Digital Collective to host Tech Talk

Steve Jennings, pictured above, is the co-founder of Grasshorse Animation Studio.

KARLA DE BRUIN , Managing Editor

The UNI Digital Collective is putting on their Year-End Tech Slam For the next three weeks. They have invited three speakers: Steve Jennings and UNI alums Zach Everman and Mike Pasley. Each event is in-person in ITT 029 or on Zoom. 

Dana Potter, Assistant Professor within the Communication and Media department says, “All of these speakers are from Iowa or have a vested interest in Iowa students who will one day work in the fields of web development, design, animation, mobile applications, digital media and related industries. Even just attending is a point of connection, because later when a student goes to interview for a job at that business they could say, Hey I saw so-and-so give a talk at UNI and I really like what they said about… Getting a job is about skills but also about connection, which starts with events like this that bridge the university and the wider job-market community.”

Many of the speakers are located in Iowa. Jennings, who will be speaking April 19 at 6 p.m., is the co-founder of Grasshorse Animation Studio. He’s received 50+ awards for his direction and contributed to animating many shows including: Powerpuff Girls, Star Wars: Clone Wars and Johnny Test. 

Jennings opened Grasshorse in 2002 as an animation studio in Atwater, Calif., then relocated to Iowa. He creates opportunities for Midwest artists to produce locally in his role as Director. He also teaches at Southeastern Community College. 

Then on April 26, UNI Alumni Mike Pasley will be speaking at 7 p.m. Pasley graduated in 2003 after studying photography. He co-founded a stop-animation studio called Digital Twigs in Los Angeles. He uses miniature sets to create stop motion productions. He’s worked with many well-known companies including, Nickelodeon, Disney, Cartoon Network and many more. 

Ben Neessen, Digital Collective President, says, “Having accomplished alumni like Mike speak with students is important because we hear firsthand about the different paths alumni took in their professional career. Enlightening stories, beneficial practices and things they wished they would’ve done differently are all insightful for students to hear from someone who was in their shoes.” 

The last speaker on May 3 is UNI Alumni Zach Everman, and will be speaking at 6 p.m. Everman graduated from the Digital Media program and started Pixel Labs with his wife. They design camera devices for camera movement. They also help brands navigate marketing. 

Neesen says, “Our featured speakers all help put Iowa on the map in the digital workspace. Steve at Grasshorse produces high end quality content for mainstream media with Iowan graduates right here in state. Mike produces fabulous content for large internet personalities, finding success in Los Angeles as a UNI CHAS alum. Zach is creating video, audio, and web content for regional businesses, crafting professional marketing content right here in Cedar Falls.”

Everyone is welcome to attend all the speakers. It’s a great way for all students to see what different paths you can take after graduation. Each event has a different zoom link. For more information email Ben Neessen at [email protected] Links for Mike Pasley,  Zach Everman