An array of locales, including Italy, India, Uganda, Haiti, and Mali, were represented among the winning entries in the 2013 Virginia Tech Education Abroad photo contest.

Winners in the annual photo contest were selected from more than 300 submissions and were recently announced by Guru Ghosh, vice president of outreach and international affairs.

The winners in each of the six categories were:

  • People / Culture Category: Jonathan H. Kim of Fairfax, Va., a junior majoring in industrial design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Two young boys approached Kim’s travel van during a study abroad program in Auroville, India. He took the photo titled “Little Hooligan” as one of the boys gave a playful expression.
  • Places (Natural or Urban) Category: Kelly Luker of Virginia Beach, Va., a junior majoring in studio arts in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Luker, who studied abroad in Siena, Italy, captured the cliffs of Cinque Terre as a hailstorm approached in her photo titled “La Tempesta.” The photo, pictured above, won Best in Show.
  • Hokies Abroad Category: Casey Carbaugh of Midlothian, Va., a third-year student in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The photo “Bath Time for Ellie” was taken at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur, Chennai, India. Carbaugh’s photo shows a group of students bathing Ellie the Elephant.
  • Spirit of Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) Category: Alley Heffern of Vienna, Va., a senior majoring in civil engineering in the College of Engineering:  While on a service trip to an orphanage in Uganda with Virginia Tech's chapter of Engineers Without Borders, Heffern met a little boy named Ivan. In the photo “Courage is found in unlikely places,” Ivan is shown smiling as he is pushed on a swing.
  • Inventing the Future Abroad Category: Emily Hagen of Berryville, Va., a fourth year architecture student in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. In her photo “Testing for structural stability,” Hagen tells the story of finding a group of local school children jumping on the bridge constructed by the Bridges to Prosperity project in Haiti.
  • Faculty / Staff Category: Miriam Rich of Blacksburg, director of communications in the Office of International Research, Education, Development. While assisting a colleague with a gender workshop in Mali, Rich took a trip to Timbuktu where she camped in the desert with a group of Tuareg tribespeople. Her photo “Tuareg Father and Daughter” shows a father affectionately placing his hand on his daughter’s head.



The contest encourages students, faculty, and staff to share their study abroad and international experiences with the university community. Each student category winner received a $100 prize. The faculty/staff winner received a dinner for two at Preston’s Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech. The Best in Show winner will receive a canvas print of their photo.

The photo contest was sponsored by Virginia Tech Education Abroad, the Division of Outreach and International Affairs, Phi Beta Delta International Honors Society, and Preston’s Restaurant at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

Education Abroad at Virginia Tech challenges students to engage with the world by providing study abroad opportunities that are academically, culturally, and personally enriching. On average, 1,200 Virginia Tech students study abroad annually. The office supports more than 50 faculty-led programs, maintains academic exchange programs with 80 universities in 32 countries, and supports Virginia Tech study centers in Switzerland and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Written by Rommelyn Conde, communications specialist, Education Abroad. Video by Rich Mathieson, communications coordinator, Outreach and International Affairs, Language and Culture Institute. 

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