Notre Dame alum Allan Hemberger told students who packed the DeBartolo Hall auditorium Tuesday evening that the most enjoyable and difficult area of his career is working in visual effects.Hemberger discussed his experiences working in the field of feature films and the technical background that accompanied it.“Every time I come here, I try to summarize what I do and the answer changes each time,” he said.Hemberger, a 2001 graduate of Notre Dame, has worked for WETA Digital, a five-time Academy Award winning visual effects facility in New Zealand, for several years. He will start work at Pixar in May.“I spent the past year working on Avatar,” he said. “I carved out a niche at WETA as a person who loved working on really hard problems. It was a lot of headaches and long hours, but I liked having an area to work on.”Hemberger worked as computer graphics supervisor for the Academy Award-winning movie “Avatar” and as a 3D digital water technical director for “King Kong”.He began the presentation by showing students a demo reel he created while working as a computer graphics supervisor on the movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”“A lot of tricks that I learned on ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’ transferred over into my work with ‘Avatar,’” he said.While working on “Avatar,” Hemberger said he was in charge of creating the graphics for the character Jake playing around in the water.“The first task they gave me [when I was working] on ‘Avatar’ was to create a river,” he said. “That one scene took about eight months from start to finish.”As a computer graphic supervisor on “Avatar,” Hemberger was in charge of a number of light artists.“Everything that went into the computer graphics for the scene had to be delivered through me,” he said. Hemberger showed a video about the ways water graphics can be generated using a computer program.Hemburger said film footage shot on a regular camera could previously be used to generate graphics, but that is no longer the case.“On ‘Avatar,’ the problem was we couldn’t use 2D elements anymore, we had to use all 3D,” he said.Hemberger said one of the most difficult scenes to create was one that showed the character both above and underwater.“This scene was infinitely more challenging because the camera breaches the water’s surface,” he said. “What makes it complicated was that there were two entirely different elements at play here.”Hemberger said he had been working on an animated film for the past few months but dropped the project when he took the job at Pixar.“This is the long and short of the adventures of my past year or so,” he said. “I’m going to Pixar to be an effects technical director. There, I’ll probably be doing more effects like the ones I did at WETA.”After the presentation ended, Hemberger fielded questions from members of the audience about attaining a career in the field.Among other projects Hemberger worked on were “Eragon,” “The Matrix Reloaded” and “X-Men: The Last Stand.” The Department of Computer Science and Engineering sponsored Hemberger’s talk, which was called “Experiments in Feature Film Visual Effects.”
Junior Declan Sullivan died Wednesday when a film tower fell over during football practice. He was 20. Those who knew him well remembered Sullivan, a resident of Fisher Hall, as fun-loving and outgoing. His rector, Fr. Robert Moss, said he remembers Sullivan “mostly just for his enthusiasm for everything he was involved in.” Originally from Long Grove, Ill., Sullivan was double majoring in marketing and Film, Television & Theatre. Sullivan was a contributor to The Observer’s Scene section. He was filming practice from a hydraulic scissorlift at the LaBar Practice Complex on the southeast side of campus when the tower fell around 4:50 p.m., according to a University press release. He worked as a videographer for the Department of Athletics. Sullivan was transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he later died. Junior Marc Anthony Rosa, who was a friend of Sullivan, said describing Sullivan was an “impossible task.” “He’s an unbelievably unique soul that, when you meet him, he’s completely addicting to be around. He’s nonstop energy. He’s like no one else you’ve ever met,” he said. “Although he may not be here, his soul is impossible to leave this campus and the people who’ve known him.” Moss said he arrived at the hospital after Sullivan died, and he anointed and blessed the body. “I was glad to be able to anoint the body,” he said. When Moss left the hospital, he said a University representative stayed with the body until family members arrived. Sullivan’s sister is a freshman Lewis Hall resident. Moss said he met with hall staff and gathered Fisher residents in the hall’s chapel at 8 p.m. to make the announcement. “Every chair was full,” he said. “He’ll be greatly missed.” Sullivan’s resident assistant Teddy Schaefer, a senior, said Sullivan was a “fun-loving guy, just a happy person. I’m in shock right now.” Moss presided over a standing-room-only Mass for Sullivan Wednesday night at 10:30 p.m. About 200 people attended the service in Fisher’s St. Paul Chapel. The Mass opened with