In Experiential Learning

André Alves dances alongside two characters from Coco at PIXAR headquarters. (Photo Courtesy: André Alves)

In Pixar Animation Studios’ blockbuster “Coco,” one of the characters sums up his path to musical stardom as: “No one was going to hand me my future. It was up to me to reach for my dream, grab it tight, and make it come true.”

Though BYU animation major André Alves may not be a sombrero-clad, guitar-slinging crooner, he is a real-life confirmation that persistence pays off. This summer, Alves landed the experience of his dreams: a mentored training program at Pixar.

Alves fostered a love for stories early in his childhood in Brazil. His family did not have much money, so they often watched Pixar movies together to forget the challenges of daily life. Sometimes Alves’ parents themselves became storytellers, acting out tales with hand shadows and candlelight when the power went out.

“These happy moments influenced my desire to work with stories, fantasy and the magic of animation,” Alves said. “I decided that one day I would be a part of those movies [I watched] so I could also help other kids to forget their problems, forget how hard life can be.”

Read the full story by Heidi Willden at

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