Imagine leaving a career you’ve worked your way up in, packing your bag and departing your home country to pursue a bigger goal – by yourself.

SCAD alumna Maria Claudia Mora did not have to imagine. She not only lived it, but she proved the risk was worth every uncertainty in the taking.

Mora, originally from Cúcuta, Colombia, graduated from SCAD in August of 2016 with a Master of Fine Arts degree in sound design. Prior to coming to SCAD, she earned her bachelor’s degree in 2012 in sound engineering from the Universidad de San Buenaventura in Medellín, Colombia.

“When you get to a new country, it does not really matter what degree you are earning,” Mora said. “You pretty much start from zero. Because of this, I am a true believer that the passion and attitude for things are what help you to accomplish your dreams and goals. I learned to be focused and to work hard for the things I wanted. People will notice the energy that comes from you and they will be willing to teach you anything you may need.”

SCAD District

Image courtesy of Maria Claudia Mora.

Shortly after graduating from her undergrad, she moved to Bogotá to work for a production company. She spent three years there, learning the ropes of her industry while also deciding to explore her artistic side and how she could complement that with her technical one.

“I was convinced that audio postproduction for video and sports was what I wanted to do for my career and the sound design program at SCAD had everything I was looking for,” Mora said. 

During her graduate program, Mora said she took advantage of multiple internship opportunities at WTOC-TV and Turner Broadcasting that helped her acquire a more dynamic skill set for both her professional and interpersonal needs.

“I think that being socially open or willing to share your human side when you start in a new place [or] company is crucial for success,” Mora said. “Practice helps you with this.”

After completing her degree in Savannah, Mora moved to Atlanta and started working at Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a media conglomerate that manages the collection of cable television networks and properties initiated or acquired by media mogul Ted Turner.

Mora recently moved back home to Cúcuta to work as a sound designer for Turner International Colombia S.A. who work with partners such as the NBA, TNT, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, MLB, FilmStruck and TCM.

“One year after I graduated from SCAD, I still cannot believe where I am right now,” Mora said. “Every time I get into work, I am thankful and grateful for being able to love what I do. I believe that’s one of the reasons why I am so passionate about my job.”

At SCAD, Mora learned the value of teamwork and collaboration, two buzzwords for which the university is known. Those SCAD hallmarks allowed Mora to surround herself with fellow creatives and kindred spirits.

“SCAD definitely has the necessary tools to prepare you for the real and professional world,” Mora said. “The fact that you have professors that have had experience with top companies and they come and share with you minor details about it is priceless. In my case, technology plays a huge role in my career. SCAD owns top tech equipment that helps you get prepared for what you will be encountering with when you put your foot inside a company.”

Mora’s personal buzzword is “passion.” According to her, no matter what you aspire to be, passion and commitment to a craft you love will lead to success.

“I am a true believer that I have a really long way to go,” Mora said. “I am lucky to be part of a company like this and hope to keep learning and growing as a professional in it. You realize that with technology advancing so quickly, there are new things to learn and catch up every day.”  

As for the leap of faith she took leaving her former full-time job to attend SCAD in the U.S., Mora feels leaving Colombia helped her become more independent and confident in her creative process.

“Attitude and passion are everything,” Mora said. “Be focused on what you want, love what you do and work hard towards it. Sacrifice will be worth it. I promise.”

Written by Emilie Kefalas.