Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Art Institute Awards $159,000 in scholarships

Every year, The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire hosts several competitions providing winners with scholarships. Here, current student Kevin Agra competes in the Best Teen Chef 2008 competition. For winning this competition he received a $3,000 scholarship. This was just one of many scholarships, totaling $159,000, the Art Institute of California-Inland Empire awarded in 2008. Robert Swapp Photo

(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) Fifteen Inland Empire residents are taking the first steps toward their dreams of careers in the arts, with the help of $159,000 in scholarships awarded by The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire.

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire, located in San Bernardino, is a private university, which offers degrees in creative careers such as graphic design, interior design, culinary arts, culinary management, web design & interactive media, media arts & animation, game art & design.

“The Art Institute of California - Inland Empire feels that if people have the talent and drive, then paying for education should not be an obstacle,” said President Emam El-Hout. “The scholarships will help many Inland Empire residents receive an education that can help them pursue careers that they love.”

The scholarships include awards of $1,000 to $15,000. Four of the awards were for placing in the preliminary rounds of national competitions.

Alurra Hughes of Redlands won $3,000 in The Art Institutes Poster Competition for designing what was judged the best poster of all entries from The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire. Kevin Agra of Rancho Cucamonga and Scott Nerim of Riverside won awards of $3,000 and $1,000 by placing first and third in The Art Institutes Best Teen Chef competition, in which students cooked items on a set menu in a timed competition.

The remaining awards, for $5,000 to $15,000, went to first- and second-place winners in local scholarship competitions. There were two categories of award winners in most of these competitions, members of the Class of 2008, and adults who graduated from high school before 2008 and now wished to attend The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire.

These scholarship winners demonstrated excellence in a particular program of The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire.

• Culinary - Students planned a menu, submitted the menu, its recipes and photos, and wrote an essay about why they wanted to be culinarians.
• Game Art & Design - Students sent their ideas for new games, along with drawings of a character and a set.
• Graphic Design – Students submitted a poster, two illustrations and either pencil or pen and ink drawings.
• Media Arts & Animation – Students submitted four drawings, a computer generated 3-D model and their own 15-second animated Quick Time movie.
• Interior Design – Students submitted a portfolio showing creative design ability, which included sketches, perspective drawings with hand-lettering and in some cases, floor plans and room elevations
• Web Design & Interactive Media – Students submitted a portfolio including a five-page interactive Website and a site map flowchart for the Website.

A $15,000 scholarship for Web Design & Interactive Media makes the college experience easier for Hector Franco, whose hometown is the desert city of Littlerock, near Palmdale. Unlike many students, who live close enough to The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire to commute from home, Franco and a classmate from Littlerock High School moved after their 2008 graduation to the Art Institute’s student housing and must pay room and board as well as tuition.

“We don’t have much money, and we didn’t get any grants,” he said about himself and his friend. “So I was really happy to get this scholarship.”

Franco believes the skills he’s learning in the Web Design & Interactive Media program could benefit him in a variety of careers.

“Besides, Web design is something I have always liked,” he said.

Ceara Alejo of Mira Loma is also studying Web Design & Interactive Media, qualified for a $5,000 scholarship to the program. Like Franco, she believes this course of study will give her valuable skills in any career she may later pursue.

“I didn’t have money, so getting a scholarship really helped,” said the 2008 graduate of Jurupa Valley High School. “I have always enjoyed drawing, and I really wanted to go to The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire.”

Aldo Lopez of Upland, who received a $15,000 scholarship in Graphic Design, doubts he would have been able to attend college without this help.

“Money is a big problem, because of the economy,” he said. “And college is not cheap.”

The 2008 Upland High School graduate is now pursuing an associate degree in Graphic Design, which he could obtain in less than two years through The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire’s year-round schedule. The associate degree alone would provide opportunities he does not have with just a high school education, he said.

“I think it would give me an edge,” he said.

But Lopez’ future may also include pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire before he starts his career. Both Graphic Design and the newly established Fashion Design programs are possibilities, he said.

“I have always wanted to design my own clothing line,” he said. “I most like the graphic element of that, such as designing logos for T-shits.”

Scholarship recipients are:

Winners name City Scholarship Amount Program
Catherine Anderson Fontana $15,000 1st Culinary
Erik Goebel Hesperia $5,000 2nd Culinary
Alurra Hughes Redlands $15,000 1st $3,000 1st Game Art & Design
Poster Contest
Aldo Lopez Upland $15,000 1st Graphic Design
Josiah Serrano Rancho Cucamonga $5,000 2nd Graphic Design

Ziad Jabeguero Fontana $15,000 1st Media Arts & Animation
Hector Franco Littlerock $15,000 1st Web Design & Interactive Media
Ceara Alejo Mira Loma $5,000 2nd Web Design & Interactive Media
Kimbra Brown Riverside $10,000 1st Culinary
Jessica Hurst Mira Loma $10,000 1st Game Art & Design
Carissa Williams Victorville $5,000 2nd
Game Art & Design
Amanda Birosak Corona $10,000 1st Interior Design
Shalonda Jackson Moreno Valley $10,000 1st Graphic Design
Kevin Agra Alta Loma $3,000 1st Best Teen Chef
Scott Nerim Riverside $1,000 3rd Best Teen Chef

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Game Art & Design, Culinary Management, Graphic Design, Web Design & Interactive Media, Interior Design, Fashion Marketing & Retail Management, and Media Arts & Animation and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Fashion Design. There are also Associate of Science degrees in Graphic Design and Culinary Arts. Each program is offered on a year-round basis, allowing students to work uninterrupted toward their degrees.

It’s not too late to start classes at The Art Institute of California–Inland Empire. Courses begin Jan. 12 and classes are offered in the day, evening and on weekends for new and reentry students.

For more information or a free tour of The Art Institute of California–Inland Empire call (909) 915-2100 or (800) 353-0182 or go on line to

The Art Institute of California – Inland Empire is one of The Art Institutes (, with more than 40 educational institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.