Student of Distinction: Sadie Gleason

Sadie Gleason

Undergraduate, B.A. in Art with an option in Animation

Combining arts with humanities consistently produces incredible results. Sadie Gleason, a Smittcamp Family Honors scholar, combines her talent as an animator with creative writing and storytelling to create both clever and thought-provoking animations.

“Animation, and really every kind of storytelling, is so wonderful because it takes us on a journey with characters and places that are completely made up, yet by the end leaves us with a better understanding of the world and ourselves,” Gleason said.

In one of her latest projects, Gleason created a pitch Bible for an animated television show with used talking animals to explore complex social dynamics and the human longing to belong.

Gleason explained, “Fiction really has the power to bring people together, which I hope I am able to achieve with my own stories.”

In her College of Arts and Humanities Honors Program project, Gleason combined her skills as an animator with the scientific research of five endangered animals to create animated walk cycles.

Sadie mapped out a path of study that combined researching endangered animal species with developing physically accurate depictions of quadrupedalism and aviary bipedalism,” explained Animation/Intermedia Professor Paula Durette. “This necessitated a good deal of self-study between multiple disciplines, time and project management, and clear communication with supervising faculty. Sadie engaged with all of this in a very thorough and professional manner.”

After graduation, Gleason plans to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing to refine her storytelling skills. Ultimately, she hopes to write for an animated movie and publish a book or comic.

“Sadie is simply one of the best students I’ve ever known, and her interests are wide-ranging,” Professor of English Timothy Skeen said. “In addition to being creative, Sadie is also reliable, two qualities which, in my experience, do not always go together.”

When reflecting on the experiences that had the most significant learning impact on her, Gleason said many of those moments happened outside the traditional classroom setting. The summer before her junior year, Gleason left the United States for the first time to study abroad in Japan. The adventure, she says, broadened her understanding of the world and humanity.

In her experience tutoring in the Fresno State Writing Center, she found a synergy in teaching, learning and creating with others. This understanding has prompted the desire to be a life-long learner and inspired yet another goal, to teach at a university and help guide a new generation of artists and humanists.


The College of Arts and Humanities Students of Distinction represents the best of their department and will be honored at the Arts in Motion event at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 10 – the culminating event of the Arts in Motion Showcase week. From these students, one undergraduate and one graduate Dean’s Medalist will be selected. The Dean’s Medalists are then eligible to receive the President’s Medal, the university’s highest student honor.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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