applications.

After a number of years in grants management in the school, and later in the Office of Sponsored Projects, she retired in 1986. She currently resides in Dallas.

The Office of Undergraduate Education manages the journal and publishes each issue in collaboration with theOffice of Research and the Office of Communications.