By: Olivia Etherton

Posted: October 18, 2019
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Student Post

2019 SFS Photo Contest Winners!


SFS recently announced the winners of our 2019 photo contest, which ran from Fall 2018 to Summer 2019. This year’s contest saw more than 600 entries – spanning 9 SFS centers across the globe. One grand prize winner and four category winners were announced.

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner, Anna Wysocki (SFS Tanzania | Boston University)!


Anna’s photo was taken in Lake Manyara National Park near the SFS Tanzania Center. It was the first national park they visited during the program and also when she took this photo. They had been observing olive baboons that morning and during a safari drive that afternoon, they came around a bend in the road and their SFS driver, Costa, noticed something moving towards the edge of the bushes. They slowly approached in the vehicle and could eventually make out a lioness with her two cubs. The mother slowly revealed herself as she scanned the clearing. She looked right at them which is when Anna got her photo. The lioness then moved her cubs down the road. This was the first lioness that Anna had ever seen in the wild and it was an unbelievable experience for her.


Category Winners

The following students were the “People’s Choice” winners in each of the contest’s four categories – Community, Flora and Fauna, In the Field, and Landscape.

Community Category
Lucas Downs (SFS Bhutan | Clemson University)


During the Bhutan program, students do a homestay during the week-long trip to Punakha and Phojikha Valley. Lucas took this photo during his homestay and the woman photographed is his homestay host Sonam Wangmo. They stayed in her multi story farm house for the night and got to learn about traditional farming practices. They planted rice, interviewed local farmers, and cooked rice taking turns popping the rice like popcorn (think Rice Krispies). The photo captures a moment when Sonam was cooking during his visit. Lucas shared some final thoughts about this photo and the moments surrounding it, “To me this was one of the best experiences I had abroad (minus the hike to Bumdruk) as we got to really experience the culture and livelihoods of the Bhutanese. The connections I had there really opened my eyes to different cultures and made my desire to travel ever greater!”

Flora and Fauna Category
Alison Schwartz (SFS Tanzania | University of Vermont)


We asked Alison to recount her story about this photo and here’s what she had to say, “This photo captures a truly magnificent moment, where we got to see the infamous Tim up close. Tim is an elephant famous for being one of the few remaining super tuskers in the world. During our two-week excursion to Kenya, we visited and camped in Amboseli National Park, and were lucky enough to see Tim on multiple occasions. When this photo was taken, he had taken an interest in us, and was approaching our land rovers. This was truly an experience that I know none of us are ever going to forget!”

In the Field Category
Jessica Davies(SFS Australia | The New School)


Jessica joined us this past summer on our Watersheds of the Wet Tropics program which explores the connection between the area’s rainforest and watershed ecosystems and the Great Barrier Reef. This photo taken during a student exercise in the Great Barrier Reef shows a student duck diving to get a closer look at the marine life.

Landscape Category
Ashlyn Heniff (SFS Tanzania | Purdue University)


East African sunsets can be a breathtaking event to watch. Over the years, students have shared their sunsets with us – orange, pink, yellow melting and mixing behind the shadowy outline of acacia trees. Ashlyn captured the hearts of our voters with this sunset photo that she took in the Serengeti. If you look closer, you’ll notice one live tree with leaves and one without leaves, maybe dead. The framing of these trees with the rich orange background is one of the best African sunset photos we’ve seen.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

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