Advisory Boards

At Brooks Institute, we seek the advice and expertise of our Advisory Board to ensure the education we provide students exceeds the rigorous standards of today’s evolving marketplace. Below, read more about the diverse community of industry professionals who help support our commitment to providing quality education and to developing future leaders in the visual arts field.

BFA Film Advisory Board

Wendy Apple
An award-winning producer/director/editor, Apple’s credits include “The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing,” a feature-length documentary special for the BBC, NHK, STARZ! and Warner Brothers’ Home Video; “Hard Rain” (NBC), starring Bob Dylan; “Appearing Nightly” (HBO), starring Lily Tomlin; “American Families” (FOX); “Trial Watch” (NBC); “The ’90s,” a 26-part series (PBS); “Sitcom: The Adventures of Garry Marshall” (KCET); and her feature documentaries “South Central Los Angeles: Inside Voices” (ZDF/ARTE/Showtime) and “Fallen Angels” (Fox Lorber/Winstar). Her early works, as a partner in TVTV for WNET, are in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum, the Museum of Broadcasting and the International Center of Photography in New York. She has also won an Alfred I. Dupont-Columbia Journalism Award for TV’s “Lord of the Universe.” Wendy is an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and has been a faculty member of the California Institute of the Arts. She graduated from NYU Film School.

Brant Barger
Executive Producer Brant Barger founded Rank and File Media in 2007. Rank and File is a commercial and music video production company with a growing list of accomplished directors and national advertising clients. The company produces television commercials and music videos.

Jeffery Burke
Jeffrey Burke (chair) is an artist, former advertising photographer and commercial director. He previously served as the CEO of PictureArts Corp, president of the Picture Archive Council of America and was the co-founder and chair of the PLUS Coalition. Member of the Board of Trustees, Brooks Institute.

Nana Greenwald
Nana Greenwald has been a senior production executive and film producer for over 20 years, executive producing “North Country” for Warner Bros. and co-producing other studio films -including “Seven,” the Academy Award-nominated “The Fugitive,” “A Perfect Murder” and “Falling Down,” among others – totaling over $1 billion in worldwide theatrical sales.

Robert Legato
Robert Legato began working as a visual effects supervisor for “Star Trek: Generations” in the mid-1980s. He moved on to become visual effects supervisor for feature films such as “Hugo” (2012) and “Titanic” (1997), both of which earned him Academy Awards for visual effects. His numerous credits also include “Armageddon” (1998), “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (2001) and “The Aviator” (2004).

Jeff Merritt
Jeff Merritt is an editor, sound designer and camera operator with extensive credits in television and feature films. Jeff is editor of the TV series “GillzNfinz” and edited the feature film “Bollywood Beats.” Jeff has worked in post-production sound on over 20 feature films.

Larry Parker
Larry Parker is vice president of Mole-Richardson, located in Hollywood, Calif. Mole-Richardson has been the leading supplier of motion picture lighting equipment for over 60 years.

Tom Provost
Tom Provost has enjoyed a varied and successful career in the entertainment industry as a screenwriter, editor, director, producer, actor, and instructor. After graduating from the University of Texas in Austin’s prestigious Plan II honors program, with emphases in both English Literature and Film, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, where he landed several parts in film and TV, including a recurring role on Steven Spielberg’s SeaQuest DSV. Tired of also waiting tables, Provost then took up editing, learning the Avid system just as non-linear editing was beginning to explode. After editing shorts and a couple of features, he worked for several years cutting and producing award-winning promos for the WB and Bravo television networks. He also has worked frequently editing reality TV on shows such as “The Celebrity Apprentice” (which earned an Emmy nomination) and “The Bachelor.” During this time, Provost was hired to adapt a script for Academy-Award winner Morgan Freeman’s production company, Revelations, and the screenplay eventually was made into the film “Under Suspicion” starring Freeman and Academy Award-winner Gene Hackman. The screenplay was nominated for an Edgar Award. Provost also works as a script doctor, where his ability to shape story has been highly prized. His feature directorial debut is called “The Presence.” He also wrote the film and is one of the producers. The genre-twisting ghost story stars Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, Shane West, Golden Globe-nominee Justin Kirk (“Weeds”), and Tony Curran. After winning various awards on the festival circuit, including Best Picture and Best Director, Lions Gate picked up the movie for a 2011 release.

