Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

— PSFA Heroes —
Week of April 20, 2020

photo of Christina Jeffries

Christina Jeffries

Internship and Placement Director

Nominated by Carl Winston

Who is orchestrating alumni and student engagement with the school with large scale virtual events and social activities. She is instrumental in using some complex meeting architecture including breakout rooms, etc.

photo of Captain Kathryn Bugg

Captain Kathryn Bugg


Nominated by Colonel John Grimm

Captain Bugg is doing an outstanding job teaching the Air Force cadets on Zoom. She utilizes break-out rooms to help teams of 3-5 cadets talk about ways to improve issues within the Air Force such as increasing diversity and retaining more pilots. Groups then present to the larger group of 40 cadets by screen-sharing power-point slides as if in a classroom setting. Captain Bugg directs her cadets to post their questions via chat. At the end of each presentation, the cadets in the “audience” provide one positive and one improvement comment to each of the presenters. Additionally, she also coordinates the Air Force ROTC Leadership Laboratory (LLAB) for all 180 cadets again using the main “room” of zoom, while also taking advantage of the breakout rooms. Her ability to navigate/manage the breakout rooms allows for better instruction and mentorship between cadets, and allows the cadre to move between rooms which provides stronger and more personalized instruction and mentorship.

photo of David Escamilla

David Escamilla

Assistant Military Science Instructor

Nominated by Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Parlette

David was the first cadre member to learn the ins and outs of Zoom back in January. The Army ROTC needed a way to bring classes to their Senior Nursing Cadets whose clinicals prevented them from being able to attend either of the in-person MS402 classes. David learned how to use Zoom, tested it in his classes and then taught the MS402 instructors how to use it. He gave his Army ROTC colleagues a leg up when the campus had to go full virtual. After the directive to teach virtually, David taught the remaining instructors how to use zoom and they have been very successful with implementation because of his early efforts.

photo of Kevin Corcoran

Kevin Corcoran


Nominated by Heather Canary

Kevin uses his prior online pedagogy training to ensure that he is making eye contact with his students when teaching via a webcam (which is tricky when using notes/slides); he uses break-out rooms to engage students in real-time discussions, makes use of the Zoom chat function, and has been successful at integrating iClicker technology into virtual teaching.

photo of Sam Shpigelman

Sam Shpigelman

Lecturer, Area Head of New Media Production

Nominated by Niyi Coker

Sam is developing an innovative approach to using motion capture data for pedagogical purposes. Motion data from student-actors will drive digital avatars. The avatars can be viewed real-time, from any angle. Acting professors and student-actors can view and evaluate these performances to discuss and improve students’ acting. Recorded Zoom performances is the critical ingredient that Sam will distill and transform to create effective performances.

Utilizing Zoom, Sam has been innovative in finding synergy between the power of New Media Production and Theatre. Along with colleagues there is a rethinking of how theatrical productions can be realized in virtual space. He is currently working on developing production pipelines to capture performers in isolated locations, create life-like theatrical stages which bring captured performers onto virtual stages and ultimately help producers, directors and designers to realize their theatrical vision. Upon completion, virtual theatrical plays can be delivered as conventional movies to provide the audience with traditional viewing experience or as 3d virtual reality plays to provide the audience with a fully immersive theatrical experience.

photo of Mark Siprut

Mark Siprut

Undergraduate Advisor, Associate Professor, Multimedia

Nominated by Annie Buckley

He went the extra mile to help ALL Art+Design faculty get up to speed, no small task as some had never taught online. He jumped in from the start to help and has led workshops for faculty, supported those that had more questions with additional meetings, and is continually offering to help as needed. He also attends all our virtual lunches to offer support to faculty that are feeling isolated or left out. As for students, he has helped all his internship students smoothly through the pandemic, which has been a stressful time for a lot of interns in the college. He adjusted their hours, offered reflection questions, gave alternate assignments, and has supported those that are able to intern remotely and not.

Group Nominations

Shawn Flanigan

Megan Welsh

Nominated by Peggy Shannon

JUST THIS MORNING I LEARNED that two of our PUBLIC AFFAIRS COLLEAGUES, Shawn Flanigan and Megan Welsh, received an Emergency COVID-19 $25,000 Research Seed Funding grant from the University of California Tobacco Related-Disease Research Program (TRDRP). The research project is entitled “Service Utilization and Survival Strategies of Unsheltered Homeless During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” They’ll be using mobile phone text messaging technology to examine the survival strategies and service utilization patterns of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in San Diego during the COVID-19 pandemic.