Sonic Foundry Scholarship Honors Laura Stephenson

speaker at podium with projection screen behind them

Dr. Tom Miller speaks about Laura Stephenson, during Unleash 2017. Photo courtesy SonicFoundry.

SonicFoundry, the owners of Mediasite, renamed its Video in Education Scholarship Award this year in honor of Laura Stephenson, a longtime NC State employee and champion of classroom capture.

Announcing the scholarship at Unleash17 in May,  Executive Vice President of Sonic Foundry Rob Lipps said, “Laura was passionate about making teaching and learning easier and more effective through the use of technology. Whether she was delivering a session at Unleash or working at North Carolina State University, her commitment to excellence and dedication to facilitating the success of those around her was evident in everything she did. She approached life with intelligence, grace, elegance and unwavering faith; all with a smile we will never forget.”

The Video in Education Scholarship is designed to encourage and enhance students’ higher education experiences through video. The winning university develops criteria to award to students.

“This year’s $2,500 scholarship bears Laura’s name for her tireless work in placing students at the center of a vast academic technology landscape,” said Lipps.

The first Video in Education Scholarship Award in honor of Laura Stephenson was awarded to  Duquesne University.

speaker at podium with projection screen behind them
Leisa Bolles introduces Dr. Tom Miller at Unleash 17 to share memories of Laura Stephenson. Photo courtesy Sonic Foundry

Both Leisa Bolles and Tom Miller spoke at Unleash about Stephenson’s career at NC State before the named scholarship was announced May 1 during the Madison, Wisconsin event.

View video clip from presentation.

Bolles, director of media production services, remarked “Last fall, the Mediasite community lost one of its greats with the passing of Laura Stephenson. In addition to being a respected voice in this community, Laura was a pioneer in academic video, an inspiring coworker, a dedicated leader in her community, and of course, a devoted wife and mother.”

Stephenson worked at NC State for 20 years before her passing in October 2016.

Before leading DELTA, Miller first hired Laura at NC State in his former role leading the Computer Systems Laboratory for the College of Engineering. He spoke about Stephenson’s hard work and determination which consistently earned her more responsibility and opportunities to advocate for academic technology. Although her experience was as a teacher, she was determined and confident and Miller says she was able to pick up on technology quickly.

Miller discussed several positions Stephenson moved into including at Engineering Online. He said, “And this was about the time that Mediasite came on the scene, and Laura picked up on that. She was really the pioneer in recognizing the power of Mediasite, and what it could do for online learning. As I listened to the awards tonight, I heard at least four universities in the awards from North Carolina. And I can’t help but think that Laura’s influence had a lot to do with why we have so much of this quality product in North Carolina. She was very dedicated to her job. She was passionate about working with the customers, the people, the users of the product.”

In closing, Miller expressed, “It was very tough, honestly, to lose Laura after knowing her all those years, and seeing what an incredible young woman she was, and what she’d grown into. And how she personally, herself, through her own confidence, determination, and hard work, transformed herself from administrative assistant to a technology professional, and a damn good one at that. So it’s my pleasure to be up here as a part of this special presentation.”