Walt Rose
Walt Rose is manager of Student Services at FotoKem. FotoKem is known as one of the largest independently owned film and video post-production houses worldwide. FotoKem’s ability to handle post-production for film, video, and digital media under one roof has been its trademark and has earned the company the reputation of superior quality and service for the past four decades.

Brian Sawyer
Brian Sawyer is a comedy screenwriter with projects in both film and television. His first feature sale was the comedy screenplay “Diesel Debutante” to New Line Cinema, followed soon after by the sale of the comedy screenplay “Guida” to Revolution Studios. Brian is also the creator of “Model Family,” a short film starring Jamie Kennedy and Cheryl Ladd, which was picked up by 20th Century Fox as the basis for a TV series. Brian served as consulting producer on ABC’s “Pixar’s 20th Anniversary Special” and has also optioned a dance-themed comedy to Tapestry Entertainment. In 2011, he sold two projects to the Hallmark Channel, both of which went into production in 2012. He also sold a Christmas movie to Showtime that was co-produced by Reel One and will premiere in Christmas 2012. Brian is now developing a comedy series for Nickelodeon. He has also taught screenwriting workshops for the government of Singapore, the Big Island Film Festival and the Bermuda Film Festival.

John Vasey
As the Vice President of Original Programming for Showtime, John supervised high-profile movies such as “Varian’s War” (starring William Hurt, Julia Ormand, and Lynn Redgrave) and “Down in the Delta” (directed by Maya Angelou and starring Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes). In the series area, John supervised the launch of Showtime’s “Dead Like Me” and also guided feature filmmaking talent crossing over to series programming: “Fallen Angels” (executive produced by Sydney Pollack) and “The Hunger” (executive produced by Tony and Ridley Scott). He also supervised the Oscar-winning “Directed By” series (which included the directing debuts of actors such as Laura Dern, Richard Dreyfuss, Christine Lahti, and Christian Slater). As an independent producer, John created Skyill Productions in 2005, developing and supervising projects for theatrical, television, reality, and documentary. He has also taught part-time at Brooks Institute and is currently an adjunct professor teaching graduate film students at Chapman University and USC.

BS Visual Journalism Advisory Board

Scott Anger
Scott Anger is the founder and creative director of Pandau, a Los Angeles-based interactive production company that specializes in narrative storytelling. For more than 25 years, Scott has worked as an independent journalist and award-winning documentary filmmaker. Most recently, he was the director of video at the Los Angeles Times. He has also worked for British Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, Voice of America and PBS’ FRONTLINE. Two of Scott’s PBS films have won the Alfred I. DuPont Award for Excellence in Journalism, television’s highest journalism award.

Rich Clarkson
Rich Clarkson is the principal at publishing company Rich Clarkson & Assoc. He is an award-winning sports photographer and past president of the National Press Photographers Association. After a career in magazine and newspaper photojournalism as administrator, editor and photographer, Rich Clarkson founded his Denver-based company in 1987 for the creation and management of unique projects based in various uses of fine photography. Named by American Photo magazine as one of the 50 most influential individuals in American photography, Clarkson’s career includes stints as director of photography and senior assistant editor of the National Geographic Society, assistant managing editor of The Denver Post, director of photography of Topeka (Ks.) Capital-Journal and as contract/contributing photographer to Sports Illustrated. His Denver-based company does all the photography of the 89 national championships of the National Collegiate Athletic Association for whom they also produce exhibitions and books, all the original photography for the Colorado Rockies baseball team.

Kenny Irby
Kenny Irby founded the photojournalism program at the prestigious Poynter Institute and is its visual journalism group leader and director of diversity. Kenny contributed as a photo editor to three Pulitzer Prize-winning projects while at Newsday. He is a recipient of numerous National Press Photographer Association awards, including the 2007 Sprague Award (the organization’s highest honor), 2002 President’s Award, 1999 Joseph Costa Award and others. He has been a juror for the American Society of Newspaper Editor’s Community Service Photojournalism Awards, the Society for News Design, Annual Pictures of the Year Competition, White House News Photographers’ Competition, and the Scripps Howard National Journalism Awards.

