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Announcing the 2019 ACIS Scholarship Winners

February 19, 2019 Sarah Bichsel 2 Comments

Each year ACIS offers traveling students the opportunity to win scholarships for their trips through essays, photography and artwork, and each year we continue to be amazed by the talent displayed in the entries.

This year’s contest theme “The World in Your World” asked students to tell us how different cultures, communities and places from around the world impact their daily life. Do they see the influence of other cultures at school? How about at home or in their neighborhoods? We asked that students take this opportunity to think critically about how the world personally influences them as students and global citizens and then show that influence creatively through their submissions.

Entries for artwork, photography and writing categories were judged on creativity, inventiveness and how the expression of the idea relates to the theme. After reviewing hundreds of submissions, we’re thrilled to announce the winners of our 2019 Travel Scholarship Contest!


Grand Prize, High School – $1,000 Scholarship

A Small Turquoise Bead – Nadja Bartlebaugh, PA

“Cultures intertwine inevitably through travel, interaction and even indirect combinations. My name represents the impact of two different cultures colliding, as well as my impactful interactions while traveling.”- Nadja

Runner-Up, High School – $500 Scholarship

The All-Embracing Patchwork Quilt – Alika Ting, CA

“This piece illustrates the challenges as well as the benefits of moving to a different country and experiencing new cultures. I reveal how the combination of Taiwanese and American cultures influence my outlook on life, and how a multicultural mentality has brought me closer to my community.”

Grand Prize, Middle School – $1,000 Scholarship

The World in Your World – Katie Shaw, GA

“My piece relates to the theme “The World in Your World” because I say that this is our world and we can do so much more than just live in it: We can be an integral part of it.”

Runner-Up, Middle School – $500 Scholarship

Tiny Suburban Neighborhood Produces Great Global Perspective – Annabel Zhou, CT

“This piece talks about how the conditioning I have been given from the Chinese community shapes my perspective on the world.”



Grand Prize, High School – $1,000 Scholarship

“Welcoming World”- Emma Bell, OH

Inuksuk on rocky terrain with snow-capped mountains and a blue sky with rolling clouds overhead

“The beauty of the inuksuk is the idea that it symbolizes. Originally used by the Inuit people of North America, its purpose is to serve as a point of navigation and to guide travelers to safety. As I have grown up, I have been on the move, all the way from the southern end of the United States, up north to Canada, and then back again. My culture and view of the world are influenced by all of the places I have lived and all of the wonderful, and diverse people I have met and learned from along the way. On my mother’s side, my family is Canadian. This photo of an inuksuk was captured by me while I visited them and it has special meaning to me because of how being Canadian and learning of the different cultures of Canada have impacted me. Among the chaos of life, I always think back to the inuksuk and trust it to guide me down the right path.”


Runner-Up, High School – $500 Scholarship

“Music is My World” – Kristin Ventricelli, NY

Photographer holding out a clear glass ball on the palm of her hand in front of a piano with sheet music. The piano is flipped upside-down when seen through the glass ball.

“Music is my world. Through this glass ball, there is an image of classical piece of music on my piano, in my home. The glass ball represents the globe, a world of music that can be mine. As a musician I explore other cultures, folklores and traditions. I have learned to sing in Italian, German and French. Music is a shared language. I find it fascinating that a High School music student from France or Germany can read the same piece of music that I read and play it on a piano or sing it just as I do. My school choir incorporates songs from all over the world into our repertoire. We make sure we understand the culture before we perform the music. It makes the performance more meaningful when we know what we are singing about. Music is a universal language and is enjoyed on every continent. It brings people together no matter where they reside.”


Artwork (High School)

Grand Prize, High School – $1,000 Scholarship

“A Glimpse of Cultures” – Aleena Alvi, VA

Watercolor and ink painting of long-haired student in purple hoodie drinking a Starbucks coffee and eating Chinese food ad tiramisu while listening to K-pop ('BTS') on her smart phone. The hoodie has a tag on it that reads 'Made in India'. There are red Chinese lanterns hanging from the ceiling on the student's right side; across from her are textbooks on the table and wall decor with elaborate calligraphy.

“Since the beginning of time, cultures have merged to transform the world. My piece displays the role of cultures in my world; From the Arabic tapestries representing my religion, to the lanterns representing my Chinese heritage. My studies descend from different cultures as well: Math concepts derived from Indian and Muslim thinkers are still used today. English literature and French fill my courses. Music transports language across the world. A Persian rug adorns the floor. All of these cultures come together to make up the world today.”


Runner-Up, High School – $500 Scholarship

“One Train Car, Hundreds of Stories” – Nina Kropf, NY

Ink and marker drawing with bright, vivid colors showcasing the diversity that can be found in a single subway car in New York City. Thirteen passengers are shown, each featuring their respective nations' flags' colors. In the bottom left corner, we see the artist with her hair in a long braid, listening to music and sketching the scene in front of her.

“New York City is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world, especially on the subway. The color scheme of each passenger is that of that person’s national flag.”

Artwork (Middle School)

Grand Prize, Middle School – $1,000 Scholarship

“Streetsmarts” – Theo Preston, NC

 Irregularly-shaped mixed media drawing on tan-colored paper of blonde boy in a blue long-sleeve shirt, jeans, and red sneakers reading a book that has magical, glowing historical structures such as the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Egyptian Pyramids, and the Taj Mahal emanating from its pages.

 “I love books. To me they be portals into places I cannot access on my own. The monuments popping out of the book represent the different cultures that color my world.”


Runner-Up, Middle School – $500 Scholarship

“Possibilities” – Jennifer Theriault, MA

Square watercolor and ink painting of a stylized globe with colorful swirling clouds overhead. Visible are the American, South Vietnamese, and Japanese flags. Adjacent to the South Vietnamese flag are a bowl of hot noodles and a Vietnamese-style conical hat. Adjacent to the American flag is a bald eagle. At the bottom of the painting is a grey, long-haired figure weighing what appears to be a melting moon and a fiery sun.
“Many young adolescent middle schoolers like myself view the world as a place full of many influences on their future. Without a clue of who they currently are, they can either doubt or believe in their potential and inspirations.”


Learn more about ACIS Travel Scholarships




Sarah Bichsel

Sarah Bichsel

2 thoughts on “Announcing the 2019 ACIS Scholarship Winners

  1. I am so proud of my student, Theo, for winning first place in the middle school art division! We are 16 days away from our trip to Paris!!

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