the song “On Eagle’s Wings” and closed with the congregation singing the Alma Mater. Following the Mass, attendees processed to the Grotto, where about 150 students gathered and recited a decade of the rosary. Junior Kathryn Greenfield, a friend of Sullivan’s who was among the students at the Grotto, said Sullivan was the first male student she became friends with at Notre Dame. “He is the nicest, most easy-going [person], always has a smile on his face, always wants to have a good time,” she said. “Sweet person.” Junior Alex Karamol agreed and called Sullivan “a total sweetheart.” Greenfield and Karamol said they spent time sitting together in silence after hearing the news of Sullivan’s death, but also spent time telling stories about their friend. They recalled his signature facial expressions and phrases, and laughed while mimicking them for each other. Karamol said her favorite memory of Sullivan was when she was in a film he made his freshman year because she saw her easy-going friend being serious about his passion. “It was a different side of him,” she said. The University notified students of the death at 9 p.m. Wednesday in an e-mail signed by University President Fr. John Jenkins and Vice President for Student Affairs Fr. Tom Doyle. “No words can convey the shock and grief we all are experiencing,” the e-mail said. “Declan was a well-liked, bright and enthusiastic film and marketing student and a valued member of the Notre Dame family. His death is a tremendous loss that will be felt very deeply and we share in your grief during this incredibly difficult time.” Head football coach Brian Kelly also released a statement Wednesday night. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Declan’s family and friends,” he said. “Declan was a diligent student worker in our video department and had a tremendous personality and great sense of humor. He brightened the days for all that had the privilege to work with him, and the Notre Dame football family will dearly miss him.” Moss, who has been rector of Fisher Hall for 12 years and in education for almost 40 years, has faced student death in the past, and said it is always difficult. “It’s always a tragedy when a young person is called home to God,” he said. A Mass of Remembrance will be held in honor of Sullivan today at 10 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The entire Notre Dame community is invited to attend, according to the e-mail sent to the student body. Douglas Farmer contributed to this report. SEE ALSO: http://www.ndsmcobserver.com/honoring-declan-1.1733173
Nine Saint Mary’s seniors in communication professor Colleen Fitzpatrick’s non-profit public relations (PR) class will put the phrase “Once a Belle, Always a Belle” into action tonight when they host “Open Mic Night” to raise awareness for Type I diabetes in support of class of 2013 alum Katie Schwab.Schwab, who spent time working with the Notre Dame women’s basketball staff during her time at Saint Mary’s, entered a diabetic coma this summer as a result of Type I diabetes, senior Loretto Evans, a student in the class, said.Hearing about Schwab’s story encouraged Fitzpatrick, who was Schwab’s peer mentor during her time at Saint Mary’s, to re-structure her class in order to help raise support, Evans said.“I would definitely say this is unique to this year,” Evans said. “[Schwab] is no longer a student here, and yet we’re still doing everything we can to make [the event] successful. If you were to tell me a couple months ago I would be this into a class, I wouldn’t believe you.”In August, the hands-on class learned PR content such as fundraising and publicity, senior Nia Parillo said. Once the class covered all the necessary material, Parillo said they directed their focus to supporting Schwab.“Usually what [Fitzpatrick] does is take an already pre-existing local nonprofit group, and [the class] does PR for them,” Parillo said. “But this is a different case. She decided to change the curriculum, and we’ve been building ground up.”Through collaboration and brainstorming, Parillo said the class decided to host a bake sale and an “Open Mic Night.” The class exceeded their monetary goals during the bake sale, and she said they are hoping “Open Mic Night” will be even more successful.Senior Julia Dunford said the students selected an “Open Mic Night” format in order to create a unique event for Schwab that would provide opportunities for student interaction as well as discussion about Type I diabetes.“That’s part of the goal of the event, to not only fundraise for Katie and her family, but to raise awareness about Type 1 diabetes and the risks inherent with having Type 1 diabetes, especially as a young healthy woman,” she said.All fundraised money goes directly to a fund in support of Schwab, who is still in a diabetic coma, Evans said. Schwab’s family will attend the event as well, she said.“They are excited we’re doing this,” Evans said. “They’re all educators, so I think it’s even more impactful that [the support] is coming from a group of students who made this their mission.”Anyone is welcome to stop by to listen to music, share a talent, read some poetry, sing a song or share a good joke, Parillo said.There is a $5 admission fee, which includes two raffle tickets for an array of prizes, which are all donations from local companies and restaurants, Evans said.Dunford said she hopes attendees walk away with a better understanding of Type 1 diabetes and a greater sense of community.“We already have such a strong sense of sisterhood on campus, and this is a way to reinforce that, to help a fellow sister and learn a little bit along the way,” she said.Open Mic Night will take place Monday night from 7-9 p.m. in Rice Commons of the Student Center.More information about Katie Schwab can be found on her CaringBridge website.Tags: Colleen Fitzpatrick, Katie Schwab, Open Mic Night, Type I diabetes