Kent Kobersteen
Kent Kobersteen was director of photography and senior editor at National Geographic magazine from February 1998 until January 2005. During his tenure, the magazine won the prestigious National Magazine Award for photography five times and was a finalist an additional eight years. Before joining National Geographic, Kent spent 18 years at the Minneapolis (Minnesota) Tribune, which took him throughout the United States and Canada as well as to over 25 foreign countries, primarily in the Middle East and Africa. Kent currently conducts photographic workshops and lectures internationally on the philosophy, ethics, and business of photojournalism. He also serves as a consultant to publications on photographic contracts and rights issues.

Jim McNay
Jim McNay is a California-based teacher and writer. At Brooks Institute, he was the founding program director of the visual journalism program, where he taught for seven years. Previously, he directed the photojournalism program at San Jose State University’s School of Journalism. He was the first college instructor to receive the summer fellowship in the National Geographic photography department. As a journalist, he worked as a staff photographer for the Houston Post and the Daily Iberian in New Iberia, LA. He is a past president of the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) and continues as a regular participant on the Black Team of the Eddie Adams Workshop. He writes regularly for the Sports Shooter Web site ( with the intention of helping emerging photographers break into the profession.

Corey Rich
Corey Rich, renowned for outdoor adventure and lifestyle photography, is vice president/principal at Aurora Photos and author of “My Favorite Place: Great Athletes In The Great Outdoors.” He has photographed rock climbing in India, surfing in South Africa, freight-train hopping in the American West, ultra-marathon racing in the Sahara Desert of Morocco, and snowboarding in Papua New Guinea. He has traveled the world on assignment for National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Sports Illustrated and The New York Times Magazine. Corporate/commercial clients include Anheuser-Busch, Apple, Nike and The North Face. Today, much of his time goes into capturing both still images and video for the creation of multimedia projects for commercial and editorial clients.

BFA Graphic Design Advisory Board

John Silva
John Silva is President/Creative Director of DuPuis Group, A Design Innovation Agency. According to John, “I fix stuff. As a chronic, creative problem solver, I am known for taking apart and rebuilding whatever I envision could be better; a bicycle, a car, a relationship, a brand. Improving our world through design eyes is in my DNA and I believe great goodness comes in the form of inspired beauty, crafted expression and brilliant calculation. DuPuis has been my creative home for nearly 20 years. I crave the fixing still to come.”

Mike Szanger
Mike Szanger is one of the employee/owners of V3 (formerly Ventura Printing). He currently oversees the sales department, marketing efforts and much of the product development at the company. Over the past 15 years with V3, he has helped the company grow from a small local printing company to a much larger regional company serving markets from Los Angeles to the Bay Area with an emphasis on direct marketing. In 2008 V3 was named to one of Fortune’s lists of fastest-growing companies in America, and it plans to continue expanding its list of services and geographic reach. Michael has served as a guest speaker at numerous colleges and universities including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UCSB, Ventura Community College, Pierce College, and Santa Monica Community College. In addition to serving on Brooks Institute’s Graphic Design Advisory Board, Michael also serves on a national board for the Printing Industries of America.

Mark Oliver
Mark Oliver is president and creative director of MOI (Mark Oliver, Inc.), a full-service brand consultancy. The firm specializes in food and beverage marketing, branding, and packaging design, and strategic identity and branding programs for firms nationwide. The firm was a pioneer in the use of emotion-generating visual cues in packaging design and has been a recipient of more than 450 awards from major design organizations and publications. Examples of the firm’s work are included in the permanent collection of the Library of Congress.

Jim Palam
Jim Palam earned a BFA from Parsons School of Design in New York. He is the owner and founder of Jim Palam & Partners, an award-winning, full-service advertising and creative services agency located in Solvang, Calif. Established in 1994, the agency – under the creative direction of Jim Palam – creates advertising and brand-builder programs for clients in the financial, healthcare, retail, service, travel & tourism, and technology industries. Jim began teaching at Brooks Institute as an adjunct faculty member in 2012.

Brett Piatt
Brett Piatt holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He has worked as both an engineer and a UNIX system administrator. His degree from Cal Poly and both career fields supplied an indispensable technical foundation, providing analytical thinking and creative problem solving. In 2004 he switched gears completely to get back to his passion: art. He quit his technical job and began freelancing as a graphic designer. He is now managing the production art department at Patagonia Inc. in Ventura, Calif.

BFA Professional Photography Advisory Board

Jeffrey Burke
Jeffrey Burke (chair) is an artist, former advertising photographer and commercial director. He previously served as the CEO of PictureArts Corp, president of the Picture Archive Council of America and was the co-founder and chair of the PLUS Coalition.

