Claymation and Film Educator at Discovery World
When enrolled at Carthage, Mia Morton ’21 wasn’t afraid to explore her passions, studying in three different fields and spending her free time as a member of the Merely Players Improv Comedy organization.
Ms. Morton now uses all of the skills and knowledge she gained exploring her interests as a claymation and film educator at Discovery World, a science and technology museum. Every week, Ms. Mia teaches students how to tap into their creativity and use industry-standard technology to express their artistic visions.
Ms. Morton credits her college professors for providing her with opportunities and for preparing her for the career she has today.
“Not only did my college professors equip me with the skills I need to work in my field, but they modeled what excellence looks like.”
What have you enjoyed most about your career?
“While teaching my students how to animate fluid character movement, I had the opportunity to take them downstairs to the aquarium to look at the jellyfish and stingrays. Having access to those types of hands-on learning experiences at Discovery World is the reason I love my job and am grateful for my education.
“Also, as an advocate for public access to experiential learning, being a museum educator has been a complete joy. Because Discovery World is a science and technology museum, we have a million resources at our disposal. My goal one day is to be a director of education at a museum, and this position has only solidified my dedication to that path.”
How did Carthage prepare you?
“My Stop-Motion Animation and Film classes were fundamental in my understanding of media production. Even though my thematic focus was screenwriting, I was still able to learn a bit of everything, which really paid off. My history and education courses taught me how to be a diligent researcher and conscious communicator. Together, all of the courses prepared me for an engaging and exciting career path.”
Why did you choose Carthage?
“I was receiving a lot of college mail my senior year of high school, and so much of it was unflattering and generic. One day, I received a beautiful postcard of students exploring a beach. I was really impressed with the simplicity of the graphics and the overall visual curation. While many factors led to my choosing Carthage (an excellent history department, a great improv comedy scene, and lots of scholarships), that initial interest came from a single postcard — designed by a digital media student in a department I would one day join.”
What Carthage professors played a part in your success and how?
“Two professors who helped me succeed in my film and new media courses are Professor Nicholas Pilarski and Professor Jojin Van Winkle. I greatly enjoyed my classes with Prof. Pilarski because he showed genuine interest in his students and their creative voices. His industry knowledge is second to none, and he encourages his students to explore opportunities beyond class.
“The classes I took with Prof. Van Winkle challenged me to explore aspects of filmmaking outside of my comfort zone (i.e. animation and 2D design), and for that, I am immensely grateful. She is incredibly patient and skilled, and her enthusiasm in the classroom really left an impact on me — it’s something that I’ve tried to emulate in my own media classroom.
“Additionally, Professor Stephanie Mitchell was one of my biggest advocates at Carthage. Because of her dedication to her students and unwavering belief in their brilliance, I was able to explore internships with the Kenosha History Center and the Wisconsin Historical Society/State Museum. Professor Marilyn Ward and Professor Karin Sconzert were incredible supports to me in the Education Department as well, and their wisdom and guidance were fundamental in my growth as an educator.”
Were you an award recipient? If so, tell us about the awards you received and what they meant to you.
“I’ve received the Neuenswander Award for Outstanding History Thesis (2021), Student Teacher of the Year (2021), the John W. Bailey Award for Outstanding History Paper (2019), a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grant (2019), the Erva Moody Memorial Scholarship (2020) and Student Organization of The Year — Merely Players Improv Comedy (2020). I also graduated Summa Cum Laude and in the top 10 percent of the 2021 graduating class.”