Tucson, AZ -In coming years, if you’re watching an animated movie, Geina Corrente, who recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, may have had a role in creating the animation in that movie you’re watching.
Geina is passionate about becoming an animator, but says her education started in a very different area of study, “I’ve always been a doodler but I never actually wanted to be an artist. Originally, I wanted to be a pathologist but I was falling behind on my math and science classes, and kept taking more art classes and just had a lot more fun with art. It turned out that I only needed a few more art classes to get a degree in art, so I went for it.”
Geina, age 23, was born in Las Vegas, Nevada but spent her elementary school years in Nogales, Arizona, her middle school years in Tucson, and high school in Coolidge, Arizona. She graduated from Coolidge High School in 2012.
Geina is now transitioning from college to career, “I am a bit scared to leave school because it’s a place I know really well. But now, I have to stop going to school and it’s okay to stop going to school, but entering the ‘real world’ is making me a bit nervous. I’m asking myself, ‘what kind of job do I get? Do I get a job that’s within my degree? Do I get something that will keep me going until I can find something that’s within my degree? Or do I go back to school? It’s complicated.”
Geina’s career choice could mean a move to Southern California, “A lot of the animation industry is in Burbank, but some other companies like the Cartoon Network are in Georgia, it just depends on the firm. But yes, I would definitely have to move to a metropolitan area like Los Angeles, New York, or Seattle – where there are huge firms that make movies.”
Meanwhile, reflecting on her time at the University of Arizona, Geina says, “College was definitely a learning experience, but it definitely isn’t like how it’s portrayed in the movies. I’d like to see a movie where college is portrayed in a more realistic way where students are stressing out – they just want to pet puppies right before an exam, and the whole experience is just super hectic. I do wish that I would have gotten more involved, but working to support myself kind of put a damper on that.”
Geina is among the many high potential students from low income circumstances who have earned scholarships from College Success Arizona, which provide up to six-thousand dollars per year for educational expenses, “I had to take out a loan during my senior year, but thanks to College Success Arizona I was pretty much debt-free up until my senior year. I was in school for five years, so it’s been pretty awesome in comparison to some of my friends who have student loans that are like tiny mortgages, and I feel for them, but I am really grateful that I had this scholarship.”
Students also receive specialized mentoring services from a team of talent Success Advisers at College Success Arizona. Geina says her success adviser, Matt Sotelo, was a big help throughout her college journey, “I really enjoyed meeting up with Matt every semester. I enjoyed telling him the new things that I was doing, and he always seemed really excited and supportive about it. I didn’t have that kind of experience with the academic advisers on campus, they didn’t really seem to care. I always felt that Matt was really there for me, and definitely like a big brother.”
Geina won the scholarship, graduated with her college degree, and now looks forward to a promising career in what can be a very lucrative industry. Geina has accomplished a lot without having much support from her immediate family:
“My mom gave me a lot of crap for even applying for school and she even sort of reveled in the fact that I didn’t get into university. I started off at a community college and then transferred in to the U of A. Even when I moved out of the house my mom made my life a living hell, but thankfully I was able to connect with extended family and they became super supportive of me, and they helped me out in so many different ways and are proud of me.”
Geina has some advice for middle and high school students who may be considering their own college journey, “Don’t give up. You just have to try hard, and never give up. If you feel like you’re stuck in a small town, work hard and get into a good college and a world of opportunities will open up for you.”
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income circumstances, your tax deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page.