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  • 800 Royal oaks drive suite 101
    monrovia, CA 91016



ARTpal Design Competition

In continuing our partnership with the Monrovia Public Library, Mt. Sierra College (MSC)t will help kickstart the Summer Reading Program. The mission of the iREAD Summer Reading Program is to motivate children, young adults, and adults to read. Mt. Sierra College supports iREAD’s mission and believes in promoting education, digital literacy, and life-long learning skills. The Monrovia Public Library will invite the entire Monrovia community— over 4,000 residents—to participate in our ARTpal Design Contest!

What is ARTpal?

MSC’s Library has developed the activity ARTpal to encourage creativity by introducing children and teens to the creative arts. ARTpal is similar to the pen pal process, in which a child shares their work with a college student. The college student re-designs the child’s creative writing or artwork using their own artistic style. The child and the student collaborate on a creative idea and share a design experience. ARTpal is just one way that Mt. Sierra College gives back to the community!

The Design Competition

Mt. Sierra College Students are invited to participate in the ARTPal Design Competition.
1. Select one drawing or one story submitted by children and teens (Grades K – 12)
2. If you select a drawing, re-design the artwork using your own artistic style
3. If you select a written story, create a design based on the written story using your own artistic style
4. This year’s theme is Read! – For the Win! Topics include: sports and games.
Winners will be selected from the following catergories:
Category 1: Best Graphic Design
Category 2: Best 3D Model
Category 3: Best Animation or Special Effects

Prizes To Be Announced

All participants, their families and friends will be invited to attend the Summer Reading Program Kickoff in June 2016 to honor the work of all participants.


To apply please fill out the Design Competition Interest Form that can be obtained in the LRC.


Interview with Mt. Sierra College Emmy Award Visual Effects and Digital Video Professor – Laurel Klick

Professor Laurel Klick, a Visual Effects and Digital Video Professor at Mt. Sierra College, was presented an Emmy award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or Special for her work on Frank Herbert’s Dune (Part 1), which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. The statuette was presented at the 2001 Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

The visual effects team that worked on the film include: Ernest Farino, Tim McHugh, Klick and Frank H. Isaacs (visual effects supervisors); Elaine Essex Thompson (visual effects coordinator); James Healy and Gregory Nicotero (lead special effects supervisors); Anthony Alderson (CGI supervisor); and Chris Zapara (lead CGI animator).

“Receiving an Emmy from your peers is a huge validation of your work,” says Professor Klick. “There are not a lot of women in visual effects, and to have something concrete to show for my work will hopefully encourage other women to pursue a career that’s technical, but equally creative, in nature.”

Frank Herbert’s Dune is the second film iteration of the classic science fiction novel. In 1984, David Lynch directed a feature film version. In this latest rendition, Professor Klick was responsible for the space sequences, “water of life” visions, the arrival of the navigator and “folding space” – which was basically a cone textured with a cloud pattern and star field that turned in on itself. The work included entire 3D environments and multi-layered compositing.

“The challenge we faced was in designing the abstract ideas that are crucial elements of the story,” says Professor Klick. “We had a lot of freedom to come up with a design for folding space, the navigator’s arrival and the water of life scenes. We designed the shots in the computer and rendered motion tests with different looks and effects for Ernie Farino and John Harrison (director) to review.”

Professor Klick joined Cinesite in December 2000 and was also working on Lakeshore Entertainment’s Mothman Prophecies slated for a February 2002 release. The film stars Richard Gere and Laura Linney. Professor Klick was supervising the creation of a CG bridge with a complete 3D environment. Professor Klick and her team will also bring to fruition the manifestations and presence of the Mothman in the film.

Prior to joining Mt. Sierra College and Cinesite, Professor Klick was a visual effects supervisor at Netter Digital Entertainment, where she worked on Dune. She began her career by cleaning film on Stars Wars at ILM. She then did optical work and digital artistry and supervision at R. Greenberg & Assoc., Manhattan Transfer, ILM, and Available Light Ltd. Her credits include Terminator, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, Last Action Hero, Braveheart, Dead Presidents, Mortal Kombat, and My Favorite Martian.

