The AVIXA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, announced the recipients of its 2022 scholarships. The program’s mission is to encourage and enable students from diverse backgrounds who show great potential to pursue careers in the audiovisual field. Each winner also received $2,500 as an award.
“At the AVIXA Foundation, we are committed to building pathways for talent development of future AV industry leaders; and within its mission, the scholarship program is very important,” says Cristiano Mazza, CTS, AVIXA Foundation board president and product director at Grupo Discabos. “Scholarships provide rising professionals with means to support their dreams. This was a year with many impressive applications, and we are thrilled to welcome the winners into our community. We anticipate bright futures for them!”
The AVIXA Foundation’s elAVate Scholarship supports the growth of women and gender equality in the AV industry. The 2022 recipient is Madison Pierce, a sophomore at Belmont University. She is currently a student in the audio engineering technology program with business administration and physics minors. She is also part of the Women in Audio group on the university’s campus.
Pierce believes that music can make the world a happier place and bring people together, which is why she focuses on equipment design. She says that an important part of achieving these goals is diversity.
Michael Vergauwen Scholarship
The Michael Vergauwen Scholarship honors the legacy of late Michael Vergauwen, former COO of AVI Systems and long-time AVIXA board member. This year’s recipient is Faith Pierce, a student of the Berklee College of Music graduate program. She focuses on music business, production, songwriting and film scoring.
Her hope is to be either an audio engineer in a recording studio or a re-recording mixer for TV and film. Pierce is committed to always listening, learning and advocating for historically marginalized communities by encouraging inclusion and representation in the industry.
The Mosaic Scholarship was conceived by AVIXA’s Diversity Council in support of further inclusivity within the global AV industry. It seeks to shine a light on young adults whose experience, background, and thinking will positively influence the future of the AV community. Thanks to donations by Legrand and Exertis Almo, the AVIXA Foundation awarded four scholarships this year.
Recipient Nathan Erthal is working toward his master’s degree in music engineering technology at the University of Miami. He won the silver award for the AES Saul Walker student design competition. Erthal is interested in developing better and new ways for society to experience audio. He also aspires to give back by dedicating his work to the audio industry while fostering more industry diversity.
Akash Mungra, who also received a Mosaic Scholarship, is studying software engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is also a leader of the university’s STEM club. The club provides opportunities and exposure to LGBTQ+ participants interested in STEM. This past summer, he interned with the Travelers insurance broadcast and AV engineering team.
Mungra plans on paving the way to success in the AV industry for others with similar backgrounds to him by showing them the versatility of AV technologies. He also hopes to keep the AV industry bustling with divergent thinking by welcoming a wide range of backgrounds.
Mosaic Scholarship recipient AJ Panepinto is a freshman at Full Sail University majoring in film. He has a passion for telling stories behind the scenes and spent six years taking video production classes in middle school and high school. Panepinto would thus like to contribute to the industry by becoming a videographer and postproduction editor.
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He loves learning about new technology and being a part of an industry where there’s a place for everyone. Panepinto also wants to encourage others, mentor future filmmakers and shine a light on the stories of those who feel their voice is being silenced.
Lastly, recipient Katharina Sawatzky is a freshman at American University. She plans on devoting her time to physics and audiovisual technology classes to gain knowledge of the science that goes into media development. Sawatzky also has a few years of experience running the audio in community theater and mentoring other young women.
Sawatzky has worked hard to become a good leader and technician, not despite who she is as a person, but because of it. She also believes that flexibility and experience are more important than ever in an industry with quick technical and ideological advancements.
AVIXA Foundation Scholarship Program
This scholarship program is part of the AVIXA Foundation’s initiative to support workforce development in the pro AV industry. Here, it supports workforce development by creating awareness of careers in the global AV industry. It also enables potential and emerging professionals through skills training, scholarships and scholastic support. Moreover, it aims to develop a bridge between the industry and those who want to become AV professionals.
The Foundation thus offers many resources for students interested in careers in AV, including student memberships to AVIXA. The memberships provide training and CTS exam application discounts, a guide for setting up school tech crews, etc.
For AV companies interested in student outreach, the AVIXA Foundation also has a comprehensive AV Industry Workforce Development Toolkit. The toolkit outlines how to jumpstart recruitment of new talent. This ranges from engaging with schools and community groups to creating internships.