ALISO VIEJO, CA – January 29, 2015 – Smith Micro Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: SMSI) has named Darbi Jo Dugan from Abingdon-Avon High School, Abingdon, IL, as the first winner of the Smith Micro Avatar Challenge scholarship program for budding digital artists. The high school senior’s “Pudgie the Budgie” bird design was selected as the Student of the Month character for the Avatar messaging feature of Sprint Visual Voicemail, used by Sprint customers nationwide. Dugan also received a free Intuos Pro tablet from program sponsor Wacom, $2,500 in scholarship money from Smith Micro and program sponsor Studica, as well as free animation software from Smith Micro.
The Avatar Challenge is part of an educational program designed to cultivate the next generation of digital artists. The program, launched in 2014 to educators and students in secondary schools and higher education, complements the latest STEAM learning programs through the integration of art and technology. Smith Micro offers Avatar Messaging as part of its CommSuite® premium voice services platform for wireless service providers, as well as in their AniMates™ consumer messaging application available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
“Darbi’s design demonstrated all of the qualities that make for popular Avatars, including personality, vibrant aesthetics, liveliness, and fluid animation,” said Carla Fitzgerald, Chief Marketing Officer at Smith Micro. “We’re excited to see the Avatar Challenge program generate terrific new characters while teaching valuable graphic design skills, and we look forward to announcing more student winners in the coming months.”
“Winning the first Avatar Challenge was a major shock and made my year! It showed me that doing what you love really does pay off eventually,” said winner Darbi Jo Dugan. “My Avatar, Pudgie the Budgie, was inspired by my pet parakeet. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. Right now I take four different art classes and next year I am attending Missouri State University to major in the Electronic Arts program so I can carry on my love of digital art and animation with me for the rest of my life.”
Avatar Challenge Registration
- Educators: By registering for the Avatar Challenge, qualified educators get free copies of Smith Micro’s Anime Studio Pro 10 software for their own use (valued at $299.99), and up to 15 free licenses of Anime Studio Debut (valued at $49.99 each) for their students. Educators can register for the challenge here.
- Students: High school or college students grades nine and up can enter the Avatar Challenge for a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship, an Intuos Pro tablet computer, as well as professional versions of Smith Micro’s Anime Studio, Poser, Manga Studio and Motion Artist animation tools (valued at $1,099.96). Students can register for the program here.
About Smith Micro Software, Inc.:
Smith Micro provides software to simplify and enhance the mobile experience. As the leader in wireless connectivity, our applications ensure the best Quality of Experience for mobile users while optimizing networks for service providers and enterprises. Using our intelligent policy-on-device platform, along with premium voice, video and content monetization services, we create new opportunities to engage consumers and capitalize on the growth of connected devices. For more information, visit smithmicro.com. (NASDAQ: SMSI)
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