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Makers Unite

Are you one of us?


It’s all fun and games for toymaker Jennifer Ellis. A mother, founder and graduate student, Ellis has a passion for designing products that teach STEM to younger, underrepresented audiences all while earning her master’s degree from the Academy in the MSIDBT program.

“I think the theme that really unites everything that the Academy does is creativity.”


An avid blogger and artist with a deep interest in mental health and machine learning, freshman Connie ('24) has found a second home at the Academy where she explores computer science, business and art.

“The Academy is a creative playground for me to explore all my passions at the same time. Not only does the program provide the flexibility to study a broad spectrum of interests, but I’m also able to do so with unparalleled connections to the industry.”


Inspired by forward-thinking entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Samantha came to IYA to build things that help society. As a designer, she approaches her craft with thoughtful creativity, envisioning a world that can offer more community-centered products and services.


"Having the opportunity to work with like-minded, creative people is one of the many reasons I am eternally grateful to be at the Academy. IYA provides me the opportunity to pursue each of my many interests, without having to choose one particular rabbit hole to jump solely into."


As a UX designer, Neilda landed jobs as the Senior Designer at Sephora and as the Vice President, Mobile Interaction Designer at Bank of America. During this time, her fascination for the world of VR began to grow. Now an MSIDBT student, she balances grad school while being CEO of MindGlow, a VR startup that trains professionals on how to handle emergency situations.

"I've always wanted to go to grad school, but it was challenging finding a program that would integrate my passion for technology, experience as a designer, and need for business knowledge to prepare me to be a startup founder....The Academy was just the perfect fit."


Academy senior Andrew Hulin is a wizard at creating digital candy for the eyes and ears. Blending his passion for music, design and video games, Andrew’s immersive experiences leave you wanting more. His advice to future students? Don’t spend your time asking “what if?”

Check out Andrew's work here...

“The program allows me to explore all the creative fields that I am interested in whilst also maintaining a practical, business-oriented mindset.


It’s been a journey of self-discovery for Kyle ('20). Over the past four years, Michel has learned to throw conformity to the side and embrace his own brand of quirk. A masterful maker, Michel is creating a unique future for himself through design.

“The opportunities, connections and experiences the Academy offers seemed like nothing I had seen anywhere else.

“Dr. Dre and I found it really hard to find kids whose education encompasses technology, the arts and innovation. So at USC, we’re creating a brand new program right here.”