What’s Next: Three Class of 2024 Graduates Share Their Future Plans and Projects

Posted on June 5, 2024

Their caps are tossed, and now the talented artists and thinkers of the Class of 2024 are ready to venture beyond the School of Art. To celebrate their next chapters — from advanced degrees to impactful projects — we’re spotlighting the journeys of three remarkable students. Here, Stacey Cho, Nandini Kuppa-Apte, and Grayson Ticer share their excitement for what’s ahead and reflect on the experiences that shaped them at the School of Art.

Stacey Cho

BFA 2024, Portfolio

  • CMU School of Art student Stacey Cho
    Stacey Cho

What’s next:
Learning Design, Innovation, and Technology Master’s Program
Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA

What you’ll be doing:
I’ll be continuing to do what I love, which is XR, focusing on its educational aspects and how to reach a general audience. I first came to CMU as a mural painter, and I had no technological background. Out of the 21 pieces I submitted in my portfolio, I had one digital piece, which I made on an iPad. So being exposed to XR and AI, I learned a lot about how to develop my skills and create my own style. What I love about the digital medium, in particular, is that it offers opportunities for interaction — how we can provoke people to actually come up to the artwork and respond to it.

Why now:
I’m ready to take that next step and learn how to benefit others from the things that I love to do. I’m specifically interested in developing toolkits for digital programs, because there are students like me who had no experience with Oculus or Maya and went through a process of self-learning. I jokingly told one of my professors at the School of Art that I need a degree from YouTube, because I watched so many tutorials. Self-learning is a skill, and some of my colleagues had difficulties looking at examples online and then implementing it into their projects. So I’m interested in developing ways to make that easier.

Personal projects:
At CMU, I worked at the Entertainment Technology Center, and I think that’s where my interests in educational aspects started, because I was doing all these public client projects. So I want to join Harvard Innovation Labs. I really love those kinds of experiences, conducting experiments and user studies.

Your School experience in three emojis:
🤯😁😵‍💫

Beyond academics:
I want to thank the professors I’ve met at the School of Art, who’ve been super supportive of whatever I want to do. Some of them told me they’re not going to think of me as a student now, but as a fellow industry colleague. That’s such a reaffirmation of where I am. I genuinely mean it when I say that CMU has changed my life.

Advice for your first-year self:
Continue being curious. Don’t be afraid to talk to professors after classes. Don’t be afraid to explore things in the greater CMU community. There are so many hidden opportunities that students don’t know about, unless you start prodding and asking. And I’m proud to say that I have a group of best friends that I made in the School of Art. We’re all going to Japan to celebrate our graduation. Your fellow students can really become your lifetime best friends.


Nandini Kuppa-Apte

BFA 2024, Portfolio

  • Nandini Kuppa-Apte

What’s next:
Design Specialist at Public Interest Network
Philadelphia, PA

What you’ll be doing:
I’m moving to Philly to be a design specialist at the Public Interest Network, an organization that operates a collection of nonprofit and for-profit groups working toward political, economic, social, and environmental solutions across America.

Why now:
I was drawn to this role because of the possibility to expand my visual portfolio while contributing to important causes related to public health and safety. I’m excited to apply my fine arts background to a role in graphic design, since it’s always been something that interested me — I’ve created branding elements for my friends and family in the past, but never professionally, so I expect to learn a lot of new skills in the process.

Personal projects:
In addition to my job, I’m planning to freelance as an animator and motion designer to build up my video art portfolio. I also worked at an art center just outside of Philly last summer, and I would love to continue helping out on the weekends.

Your School experience in three emojis:
😷😵‍💫🥰

Beyond academics:
My experience at the School of Art made me a much more independent person. I was encouraged to break out of my comfort zone artistically, and I learned to take advantage of my time and resources in a way that I hadn’t before, which I think will help me navigate a new city and job with greater confidence in myself.

Advice for your first-year self:
I would tell my first-year self not to be so embarrassed of her early work — the failures are a necessary step in developing a personal style and identity later on. I would also tell her not to be intimidated by how cool and talented the other students are, because some of them are going to become her best friends over the next four years.


Grayson Ticer

BHA 2024, Portfolio

  • Grayson Ticer

What’s next:
Artist Residency at the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

What you’ll be doing:
I’ve always been very interested in combining science with art. I graduated in the BXA program, both in Decision Science and Fine Art, and over the past four years, I found interesting ways to incorporate artistic expression into the research labs where I’ve worked. This residency program allows me to continue doing both of those things. It’s a really rare, exciting opportunity.

Why now:
The most interesting part of the job is taking complex experimental methods that scientists spend years creating and trying to simplify them — treating them in a way that celebrates that complexity while also communicating what the project is really about. It’s a good test of how you can combine your brain and technical art skills to express something that everyone can understand. This will actually be my second year working with the Vanderbilt team, this time in a different lab than last year. That was such a beautiful experience, and I’m really grateful to be back doing it again.

Personal projects:
I was known at the School of Art for trying to combine old scientific illustrations with more modern painting expressions, and I usually paint really small. I’d like to explore something completely different now on a bigger scale, like huge, naturalistic paintings that are more expressive.

Your School experience in three emojis:
🌤🤯💃

Beyond academics:
Everyone, from administrators to professors to the students, were incredibly motivated and intelligent. The feedback I received over all four years was so helpful in terms of finding a style that suited me and improving my practice to a point where I am confident to explore and to continue painting.

Advice for your first-year self:
Not to take myself so seriously, because I thought I had to have everything figured out. But four years is a long time. I would tell myself to enjoy it more, to slow down, to continue working hard, and it’ll happen. Be open and appreciate the experiences that you’re living. It’s the best way to be.