John Summerson

John Summerson

  • Multimedia Specialist 2
330 Innovation Blvd
Suite 105EE

University Park, PA 16802

Areas of Expertise

  • Video Production & Editing
  • 2D, 3D & Stop Motion Animation
  • Motion Graphics
  • Illustration
  • Audio Engineering & Sound Design
  • Media Workflow Engineering



  • 2020 MA Documentary Animation. Royal College of Art. London, UK.
  • 2016 BFA Animated Arts. Pacific Northwest College of Art. Portland, OR.
  • 2012 AAS with Honors. Whatcom Community College. Bellingham, WA.

John is a multimedia specialist on the Digital Education Team (non-credit). Focusing in video production, animation, and editing, John helps build educational multimedia for Penn State Extension.

John has an MA in Documentary Animation from the Royal College of Art in London, UK and has a BFA in Animated Arts from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. For 10+ years, he has worked as a freelance commercial animator and director for a wide variety of clients, including Cartoon Network, LEGO, the Oregon Symphony, RE/MAX, Xfinity, and Aesop Rock.

In his personal practice, he creates documentary films using animation. His work has been exhibited at film festivals internationally, most recently in Budapest, Madrid, Berlin, New York, and London, where his film Fifteen-Two received an award for Best Sound & Editing at the Story/Image Film Festival. His work has received several accolades, including the Grand Prize at the LG Art of the Pixel Competition and the Princess Grace Foundation-USA Film Award.

John is a passionate educator and has taught animation in youth programs, in a detention facility, and at the undergraduate and masters levels. He continues to develop curriculum surrounding contemporary media studies and professional practices and is currently the Spring 2024 Emerging Artist-in-Residence in the Visual Art Studies (VAST) program at Penn State Altoona. In 2023, John co-authored an article published in the journal of Visual Culture & Gender entitled "Nymphaea: Lovers' Letter to Water Lilies" which explores queer ecologies and collaborative stop motion/performance art making. He also co-presented on his recent collaborative arts pedagogy research at the Digitally Engaged Learning (DEL) conference in a talk called "Undoing Algorithmic Teaching Topographies" in September 2023.

In his spare time, he volunteers as a thesis mentor for seniors in Penn State's Digital Arts and Media Design (DART) program and serves on the jury for the Happy Valley International Animation Festival. He is also an avid pinball player, a collector of rare VHS tapes, and has a very OK recipe for falafel popcorn.