2021 Middle School Winners
Reimagining Industrial Systems
Central Middle School Edgewater, Maryland
Arnav Bali is a 7th grade student at Central Middle School in Edgewater, Maryland. He was born in Germany, but has lived in Maryland since he was very young. Central Middle is a STEM school and Arnav shared that, as such, “we do a lot of field experiences and go on a lot of field trips. On a recent, (virtual) trip, we learned about chemicals in shampoo products and about micro plastics and pollution.” He and his mom found the contest one day while searching online for contest opportunities. He said, “I knew right away that I wanted to enter this contest.” He is an avid filmmaker and is partial to creating educational videos focused on the environment. Arnav, who recently purchased a green screen, decided to use the it for the first time on his World of 7 Billion video submission. He is interested in re-building and reviving electronics. “Two years ago, our computer broke and I decided to try and fix it.” YouTube tutorials have been a source of information and inspiration for Arnav as has trial and error. “When I mess something up I have to learn how to fix it,” he said. Given his interests, he decided to focus his video on e-waste. Through his research, he became more educated and aware about population and its impacts. He was surprised to learn that Sweden is a global leader in recycling e-waste. Another surprise was “how much of e-waste goes to poor countries. I don’t think it is fair that the waste goes there when many of those countries are already struggling. Adding a big pile of e-waste doesn’t help.”
“I’ve made many other informative videos,” revealed Arnav. His prior films include a book trailer, an Earth Day film highlighting the threats to the bee population and how the bee population impacts the environment, and a video about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., all of which won him awards. He ran into some challenges creating his e-waste video, namely “finding information because many websites don’t have exact statistics on the burden of e-waste.” The 60-second time limit was also a challenge and required several script re-writes. Arnav’s advice for future contest participants is, “to just starting working on it [your video] because then you’ll figure things out, slowly, and hopefully make a good video and learn more about your topic.”
He plans to invest part of his prize money and is debating purchasing more film equipment such as a better camera. Arnav shared that his video was actually filmed on his mom’s phone using the Filmic Pro app, which he highly recommends. His mother is a great source of inspiration “because she is always the one who helps me make my videos, my sister too!” His favorite food is mac and cheese, and if he could have any super power it would be telekinesis.