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2024 Middle School Winners


Hydroponics to Feed the Planet

Astrid Winterstein

Mandela International Magnet School Santa Fe, NM

Astrid Winterstein is in the 8th grade at Mandela International Magnet School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The World of 8 Billion was a final assignment in her world geography class. Once she started, Astrid “truly got into it” and decided to go forward with the option to submit her video for consideration in the contest. She chose to create a video on health because science is one of her favorite subjects. In the future, she hopes to become a doctor.

Through school classes, Astrid had become aware about the effects of population growth on the world, but when she started this project, she didn’t think it would have such an impact on the growth of plants. She was fascinated that carbon dioxide can affect the nutritional value of crops, and was shocked by how many children around the world are suffering from malnutrition. It was challenging to fit all of the information she wanted to share into one minute. Astrid loves to dive into the research, and found the information about zinc deficiencies and DNA structures was connected to what she was learning in other classes. This was the first time she created and edited a video, though previous classroom experience with coding made using the animation tools a little easier. Astrid used Canva and WeVideo to bring her vision to life, experimenting with new techniques and learning how challenging the process can be. “What I thought would be a ten-minute job turned into two hours. Some things you just have to let go – not everything will be perfect, but if there are one or two areas that you love, that’s amazing!”

Astrid is passionate about dancing; she practices ballet, modern, and jazz multiple times a week at the National Dance Institute of New Mexico. Recently, she was invited to join the pre-professional company where they put on shows every February. Out of all three styles, she loves jazz dance the most because the movements are fun and free, but also just enjoys the supportive and inspiring nature of the jazz dance community. Astrid is also well traveled, and spent six months on a cross country road trip exploring National Parks with her family a couple years ago. Her favorite park was Yosemite, but she also enjoyed seeing the New England states in the fall and sleeping on top of the pop-up camper to watch the stars every night. Astrid looks up to ballet dancer Misty Copeland because she started dancing relatively late, but has still managed to accomplish great things.

Hydroponics to Feed the Planet

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