Professor Klick is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Visual Effects Society, and a member of the International Cinematographers Guild. She received an Emmy Certificate in 1983 for Outstanding Individual Achievement in special effects for The Winds of War (optical camera). She received her bachelor’s in art from Fresno State University and has further studied art at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California, and at the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Watch Interview with Mt. Sierra College Emmy Award Professor – Laurel Klick


Meet Mt. Sierra College at Game Developers Conference 2016

Mt. Sierra College is excited to be attending world’s largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event March, 16th to March, 18th. The Game Developers Conference (‪#‎GDC‬) is where over 26,000 ‪#‎programmers‬, ‪#‎artists‬, ‪#‎producers‬, ‪#‎gamedesigners‬, ‪#‎audioprofessionals‬ and business decision-makers gather to exchange ideas and shape the future of the gaming industry.

Right now, we’re scheduling chats for GDC. If you’re also going to the show and want to meet up, please let us know and we can schedule time to connect during the show

You can meet us at North Hall Booth# 2129.

Successful College Experience

5 Tips to a Successful College Experience

We’ve all heard that successful people operate as masters of their own destiny. Successful people take charge and create success through good habits and action based inspiration. When it comes to college success, you can take specific steps to ensure that you stay on the right path and create success throughout your college journey. Below are 5 tips to a successful college experience. Some of these tips are based on simple habits, others are more influential as they rise from embracing a true commitment to success. By changing the way you see education and the pursuit of knowledge, you become a master of your own destiny. Take time to ponder the following helpful tips to a successful college experience.

5 tips to a successful college experience

1. Believe in your dreams

Successful people believe in themselves and therefore believe in their dreams. Focus on a goal
or vision and follow through with unshakable confidence. The truth is, you must believe you will
succeed in order to succeed. Having a realistic goal in mind can help you remain grounded
when setting out on the college journey in pursuit of your dreams. But what about the big
dreams and visions? You may be surprised when you realize that even those big dreams – when
truly focused upon – can become a reality. What are your goals and dreams and how much do
you believe in the actual manifestation of these dreams? Remember, the more you believe, the
more likely it is that you will put your full focus on realizing the major goals in your life.

2. Nurture your thirst for knowledge

A formal education is important but the reality is that learning never ends. Even the most
successful people continue to do research within their field as well as learn from others around
them throughout their careers. Of course, knowledge can be gained through a college
education, but it can also be gained through outside sources such as online research, books,
trade magazines, conferences, and others who are masters in any specific field. Immersing
yourself in whatever you are interested in is the key to success. You may receive a level of
success by going through life memorizing facts, but a truly successful person genuinely
understands the topic at hand. Success is being able to conceptualize and discuss your
interests in extensive detail and with full confidence.

3. Find a mentor

The first step to developing your skills is to be able to ask the right questions. Finding a mentor
that can answer these questions is critical to your success. Introduce yourself to your
professors and go to their office hours. Professors are your first line of support as you go
through your college journey. Your college counselor is also a great place to discuss your
choices and the path you intend to take as well as any involvement on campus that can benefit
you on your path. Doing internships and community outreach is a great way to engage with
some of the most successful people in your field of interest. Make sure to get out there and
network with successful people in your community. Finding a mentor may take some time. You
may find yourself out of your comfort zone seeking someone out. The effort is worthwhile as you
can imagine the plethora of knowledge that awaits you once you make a connection.

Remember that more often than not, these individuals are happy to share their knowledge with
someone who truly wants to learn. In many ways, a mentor learns as much as the person they
are mentoring, so see it as a symbiotic relationship where everybody wins. Being around these
individuals can get you in the right mindset for a successful life in college and career. Attitude
and success are contagious, so make sure to be around those that are successful in their field

4. Learn from your mistakes

A truly successful person views mistakes are learning opportunities. Any time you stumble or fall
you are given a gift. Mistakes deepen our knowledge and reveal something we’ve missed. You
may learn that your skill levels are not up to par for the task at hand and in turn study that
subject matter with more diligence. Mistakes teach us that there are new options we may have
never considered and reveal that there may be a better way of doing it.. whatever it may be.
Mistakes can point out where our passion is and where it is not – awaking us to our authentic
selves and hurling us in the direction of our true calling. For all these reasons, and many more,
we must accept that mistakes are part of the process of development. This is the way of building
a successful path – the layers are experiences that you bring to any endeavor. Understanding
that growth and mastery come from the natural flow of trial and error in all things is the path to a
successful journey.

