Pictured (left to right): Gabrielle Robinson, Raymond Huang, Diana Arellano, Meaghan Long, and Rogelio Sol
The SIGGRAPH 2022 Student Volunteers program is very excited to welcome a new subcommittee to lead the charge as we prepare for the hybrid virtual/in-person conference this August. Get to know the subcommittee via the Q&A below!
SIGGRAPH: How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?
Diana Arellano (DA): I learned about SIGGRAPH while I was a student at the Simón Bolívar University in Venezuela, in 2003. The first time I applied to the Student Volunteers program I was not accepted, but I was fortunate to still attendee the conference as a regular attendee. I fell so in love with SIGGRAPH that I reapplied again and again. Finally, in 2007, I was accepted as a student volunteer. From then on, I volunteered just about every year as either a student volunteer or Team Leader up until 2012.
Meaghan Long (ML): In 2013, I heard about SIGGRAPH and the Student Volunteers program from a classmate during a school luncheon. Them sharing their experience about this amazing conference and program made me eager to apply and join SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver. I have since then continued volunteering with the Student Volunteers program in various roles (team leader, communications lead, and UI/UX designer).
Raymond “Ray” Huang (RH): My first exposure to SIGGRAPH was when the president of the Northeastern Animation Student Association pitched the program at a meeting after her first time volunteering in 2016. Since then, I’ve been a student volunteer (2017), team leader (2018 and 2019), and am now subcommittee member!
Gabrielle Robinson (GR): I first got involved with ACM SIGGRAPH through the chapter at my university! I joined the club and, a year later, became its vice president. While working as the vice president I was able to learn more, and spread information about the conference to our members. I first was accepted as a student volunteer for the SIGGRAPH 2019 conference, along with some of my chapter members.
Rogelio Sol (RS): I heard about the SIGGRAPH conference through my university’s local chapter. I’d urge everyone to get involved both locally and at the conference — it’s one of the best choices I’ve made.
SIGGRAPH: What is your favorite memory from a SIGGRAPH conference?
DA: I think it has to be SIGGRAPH 2003, when I attended a Production Session about “Finding Nemo” and got my poster signed by all the lead artists (plus, I managed to take photos with all of them). For me it was like being with superstars because it was a world so far away from my own world. It was really like being in a dream.
ML: During SIGGRAPH 2016, I volunteered as a Team Leader with the Double Robotics team. Our mission was to provide the best experience for an attendee joining the conference remotely through a video-conferencing robot. Several volunteers and I created unique experiences for them with different venues and members at the conference, like meeting the Pixar RenderMan team. These types of memories, where I see volunteers dedicating care and time for everyone regardless of who they are or where they come from, is why I continuously come back.
RH: My favorite SIGGRAPH memories are actually those that take place after the conference. (Don’t get me wrong, though — there are too many amazing things at the conference to count.) Reconnecting with the amazing people I’ve met at the conference, building up the SIGGRAPH community throughout the year, and, especially as a team leader, seeing first-time attendees and volunteers rave about the experience always fills my heart.
GR: Definitely during my first conference, working in the Immersive Pavilion venue with the creators and my fellow student volunteers! It really opened my eyes to the different ways art and technology can be combined. As a student volunteer, I was able to get behind the curtain and talk to the people behind these innovations and that was a great experience.
RS: It’s difficult to choose just one, but I’d say making friends in Vancouver has to be it. It was my first conference and I was blown away by the kindness of everyone I met, be it student or industry vet.
SIGGRAPH: When not volunteering with SIGGRAPH, what do you like to do in your free time?
DA: In my real free time, I love to read Agatha Christie novels. I am also a certified Zumba trainer and, when I am not giving a class in a fitness studio, I am either practicing at home or doing a Zumba class via Zoom.
ML: I absolutely love rock climbing! I can also be found on weekends either camping or finding new restaurant in my area.
RH: I’ve recently started rock climbing, which has consumed 90% of my time. When I’m not hanging off a wall, I love playing and thinking about video games, dancing, and decorating cakes!
GR: I love trying new foods, whether it’s cooking or going out to eat! I also love to learn and try new things in general. When I am not stuffing my face, I spend a lot of time doing crafts, painting, working out, taking care of my plants, or playing “Animal Crossing”.
RS: I love watching all types of movies, but I especially love horror. I also really like tabletop games — I play a Kobold Rogue in my weekly D&D game!
SIGGRAPH: What advice do you have for future student volunteers?
DA: Enjoy every single moment of the experience. From the moment you are filling out your application, to the moment you start with your shift(s), until the time the conference is over and you are saying goodbye to all those new friends you’ve made.
ML: Go for those opportunities that are presented to you, even if it’s a little scary. We can sometimes second guess if we are good enough or ready, but we shouldn’t let those thoughts hold us back. Whether it’s introducing yourself to a peer, going to the Job Fair, or putting yourself out there at a networking event, the most important thing in that moment is that you showed up. This will take you far at SIGGRAPH and in your career.
RH: Get outside your comfort zone. My first SIGGRAPH was a bit of an overwhelming, new experience for me. It really wasn’t until 2017 that I broke out of my shell and truly embraced SIGGRAPH, and I haven’t looked back. If you’re someone who feels right at home at SIGGRAPH, look around and support others who could use a helping hand and friendly face.
GR: Put yourself out there! Don’t be afraid to be the first one to do something in a group. Volunteer for a shift you haven’t done before or with people you don’t know. This will open you up to experiences you could have never imagined, and it will also help break the ice and encourage other student volunteers to do the same! The SIGGRAPH conference and the environment it creates is the perfect place to try new things and meet new people, make the most of it!
RS: Get to know each other! I’ve met some of my best friends through SIGGRAPH. Watching them grow and work in positions that we could only dream of during our first conference has been inspiring as I progress in my own career.
Interested in participating in SIGGRAPH 2022 as a student volunteer? Apply today at sv.siggraph.org.