PHILADELPHIA, PA      Thanks to the generosity of alumnus Jeff Seltzer W’78 and his wife Annie, the University of Pennsylvania Libraries is proud to announce the six winners of the 2013 Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards: Ola Aboukhsaiwan, Tan Chan, Yessenia Gutierrez, Theodora Pajaczkowska, Andrew Weis, and Marlie Winslow. The annual Seltzer awards recognize and support creative use of new media technologies by Penn undergraduate students for academic research projects. Each student will have exclusive use of $1,000 of technology for one year. Proposed technology items include video cameras, still cameras, and audio recorders. 

This is the sixth year that the Seltzer Family Digital Media Awards have supported specific student projects. The awards are administrated by the Penn Libraries in collaboration with the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CURF). The six funded projects are: Under the guidance of Dr. Paul Farber, Lecturer in Urban Studies, Ola Aboukhsaiwan HISB (C’15 W’15) will engage in ethnographic study of Syrian refugees who have fled to Jordan. She plans to create a short documentary, which she hopes will “enliven both our intellectual and sensory experiences of the refugee struggle.” She will use a digital audio workstation and an Application Programming Interface (API). 

Under the guidance of Jason Zuzga, a doctoral candidate in the English department, Tan Chan C’15 will create a short documentary on the urban and natural geography of Hong Kong, where she was born and spent her early childhood. She plans to ask residents, “What physical aspect of Hong Kong do you love most?” in order to explore dichotomies between nature and culture. Tan’s project draws on previous coursework toward her Environmental Studies major and will serve as her capstone research project. 

Under the guidance of Dr. Emilio Parrado, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Latin American & Latino Studies Program, Yessenia Gutierrez C’14 plans to study citizenship and belonging in Latin American immigrant communities in Philadelphia. She expects to interview a large number of people and videotape public speeches to explore “alternative modes of belonging.” Yessenia will use an audio recorder and video camera to complete this project for her senior thesis. 

Under the guidance of Scott White, Senior Lecturer in Fine Arts, Theodora Pajaczkowska C’15 will learn how to use ZBrush, a digital sculpting and painting program, to create an animated short. As a Digital Media and Design major, Theodora feels that this training is essential to her career aspirations in an animation design studio. She writes, “I feel making an animated short would allow me to explore the wide range of ZBrush’s capabilities.” 

Under the guidance of Dr. Mauro Guillén, the Dr. Felix Zandman Professor of International Management at the Wharton School and Professor of Sociology in the School of Arts and Sciences, Andrew Weis HSIB (C’15 W’15) will retrace the routes of Ernesto “Che” Guevara in three South American cities to explore economic and cultural change at the intersection of culture and business. He will use a GoPro camera, a new device that captures high-quality video from moving vantage points such as bicycles and automobiles.
Under the guidance of Dr. Joan Saverino, Lecturer in Urban Studies, Marlie Winslow C’15 will create a photo-documentary about the role of government-sponsored public space in the social life of slum dwellers in Buenos Aires. Marlie’s project asks the question, “What is the result of forced public space in impoverished neighborhoods, especially when the spaces replace former blocks of the neighborhood?” 

Jeff Seltzer W’78 serves on the Libraries’ Board of Overseers, 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).