Ziyao Wang '22 stands outside in front of a pavilion of fountains and trees.

Where They’re Headed: Ziyao Wang ‘22

The computer science and fine arts double major is pursuing a master’s degree in engineering, focusing on computer graphics and game technology, at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ziyao Wang ‘22 is continuing her Haverford education at the nearby University of Pennsylvania. The computer science and fine arts double major is pursuing a Master of Science in engineering in computer graphics and game technology as part of Haverford’s 4+1 partnership with the university. This program allows students to attain a master’s degree in engineering from Penn by taking graduate courses during their senior year at Haverford, followed by a single year of graduate study.

Wang described this particular degree as a combination of her two interests in fine arts and computer graphics.

“It gives its students insight into the state-of-the-art graphics and animation technologies used in interactive entertainment and cinematic visual effects,” she said. “In addition to learning new technologies, I’m excited to learn traditional approaches to making animation, such as hand-drawn animation.”

In addition to the unique program, Wang was drawn to the University of Pennsylvania by its particular accessibility for Haverford students. She attended graduate-level classes twice a week at the school’s campus during her senior year, allowing her to fully adjust to the academic environment before even graduating Haverford.

Wang also credited the unique course selection within the Bi-Co with some of her academic growth. She was even able to substitute a class required for her master’s degree with “Computer Graphics,” which she took at Bryn Mawr College. The class connected her with a professor who would help mentor her: Aline Normoyle, Bryn Mawr assistant professor of computer science, who would advise Wang as she wrote her senior thesis about hair animation.

Wang recommends that students interested in pursuing animation should focus on either the technical side or art side of the process.

“Animation is a blend of art with science. There are many roles, ranging from software developers to story artists in an animation studio. You don’t have to double major or be good at both sides, because it’s hard,” she said. “It’s more important to know how to work with different people. For example, you could be a software engineer who loves art and knows how to work with artists on projects.”

Wang hopes to use that wisdom and ability to collaborate as part of an animation studio after she obtains her degree from Penn.

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series chronicling the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.