College of Architecture + The Arts

Florida International University
College of Architecture + The Arts

Modesto A. Maidique Campus
Paul L. Cejas School of Architecture Building
11200 SW 8th Street Miami, Florida 33199

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Alumni Spotlight Damian Charkiewicz

After earning a BFA in Scenic and Lighting Design at FIU in 2011, Damian Charkiewicz continued his education at Penn State University, where he is pursuing his MFA in Scenic Design with an emphasis on Production Design.  He expects to graduate at the end of this summer.  Damian attributes much of his success in grad school to a sound foundation established at FIU, “I can’t even begin to try to explain how much both Jesse and Tony are responsible for my success in grad school.  They were never scared to put me on a project. Jesse’s scenic design classes were extremely helpful in preparing me for the future.  Tony’s 2D and 3D computer drafting class put me ahead of most people applying to Masters Programs.  Many BFA and BA programs around the country do not offer as much hands on experience as FIU did”.
As an FIU student, Damian did a ten week summer internship at the Texas Shakespeare Festival.  As a Props Intern there he was part of the team responsible for designing all set and properties elements for the show.  The Theatre Department at Penn State sent him to participate in the James Thomas Rigging Experience in Knoxville, Tennessee.  This is a weeklong training program that covers truss, rigging and roof system training.  Participants are taught the math behind rigging and load data, as well as proper assembly and loading of truss.  At the end of the program, participants are rewarded with a certificate to document their accomplishment.
One of the reasons Damian chose Penn State University is because of their Summer Study Abroad Program, which is geared towards broadening the students’ understanding of theatre and culture.  His first summer was spent in London, where he saw numerous shows, visited the major museums and completed a research paper on a famous historical artist.  His second summer was spent in Eastern Europe, where the class visited Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Krakow, Poland, Damien’s birth city.  As a side note, the trip to Krakow was added because of Damien’s ability to translate Polish and navigate the city.  Damian’s final summer has been spent visiting the cities of Rome, Florence, Venice Pompeii and Sienna in Italy.
Damian intends to move to LA soon to pursue a career in his field.  We are very proud of this hard working alumnus and wish him continued success.

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