Gail Mooney
Gail Mooney is co-partner of Kelly/Mooney Productions, a visual communications company based in the New York City metropolitan area. Gail has over 30 years of experience shooting for international magazines, major corporations, and institutions. Her clients have included National Geographic, Smithsonian, Travel & Leisure, AT&T, American Express, and KPMG. A lifelong storyteller, Gail began her visual storytelling as a photographer. In 1999 she began producing and shooting video projects. Since then, her company has become fully integrated with motion. She has produced three short documentaries: “Freedom’s Ride,” a story about two diverse groups of high school students retracing the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s; “The Delta Blues Musicians”; and “Through the Hearts and Hands of Children,” a piece about the NJ Youth Symphony. Gail’s true passion is to use her craft, be it via still imagery or motion, to create awareness and effect change. Her first feature-length documentary, “Opening Our Eyes,” was a joint project with her daughter Erin Kelly. They circled the globe seeking ordinary people who are making our world a better place one person at a time. Gail is 1st VP on the National Board of ASMP and chairs the Motion/Video Committee. Gail also serves on the board of the YPA (Young Photographers Alliance) as well as on the Photography Advisory Board of Brooks Institute, her alma mater.

Tim Mantoani
Tim Mantoani is a San Diego-based photographer. His credits include Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and ESPN The Magazine, as well as ad campaigns for Coca-Cola, EA Sports and Coors Brewing. Today, when Tim’s not shooting on assignment, he’s documenting venerable lens men who have collectively captured decades of culture and celebrity with their own cameras. Each image features a photographer holding their most iconic or favorite image. Legendary rock photographers Jim Marshall and Ethan Russell have sat for 20- x 24-inch Polaroid portraits, as have Walter Iooss, Steve McCurry, Mary Ellen Mark, Elliott Erwitt and Roberto Salas.

Eugene Mopsik
Eugene Mopsik has a long and distinguished record with the American Society of Media Photographers and has led the organization as its executive director since 2003. Prior to serving as executive director, Gene was an active member on ASMP’s board in a number of capacities, including a term as president in 2000-2001. A prominent advocate for the rights of photographers and other visual artists, the ASMP is a leader in current issues such as copyright registration of images, social media terms of service, Orphan Works and the exploration of new business models. Gene currently serves on the boards of the Brooks Institute, the Eddie Adams Workshop and the PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System) Coalition, and on the Advisory Board of the Young Photographers Alliance (YPA). Prior to his position at ASMP, his career was as a successful Philadelphia corporate/industrial photographer. He graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Jay Silverman
Jay Silverman has excelled as a leading Director and Photographer specializing in award-winning television, digital, and print campaigns. After Graduating from Brooks Institute of Photography with honors, Jay began his successful career as a photographer by shooting renowned celebrities, sports heroes, music recording artists, and fashion models for national endorsement campaigns. Some of Jay’s top campaigns have been for Pepsi, Coors, Budweiser, Purina, Gatorade, Visa, and McDonald’s. In addition, he has also been recognized for his achievements in creating and producing many national PSA campaigns for the American Cancer Society, the Foundation for the Junior Blind, the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, and the Sierra Club.

Dennis Fisher
Dennis Fisher is a 1975 graduate of Brooks Institute with over 45 years of experience as a still photographer, photojournalist, cinematographer, range instrumentation optics engineer, and electro-optics consultant. Dennis began his career serving in the Marine Corps as a combat photographer with the 1st Marine Division in Vietnam. Post military service, Dennis worked for organizations such as Pratt and Whitney Aircraft in their high-speed instrumentation photographic department. He attended Brooks Institute to complete his college education in scientific and technical photography before going to work in management and engineering for the Western Test Range Optical Instrumentation Branch at Vandenberg AFB for 21 years. After retiring from Vandenberg AFB, he established Genesis Applied Imaging, Inc., an optics consulting business that focuses on electro-optical systems and their application. Dennis has worked as a technical consultant on Apollo 13 and Top Gun and as a cinematographer on Firebirds. Most recently, he worked for Red Bull on their Stratos Space Jump project where he was tasked with designing a system capable of photographing a man from 25 miles away and tracking him during supersonic freefall.  

