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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

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Anthropology major Delana Delgado took this photo titled "Los Danzantes Resilientes" in Oaxaca, Mexico while studying abroad. Anthropology major Delana Delgado took this photo titled "Los Danzantes Resilientes" in Oaxaca, Mexico while studying abroad.
 


Winners Transform International Experiences into Extraordinary Images

The top photo submissions of the 2019 SDSU Be International Photo Contest will be on display during Family Weekend.
By Aaron Burgin
 

When McKenna Avery saw a black veined tiger butterfly settle on an array of plastic bottles atop a compost system in the Cambodian rain forest, she quickly snapped a photo. 

When the senior sustainability major returned to San Diego State University after an eight-week fellowship, she entered the image in the SDSU 2019 Be International Photo Contest. 

The competition, sponsored by the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, the Department of New Student and Parent Programs and Be International, challenged students to submit photographs that captured transformation.

“I created water bottle shingles for a compost system that diverted waste and supplied shared income,” Avery wrote in submitting her entry. “When the butterfly landed on the finished project, I knew nature approved of our transformation of waste to sustainability.”

Avery’s photo, “Water Bottles Into Prosperity,” won first prize entry in a field of 78 entries. The panel of staff and faculty judges also selected second- and third-place winners, as well as a pair of honorable mentions. The SDSU campus community also cast thousands of votes during a weeklong bracket-style tournament on the SDSU Be International Instagram page to select the People’s Choice Winner.

The prize winners and the People’s Choice winner received cash prizesr, thanks to sponsorships by The Common Experience, Mortar Board, The Honors Council and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

The top 40 photo submissions are part of a gallery that will be displayed on campus this weekend for Family Weekend. 

The contest’s theme this year was “Experience Transformation: Images from your international experience that symbolize or depict transformations of individuals, objects, spaces or places.”

Winning photos, submitted by student participants in study abroad programs or current international students, were announced Oct. 8. 

“Something winners always have in common is that they do a great job in addressing the contest theme in a thoughtful way,” said Fiorella Morales, a DAESA international engagement coordinator and chair of the selection committee. “The photo, narrative and theme come together nicely and because of this, the committee overwhelmingly voted for (Avery’s) entry.”

Avery, a Redlands native, said she was grateful for her selection as the contest winner because of the photo’s personal significance. 

“I am stunned and thankful for the panel for their selection and really appreciate it,” Avery said. “I took a lot of photos on that trip, but this one spoke the most to me. I think it was the most impactful project I’ve worked on in how it related to the community.” 

Anais Gaunin, a fourth-year environmental engineering student, was the lone contestant to both place in the photo contest and reach the “Final Four” of the People’s Choice contest. Her photo, “Environformation,”  is a kaleidoscope-like  image of trees in  Brazil’s Amazon rain forest. 

She said the photo and her experience in Brazil, where she researched sanitation in densely populated favelas, reinforced her choice of a major. 

Looking outward from the photo, “you see fewer trees and more white cells,” Gaunin said. “If we don’t care for our environment, it could easily become like the picture, with fewer green space and more blank space.”

The 2019 Be International Photo Contest winners:

 
Winners Transform International Experiences into Extraordinary Images
Submissions from the 2019 SDSU Be International Photo Contest will be on display during Family Weekend.