Grand Prize Winner

Michaela LaPlante, a class of 2015 student from Flagstaff, Arizona.

Northern Arizona University

Photo of Northern Arizona University by Michaela LaPlante


 I took this photo while visiting the mountain campus of Northern Arizona University. This building holds major significance for me. In my teenage years, I underwent physical and psychological trauma caused by Lyme disease. This experience guided me on a journey of medical research to save other’s lives and improve public health. The facility on the picture houses the Center for Microbial Genetics and Genomic, a research facility that investigates disease outbreaks and performs genetic research of disease vectors, such as mosquitoes and ticks. When I see this building I can imagine myself spending hours and days inside. With a white lab coat on I would examine slides under a microscope and store samples in a freezer. This image fills me with overflowing excitement; I know my passion for science will carry me through all the ups and downs of my future. Learning is not about homework and test scores, it is about understanding the world we live in. I am propelled by the knowledge that the need for help is profound and acute. My desire to become a vital member of the dynamic global village and contribute to positive progress is illustrated, to me, in this majestic building.