Photo courtesy of Christin Kloski Saint Mary’s students participate in Rebuilding Together, rehabing housing and working in the South Bend community.me and skills, volunteers not only make a difference in the home itself, but they also learn how to collaborate with others and give of themselves in the process.”First-years Katie Long and Liz Mason said participating in this project allowed them to connect to members of the community and provided them the chance to give back for the support Saint Mary’s has from the neighboring areas.“The community here is so supportive and interested in what Saint Mary’s does,” Long said. “I think we need to show our thanks for everything they do for us.”“I think it is important to volunteer and take time out of your week to give back to your community,” Mason said. “Working hard with our fellow students on these homes for Rebuilding Together lets us do that.”First-year Emma Green said she recognizes the difference they can make through volunteer work in the community and why it is important to participate.“I feel like we live in a bubble here at school,” she said. “I want to experience what it’s like in the community we live in.”According to a college press release, Saint Mary’s has been participating in this program for ten years now, and will continue to offer participation to the students annually.Tags: OCSE, Office of Civic and Social Engagement, Rebuilding Together, St. Joseph County A group of Saint Mary’s students gathered Saturday to rehabilitate homes in South Bend as part of National Rebuilding Month, a month-long call to service. The Office of Civic and Social Engagement (OCSE) hosted the community outreach event to clean up and beautify homes in the local community.According to a college press release, the Saint Joseph chapter of Rebuilding Together began in 1989 and each year focuses on a different area of the county. More than 75 Saint Mary’s students were stationed at four houses in the Olive Street and Lincoln Way West neighborhoods to complete tasks such as painting, cleaning, raking and planting at a home. The primary recipients of these home improvements are those who might not be able to physically or financially provide these changes on their own.Erika Buhring, director of the OCSE, said in the press release, “Rebuilding Together is a wonderful opportunity for volunteers to make an immediate change in the lives of community members. By donating t
Notre Dame International (NDI) hosted a summer study abroad fair Tuesday night for undergraduate students interested in attending one of the University’s 20 summer study abroad programs.“Summer study abroad programs offer great opportunities for students who need to work over the summer, have an internship or who are planning on doing research someplace,” director of study abroad Kathleen Opel said. “It helps them to get credits that they need, and almost all of the courses offered fill a University requirement, or it can fulfill major credits.”Any student currently attending Notre Dame — whether they are a freshman or a graduating senior — is eligible to apply by Feb. 3 for any of the programs, Opel said.The programs range in duration, which Opel said allows students who have other summertime obligations to accommodate their schedule.“We have a wide variety of dates and lengths of time,” Opel said. “Some students want a six-week or an eight-week study abroad program, some students only want a two- or three-week experience, and they can go back and do internships or work.“I think that these programs appeal to students who are athletes and can’t go during the academic year, or students who work with the newspaper or another activity that doesn’t permit them to go away, or for students who don’t want to be gone a whole semester.”Freshman finance and economics major Lorenzo Beer said he attended the fair to help him decide if he wants to study abroad during the school year or the summer. “Everybody I’ve ever spoken [to] has said that studying abroad is amazing and one of the best experiences of your life and that you should definitely do it if you can,” Beer said. “I definitely want to make sure I look into it. … If it’s during the summer, I could catch up on some courses. If it’s during the semester, [I could] maybe take a break from the Notre Dame bubble and see other parts of the world.” Mary Nucciarone, director of financial aid, said while the University offers a