Griffith Film School student Samantha Zaleski dreams of making her mark in the world of animation, film and design.

The 19-year-old go-getter is hard at work making those goals a reality.

The Bachelor of Animation student has exhibited work atGOMA, illustrated a children’s book, worked on a short film in Sydney, was named ‘Aspiring Young Business Woman’ at the Women in Business Awards, and is off to the UK on a study exchange – and that was just the past 12 months.

“It’s been absolutely crazy,” she says.

“There have been a lot of late nights, but you only get one life and you’ve got to chase your dreams.”

This year, Sam will be based in the UK on an exchange program at Falmouth University, whose alumni include famed children’s illustrator Laurence Anholt and Turner Prize-nominated artist Tacita Dean.

“I still can’t believe it – Falmouth is the number one university in the UK for the arts,” she said.

“Being over in the UK is also a great opportunity to do work experience at studios in London and build up my portfolio, which will give me a competitive edge in the industry.”

While juggling her studies and chasing internship opportunities, she will also be working on illustrations for several children’s books.

“I’ve got four books on the go this year – I have trouble saying no!” she said.

“They are commissions, so the authors send me the manuscripts and I produce the illustrations.

“I illustrated a successful kids book last year, Charming Charlie and the Spectacular Sophiawhich was a wonderful experience.

“I think film animation and childrens books go hand in hand, and it’s allowed me to tap into a new audience.”

After graduation, Sam has her eye on an internship with animation studios like Disney or Pixar.

“I have had meetings in Sydney with Disney to talk about future projects,” she said.

“My dream would be to do an internship with Pixar or Disney in the US after I graduate.”

Sam said the Bachelor of Animation had helped her hone her technical skills and focus her ambition.

“The teachers have been great, and at film school everyone lives and breathes movies and loves animation,” she said.

“I went in with a pretty established style, but the course has already helped me improve my drawing skills, taught me so much about collaboration and given me insight into the business.”