Seltzer Family Digital Media Award Winners 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA—Thanks to the generosity of Penn Libraries Board Member Jeff Seltzer (W’78) and his wife Annie, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries is proud to announce that five students have received 2011 Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards: Megan Lewis-Velong, Pallavi Podapati, Eliana Ritts, Sacha Samotin and Jaehee Yoo. Each student will have exclusive use of $1,000 of technology for one year. Proposed technology items include video cameras, audio recorders, still cameras and multimedia software.

This is the fourth year that the Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards have supported specific student projects. The awards are administrated and managed through the Penn Libraries in partnership with the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF). The five funded projects are:

Under the guidance of Dr. Gary Hatfield, Seybert Professor of Philosophy, and Brent Wahl, Lecturer of Photography in Fine Arts, Megan Lewis-Velong (C’12) will conduct a new media project for her senior thesis in Visual Studies. She will use video and sound recording equipment in her processes of investigating and depicting the ways we perceive sensory and, importantly, visual stimuli. Megan aims to examine embodiment, emotion, and phenomenology through visceral art and will create an art installation that interposes the viewers into the role of both participants and observers.

Under the guidance of Dr. David Barnes, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science and Director of the Health and Societies Program, Pallavi Podapati (C’13) will use high-quality photographs to create a visual display of her research on residents of West Virginia in collaboration with the non-profit organization Appalachia Watch. She aims to increase awareness of environmental and health impacts of coal-mining in light of the fact that the electricity that powers this university comes largely from Appalachian sources.

Under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Corrigan, Professor of English and Cinema Studies, Eliana Ritts (C’12, W’12) will use video recording equipment to make a short documentary film about the ethnically Chinese Jewish community in Kaifeng, China. She plans an ethnographic study with a focus on identity to explore conflicts and contradictions within Chinese Jewish identities.

Under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Levendusky, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Sacha Samotin (C’14, W’14) will use audio recording equipment to explore leadership qualities and personal histories of members and staff of the U.S. House of Representatives. He will interview current and former members of Congress and their staff, building on prior work experience on Capitol Hill.

Under the guidance of Dr. John Keenan, Professor of Electrical and Systems Engineering, Jaehee Yoo (C’13) will use video recording equipment to create a documentary comparing and contrasting the daily lives of inner-city teenage girls in Philadelphia, in collaboration with the Women’s Campaign International, with similar-age girls in Kumasi, Ghana, in collaboration with Penn Engineering’s International Development Summer Institute.

Jeff Seltzer (W’78) also serves on the Advisory Board of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business and the Alumni Advisory Committee for the Wharton Sports Business Initiative. The Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards Committee consists of Dr. Jessica Goldberg (Assistant Professor of History), Inge Herman (Executive Director, Huntsman Program in International Studies & Business), John MacDermott (Director for Instructional Technology, SAS Computing), Ian Seltzer (C’09) and Dr. Anu Vedantham (Director, Weigle Information Commons, Penn Libraries).