funding model to make a semester abroad cost about the same in tuition as a semester on campus, studying abroad over the summer has no such aid. “The University does not have a budget for scholarships for summer study abroad, so students are looking more at student loans — whether it be a private educational loan or a federal parent loan,” Nucciarone said.Because the funding model is different, Nucciarone said students looking to study abroad over the summer should start planning financially as soon as possible. “What I say for summer especially is to be planning,” Nucciarone said. “That’s the biggest challenge we find, is that students start planning really late — like in April for a May or June departure — and that’s really hard for us to help them.”Most of the summer programs are in the same locations as semester programs — such as Spain, Brazil, China, Greece, Ireland, Italy and Morocco. Opel said the shortened programs of the summer still allow students to immerse themselves in the culture, just as they would over a semester. “If you want to go to Morocco, you have an opportunity to experience, in three weeks, a whole range of activities that will give you a little smattering of background: French, Arabic, literature, film, history, the religious differences,” Opel said. “And that’s just one example.”Tags: Notre Dame International, study abroad, summer study abroad
Bellebots, the Saint Mary’s robotics club, is looking forward to a year of growth, teaching and competing.Having formed just two years ago, the club is looking for ways to expand its presence on campus, Bellebots vice president and senior Noreen Maloney said.“We’re still kind of discerning our niche,” she said. “We’re always adapting to what we need to do to be really relevant on campus.”Finding a place for an interest in STEM was how Bellebots began. The group’s president and founder, junior Michelle Lester, said robotics was something in which she wanted to participate when she started her first year at the College.“When I got to campus, I wanted to start something that had to do with robotics,” Lester said.With this in mind, she found a faculty member to serve as an advisor for the group she wanted to start. Lester said Bellebots began with sending a survey to students to gauge the student body’s interest in such a club. Upon receiving positive responses, Lester’s desire started becoming a reality.Last year, Bellebots worked primarily with local high school robotics teams to help them prepare for competitions, Maloney said. Additionally, the group worked on gaining members and fundraising for future endeavors. This year, however, Bellebots wishes to compete.“The program we want to do is called VEX U, and they release a new game every year,” Lester said. “It’s always changing.”This annual change is what makes the program enticing to the group, as it allows members to work on more than just maintenance of robots between competitions, Lester said. Instead it would create opportunity for the team to use various skills on projects.Competitions such as VEX U have a registration fee, and Lester said Bellebots has already been fundraising this semester for this purpose.“Doing an actual robotics team is very expensive, so we need to make money … to be able to feel comfortable sending in that registration check,” she said.In addition to having a robotics team, Bellebots also wishes to help people learn and hone other STEM-related skills, Maloney said.“We want to be encouraging to STEM literacy and twenty-first century skills on campus,” Maloney said.Basic computer programming is among the skills the group intends to teach those who are interested. Lester said the ability to work on websites is useful for careers in many fields, not just STEM.“We want to have nights where we talk about STEM skills but in the sense that you could integrate them into your everyday life,” Maloney said. “We’re hoping that as a team, we’ll do somewhat occasional nights that focus on these skills.”The goal of these nights would be to introduce students to these skills and then provide them with the resources to develop them, she said. These nights would enable students to determine if such STEM skills are what they want or need to learn.“We try to be as inclusive as possible,” Maloney said. “No STEM required.”Lester and Maloney said they know some students might be intimidated by things like computer programming and robotics but do not want that to keep people from joining.“We definitely want to start with stuff that’s not scary to people,” Lester said.Maloney said the club has a strong leadership team that is willing to teach people who might be intimidated by robotics but is also interesting in acquiring members with skills in other disciplines to help with other aspects of robotics competitions, such as brochure design and safety.Bellebots is open to all members of the tri-campus community. The next Bellebots meeting will take place Sept. 26 at 9:30 p.m. in 140 Spes Unica Hall.Tags: Bellebots, Robotics, STEM
