Success Stories

Department of Education fellowship awarded to Grand Valley animator

When Angie Mistretta first considered attending Grand Valley State University, three things about the school caught her attention; its outstanding location, great value, and reputation for quality. It didn't take long for the 2002 film and video grad to validate her choice. As soon as she met faculty members Kim Roberts and Deanna Morse she knew she was in the right place.

Now she has the honor of being the first Grand Valley grad to be named recipient of a coveted U.S. Department of Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, an award that will fund her quest for a Master of Fine Arts in animation and visual effects from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California. She enthusiastically credits Grand Valley's film and video program for her success. "The program is very hands-on very early on," she said. "It supports students with the proper technology and excellent instructors."

Her fellowship, given in selected fields of study of the arts, humanities and social sciences, was one of only two awarded in 2005 in the category of Television, Film, and Cinematography. A total of 53 fellowships were awarded in all categories. The award will fund all of Mistretta's tuition and provide a living expense stipend of up to $30,000 annually based on financial need.

In addition to being a Grand Valley alum, Mistretta also lists the school as a previous employer. She returned to the school as an adjunct counselor in financial aid for a year and a half after going back to her native Detroit immediately after graduation. Thanks to the encouragement of Morse and others, she applied for the highly competitive Javits Fellowship in August of 2004 and was notified of her selection in the spring of 2005. The selection committee considered her transcripts and resume, as well as a personal statement and portfolio of works compiled from her Grand Valley film and video experience.

After completing her time in San Francisco, Mistretta expects to put her MFA to work by getting a job in a major studio before eventually teaching at the college level.

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