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Grads Accepted to College Animation Program Near Pixar

Posted: May 9, 2014

Picture of animation students Janine Gubuan and Reese Keefe.

Animation students and TMCC graduates Janine Gubuan and Reese Keefe, at TMCC on Monday, April 28, 2014.

Janine Gubuan and Reese Keefe, May 2013 graphic communications graduates of Truckee Meadows Community College, have been accepted to the California College of the Arts BFA Program; considered by most animators as one of the most prestigious and competitive institutions on the West Coast.

They will be starting at CCA in September, studying at the Oakland campus, about a 10 minute drive from Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. "Toy Story," "Brave" and "Wall•e" are a few of the most well-known Pixar productions.

“They do have professors that work at Pixar…” said Janine Gubuan.

Reese Keefe continues her sentence.

“Hopefully, we can get internships there,” Keefe said.

Gubuan will be working toward her BFA in Animation. She plans to continue into an MFA program.

“I’d like to one day be an animator for a great animation studio and create stories for people to inspire and make them happy,” Gubuan said.

Keefe will be studying illustration, with the goal of becoming a concept artist; creating characters and environments for movies and video games.

Graphics skills advanced through group animation projects, and a love story followed

Gubuan and Keefe met in a graphic design class at TMCC and became collegial friends. After about two years, and working on more advanced projects in small groups, they became best buddies.

One day, Keefe realized he saw so much in Gubuan that he wanted to create a closer relationship. They dated as a natural evolution of their friendship.

“I asked Janine to marry me on her birthday,” Keefe said. “I will always remember the date.”

Their ceremony will take place at Keefe’s mother’s home in mid-May, and they will honeymoon in Incline Village at Lake Tahoe. The couple will move to Oakland at the end of July.

TMCC graphics professors supported them through the application process

Professors Brian Wells and Ron Marston wrote letters of recommendation to CCA for Gubuan and Keefe.

The two students worked in a group with a friend, Justin Hubert, on the second animated commercial for TMCC. The spot aired on the Cartoon Network and is also posted to YouTube.

“Reese and I got in,” wrote Gubuan in an email to Wells. “We were also offered a good deal of scholarships and we can’t wait to start!”

Gubuan earned the Faculty Honors Award at $10,000 per year for tuition, and about $8000 per year in a general CCA scholarship. Keefe was awarded close to $17,000 per year as a general CCA scholarship.

“We think that the Graphic Communications program at TMCC was inspiring,” Keefe said. “The GRC teachers support students to go career-wise where they want to go in their life.”

Gubuan agrees.

“What I aspire to be right now is in part inspired by you (Professor Brian Wells), and I will be forever grateful for creating that excitement and perseverance in me,” wrote Gubuan.

Challenges and opportunities are ahead for the couple

Keefe is challenging himself, as well as looking with eager anticipation towards his future.

“This is the biggest year of my life; getting married and leaving the place I’ve lived all of my life – leaving my family after 22 years of being in Reno,” Keefe said. “I’m the first in my family who has made it through college, and the youngest too, so a lot is on my shoulders.”

Gubuan’s challenge has been redirecting her thoughts about traditions, and her definition of success. She thought at one time she might need to go into a medical career in order to honor her family.

“I moved here from the Philippines when I was 17,” Gubuan said. “Education is known in my culture as a way to uplift yourself from poverty. So, education is very important in my family and I’m working hard and doing my best in school. Back home, the older family members set your goals, such as to study in the medical field…

“Here, I realized I could reach high in my own dreams to be an animator and still make my family proud.”



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TMCC's Public Information Office
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