NMSU animation program is again ranked among nation’s top 25, best in New Mexico


New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute (CMI) animation program is again ranked among the top programs in public colleges in the country. NMSU has placed among the top schools in Animation Career Review’s (ACR) rankings over the past 10 years. The organization considered nearly 200 programs across the country this year. The 2021 rankings list NMSU’s animation program 22nd nationally, seventh regionally and number one in New Mexico.

“CMI offers a very high-quality education at a very affordable price,” said Eddie Bakshi, who specializes in teaching 2-D animation production at CMI. “We offer access to industry-standard software, taught by highly skilled professors, many of whom have worked on popular movies or TV shows.”

“What we do at CMI is a really fun delivery system for a variety of skills that are useful in all areas, including entertainment,” said CMI Department Head Amy Lanasa. “One of the reasons the animation program is so popular right now is that there are a lot of students who understand that the future will be a place where we need the skills you can learn in this program.”

ACR considers animation programs in degree-granting institutions with the exception of two-year community colleges. The criteria evaluated include academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of program faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, graduation rate, geographic location and employment data. The employment data has been given significantly more weight in the ranking formula since 2020.

The criterion of geographic location is considered because students who attend school in some cities have a distinct advantage over students in other parts of the country in terms of employment opportunities.

“Honestly, I did not know what I was getting into when I chose to go to the animation program at NMSU,” said Mazatl Aguilar, who will graduate in May with a CMI degree in animation said. “I had no experience, no knowledge of the animation world. I could never have gotten where I am now without being surrounded by instructors who have put in the time and energy to learn their skills and had the passion to share it with me..”

“I chose the animation program at NMSU because I wanted to tell stories,” said T.J. Cousler, who will graduate from CMI this May and plans to pursue a career in the gaming industry. “CMI delivered on that hope tenfold. I now have a solid footing in a craft I'm deeply passionate about and am also equipped with the technical and professional skills I need to push forward in my career.”

Lanasa said the demand for CMI is so high she has to waitlist more students than they can accept during every application period. In addition, there are a number of students in other majors at NMSU who want to get a minor in animation.

Brandon Trevizo will graduate with a degree in animation in May 2022. He applied to schools across the country but chose NMSU to avoid what he called “crippling debt.”

“The NMSU animation program has so many resources, from the labs to your peers,” Trevizo said. “The program also respects your emphasis but will ultimately make you a jack of all trades, preparing you for various careers and opening even more doors for you. You always hear about these giant art schools that cost and arm and a leg to attend, but honestly, they can only do so much; it is really up to the individual. At NMSU, you as an individual feel like you are part of a great talented network.”

Contact Lanasa at 575-646-6142 and

Contact Minerva Baumann at 575-646-7566 and