Cinema and Technocultural Studies may not have classes in Mesh Networking, advanced MIDI controller programming, or 3D photography, but Technocultural Studies graduate Tim Kerbavaz got hands-on classroom experience in all of those areas. When it comes to maximizing the Technocultural Studies major, Tim tried to leverage every resource at his disposal. “I have a really wide-ranging set of interests, and I discovered that I couldn’t find all the experiences I wanted to have in the course catalog, so I made them happen on my own,” Tim recounted. “The Cinema and Technocultural Studies program has a tremendous set of resources - the equipment lending library, the computer and sound editing labs, and the technical expertise that [technical manager] Don Yee provides gave me the physical tools I needed to explore creative projects, and the knowledge and guidance of TCS faculty gave me the intellectual toolkit I needed to explore outside of the formal lesson plan.”
Case-in-point: in 2012, Tim and a pair of fellow students had the idea to research and develop a mesh networking system to deploy in Davis. Working under the guidance of Cinema and Technocultural Studies (CTS) professor Jesse Drew, the team drew up a course plan for a self-led group study of the technologies and hardware behind peer-to-peer networking. A Davis-wide network didn’t pan out, but the team got hands-on experience with open-source router firmwares, web-based mesh standards, and community network topology. “I love the academic freedom that CTS has allowed me,” Tim said of his independent learning. “I was able to build on my coursework with student-led learning projects, and I think I learned way more about my field because of that.”
Even within the constraints of a class project, CTS Students have room to explore. While taking Professor Bob Ostertag’s TCS 110 course, “Object-Oriented Programming for Artists,” Tim created a program and visual interface to control stage lighting for the event production business he founded a year prior. “This is the first time I can think of that one of my students has made a program with an immediate commercial application,” recounted Ostertag. Tim’s response: “I had a technical need for my business, and if I was building a program for class anyway, it just made sense to fill that need at the same time.”
Tim’s projects weren’t all so businesslike. After taking several computer-related courses, Tim combined skills and code from past projects to build a “Jitter-3D” photo booth, which he and several other students in the Technocultural Studies Club unveiled at on Picnic Day 2013. The resulting animated photos, which are quite amusing, can be found online at www.tcspicnicday.org and at www.tcsclub.org.
From class projects to his time as the TCS Club president, Tim looks back on his time as a student in Cinema and Technocultural studies fondly. “I often found myself wanting to build on my classroom experiences and make stuff happen. I was able to integrate TCS club events, my own creative interests, and my professional life into my courses at UC Davis, and I know I got more out of my education because of that.”
Tim Graduated from UC Davis in March 2013, and now works for his alma mater as the Special Event Support Technical Director at Academic Technology Services. He also owns an event production business, Talon Entertainment (www.talonent.com), which provides live sound, event production, DJ, and video services in Northern California, Sacramento, and the SF Bay area. You can find more about Tim, including his contact information and social media links on his personal website, www.kerbvaz.com.