Senior Spotlight: Andrew Hulin

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 cohorts? Don’t spend your time asking “what if?”

Tell me a little bit about your journey to the Academy? What were you looking for in an undergraduate program?

When I was applying for an undergrad program, I applied to such a wide variety of majors. I applied as a theatre major in some places, engineering in some and business in others. IYA was the only one that really let me explore my multidisciplinary interests without forcing me down a track. There were so many things I wanted to build and create and one of my biggest fears was being pigeonholed before I got the chance to explore them.

How have you evolved over the past four years?

I’ve become more observant and vocal. Through learning about design and entrepreneurship, I’ve developed this critical eye and I’m much quicker to call out that “these people deserve better” or “there has to be a better way to go about this.” Over the past years I’ve become less accepting of the status quo and phrases like “this is the best it’s going to get,” or “this is how we’ve always done it.” There’s this kind of gut feeling you develop where you know that it’s possible for big problems to be solved – you just have to figure out how.

Describe an Academy moment that you’ll never forget.

Product Design final presentations, sophomore year. Everyone’s project was so detailed and complex that the presentations went until midnight. There were such high quality presentations that I wish more people could have seen them.

What advice would you give to a freshman?

You’ll find it’s easy to be a good leader and do the right thing when things are going well, but you need to be ready to be a good leader and do the right thing when things go wrong.

Also, make good stories. Some day you’re going to reach the end of college or whatever chapter of your life you’re in and you’ll want to look back and have a ton of things to say about it. Don’t wait for those moments to make themselves because no amount of time is guaranteed.

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Describe one thing most people don’t know about you?

I adore playing video games. I didn’t even realize until I came to college how much I had passively picked up about digital experiences, entertainment and design. There was a long period of time where I didn’t talk about it because it felt nerdy or niche but that’s kind of what makes it so cool.

What’s one thing your parents taught you that you’d like to share?

It really is possible to make any moment special. I have a lot of great childhood memories that were, looking back on it, of very simple things and my parents always made special moments out of it.

Is there an inspirational quote you live by?

“Don’t Panic” - Douglas Adams

What goals do you have post-graduation?

Currently, I’m really interested in design education and making sure that high tech experiences are accessible to everyone. I’m not sure where that will take me, but my current goal is to be a good designer and empower others to be good designers at the same time.

Describe a passion project you’re currently working on and how you came up with the idea for it?

Growing up in Vegas I’ve been surrounded by cool, high tech, performance art. Recently, I’ve been playing around with ways for DJs to control their show visuals using hand gestures. Say, for example, a DJ snaps their fingers on their left hand, a camera could pick that up and transform the venue into a forest environment for their next song. I’m not sure where this project will end up but I do know my research into computer hand tracking is also making its way into my team’s Garage Experience - Playbook VR.

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3 college students wearing white headbands staring intensely at the camera

FUN FACTS

What are the essential things you always keep in your backpack?
A Moleskine notebook, a pen and a good pair of headphones.

Favorite app or website?
Spotify

Favorite class at USC and why?
CTAN 495 Visual Music. I kind of took a leap and signed up for this class in the animation school that I’d heard stories about. It turned out to be one of my favorite classes at USC because it really pushed us to think about how music and rhythm are critical to design.

Favorite way to de-stress?
Loud music

Guilty pleasure?
Linkin Park

Thanks, Andrew!

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