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2024 World of 8 Billion Winners – The inspiration behind their videos. 

Congratulations to the 2024 World of 8 Billion winners! During their interviews, this year’s 18 winners shared why they chose to submit a video to the contest. Some themes that came up include a personal connection to the topic, a desire to continue to advocate further about an issue, and an interest in expanding connections to what they learned in class. Many students were also inspired to create a video after being impacted by what they were seeing in the news, and others were driven by a passion for filmmaking and building on their video production skills. 

Check out the winners below to learn more about what inspired them to submit a video to the competition this year!

Drawing on Personal Connections

Many of our winners had a personal connection to the topic that they chose. These students were inspired to create a video based on current events happening in their local or global community. 

  • 1st place high school invasive species winner, Jack Barkhurst, wanted to raise awareness on how the Siberian elm (an invasive species) is crowding out native Cottonwood trees near his home. He framed his video on this local issue in his community by filming in the unique ecosystem, the Bosque. Check out Jack’s video, Saving the Bosque to learn more.
  • 1st place high school health winner, Nila Arunkumar, came across a living wall on a trip to the grocery store and was curious how that concept could be scaled to improve air quality and health of urban residents worldwide. Watch Nila’s video to see if it is possible to Breathe Easy with Living Walls.
  • 2nd place middle school health winner, Darya Maksimov, was inspired by her mom’s work as a nurse and wanted to emphasize the need for vaccinations to mitigate disease spread in a growing population. Play Darya’s video to see how we might have a Better Outlook for Vaccines in the future. 
  • Honorable Mention winner, Parmida Farzad, has seen the impacts of climate migration directly in her travels and especially in Iran, where she is from. View Parmida’s video to learn more on how Cultivating Hope: Sustainable Agriculture Mitigates Climate Migration is a solution to this challenge she cares about. 

Inspired by Advocacy 

Two of our winners are also strong advocates for the issues that they chose to make a video on. Their films are another avenue to get their voices heard on topics that they are passionate about. 

  • 2nd place high school health winner, Ranye Ezenekwe, does advocacy work as a part of the Colorado Youth Advisory Council (COYAC) and the Global Co Lab Network. She participates in the contest year after year because “you have freedom and liberty to choose any issue that you are interested in and learn about the issue in depth and become an active agent to solve that issue.” Check out Ranye’s video on how Combating Health Disparities With Bioplastic Hygiene Kits could bring more equitable access to daily essentials globally. 
  • Honorable Mention winner for health, Yashila Yadav, was motivated by work she did on a project about female genital mutilation with the United Nations youth organization. The contest gave her the opportunity to research and create more awareness on the topic. Watch Yashila’s video to learn how to Stop FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) globally.

Connections to Class Content

After learning about their topics in class and doing additional research, many of our winners became more interested in these topics and wanted to spread the word to encourage change. 

  • 1st place middle school health winner, Astrid Winterstein, extended her knowledge about human population growth, DNA, and zinc deficiencies with her research about the impacts of climate change on plants worldwide to create her video. Check out her video to learn about Hydroponics to Feed the Planet.
  • Honorable Mention winners, Andy Lin for climate migration, Harper Hipps for health, and Kyo Lee and Byoeli Chae for invasive species had learned about their topics in class and after diving into the research they wanted to submit a video to the contest to share what they learned. 

Impacted by News 

Some of our winners had seen news articles about the challenges related to their topic and this encouraged them to create a video to help come up with solutions to the issues. 

  • 1st place middle school climate migration winner, Sahil Parasharami, noticed a lot of articles in his news feed were about flooding in coastal communities so he decided to create a video. watch Sahil’s video to learn about his four-prong approach to protect Coastal Communities globally.
  • 2nd place middle school climate migration winners, Hussein Rashed, Hassan El Hadidi, Omar Shenoufy, and Mahmoud Shalaby connected what they learned while making their video to the conflict that is happening in Gaza. View their video Climate Migration – The Plight of Displaced People to learn more. 
  • 2nd place high school invasive species winner, Grace Lee, watched a news report about how blue crabs were taking over the Mediterranean Sea and was inspired to come up with a solution to the issue. Check out Grace’s video Mediterranean’s Most Wanted: The Crab Invaders to see her sustainable solution. 

Interested in Filming Techniques 

In addition to having a personal or class connection, many students use the contest to build their filmmaking and editing skills. From working on animation techniques to learning new software, there are many ways to incorporate a love of filmmaking into this competition.  

  • 1st place winner for high school climate migration, Ruike Pan, learned a lot about film and editing while participating in the contest. She combined her love of needle felting with animated transitions to tell a story. Watch Ruike’s video Floods: Planting A Stable Coastline to see her unique approach to animation.  
  • 2nd place winner for high school climate migration, Imani Laird, learned how to animate while creating her video. She used Canva and WeVideo which helped her vision come to life. View Imani’s video Mangrove Forests to see how she used animation to connect each frame in her video. 
  • 1st place winner for middle school invasive species, Daniel Taich, enjoys creating LEGO animated videos for fun and decided to create an educational video for the competition using this technique. Check out Daniel’s video to learn how he used LEGOs to explain An Ancient Invasion
  • 2nd place winner for middle school invasive species, Benjamin Kurian, is a three-time winner and has been working on his video editing skills each year. This year he experimented with computer-generated imagery to make his video stand out. Play Benjamin’s video Acoustic Telemetry: A Sustainable Solution to Manage Invasive Species to see how he incorporated special effects to get his message across. 
  • Honorable mention invasive species winner, Surya Arunkumar, really enjoyed creating the animations for his video. He has been building on his skills and thought there were a lot of options for animating invasive species. Watch Surya’s video to see how he animated his solution Pheromone Biocontrol: The Sweet Smell of Success