5. Balance life, school, work, fun, and health

Hard work is an integral part of a successful college journey. It’s important to balance hard work
with rest and a healthy amount of fun. We make choices every day to that affect our energy and
critical thinking. It is our responsibility to become self-aware and check in with ourselves on a
daily basis. This daily practice includes the ability to constantly shift our awareness, time, and
focus in a manner that helps promote the most balance in your life. Successful people distribute
their energy efficiently and unplug when necessary. It’s important to keep your obligations and
complete any unfinished schoolwork. Anything that needs your attention needs to be checked
off so that when you are relaxing or having fun you can fully immerse yourself into the moment
without the dark cloud of unfinished business in mind. Procrastination can pay a big role in
unsuccessful outcomes. There’s a rule for procrastinators that works well when you’re stuck.
You see what task needs your attention and set up 3 minute increments throughout the day to
work on it. Set the timer and when you’re ready to snooze you can choose to continue working
or wait another hour to do another 3 minute session. After a while, those 3 minutes will turn into
hours and over the course of time you can finally complete the task. Fun and social interaction
are human necessities. Finding time to spend with loved ones can help you see how you fit into
the world and anything learned in these environments can help in your personal success. Health
is just as important and healthy eating along with exercise can make the difference between a
sluggish brain and a clear invigorated mind. Make sure to get plenty of exercise and eat healthy
brain food. The balance of these important life aspects can help propel you to the pinnacle of

Remember that these tips are simply suggestions for a balanced and successful college life.
Only you can truly know what works for you and what types of habits benefit your future
success. Take the time to make a list that works for you and implement it day by day and step
by step. Don’t forget to have fun in the shaping of your own future, after all, it’s the journey that
matters not the destination.


Mt Sierra College Partners with Local Communities, Colleges and High Schools for GLOBAL GAME JAM 2016

On January 29-31, 2015 Mt Sierra College will be participating in a worldwide event, entitled Global Game Jam, which gives participants all over the world the opportunity to develop, design, and test a game over a 48-hour period. The event will begin at 5pm on January 29th. The main goal for Global Game Jam at Mt Sierra College is not only for the intellectual challenge but to give the participants the opportunity to work collaboratively with peers, expand creativity, and develop essential skills needed to be successful within the gaming industry.

Mt Sierra College is dedicated to providing access to higher education and a practical, hands-on, quality learning environment that is flexible and accessible to a diverse and multicultural population. We offer Bachelor Degrees in Business Administration, Information Technology and Media Arts and Design.

Global Game Jam Participants

Last year Mt Sierra College had an overwhelming amount of participates, reaching over 100 participants and becoming the second largest game jam site in Southern California. In 2016, they are hoping to have near 150 participants in their very new location. Mt Sierra College is relocating mid-December to Royal Oaks Dr. remaining in Monrovia. “It will be one of the main events held at our new campus and we can’t wait to see how great we can make it”, Tawny Hernandez, Director of Career Services. Mt Sierra takes much pride in gaining sponsors to assist the participants in staying on campus as much as possible as they bring breakfast and dinners to them, along with snacks, coffee and energy drinks. Mt Sierra College also contacts local businesses and gaming companies to donate raffle prizes or awards to the most creative or innovative thinkers. It is an event not to be missed.

The Global Game Jam spirit to innovation, collaboration and experimentation. It allows people to gain the confidence that so much can be accomplished in such a short amount of time. It brings people together that may have never met and it creates teamwork beyond belief. Mt Sierra College offers spectators to come and tour the game jam as well please contact Tawny Hernandez for further details

Global Game Jam Solution

Finding The Right Career Can Be A Game

Juan Carlos Santiago (JC), Computer Information Technology Alumnus (‘02) ventured off into a different direction than most graduates. He became a self-employed IT Consultant right out of college, and later became the IT Manager at Lake Avenue Church.

Only a decade working in his field of study post-graduation, JC desired more for his career and turned to his college stomping ground.

In 2013, he revisited Mt Sierra’s campus to participate in the annual Global Game Jam; a worldwide event in which participants have 48-hours to develop a game.