Editor’s Note: This is the first story in a two-part series examining the ways Native language and cultural identity are being kept alive by the students of Notre Dame. To learn more about their reflections on language and culture, explore these audio and visual clips.While Fr. Edward Sorin and the Congregation of Holy Cross were given the University’s land by the Bishop of Vincennes, this region of Northern Indiana was not uninhabited. “There’s a history of peace, art and culture on this spot that predates Fr. Sorin,” professor Brian S. Collier said. “When Fr. Sorin arrived, there was already a chapel here. The Pokagon Potawatomi was already worshiping here.” If anything, this is what Collier wants students to know about Notre Dame. Collier, a professor and historian with a Ph.D in Native American Studies, spends much of his time trying to ensure Native history does not become a thing of the past. Photo courtest of Alan Mychal Boyd NASAND co-president Alan Mychal Boyd (left) stands next to U.S. Representative Deb Haaland, who is one of two Native American women to ever be elected to U.S. Congress. Boyd and Haaland are pictured attending the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum.Collier said Catholicism was the commonality that linked Sorin and Leopold Pokagon, the leader of the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi. While it was originally the Pokagon’s ancestral land, Collier said because of this Catholic connection, the Pokagon and the Congregation of the Holy Cross were able to live in relative harmony together on the land. Since 2013, Collier has run the Native American Initiatives (NAI) program at Notre Dame which, he said, initially started as a “faculty book club” for faculty and staff with degrees in Native American history. Soon, however, the program grew to sponsoring community members to come speak on Native issues at Notre Dame. NAI also works with area students from the Pokagon Band of the Potawatomi. While the program works to support Native students, whether on campus or in the community, NAI also works as an outreach program for other students who are interested in Native history. Collier said that students often “wonder what they can do to support native causes.” The biggest thing, he said, is becoming aware of whose land they grew up on. “People should come to be aware that there’s been sequential immigration on this very land,” he said. “They’re not the first people there and they won’t be the last people there.” This awareness can translate to getting to know the Native students and Native student groups on campus. “Most people don’t really know we’re a thing,” Alan Mychal Boyd, a Notre Dame senior, said about the Native American Students Association of Notre Dame (NASAND). Boyd, who is the co-president of NASAND, said NASAND is not really supported by the University as a whole, but by the people who work within the University. “A lot of faculty and departments [at Notre Dame], especially the Multicultural Student centers, are awesome,” he said. “I think this is true for any native group on any campus — you have to find your support within certain parts of the University.”But, it can be hard for Native students to find support on campus, especially, Boyd said, since this year there are currently no native faculty that work with NASAND at the University.“That’s one thing that we’ve been really pushing and fighting for this past year…at least one Native faculty member would be amazing,” he said. “It’s important because, one, it shows that we’re here and that we have a person at the University who actually understands where we’re coming from as a whole. But, also, it just makes it so much easier to get things like a Native Studies minor or just better conditions.”The University has debated the induction of a Native American Studies minor for years. Boyd said that a Native American Studies minor would give Native students “a kind of authority,” and give them a chance to learn more about their own individual nations, as well as other Native nations. However, learning about Native nations can be a challenge, Boyd said, especially when so few classes choose to even address the history and contributions of Native nations and Indigenous Peoples. “So, any [class] that’s not specifically about Indigenous people usually doesn’t mention them whatsoever,” he said. “I think the most I got out of a class was our Intro to American Politics — it wasn’t in a lecture, it was in a textbook. All it was was one paragraph summarizing hundreds of years of civil rights and struggles with natives. It didn’t even mention that there were individual Native nations.” Over the years, this representational tension has only been exacerbated by the presence of the 12 Christopher Columbus murals on campus. On Jan. 20, however, it was announced that the University would be covering the murals. But yet, so far this year, the murals still remain uncovered. NASAND co-president junior Mikaela Murphy said that while ultimately she was happy with the decision to cover the murals, she would have appreciated more communication from the administration. “I am very happy with the decision that was made to cover the murals,” she said. “But I think it should have been something more permanent. I think President Jenkins should have thought