Dean’s Discretionary Fund Earmarked for Student Travel

Sanjin Alisic wasn’t even sure he wanted to attend.

The 2007 SIGGRAPH International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Technologies was across the country in San Diego, Calif. — an expensive plane ticket for an experience Alisic wasn’t sure would be worth it.

It was the supportive financial nudge from the dean’s office that made the trip possible.

Sanjin, along with a handful of other Interactive Digital Media majors, traveled to the conference for what turned out to be an invaluable educational experience.

“I am very happy that I decided to go,” said Sanjin, a senior. “It always excites me to know the future and be on the cutting edge of technology in the field. And going to SIGGRAPH has enabled us to experience many things that so many people will only hear or read about.”

Said Senior Carolyn Mertz: “We were able to attend informative lectures; introduce ourselves to cutting edge technologies and ideas; and make invaluable connections with both seasoned professionals and fellow students in our field.”

The SIGGRAPH students are not alone.

Each year, Dean Debra Carpenter taps into the Dean’s Discretionary Fund to help send School of Communications students to educational opportunities around the globe.

While a discretionary fund is nothing unique to the School of Communications, the way the SOC utilizes those funds may be. Other deans may use the funds for any number of purposes. Carpenter spends the SOC funds only on students.

“Our students are so exceptional, they really are” Carpenter said. “The things we get done, we get done because we’re a team.”

During the 2006–07 school year, money from the fund helped to:

• Send four Audio Production majors to the national Audio Engineering Society Conference in San Francisco;
• Send four Journalism students to a national convention in Washington, D.C.;
• Defer the costs for four Public Relations majors attend thePublic Relations Society Student Society Convention in Salt Lake City; and,
• Send a Film Production major to attend the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Wyoming.

“We can’t cover students’ costs for everything, but hopefully we can make some of these opportunities more affordable for everyone,” Carpenter said. “Attending these conferences and conventions is a great learning tool for many of these students.”

Chris Collum (BA, Audio Production, 2007) was one of the students able to attend the AES conference in San Francisco, in part because of the stipend he received from the Dean’s Discretionary Fund.

“While there I was able to meet many influential contacts and got several internship leads,” Collum said. “I also was able to attend several mixing sessions where I was able to learn many new techniques that will help me in the future. All in all, it was a great trip for me to participate in.”

Carpenter has spent more than $45,000 directly over the past 10 years benefiting more than 200 students in every major of the school. It’s a fact that doesn’t go unnoticed by students.

“(Carpenter) is a wonderful dean,” said Breanna Herschelman (BA, Journalism, 2007), who used a stipend to attend a national journalism conference in Washington, D.C. “We are so grateful to (her) for all that (she does) for us.”