Photo contest winners highlight Emory students' work around the world

By Laura Douglas-Brown | Emory Report | Dec. 10, 2015

My Vantage Point, first place (tie): Amelia Conrad, who worked in Ethiopia with a Global Health Institute team, focused on gender-based violence

My Vantage Point, first place (tie): Amelia Conrad, who worked in Ethiopia with a Global Health Institute team, focused on gender-based violence

My Vantage Point, first place (tie): Melanie Aleman, who worked with The Nature Conservancy in Indonesia

My Vantage Point, first place (tie): Melanie Aleman, who worked with The Nature Conservancy in Indonesia

My Vantage Point, second place: Julie Kedroske, who worked with CARE International-Sri Lanka

My Vantage Point, second place: Julie Kedroske, who worked with CARE International-Sri Lanka

My Vantage Point, third place: Katherine Groenevelt, who worked for The Nature Conservancy in Tanzania

My Vantage Point, third place: Katherine Groenevelt, who worked for The Nature Conservancy in Tanzania

Our Field Experience, first place: Nathan Kennedy, who joined the The Nature Conservancy's Papua New Guinea Forest Program team this summer

Our Field Experience, first place: Nathan Kennedy, who joined the The Nature Conservancy's Papua New Guinea Forest Program team this summer

Our Field Experience, second place: Sumon Ray, who spent his summer in the Philippines with Habitat for Humanity International

Our Field Experience, second place: Sumon Ray, who spent his summer in the Philippines with Habitat for Humanity International

Our Field Experience, third place: Tanya Witlen, who spent the summer in Rwanda working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

Our Field Experience, third place: Tanya Witlen, who spent the summer in Rwanda working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International

Audience Choice: Katherine Groenevelt, who worked for The Nature Conservancy in Tanzania

Audience Choice: Katherine Groenevelt, who worked for The Nature Conservancy in Tanzania

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Winning images from this year's Master's in Development Practice photo contest highlight students' summer field practicum work to support communities in developing countries, from countering gender-based violence in Ethiopia to forest conservation in Papua New Guinea.

Winners of the fifth annual MDP photo contest were announced during a reception late last month. Out of about 400 entries, awards were given for first, second and third place images in two categories: "My Vantage Point" and "Our Field Experience." An additional award was given to a photograph that was voted by the audience during the reception.

"With our annual photo contest, we want to showcase and celebrate our students’ experiences in the field and the communities they worked with," explains Carla Roncoli, associate director and director of graduate studies for the Master's in Development Practice, who serves as chair of the MDP Photo Contest Selection Committee.

The Master's in Development Practice, offered through the Laney Graduate School, is designed to combine rigorous coursework with extensive, hands-on fieldwork. Students spend two summers working as practitioners-in-training within leading humanitarian organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America; they also complete internships with Atlanta-based international NGOs working on development, global health, environmental conservation, human rights, disaster assistance and education.

"The summer field practicum is the cornerstone of our MDP curriculum, allowing students to practice skills acquired in the classroom," says Roncoli, who is also a senior research scientist in the Department of Anthropology and adjunct faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies. "Each summer we have students in about 20 countries, ranging from right next door (Haiti) to far-flung (Papua New Guinea)."

Winning photos from this year's contest were taken by students who served with MDP partner organizations in Ethiopia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Rwanda.

"My Vantage Point" honors images that reflect a particular perspective on a unique landscape, interaction or aspect of culture that can only be experienced by being there, a perspective that comes from being present and engaged in the context. The "My Field Experience" category celebrates images that represent what the MDP field practicum is like, and images that inspire other young people to get involved in international development practice and interdisciplinary work.

"We are in awe with the depth of their engagement and learning and the creativity and critical thinking they bring to development practice," Roncoli says. "The photo contest is a wonderful example of all that makes us proud of our students."

Here are the 2015 winners for each category:

My Vantage Point

First place (tie): Amelia Conrad, who worked in Ethiopia with a Global Health Institute team focused on gender-based violence.

First place (tie): Melanie Aleman, who worked with The Nature Conservancy in Jakarta, Indonesia, doing research on an educational center for corporate engagement in environmental conservation.

Second place: Julie Kedroske, who worked with CARE International-Sri Lanka on the expansion of a women entrepreneurship program centered on handloom weaving .  

Third place: Katherine Groenevelt, who worked for The Nature Conservancy in Tanzania on an integrated population, health and environment project on Lake Tanganyika. 

Our Field Experience

First place: Nathan Kennedy, who joined the The Nature Conservancy's Papua New Guinea Forest Program team this summer. Jillian Kenny is pictured.

Second place: Sumon Ray, who spent his summer in the Philippines with Habitat for Humanity International as a Disaster Risk Reduction and Response intern. 

Third place: Tanya Witlen, who spent the summer in Bisate, Rwanda, working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

Audience Choice

Katherine Groenevelt, who worked for The Nature Conservancy in Tanzania.

More images from the photo contest are available in a gallery on the MDP website.