Alum Profile: Katherine Leising ‘21

By | August 1, 2021

The senior film “Circulation” by Katherine Leising—a 2021 Daemen graduate, with a BFA in animation—has been selected into the Association of Medical Illustrators 2021 Salon and will contend for an award from the organization.Katherine Leising

Graduating magna cum laude, with honors, earlier this summer, Leising is the first animation student in Daemen’s history to advance to a graduate-level program. This fall, she will begin pursuing her master’s degree in medical illustration at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Combining 2D and 3D animation, “Circulation” features a cartoony, video-game loving microvilli named Villie and a disembodied narrator voiced by Robert Waterhouse, an associate professor and chair of visual and performing arts at Daemen.

In the 3-minute film, Villie learns how the heart and lungs work together to form the cardiovascular system. 

Leising, who was also a biology minor at the college, has worked as a video editor and motion graphics animator for Western New York Healthcare Education & Equipment. At Daemen, she was an active member of the Animation Department as their club secretary, then president, and finally as an academic coach.

Still from short film "Circulation"

A still from Leising’s animated short film, “Circulation”

In 2020, she joined the Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI), an international organization for both students and professionals to network, critique, and socialize. 

Leising chose an unusual path compared to most animation students, she said. 

“I was told no other students [at Daemen] had focused on medical animation before,” said Leising. “My wonderful advisors assisted me in making a path for myself. Not even a global pandemic could stop me.”

With help from Ashley Tinkey and Mike Jones—assistant professors of animation at Daemen—Leising was able to combine her knowledge in character animation and human anatomy for her thesis film.

“My experience at Daemen not only provided me with the skills I need to succeed, but also lifelong friendships with some incredibly talented people in my field,” she said. “I am forever grateful for my time spent at Daemen College.”