Watt discovers inspiration, the future of emerging media arts | Nebraska today

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln ignited a spark in Justin Watt.

Visiting campus on a whim between priority stops in Kansas State and Iowa State, the Chicago-area native discovered that Nebraska U (and, in particular, its Emerging Media Arts program at the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts) was – by far – the “coolest” in terms of future possibilities.

“When I heard about Nebraska’s Emerging Media Arts program, I knew this was where I needed to be,” Watt said. “I had looked at the programs of several other universities, but there was nothing like EMA everywhere.”

An interdisciplinary specialty focused on experiential and project-based learning, the Emerging Media Arts program is designed to prepare Huskers for the creative jobs of the future. The program continues to grow, graduating from its first cohort in the spring of 2022 and with students completing work on Disney’s “Kenobi” series and Marvel’s “Thor: Love and Thunder.”

It was this range of opportunity and hands-on experience — both in the classroom and through internships — that drew Watt to the program.

“Honestly, I never thought I would be at a Big Ten college or have the opportunity to do something big, like working on a Star Wars or Marvel production,” Watt said. “But, here I am in Nebraska and in a program that offers that and so much more.”

With talents in music and art, Watt uses his first year on campus to explore options on potential career paths. Although not 100% settled, Watt has an initial interest in sound design.

He is also inspired by the instructors of the EMA program.

“Meeting all the people and the teachers has been amazing,” Watt said. “They are all so creative. And it’s an amazing opportunity to explore their journeys and see how it all fell into place for them – it gives me hope for the future, like maybe I can do something better. as cool as them after graduating.

For now, Watt is content to “ride the wave” of his first semester, meeting new people, learning everything he can on campus, and experiencing everything available through the EMA program.

“I look forward to all the college has to offer,” Watt said. “It’s going to be an incredible adventure.”

Watt is among 1,170 students who came to the university nationwide this fall to pursue their undergraduate studies, an increase of 3.6% from last year. It is also helping to grow the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, which saw a 6.2% increase in enrollment from fall 2021. Learn more about fall enrollment 2022 from the university.


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Donnie J. Milburn