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Caress Reeves '12 Awarded Beinecke Scholarship to Pursue Animation Studies

An illustration from Reeves' application for the Beinecke Scholarship

An illustration from Reeves' application for the Beinecke Scholarship

Pomona College student Caress Reeves '12

Reeves in Florence, Italy

Caress Reeves ’12, a media studies major, has received one of only 20 Beinecke Fellowship awarded this year. Each Beinecke scholar receives $4,000 during their senior year to help with the expenses of applying to, visiting and moving to graduate school, and an additional $30,000 while enrolled in a graduate program.

The Beinecke Scholarship “…seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences.”

Reeves’ future plans include pursuing an internship with an animation company and an MFA degree in experimental animation. While she is learning about digital animation, she says that traditional animation interests her most because of the rich texture and movement that can be created from hand-drawn lines.

Her interest in animation began early, “watching animated films obsessively as a child.” In high school, she created an afternoon club around watching “amazing 60’s cartoons” and discovered a desire to create.

“Animation inspired the one constant act in my life: drawing,” explains Reeves. “I’ve drawn characters that existed in a world only inside my head, characters from other fictive works, and simply strange things that had no coherency whatsoever.” After spending a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, a city where “everything was art,” she says, “the desire to draw, write or create anything assaulted me daily.”

At Pomona, Reeves discovered a love of screenwriting during a course taught by Prof. Rick Blackwood and took several media studies classes that influenced the direction of her art, including Race and Popular Culture in the Late 19th Century and Psychology of the Black Experience. “At a first glance they aren't necessarily related,” she admits, “but both of those courses opened up to me racial and gender histories I'd never been aware of. I became interested in fusing both my knowledge of abject histories and animation to create unusual narratives missing in major animated films.”

Reeves is augmenting her media studies major with a minor in digital media and focusing on critical analysis of media texts, specifically pertaining to race, gender and sexuality. While she hasn’t officially started her thesis, she believes she will focus on the roles of women in animated films. “I want to create a final project dealing with overarching issues of female agency in sexuality. I will create characters that will both reflect female tropes in historical animation, as well as turn those tropes on their head by questioning normative racial and gender roles.”

Reeves, a resident of Little Rock, AR, is the daughter of John and Lynda Reeves and a graduate of Parkview Magnet Arts/Sciences High School.

Pomona College, founded in 1887, is known for its distinctive liberal arts education, small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and opportunities for research and involvement on campus and in the community. In October, Pomona College launched Campaign Pomona: Daring Minds, with a goal of raising $250 million.