Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp Coming to Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center this Summer

University Libraries looking for 10 high school juniors with a passion for digital media technologies to apply for and participate in Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp

Reno High School senior Mick Thornton plays the lead zombie in a film he created in the 2017 Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp

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3/8/2018 | By: Jill Stockton |

In today's world, being technologically savvy and digital literate is more important than ever. Businesses and employers are seeking employees and a work force that have skills beyond basic email and word processing. This is where the University Libraries Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp comes into play. The University Libraries Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp provides high school juniors with a passion for digital media technologies with an opportunity to learn the skills they need for the future over two weeks in June each summer. The Boot Camp was first established in the summer of 2011.

With the summer season beginning to become more top of mind, University Libraries is now accepting applications from high school juniors in Washoe, Carson City and Douglas Counties with an interest in digital media. University Libraries is currently looking for 10 high school juniors with a passion for digital media technologies to apply for and participate in the 2018 Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp June 11 - 21. Applications are due no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, April 16. To apply visit: library.unr.edu/smallwood.

The Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp makes use of the full range of multimedia equipment and software provided inside University Libraries' Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center's @One, including the use of state-of-the-art media facilities. Participants will receive concentrated instruction in digital media editing skills using professional software for video, photo and audio editing, graphic and 3D design, virtual reality, motion graphics and more. Skills learned over the course of the two-week, all expenses paid Smallwood Boot Camp for current high school juniors includes, but is not limited to:

  • Photography on high-end D-SLRs
  • Green screen, special effects
  • Create 2D & 3D animation
  • Advanced audio tools, techniques
  • Digital cinema tools, techniques
  • Explore & create virtual reality content
Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp

Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp University of Nevada, Reno Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center logo with multimedia icons (L to R: microphone, video camera, headphones, laptop computer)

Participants will also receive instruction in the critical analysis of sources, as the issue of data validation before it is manipulated is essential.

The schedule includes two, two-hour workshops daily, Monday-Thursday, with a one-hour fieldwork session at the end of each day, either mastering media editing or shooting video on campus. On the first Friday, June 15, the group will go to an off-campus location to do a video shoot. On the last Thursday, June 21, the group will finalize projects they have produced during the two-week session. Participation in the Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp accelerates college-bound participants' acquisition of the skills requisite to be successful in following new directions in knowledge creation and presentation.

Today's college-bound high school graduates are early adopters of digital technology and have spent many of their pre-college years searching, collaborating, and communicating online. By the time many of these students reach college they have spent more than 10,000 hours online.  

"Our specialized multimedia boot camp harnesses the existing digital media knowledge high school juniors bring into our program and helps enhance and amplify these pre-existing skills to take our Boot Campers skills to the next level," said Daniel Fergus, Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp co-director said. "This University Libraries Boot Camp serves as an interdisciplinary and collaborative effort bringing together resources from across the campus community. We have a highly skilled team of experts on hand in the Knowledge Center, but we also bring in faculty experts from Psychology, Journalism, Computer Science, Photography, the Arts and more into the program. This helps ensure the best, most diverse experience for our Boot Camp participants."

Interested high school juniors have an opportunity to enhance and hone their already existing digital media content creation skills and add new ones to their repertoire - think virtual reality/360-degree video production, for example. While there are no tests and no grades assigned during the Boot Camp, participants are expected to attend camp daily, participate in all camp sessions, and complete a final video project to the best of their abilities.

"I participated in the 2017 Boot Camp and learned so much," said Mick Thornton, Reno High School senior. "The best thing I learned was how to develop a professional project management video production workflow. Learning these professional techniques completely opened my mind and changed how I go about shooting my videos. My main interests were animation and video production, but after completing the Smallwood Boot Camp, I decided to stick to video production and hope to focus my college studies on this aspect of digital media."

Mick and Co-star work on their Smallwood video project

Mick Thornton, Reno High School student, and his film co-star work on their Smallwood video project titled, "The New Kid."


There are numerous resources from across the University available to participants throughout the two weeks to ensure the best possible, positive learning experience.  At the end of the Boot Camp, participants "graduate" with a new video to add to their professional portfolio. They are also provided with a unique opportunity to get a jumpstart on their college experience. The Boot Camp gives participants a firsthand glimpse at what college life is like, allowing them to lay a foundation of success before they enter college. This is a unique, not to be missed opportunity for juniors with an interest and passion for multimedia production going into their senior year of high school.

"Within my high school I didn't know of many students with the same digital media interests," Thornton said. "At the Boot Camp, I met so many students with similar interests that it made the experience even better because I got to learn with and from other like-minded students and professionals."

Watch Mick Thornton's Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp Film, "The New Kid."

"One of the best outcomes for Boot Camp participants is meeting other students from other high schools in our community," Fergus said. "Many participants bond quickly and connect to one another due to having a readily available group of peers with similar interests under one roof. They take these friendships and work on projects beyond Boot Camp and into their senior years of high school, into college and beyond."

Thornton added, "We also got to shoot with a very high-end camera - the Red Dragon digital cinema camera. I couldn't believe we were allowed to use and work with equipment like this. This blew my mind. It was awesome."

The Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center is renowned for its exhibits, speakers, and other programming held throughout the year, in addition to supporting student and faculty research. It is home to the latest and greatest in computing technology (software and hardware), and multimedia tools, such as cameras, film equipment, recording equipment, and more. The Knowledge Center provides the perfect balance of analog and digital resources for student, faculty and the greater Reno-Tahoe community.

Funding for the Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp is generously provided by the Smallwood Foundation.

For questions related to the Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp please contact Smallwood Multimedia Boot Camp Coordinator Daniel Fergus at dfergus@unr.edu.

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