‘Eye on the Future’
NEI Hosts Student Video Contest Winners
A July 22 event welcomed 10 teens from across the country as a reward for their winning submissions to the first-ever NEI “Eye on the Future” video competition. More than 40 high school students submitted 3-minute science-themed videos to the contest, which encouraged participation by populations underrepresented in biomedical science.
NEI awarded cash prizes to first-place winner Meenakshi Ambati, second-place winner Ethan Dunn and third-place winner Sanjana Kumar. Top contest winners and honorary awardees were invited to visit NIH via an expense-paid trip. The awards ceremony was the first in-person NIH student event since the start of the pandemic.
Students and their parents toured campus with stops at the NIH animal facility for a cow eye dissection. They also explored a sodium-light room designed to show concepts of color perception (strawberries appear a ghastly grey). They played cornhole and, of course, had ice cream.
Dr. Lawrence Tabak, performing the duties of NIH director, and NEI director Dr. Michael Chiang welcomed the students in the newly renovated Bldg. 31C conference center. Chiang emphasized NIH’s interest in encouraging young people—the future NIH workforce—to pursue biomedical research.
NIH chief officer for scientific workforce diversity Dr. Marie Bernard moderated a panel discussion of four vision scientists while the visiting students fired questions, eager to get the inside scoop on life as a researcher.
Following the panel, students visited booths to learn about training programs offered by NEI and the Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences. The young people tested their hand-eye coordination at a booth sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. And they test-drove NEI’s “See What I See” virtual reality app to experience visual effects from glaucoma, cataract and age-related macular degeneration.
NEI communications director Maria Zacharias closed the event by asking the students to consider themselves ambassadors for the program and to encourage other students to submit videos to the contest next year.
See this year’s winning videos, https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/outreach-campaigns-and-resources/eye-future-video-contest.