about us when he made that public announcement without consulting us, because it led to us getting a lot of hate when we had nothing to do with the decision.”Paul J. Browne, the vice president of Public Affairs and Communication, said “Fr. Jenkins consulted widely before making a decision about the murals.” While discussions about the murals have all but stopped, Collier said he still finds it hard to tell prospective Native students about the murals. “From my own experience, when Native students come on tour and when they visit us, they always want to come inside the Main Building and I struggle with telling them about the murals,” he said. “I get some harsh reactions on why Notre Dame would have something like that. There is some potential harm to our larger community in placing them in such a prominent spot.” Boyd said he did not know Notre Dame had such murals until his third week on campus. Knowing about the murals as a prospective student might have impacted his decision to attend Notre Dame, he said. “I grew up in a culture where Columbus was a symbol of colonialism, a symbol of extermination and forced conversion and exploitation,” Boyd said. “So, I think, coming here and seeing [the Columbus murals] would have certainly affected my decision. Who people admire says a lot about them.”The lack of representation for Native and Indigenous people is a problem that persists not only in the tri-campus community, but in the country as well. However, some strides are being made towards inclusivity, specifically with the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum held on Aug. 19 in Sioux City, Iowa. Boyd, and other students from NASAND, were able to attend the forum, which was the first of its kind to place focus on Native issues.Tags: Christopher Columbus murals, culture, Father Jenkins, Father Sorin, Heritage, Indigenous, NAI, NASAND, native, Native American
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Stock Image.RANDOLPH – Two Town of Randolph residents were charged for allegedly endangering the welfare of a child following a welfare check on Church Street in Randolph Wednesday.The Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office says Alexandria Renner, 27, and Carrie Renner, 54, allegedly left an 8-year-old unattended in a residence for an undisclosed amount of time.Deputies did not specify if the child was taken from the home, or, if Child Protective Services are involved.Both were issued appearance tickets and are scheduled to appear in Randolph Town Court on a later date.
Image via TourChautauqua.com.JAMESTOWN – A local business leader is recommending residents in Chautauqua County to take a “STAY-cation” this summer as several national destinations were added to the state’s quarantine list.Todd Tranum, President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is highlighting several attractions that residents can take advantage of in our own backyard.“Soak up the sun and relax on the water on any of our fabulous lakes,” said Tranum in his weekly Chamber Corner letter to the community. “There are beaches available on Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake, Findley Lake, and the Cassadaga Lakes. Marinas are readily available where you can rent a boat for the day and give your family a nautical adventure.”Image via TourChautauqua.com.He says in addition to aquatic actives, residents can cool off by visiting local wineries, breweries, and distilleries. “You can sample and purchase some terrific locally made beverages,” explained Tranum. “Social distancing is still required, but some have outdoor venues and others have created outdoor spaces in order to make visitors more comfortable.”Tranum says if all those recreational activities aren’t enough, most local museums and attractions have reopened in capacity.“Spend some time touring the National Comedy Center, the Lucy-Desi Museum, any one of the fascinating local history museums or the Robert H. Jackson Center, and see great art at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute or one of the small local galleries located throughout our county,” said Tranum. “We urge you to call first or check their websites to learn about appointments and protocols.”Image via TourChautauqua.com.To learn more about recreational and cultural experiences available in Chautauqua County, visit tourchautauqua.com. Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Image by Saraden White.JAMESTOWN – Some Jamestown residents are still cleaning up following a windstorm last weekend, and the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities are trying to make the process a little easier.The BPU are opening their yard waste site from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday to assist solid waste customers in cleaning up properties after the weather events.The yard waste site is located at 1001 Monroe St. in Jamestown.Yard waste stickers from both 2019-20 and 2021-22 will be accepted for entrance. The site had closed for the season, but the weekend storm resulted in many branches, sticks and twigs falling onto yards. The site will be open to accept residential customers’ storm debris.