UNM students create catfish superhero to teach
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A superhero straight out of the Rio Grande. A student at the University of New Mexico has created a unique character, to help teach children about the river, archeology, and the impact humans have on the environment. “What do we find culturally important? Superhero, ”says UNM graduate Melanie Anderson.
Anderson has created a superhero like no other. “I really love to draw, so I think it made the project more fun for me to kind of put a part of me into the project,” Anderson says.
Anderson developed Cleo the Catfish during a museum exhibit design and development course at UNM. “The final project would have been to plan a physical exhibit turned into planning an online exhibit,” says Anderson.
She was paired with graduate student Jonathan Dombrosky and tasked with bringing her research on fish and fishing to life in the ancient agricultural pueblos along the middle of the Rio Grande. “He highlighted the importance of fish to the archeology of the Southwest and the way a lot of people sweep them under the rug,” Anderson says.
Anderson says she used a fun character to make the research easier to understand and more exciting for a younger audience. The video also teaches viewers about the human impact on the environment.
To go with the cape, Anderson gave Cleo glasses instead of a mask and she says she took inspiration from other superheroes. “Taking the color palettes from Aquaman, because there’s an aquatic superhero already, why not borrow some of that coloring,” Anderson says.
Anderson is hoping that Cleo the Catfish will spark new interest in a younger generation. “It’s really easy to be part of the museum world or archeology,” says Anderson. the video was originally just for a class project, but was released by the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology last month.