A UNM doctoral candidate who champions distance learning is this year’s recipient of the 2018 Deborah K. LaPointe OI&LS Endowed Scholarship.

Aaron at Jemez
Aaron Kelly Anderson

The Organization, Information and Learning Sciences (OILS) program awarded Aaron Kelly Anderson the scholarship.

Soon after receiving his M.A in English in 2013, Anderson began his studies in the OILS Ph.D. program with great optimism. He quickly decided on a specialty of storytelling as a learning dynamic. He says he truly believes that a close examination of storytelling, and what it involves, could unlock many secrets of more meaningful learning interactions. Anderson’s dissertation will explore the storytelling approaches that organizations use in online petitions. Online petitions alert and inform people about crucial issues in social, political or cultural spheres and travel great distances on the Internet.

Anderson has a clear interest in distance learning – the cornerstone of the Deborah LaPointe Scholarship. Storytelling, in its ancient roots, happened nearly exclusively in smaller gatherings. Contemporary storytelling is a global phenomenon.  Petitioning networks of campaigners, supporters and other relevant parties can communicate our stories through vast, multifaceted channels and the objectives of those stories go far beyond a simple act of cultural cohesion.

“I am extremely grateful and excited for the opportunity that this scholarship provides,” Anderson said. “With the funding and recognition from the LaPointe Scholarship, I plan to expand on my dissertation research and further investigate what these petition stories mean to the masses.”

He goes on to say, “I am thankful for the guidance I receive from my graduate advisor, Professor Lani Gunawardena, my colleagues in the OILS program – plus the unending support and motivation from my mother.”

The family of Deborah LaPointe established a scholarship to support the OILS (formerly OLIT) program to commemorate the work and life of Professor Deborah La Pointe. A much-loved student, and then faculty member in the Organizational Learning and Instructional Technology program (OLIT), LaPointe’s love of distance education and her scholarship and teaching in the field were exceptional. The scholarship was established to support doctoral students in the OLIT/OILS program.

Find out more about OI&LS at oils.unm.edu.

Click here to give online to the Deborah LaPointe Scholarship.