Katharine McPhee is a celebrated film and television actress and recording artist. She stars in the CBS hit drama, Scorpion, and previously starred in the NBC series, Smash. Since her star-making performance on American Idol Season 5, Katharine has released five studio albums and performed across the world. Her 2007 hit "Over It" is a certified Gold Record. Katharine attended CSSSA in 1999 and in 2000, and in 2016, The CSSSA Foundation recognized her with its first CSSSA Alumni Inspiration Award presented at the 30th Anniversary CSSSA Gala.
Adrian Molina is an award-winning animator at Pixar. He is best known for his work as the screenwriter and co-director of DisneyPixar's, Coco, and in 2018 won a Golden Globe for his work on the film. Since joining Pixar as a story intern in 2006, Adrian has worked on major studio productions from Ratatouille to Toy Story 3. Adrian attended CSSSA in 2001 and 2002 and received his BFA in character animation from CalArts. Fellow CSSSA alum, Alex Hirsch, is still one of Adrian's best friends. In 2017, The CSSSA Foundation recognized Adrian with its CSSSA Alumni Inspiration Award.
Zac Efron is an actor, singer, and dancer who gained worldwide fame as teen heartthrob Troy Bolton in Disney's popular High School Musical franchise. Since then Zac has starred in hit films such as Hairspray, Me and Orson Wells, The Lucky One, Neighbors, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Baywatch, and The Great Showman. He has also lent his voice to the animated feature Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. In 2017, Zac won a Teen Choice Award for his role in Baywatch. He attended CSSSA in 2002 and was later accepted to the University of Southern California.
Alex Hirsch is a writer, animator, voice actor and creator of the mega-popular Disney tv show, Gravity Falls, which he has earned numerous BAFTA and Annie Awards and was a finalist for the prestigious Peabody Award. In a profile in the New York Times, the show was described as, "picture someone putting ‘The Simpsons,’ ‘Twin Peaks,’ ‘Calvin and Hobbes,’ ‘The X-Files’ and Martha Stewart into a blender and animating the outcome.” Alex is also a bestselling author of Gravity Falls: Journal 3. Alex attended CSSSA in 2001 and 2002 and went on to receive his BFA at CalArts. Alex is still close friends with fellow CSSSA alum, Adrian Molina.
Kirsten Vangsness is an actress and writer best known for her portrayal of the beloved FBI technical analyst, Penelope Garcia, on CBS's “Criminal Minds” and its spinoff series, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.” For her work on the stage, Kirsten has earned a Los Angeles Drama Critics' Circle Natalie Schafer Award, a 15 Minutes of Fem Best Actress Award and a Garland Award for her work in Neil LaBute's "Fat Pig" at the Geffen Playhouse.
As a writer, Kirsten has created several plays and performance-art pieces, including her acclaimed one-woman show, "Mess." Kirsten still recognizes the formative impact of her time at CSSSA, and serves as a member of the CSSSA Foundation Advisory Board.
Matthew Monahan is an American visual artist working primarily in sculpture, drawing, and print-making. His work has been shown at prominent museums and galleries worldwide including New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Walker Art Center, the TATE Modern, the Chinese European Art Center in Xiamen, Bureau Stedelijk in Amsterdam, the National Center for Art in St. Petersberg, Russia, and Saatchi Gallery in London. He attended CSSSA in 1987 and went on to get his BFA at Cooper Union School of Art in New York City.
Sanjay Patel is an award-winning animator best known for his Oscar-nominated short animated film Sanjay’s Super Team (2015). At Pixar, Sanjay has worked on such films as Monsters, Inc. (2001), Ratatouille (2007), Cars (2006), and was a character developer on Toy Story 2 (1999), and The Incredibles (2004). Prior to Pixar, he worked on The Simpsons and with legendary animator John K., creator of Ren & Stimpy. Sanjay is also the author and illustrator of The Little Book of Hindu Deities and has created a line of books, prints, t-shirts, stationery, and more celebrating Indian mythology and culture. He attended CSSSA in 1992 and received a BFA from CalArts.
Sophie Buhai is a jewelry, accessories, and interior designer living and working in Los Angeles. Prior to establishing her Los Angeles studio, Sophie spent a decade as co-creative director of the womenswear brand Vena Cava, a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund runner-up in New York City. Her work has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. She is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and attended CSSSA in 1997.
Teal Wicks is a singer and actress who starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked.” Teal currently serves on the CSSSA Advisory Board and still remembers her time at CSSSA—“My summer at CSSSA was a very special experience for me. It was a thrill to be immersed in a University setting completely dedicated to the arts and I believe it was a turning point for me in my growth as a performing artist. I left the program with new friends and an empowered spirit to pursue my dreams.”
Margaret Dilloway is a contemporary Japanese-American novelist. Her novels for adults include The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns and How to Be an American Housewife, which was named a John Gardner Fiction Award Finalist in 2011. Margaret has also written two Young Adult books in a series called Momotaro. She attended CSSSA’s Creative Writing program in 1992 and went on to graduate from Scripps College.
Pendleton Ward is an Emmy Award-winning animator, screenwriter, and voice actor best known for creating the hit animated series, Adventure Time. Pen has worked for powerhouse studios such as Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Frederator Studios, and is now working on an Adventure Time movie. He attended CSSSA for Animation in 1999 and 2000 and went on to receive his BFA from CalArts.