AUP Explore Academy Curriculum 1


In the afternoon, students expand on their morning core subjects in the Explore Academy. Daily, students, guided by faculty mentors, break new ground by integrating creative technologies, focusing on their mental and physical wellness, and enriching their second or third language. Weekly, AUP’s international and local students explore the Downtown Los Angeles business, cultural and educational landscape with regard to the issues impacting urban life. The Academy is the center for art, knowledge, and practice for AUP students and is a resource for our local and global communities.

AUP Explore Academy Curriculum 2
AUP Explore Academy Curriculum 3

Creative Technologies

Students begin the afternoon by stepping into a course on technology and/or art. Traditional classes can be taken in computer science, drawing, studio art, computer programming, digital media arts, animation, and film. These classes not only introduce students to the possibilities available to them in technology and art, but also becomes the platform from which they can explore their DTLA projects. Students have compiled art murals, presented on global leadership issues at AUP Speaks, produced documentary style films, and designed computer games. Check out our Computer Science teachers passion for SIM City.

Learning Lab

The second class in the afternoon provides some flexibility for students to engage in other topics compelling to their studies. Language classes in Spanish, Chinese, or other areas are provided to students interested in expanding their ability to communicate with others. Students can also take this extra time to advance their skills in writing, test preparation, and advanced placement courses. Students are encouraged to develop a relationship to their DTLA project relating to the cultural aspects.

AUP Explore Academy Curriculum 4
AUP Explore Academy Curriculum 5

Health and Physical Wellness

As important as any class in the Explore Academy, health and physical wellness are integral and essential to our life and society. Students will develop themselves through physical exercise at the YMCA, explore the mind/body connection in weekly yoga class, and connect with their expressive self through a dance class with Colburn Dance Academy. Students will graduate with an understanding of the emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, financial, and social benefits of wellness. Some students may want to explore advance topics in this subject, such as, interpersonal neurobiology.

Friends of AUP

Access to LA’s best resources comes by way of our human resources. With access to researchers at several local universities, entertainment industry professionals, hospitality entrepreneurs, agricultural and food advocates, and technological innovators, AUP’s network continues to grow.

AUP Explore Academy Curriculum 6
AUP Explore Academy Curriculum 7

Here are a few biographies from some of our 2018-19 academic year speakers

Patter Hellstrom is an artist and curator based in the Los Angeles Arts District. Her varied projects span a super-graphic installations, gallery exhibitions of her work nationally and internationally, plus museum and corporate curatorial projects. Hellstrom has extensive experience as artist-in-residence and teaching. Her work and current projects are listed at:

John Bucher is a renowned strategist, communicator, and cultural mythologist based out of Hollywood, California. Disruptor named him one of the top 25 influencers in Virtual Reality in 2018. He is the author of six books including the best-selling Storytelling for Virtual Reality, named by BookAuthority as one of the best storytelling books of all time. John has worked with companies including HBO, DC Comics, The History Channel, A24 Films, The John Maxwell Leadership Foundation and served as a consultant and writer for numerous film, television, and Virtual Reality projects. Currently, he teaches writing and story courses as part of the Joseph Campbell Writers Room at Studio School in Los Angeles and at the LA Film Studies Center. He has spoken on 5 continents about using the power of story to reframe how products, individuals, organizations, cultures, and nations are viewed. His work and current projects are listed at:

Will Linn holds a Ph.D. in mythological studies with an emphasis in depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA; a BA in philosophy from the University of the South in Sewanee, TN; and a CORe credential from Harvard Business School. His dissertation focuses on Classical, Abrahamic, and scientific origin stories of knowledge and is entitled, Western Myths of Knowledge: Particles of Stone and Waves of Elixir. He currently co-hosts a radio show that he created for the Santa Barbara News Press called Mythosophia, in which he interviews leading story artists and scholars from such territories as myth and religion, sci-fi and fantasy, visions and dreams, rituals, novels, films, comics and other storytelling formats and mediums. He is in his fifth year as founder and host of the Joseph Campbell Foundation Mythological RoundTable® group of Ojai, CA, which meets beneath the historic Teaching Tree at The Ojai Foundation.

Dr. Rizzo was the 2019 commencement speaker, and is the Associate Director for Medical Virtual Reality, USC Institute for Creative Technologies Research Professor, USC Davis School of Gerontology and USC Keck School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Psychologist. Dr. Rizzo conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of virtual reality (VR) systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment rehabilitation and resilience. This work spans the domains of psychological, cognitive and motor functioning in both healthy and clinical populations.

His work at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies can be found at: