School of Animation and VFX Hosts "Women in VFX" Panel to Celebrate Women's History Month

San Francisco, CA,  March 26, 2021Academy of Art University‘s School of Animation & Visual Effects hosts Women in VFX, an exclusive panel discussion with talented female artists in the visual effects industry, on March 31st, 7 p.m. (PDT). The career stories they will be sharing can hopefully inspire future generation artists to shatter the traditional expectations of women and reach higher for their dreams.

As the global VFX higher education leader, the Academy’s School of Animation & Visual Effects has been advocating for gender equality in the industry and supporting its students to build a successful VFX career.

The panelists—alumni from its programs now working in VFX at different stages of their careers— include the Emmy Winner Ryan Bauer, Compositing Supervisor at CoSA VFX; Lauren Ellis, Executive Producer at Zoic; Jumanah Shaheen, VFX Producer at Ingenuity; Melina Cuffaro, Production Assistant at LucasFilm; and Chaiwon Kim, Look Development Artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

The discussion will be centered on entering the VFX industry for entry-level artists, professional advice on advancing careers as senior VFX artists, and building leadership skills as a female artist in the VFX industry. School director Catherine Tate and Head of Production for StudioX Sasha Korellis will be moderating the panel.

“The gender balance in the VFX industry has been improving over the years but still has a long way to go. The absence of women’s voices in this industry has made the outcome less effective, powerful, and successful. We want to educate and inspire the younger generation VFX artists, especially female artists, to keep their eyes on the ball, and don’t let anyone tell them that they are not good enough.”

Catherine Tate, Director of 3D Animation, School of Animation & Visual Effects

StudioX is a student-run, faculty-mentored experience that emulates a real-world animation and visual effects production environment. Students work with real clients, produce real films and games, meet real deadlines, and solve real problems. The “X” in StudioX stands for the valuable eXperience students gain as they prepare for animation and VFX careers.

Many students start collecting IMDb credits even before graduating, such as the Oscar-nominated film Theeb, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, and many more through StudioX.

The online event, Women in VFX is free and open to the public as a part of the ongoing 2021 School of Animation and Visual Effects virtual webinar panel and workshop series.

To join the live webinar, please register at For more information about the School of Animation and Visual Effects of Academy of Art University, please visit:

About Academy of Art University

Established in 1929, Academy of Art University is one of the largest private, accredited art and design schools in the nation. Located in San Francisco, the epicenter of culture and technology, Academy of Art University offers more than 135 accredited degree programs spanning 40 areas of study, including entertainment arts, advertising, fashion, architecture, game development, music, communication, photography, and more.

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