Exceptional Minds, a not-for-profit professional training academy and studio designed to prepare individuals on the autism spectrum for careers in the digital arts, has made two strategic hires, Scotty Peterson and Meridith Stokes, to lead its in-house studio.

The Exceptional Minds Studio comprises three areas of focus: 2D animation and art, 3D assets and gaming. The expansion will allow the studios to hire more artists on the autism spectrum from the Exceptional Minds Academy and produce more inclusive work for clients across movies, TV, streaming and gaming.

Peterson is a veteran creative and industry leader with more than 20 years of experience in entertainment, gaming and software. His operations experience will lead Exceptional Minds into the next decade of success in hiring and building teams on the spectrum to provide clients with remarkable animation, post-production work and a pipeline of neurodivergent talent.

Stokes joins the studio as VFX production manager. She will oversee a team of VFX artists, working on projects from clients such as Marvel, Sony, Amazon and Netflix.

Stokes most recently held a position as operations manager at Pixelogic Media where she oversaw a team of over 65 editors, coordinators, production managers and supervisors who created deliverables for high-profile streaming, theatrical and television clients. Stokes will report to David Wolgemuth, acting VFX supervisor who joined in 2021 and an award-winning VFX artist with credits like “The Good Place,” “Thor: Ragnarok” and “The Walking Dead.” Both will oversee newly full-time promoted VFX artists and alumni Isaiah Strum, Thomas Harmonson and Luke Shneour.

“Scotty and Meridith bring a high level of leadership and experience to our studio that will help us achieve our five-year strategic goal to double the number of students on the autism spectrum we train, graduate and employ. This means more jobs for our graduates and more inclusivity across the entertainment industry. That we’ve also been able to promote, for the first time ever, three graduate artists to full-time employment in our studio, is another huge win for Exceptional Minds,” adds David Siegel, Executive Director of Exceptional Minds.