AVIXA Foundation Announces 2021 Scholarship Recipients

FAIRFAX, Va., Oct. 19, 2021 – The AVIXA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2021 scholarships. Irene Ataifo from Howard Community College has been awarded the elAVate Scholarship. Angelina Jonkaitis, a student at Valencia College, is the recipient of the Michael Vergauwen Scholarship. Carter Kucier from Lebanon Valley College has been awarded the Mosaic Scholarship. Each winner is awarded $2,500. 

“Education is empowering, and the AVIXA Foundation Scholarship program's intent is to encourage and enable students from diverse backgrounds who show great potential to pursue careers in the audiovisual field,” said Domenic Screnci, Ed.D., President of the AVIXA Foundation. “Supporting workforce development is core to the Foundation's mission. To achieve that goal, the Foundation provides opportunities to schools, organizations, and individuals to help fill a flourishing demand for a qualified workforce in the exciting world of AV.”

The AVIXA Foundation’s elAVate Scholarship supports the growth of women and gender equality in the AV industry. The 2021 recipient Irene Ataifo holds an associate degree in Cyber Forensics Technology from Howard Community College and is currently enrolled in the college’s Audiovisual Technology associate degree program. Ataifo was determined to pursue her passion in audio, despite feeling like it was an unconventional career path for a Black woman. She says today she no longer uses her anxiety to make decisions, but the power of her individuality. 

The Michael Vergauwen Scholarship honors the legacy of the late Michael Vergauwen, former COO of AVI Systems and long-time AVIXA board member. The 2021 recipient Angelina Jonkaitis is a student at Valencia College studying live entertainment design and production. Jonkaitis is passionate about live audio and began mixing for their high school theater during freshman year. Their dream is to mix for live Broadway shows, but they also love the installation side of AV. Jonkaitis is currently an intern at AV integration firm RelianceAV and excelling at building AV racks, cable terminations, and wire management.

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. The 2021 recipient Carter Kucier is studying audio/music production at Lebanon Valley College and has his sights set on a career in live audio. Kucier is the president of the college’s LGBTQ+ organization Freedom Rings. In this leadership role, he has begun a dialogue with the college president, resulting in the pride flag flying on campus permanently and an LGBTQ+ housing option. In addition, the organization has worked with clubs like the Black Student Union to promote intersectionality and to hold the college accountable for wrongs against diverse members of the student body. 

In further pursuit of its mission to build more equity and access in the pro AV industry, the AVIXA Foundation has also presented career advancement packages to three young AV professionals. They will receive complimentary AVIXA memberships and skills training, Certified Technologist Specialist (CTS) prep resources, and a free pass to an InfoComm regional tradeshow. The recipients are Mahogany Hickman, Studio Production Manager for the University of South Carolina-Beaufort; Carlos Eduardo Ramírez Rosas, AV Designer for G4 Audio y Video; and Elizabeth Pavelko, AV Systems Designer for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York. 

To learn more about the AVIXA Foundation’s scholarship program, visit www.avixa.org/scholarships

About the AVIXA Foundation
The AVIXA Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization focused on cultivating a growing workforce on behalf of the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA). The Foundation does so by creating awareness of careers in the global AV industry; enabling potential and emerging professionals through skills training, scholarships, and scholastic support; and developing a bridge between the industry and those who want to become AV professionals. With the help of AVIXA members and the entire industry, the Foundation helps build a future with a diverse, skilled workforce eager to take on the challenge of creating integrated AV experiences around the world. More information is available at avixa.org/foundation.

AVIXA is the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, producer of InfoComm trade shows around the world, co-owner of Integrated Systems Europe, and the international trade association representing the audiovisual industry. Established in 1939, AVIXA has more than 20,000 enterprise and individual members, including manufacturers, systems integrators, dealers and distributors, consultants, programmers, live events companies, technology managers, content producers, and multimedia professionals from more than 80 countries. AVIXA members create integrated AV experiences that deliver outcomes for end users. AVIXA is a hub for professional collaboration, information, and community, and is the leading resource for AV standards, certification, training, market intelligence, and thought leadership. Visit avixa.org.