Student Finalist in Video Essay Contest

July 07, 2010 - Campus Bulletin

Taryn Athey doesn't have to look far for inspiration.

The third-year molecular biology student has been named a finalist for a video she made about why her parents inspire her.

Her video is among 20 entries selected in the video essay contest sponsored by Tri-Cyclen Lo. The contest is open to Canadian women between 16 and 30; the winner will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

“This was the first video I have ever made, so I was surprised to find out I was a finalist,” said Athey, who is originally from Mississauga. “I tried really hard to make it the best video I could, and it paid off.”

Athey spent weeks creating the video essay, which comprises family photos and home video accompanied by music written specifically for the project.

“I told my parents I was entering the contest, but I didn’t tell them that they were the focus. When they saw the video, they were both really touched. My mom keeps showing it to everyone she knows.”

A panel of judges chose the top 20 entries; the winner will be selected based on the number of public votes.

Athey said her parents were an obvious choice as her source of inspiration. Her mother, a yoga instructor and motivational teacher, and her father, a family physician, have shown her the importance of acceptance, helping others and setting goals.

“My parents have taught me about taking action and taking responsibility,” she said. “They both volunteer within the community and, before having kids, travelled to India to volunteer in the medical field.”

Athey's mother encouraged her to volunteer abroad at age 15. The student spent a month in Senegal painting a school and working in a daycare centre, and another six weeks in Ecuador, where she helped to clean streets, worked on a tree conservation project and taught English to children.

“I enjoy travelling and experiencing other cultures,” she said. “You get to meet the most interesting people when you go away, and everyone always seems so grateful for your help.”

Athey said she would use the video contest money to travel to India to volunteer alongside doctors.

“I would eventually like to work with Doctors Without Borders someday, and so I think this would be good experience.”

Voting on the 20 finalist videos will take place July 12 to Aug. 23. To vote, visit the website.

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