Collaborating with a team of Game Arts students and alumni, JC took the lead as Producer, and led his team to victory earning first place for the game titled Bled.

“The CIT program prepared me not only for technology, but also for business,” said JC, “as a producer, you have to be the most well rounded person on the team to lead and understand where everyone on your team is coming from.”

Inspired by the creativity and development that took place in such minimal time over the 48-hour period, JC’s desire to establish a game company ignited.

He recruited fellow Game Jam teammate’s Robert Allen and Jimmy Anderson, Game Arts & Design Alumni (’12), to establish an indie game company known as Grenade Tree Games.

After six months of brainstorming, development and test-play, Grenade Tree Games launched the Outland 17 prototype at the world’s premier trade show for computers and video games in 2013, popularly known as E3.

Spurring attendee interest and gaining invaluable feedback from game influencers, the Grenade Tree Games team went back to the drawing board after the tradeshow to further enhance Outland 17’s functionality and style.

Over the past year since the prototype was featured at E3, Grenade Tree Games has worked dynamically to revolutionize the role-playing game (RPG), transitioning from a 2-D design aesthetic to a 3-D experience.

Characters in the game are reminiscent of 18th century soldiers, clothed with button-up jackets and vests, but equipped with muskets that shoot lasers to kill their enemies. The soldiers also travel using hover bikes instead of the traditional horseback riding of the time.

Game players also get to choose their fate throughout the campaign, as the RPG is programmed with multiple story lines.

 “Your soldier is developed based on your play-style and are not bound to my class limitations. This allows the player to be more immersed and invested in the game itself,” said JC.

Grenade Tree Games is anticipated to release their latest prototype version of Outland 17 by the end of 2014, but needs the financial support from game enthusiasts and fans to fund the project through Kickstarter.

Grenade Tree Games is looking to fundraise $25,000 to deliver a well-polished functional game. The Outland 17 Kickstarter is said to be launched in mid-August; for further details subscribe to the Grenade Tree Games mailing list.

“It’s a sci-fi with a colonial twist from the past that we feel people could really throw themselves into,” said JC.


Mt Sierra College Honors Graduates

84 students marched to Pomp and Circumstance before proud family and friends at the twenty-third Mt Sierra College Commencement Ceremony held Thursday, June 25 at the First Church of the Nazarene in Pasadena; launching the transition from college students to graduates of Mt Sierra College.

David Thach, Senior Director of International Software Development and Special Operations for Sony Worldwide Studios America, delivered the keynote address at the ceremony. Thach shared his career’s journey, revealing his triumphs and set-backs in life. He used the poem, “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost as a focus of his speech and how it related in his life and his journey. Thach oversees some of the company’s largest and most profitable franchises, such as Gran Turismo, LittleBigPlanet, Killzone, and Bloodborne. He also oversees the production of Horizon: Zero Dawn and The Last Guardian. Both of which were announced a few weeks ago at the E3 convention and walked away with numerous ‘Best of Show’ nominations and awards.

David earned his Bachelor’s Degree from UCLA in Music. He is clearly a man who can wear many hats – one of which is a Red Hat Certified Engineer.

Following the keynote speaker, were addresses by President, Dr. William Kakish and Provost Dr. Jon Persavich.

Following Administrative speeches were student addresses by: Shawn Olandesca Flores, speaking on behalf of Business Programs; Laura Angulo, speaking on behalf of the Technology Programs; Betty Gallaher speaking on behalf of the Media Arts & Design, emphasis in Graphic Design and Andrew Thompson, representing the Media Arts & Design Program, emphasis in Game Arts & Design.

Andrew Thompson was a mentor to all of the Game Arts students. During his time as a student at Mt Sierra he was a tutor and in Animation, Rigging, Sculpting & Level Design. Thompson spoke about all the projects they worked on together at his house, they time they spent creating the most amazing pieces and how he grew a close bond with his classmates. Thompson is currently residing in Vancouver continuing his education at the Vancouver Film Institute as well as working for Industrial Light.