MFA Advisory Board Members

Erika Gentry
Erika Gentry is a Visual Artist and Educator. She specializes in digital imaging, photography, education, multi media arts and fine art printing. An early advocate of the creative digital domain, she has been teaching and presenting electronic arts and photography at the institutional, organizational and individual levels nationwide since 1996 and has been a consultant to many of the industry’s leading professional photographers as they converted from film to a digital workflow. She has taught one-on-one and group courses at corporations and colleges nationwide and is currently as Associate Professor at City College of San Francisco. Gentry grew up in Portland, Oregon and received her B.A. from The School of Journalism and Communications at the University of Oregon in Eugene. She completed her M.F.A. at The School of Imaging Arts and Sciences at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She exhibits her artwork internationally and currently serves on the National Board of Directors for The Society for Photographic Education and the advisory board of Lens Culture Magazine.

Larry McNeil
Larry McNeil is both an artist and scholar, having taught art and photography since 1992, starting at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He is currently a full professor in the art department at Boise State University in Idaho, where he also has graduate faculty status. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Brooks Institute and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of New Mexico, where he also earned the Van Deren Coke Fellowship for demonstrating artistic excellence. He has exhibited his art extensively at national museums and galleries and earned the prestigious Eiteljorg Fellowship for Native American Art, the National Geographic All Roads Photography Award, and the En Foco New Works award for Photography.

Lynn Martin
Lynn Martin has worked with the industry’s most influential photographers, agencies and foundations including Getty Images, Bill Gates’ Corbis Corporation, the Aperture Foundation and Young Photographers Alliance (YPA), as its first Executive Director. Her expertise includes projects with the Dallas Zoo, Big Thought, and Business Council for the Arts. Lynn holds an MFA from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Brooks Institute and the Advisory Board of YPA. She is dedicated to building community, sustainability and support for the arts in both business and nonprofit sectors, and to mentoring emerging talent.

Karen Sinsheimer
In Karen Sinsheimer’s tenure of nearly 20 years as Curator of Photography at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, she has organized 14 traveling exhibitions that have appeared in both national and international venues, each of which was accompanied by a major publication. In addition, she curated nearly 50 exhibitions as well as overseeing 12 exhibitions from other institutions. Karen has participated in numerous portfolio reviews and juried exhibitions and has written for several publications. In collaboration with Anne Tucker and Gus Lyndall Wortham, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, she co-curated “Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography,” which is accompanied by a Yale University Press publication. She is a member of the Board of JGS, Inc., a non-profit organization that has funded more than 60 single-artist books of contemporary photography.

Liberal Arts Advisory Board

Dr. Jody Allen Randolph
Dr. Jody Allen Randolph served as Assistant Dean of the British Studies at Oxford Programme at St. John’s College, Oxford and has taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara, University College Dublin, and Westmont College. Her recent books have explored cultural change during rapid economic shifts; women poets in national and transnational contexts; and urban change in poetry and photography. She is currently a research fellow at the Humanities Institute at University College Dublin.

Dr. David Cole
Dr. David Cole is Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to teaching and research, he served as chairman of his department, and as Assistant Dean in the College of Letters and Science. With his students as co-authors, he published more than 200 professional articles, and was on editorial boards of several professional journals. As a consultant to the American Cancer Society and the National Institutes of Health he evaluated research grant applications, and Fellowship candidates.

Dr. Stephen Humphreys
Dr. Stephen Humphreys is currently Research Professor in Middle Eastern History and Islamic Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he taught from 1990 until 2012. Prior to coming to UC-Santa Barbara, he taught at various other universities, including the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also held visiting positions at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ), the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), and All Souls College, Oxford. He has published six books, among them “Between Memory and Desire: The Middle East in a Troubled Age” (University of California Press, 2005). He has served as president of the Middle East Studies Association (2001), and as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies and the University of California Press.

Dr. David Winter
Dr. David Winter was Westmont College’s longest-serving president, stepping down after leading the college for 25 years. Under his leadership, Westmont become a highly selective, nationally ranked liberal arts. The John Templeton Foundation included him in a 1999 list of 50 college presidents noted for leadership in character development. In 1998 he received the Santa Barbara News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse honored him as one of the community’s “Twelve Men of Distinction.” Winter is a recognized leader in higher education organizations. He served six years as chair of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Senior Commission, the accrediting organization for all higher educational institutions in the region. He has also been a director for the national Council on Higher Education Accreditation.

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