Tyler Hernández Wins EOP Award for Student Excellence

Hernandez receives certificate and medal from the chancellor against a step-and-repeat
Hernandez accepted the McConney award from SUNY Chancellor John B. King, Jr., at an event in Albany on April 18. Photos courtesy of SUNY Systems.

When Tyler Hernández graduates this week with her BFA in Animation, Interactive Media, and Game Design, she’ll leave with an additional recognition of her achievements: the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for Student Excellence. Nearly a dropout of Manhattan’s High School of Art and Design, Hernández embarked on a new trajectory when she was accepted into Art and Design Prep (A&D Prep), an intensive program for high school seniors offered by FIT’s Office of Educational Opportunity Programs. The EOP supports prospective and current FIT students who have socioeconomic challenges.

“My life was incredibly hard,” she says. “Instead of focusing on school, I faced a family constantly battling. I had no money for college and a low GPA. [A&D] Prep put me with other first-generation students who needed an extra hand to reach their goals.”

Hernandez with Orange, another EOP director, and Hernandez's mother
Orange; Hernandez; William Clyde, EOP director at Nassau Community College; and Hernandez’s mother, Diana Rose Bonilla.

EOP Director Taur Orange moved Hernández’s fantasy of a career in animation toward reality. At FIT, Hernández joined the Student Government Association, was secretary of the 3D Club, and founded a chapter of Women in Animation, “bringing industry connections to our doorstep and helping students’ creative voices be heard.”

“Tyler is an agent of change, a powerhouse who’ll make a name for herself in animation,” Orange says. “She’s eager to increase women and POC in this industry. She’ll make FIT proud because she’s invested in giving back.”

“Once you’ve seen rock bottom and come out of it, you want to help others in your position and give them hope for the future,” Hernández says. The Bronx native seeks work as a production assistant in New York City and wants “to bring a ton of people with me.”

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