Laura Angulo, is an unbelievable young lady that worked three jobs while attending school. Being in the Information Technology industry, she is one of very few women and has learned to soar in her field of study. Angulo’s goal is to become a Chief Information Officer. She spoke about the impact women have made on the world we live in today and how we have the ability to become successful based on our merits and not judged based on gender. Laura currently is employed with Wilcon, the premier West Coast provider of best-in-class fiber optic and data center infrastructure solutions helping to enable the digital future.

“Today we gather as an eclectic bunch. Some, like myself, are the nerds that will troubleshoot and fix. Some are the artists that will envision, creating marketing collateral that will attract consumers.

Others are the speculators that will reason, helping to keep this world functioning” said Angulo Shawn Olandesca Flores, was most notably known on campus a student worker for the Student Services Department on campus. Flores shared his journey and transformation from closed minded new student to a graduate that welcomed all into his life. Flores opened us into his family, talking about the important role they played in him finishing his degree and his promise to his 96 year old grandmother who recently passed to complete school, support himself first before starting a family.

“In the words of one of my favorite hip hop artists, Ab-Soul, “We’ll rise, change lives, break ties from the everyday lies, it’s not time until it’s our time,” and this is our time, because the best is yet to come.” said Flores.

Lastly, Betty Gallaher, stood before her peers, delivering a speech that brought many to tears. She shared a glimpse of her life with all that attended, expressing the many obstacles she overcame: being the first in her family to graduate high school and now the first to graduate college. Leaving her life in West Virginia, to break the cycle and continue on with her dreams. She is a complete inspiration that anything is possible and that the box of crayons her parents bought her was worth it.

She is currently working for BC Design Haus, a strategic design & branding firm that specializes in meaningful brand and design solutions for start-ups and global companies. During her time at Mt Sierra she won the Academic Excellence Scholarship and was on the Dean’s list for several terms.

Betty will always be known as a great tutor for Adobe software. “Thank you to the Professors at Mt Sierra for always pushing not only me, but all of us to our limits and seeing what we couldn’t always see in ourselves.” said Gallaher.

As eyes were dried, and friends and family applauded the heart-touching speech, the moment all anticipated finally arrived.

Provost Jon Persavich, Ph.D. conferred the degrees, and Associate Dean of Academics, Tim Botengan read the names of the students aloud as they walked across the stage in their moment of glory. Graduates turned their tassels from right to left, symbolically officiating themselves as graduates of Mt Sierra College.

Graduates exited the sanctuary in pride, as family, friends and all that attended cheered for the former students, whom are about to embark in a new beginning.


Mt Sierra College’s Mural Design Competition for Monrovia Library


May S. Ruiz

Tim Botengan, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Mt Sierra College, was seated at his desk one August day last year when the school receptionist put through a call to him. The caller was Gail Jebbia, librarian at the Monrovia Public Library. She wanted to know if Mt Sierra College would be willing to partner with them on creating a mural design that could be hung so the entire community can come together to color it.

Gail had read about this concept originated by a young artist named Ernest English, who became famous in Boston as one of the Top 25 innovators under 25 by for his influence on the community through his art. English himself was a transplant from New Orleans; he moved to Boston in February 2013 to join the MIT Community Innovators Lab.

The concept was certainly a worthwhile idea, but an important component was finding the artist to create the mural. Then Gail had a “eureka” moment! She said, “There’s Mt Sierra College down the street and they have students studying to get Art degrees!” And she got right on the phone.

Tim didn’t need much convincing and their collaboration began rather quickly. Starting in August 2014, Gail and Tim met once a month with the project team of Annette Simpson, Edward William, Ceora Brown, Mike Pace and Vicky Panossian, to discuss the logistics of this undertaking. There were several things that needed to be decided upon before they could involve the students: the mural had to be on vinyl material to withstand the outdoors; it had to be mobile as it needs to move from inside the library to the park; it had to fit the door and make the turn as it is moved; etc.

Theirs was a markedly friendly partnership. The library group and the Mt Sierra team left their egos at the door as they made all the preparations for this project. They agreed that this mural was to be 15’ wide by 6’ high and that it needed to stand on a movable structure. They decided on how to break down the mural into blocks to make it easy for people to color it in. They determined that Graffiti markers would be best to use for coloring in the artwork.

