AVIXA Awards 2019 Michael Vergauwen Scholarships

The AVIXA Foundation, the charitable arm of the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, has announced the recipients of the 2019 Michael Vergauwen Scholarship: Rachel Brown, an interior design major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and Ryan DeMello, a construction engineering major at Oregon State University.

“We are thrilled to award Rachel and Ryan scholarships this year,” said Joseph Valerio, program director of the AVIXA Foundation. “Each displayed a passion for our industry in their academic and extracurricular choices. They also showed impressive commitment to creating integrated experiences in their future career plans. They join a growing number of emerging professionals who identify with AV in new ways.”

In addition to her full-time studies, Brown has interned at Collage Architects, an architectural firm specializing in residential and mixed-use projects, where she has been responsible for creating visual packages, producing drawings in CAD and Revit and participating in client meetings.

“As I pursue a degree in interior design, I see myself often looking to audiovisual systems to make the interior environments I create more accessible and user-friendly,” Brown said. “Audiovisual systems can help people feel a connection to the space they are in.”

DeMello began working in Oregon State’s Academic Technology Department as a support technician while in high school, exhibiting a vast working knowledge of presentation technologies while helping students and professors use campus technology. He has also helped provide AV services for a local event production company.

“My major has taught me extensively about the pre-consideration, design, estimating, and construction of various ranges of structures and buildings,” DeMello said. “My goal is to use my knowledge to improve communication and the execution of AV integration into modern buildings and classrooms.”

Brown and DeMello will each receive a $5,000 scholarship, in honor of the late Michael Vergauwen’s contributions to the AV industry. Vergauwen was chief operating officer of AVI Systems and a long-time board member of AVIXA.

“The Michael Vergauwen Scholarship is but one of many programs the AVIXA Foundation offers to enable our future workforce to achieve its dreams,” Valerio said. “The Foundation’s mission is to ultimately increase the awareness of AV as a viable career, while fostering programs that provide skills training and job experiences for anyone eager take on the creative challenges working in AV. Our global campaigns to attract new talent will help us build pathways from more schools, allied organizations, and communities.”