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Potsdam student places in Beautiful Minds Challenge

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MARLBORO, VT. – Marlboro College announced the winners of its Beautiful Minds Challenge, including Nathaniel Brown of Potsdam.

The Beautiful Minds Challenge is a contest for high school students that drew 75 submissions from 23 U.S. states and two countries. The top three entries will receive cash prizes, and the 20 finalists will enjoy an all-expense-paid trip to a student symposium at Marlboro College on February 21-23, 2013.

“To me, beauty is the place where nature and human elegance connect,” said Nya Cooks, a high school student from Upatoi, Georgia, who was first-place winner of the Beautiful Minds Challenge. Nya’s original creation, an elegant gown fabricated from autumn leaves and sheer, flowing fabric, was chosen by a panel of judges made up of Marlboro students and faculty. “I am over the moon,” said Nya. “I can’t thank Marlboro College enough for this opportunity.”

Other impressive submissions ranged from stop-motion animation to paintings to short stories, all in response to the prompt, “Make something beautiful. Say why it is.” The contest was designed to attract students who think broadly and creatively across disciplines, one of the hallmarks of Marlboro College, an intentionally small, intellectually demanding liberal arts college located in southern Vermont.

Second place went to Erica Siclari, of Brooklyn, New York, and third place was awarded to Emily Ross, a home school student from Gray, Maine. Submissions were received from students across the U.S, from Hawaii to New Hampshire, as well as Ethiopia and the Caribbean nations of Antigua and Barbuda. The teens represented public high schools, private schools, early college high schools, home schooling options, and brought to the contest a wealth of talents and enthusiasm.

“We were very pleased by the range of responses and the depth of thought students put into their submissions,” said Ariel Brooks, director of non-degree programs at Marlboro, who administered the Beautiful Minds Challenge. “Some of them take your breath away, and all of the finalists demonstrate the independent thinking characteristic of Marlboro students.”

“This is the best opportunity that has ever come my way,” said Eric Rivera, a student from Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernadino, California, and one of the runner-ups who will attend the symposium. His team used video to document the evolution of a drawing by one team-member, Octavio Duarte, and demonstrate the self-reflection inherent in art. “I was literally shocked when I heard the great news that we were honored with this trip. I am really looking forward to the symposium in February.”

View all of the winning submissions at: minds.marlboro.edu/competition-blog/.

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