Mt Sierra then opened the competition to all their Art students. They were tasked to create a mural to represent the Library’s Summer Reading Program theme “Read to the Rhythm.” A panel of judges made up of the Monrovia Public Library team: Barbara Radford, Library Board Chair; Mary Ann Lutz, former Monrovia mayor and President of the Library Foundation Board; Linda Granicy, Senior Librarian; Annette Simpson, Librarian II; and Gail Jebbia, Librarian, had the job of choosing from nine entries. Laura Da Costa and Scott Lane were then declared the clear winners, having the artwork that best depicted this year’s theme. The other contestants were Melodie Wang, Samantha Quintero, Jackie Gutierrez, Jonathan Delagado, Ilene Bowers, Adam Steinberg, and Sarah Rodriguez.

An awards ceremony was held on May 11 at Mt Sierra College amid a gathering of Mt Sierra staff, Monrovia Public Library representatives, families of the contestants and various guests. Design Competition winners Laura and Scott received plaques and were awarded a full quarter’s tuition by the President of the College, Dr. Bill Kakish. All the contestants were honored for their contribution and received plaques of recognition.

For a first time joint effort of this scale, the Design Competition has been a rousing success. It showed that collaboration and partnership could lead to an unimaginably satisfying experience. Gail had dreamed of creating something beautiful while at the same time engaging the Monrovia community in creating their own piece of art that was representative of their spirit and identity.

On June 20, back-to-back murals will hang at the Monrovia Public Library to usher in this year’s Summer Reading Program and everyone will be invited to color in the artwork. The completely colored-in mural will represent a community that came together as one to celebrate not just the value of reading but also that of solidarity.



Mt Sierra College Welcomes Jon Persavich, Ph.D., To Its Academic Team

Monrovia, CA. (May 20, 2015) – Mt Sierra College welcomes Jon Persavich, Ph.D., to its academic team. William Kakish, J.D., Ph.D. President reports that “he will serve as Provost and Chief Academic Officer of the College with a specific mandate to work with our exceptional faculty to help our students complete their programs of study.” Jon has in excess of 40 years of educational experience within the Public, Private and For-profit sectors within the United States and Europe. He received his Master’s Degree from the University of Southern Maine and his Doctorate in Education from The Ohio State University.


Mt Sierra College Students Design A Food Truck… What A Delicious Concept!

On Thursday January 8, Mt Sierra College, located in the City of Monrovia, honored their graphic design students by showcasing the food truck that a team of student artists designed, and fed the community and local businesses BBQ deliciousness.

Mt Sierra College’s Alumni (’14) Veronica Ponce, led the design team to develop a custom food truck wrap for The Rolling BBQ Barn, a locally owned gourmet food truck from concept to creation. When asked about the project, Veronica said “Seeing the final product life-size is very fulfilling, as were the Mac & Cheese bites, you have got to try them! I want to thank Joel De Haro for designing with me until 6:00a.m to meet the deadline and Professor Wu for being a wonderful mentor.”

Current student Lorraine Felix worked diligently to design a one-of-a-kind 20 ft. banner, business cards, and menu; which is brightly displayed on the truck’s 42‘ LCD screen. Current student Joel De Haro also assisted in the concept design of the food truck’s printed wrap. Instructor Migo Wu gave the students full control of the design, and oversaw the digital files; ensuring files were ready for print.

When asked about the design team, the food truck owner had plenty to say, “The way they worked together was remarkable. Sure every project has set backs, but this team was different because they took ownership of their project and were as flexible as they needed to be to get the project done while exceeding every expectation I had. As a business owner, that’s huge for me and I’d hire them again in a heartbeat. Other design teams need to take notice on how these students operate, because Mt Sierra is producing the next generation of designers, and they are changing the game.”

The Rolling BBQ Barn food truck served tri-tip, pulled pork and crispy chicken sandwiches, fried macaroni and cheese, sweet potato & seasoned fries, funnel cake fries, and orange cream coolers.

“We are definitely going to have more events like this in the future. It was a true way to showcase the talent that our students and alumni have.” said Tawny Hernandez, Director of Career Services.

Food enthusiasts can follow Rolling BBQ Barns on social media on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and find out where the next stop will be to taste a Sassy Pig or Funnel Cake Fries. The next stop could just happen to be in “Y’alls mouth” as stated on the food truck.