Student Profile

Emilie Finney

Emilie Finney became interested in the Studio Art and the Computer MFA program after completing her undergraduate degree in graphic design at UCF. During her senior year studying graphic design, she felt a desire to broaden her understanding of fine art. Her graduate program allows Finney to explore various media, processes, and ideas, encouraging students to take the initiative in their art and learning. Professors and advisors like Mark Price, David Haxton, Keith Kovatch, Theo Lotz, and Jo Anne Adams enriched Finney’s studies with advice, encouragement, challenges, and guidance.

Finney is the recipient of a Non-Traditional Literacy Engagement Award, Enhancement of Civic Responsibility Scholarship, and Youth Development Scholarship through her service learning experience teaching a seventh grade language arts class, fusing lessons with visual art concepts.

Her diverse interests such as teaching Zumba and singing (she was in an a cappella group at UCF) in addition to her art leave a world of possibilities open to Finney after her graduation in May 2014. She plans to move to France and is interviewing with a school there, or she may look for a job in a gallery or museum, or even try design work.

Jay Flynn

Jason “Jay” Flynn came to UCF after earning his BFA in Photography from the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and a degree in Sociology from Keene State College in New Hampshire. He spent some time developing his craft as a commercial photographer before dedicating himself to Art and enrolling in the Emerging Media MFA in Studio Art and the Computer where he explores “photography as object,” by transforming a 3-D object into a 2-D photograph and then reimagining it as 3-D sculpture.  The photograph transforms from something hanging on the wall and becomes something you can walk around and experience from different angles and perspectives. His work was featured as the promotional photograph for the Master of Fine Arts Exhibition in March, 2014. Flynn came to art through academia, exploring various interests leading to the pursuit of his MFA. In his program, he enjoys the strong peer group and insightful professors who work on a peer level and develop the artist. Instructors like Mark Price who served as his thesis chair; his thesis committee members Carla Poindexter, Keith Kovach, Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, and David Isenhour; as well as Theo Lotz, Larry Cooper, Ke Francis, and E. Brady Robinson provided insightful feedback and guidance as well as challenges that helped cultivate Flynn’s growth as an artist. He is particularly inspired by David Haxton, introduced to his work when Flynn first began practicing photography in the 1990s. He says, “I couldn’t understand it at the time, but I knew it was great.” It is clear from Flynn's work that he now has a firm understanding of Haxton's unique process and incorporates it into his own art.

Flynn is the recipient of a two year fellowship and teaches photography courses at UCF. He has worked as a photographer with STEAM, an interdisciplinary blend of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with the arts. Flynn appears on the Dean’s list and received a grant from the United Arts of Central Florida that allowed him to return to Rochester to learn an antique photography process. He will graduate in 2014 and plans to continue teaching at the university level and pursue making art as a professional.

Dominic DiPaolo

Dominic DiPaolo came to UCF in Fall 2012 after earning his BS in Photography from the Art Institute of Philadelphia to pursue the Emerging Media MFA in Studio Art and the Computer.  Drawn to UCF because of its interdisciplinary program, DiPaolo has benefitted from the downtown studio space and the “think tank” of cohorts from different backgrounds who work with various media. The opportunity to work with painters, sculptors, and creators of film taught DiPaolo how to talk about photography with people who do not specialize in the medium, and has allowed for the expansion of his own work into installation and conceptual objects (sculpture). His work illuminates aspects of patriotism in America, from the wholesome American tradition to its satirical side (like Stephen Colbert). He also draws inspiration from artists like the controversial Dread Scott, performer Anna Deavere Smith, and photographer Richard Renaldi.

DiPaolo is a graduate teaching assistant for lab sections of Digital Imaging Fundamentals and a volunteer at SNAP! Space in Orlando. He is grateful to faculty and staff like Wanda Ortiz, PhD, his thesis chair, who pushes him to think things through and challenges his perspectives, and Kelley Rasgaitis who is a friend and helps students through all the required forms and paperwork. DiPaolo plans to graduate in Spring 2015, and hopes to teach either in Florida or back near his hometown of Philadelphia in addition to operating his freelance photography business with his wife.

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