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STUDENTS: Study Abroad Contest

Photo & Essay Contest


Harris County Public Library, Lone Star College-CyFair Branch
Friends of the Library (FOL)

Purpose of These Awards:

To encourage student participation in the LSC Study Abroad program, which offers a myriad of advantages, including personal growth; increased understanding of other cultures; language and career development; friendships and contacts; and the opportunity to see and experience the beauty and diversity of other countries. The FOL are looking for photos that capture the student’s view of his/her LSC-Study Abroad experience, highlighting their creativity, insight, and perspectives.


Any LSC student, at any LSC campus, who participated in a Study Abroad program during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Awards Given:

The library will recognize first, second, and third place winners by providing them with an award in the amounts listed below. Each entrant is eligible for only one cash prize. The Friends of the Lone Star College-CyFair Branch Library have generously provided funding for this award.

  • 1st place: $200, and a 5x7 print of the winning photo
  • 2nd place: $150, and a 5x7 print of the winning photo
  • 3rd place: $100, and a 5x7 print of the winning photo
  • Honorable Mentions: $50, and a 5x7 print of the winning photo

The photographs are professionally framed and displayed in the library to share the students’ unique experiences.

How to Enter:

  • Fill out and submit the embedded form at the bottom of this web page for each entry. Limited to five (5) entries per student.
  • Submit photo & accompanying essay for each entry using one of the methods below:
    •  Submit with the embedded form below.
      • Upload a digital copy (.jpg or .jpeg) of the photo entry with the embedded form below.
      • Upload a digital copy (.docx or .pdf) of the accompanying essay with the embedded form below.

Proof of submission is not proof of receipt. You should receive confirmation email of each entry within 72 hours. If you do not receive confirmation within 72 hours, please send an email to

Deadlines for Submissions:

Submissions will be accepted from June 1, 2024- August 1, 2024.           

  • Thursday, August 1, 2024
No late or incomplete submissions will be reviewed.

Photo & Essay Requirements:

Each entry must comply with the following photo and essay requirements:



  • Digital: Must be 8 megabytes or smaller, JPEG or JPG format, and at least 1,600 pixels width (if a horizontal image) or 1,600 pixels length (if a vertical image). Upload or attach directly from your photo files, do not copy/paste from your social media post (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, etc.). Cropping and minor exposure (e.g., brightness or darkness) corrections are acceptable.

Content & Composition:

  • Each photograph must be accompanied by a brief description of where and when the photograph was taken.
  • Students must select one of the following themes below for each photograph entered. The same theme may be used for more than one entry.
    • Importance of Place: focus on common or uncommon settings, people, or events and their value to the quality of life in that area
    • Cultural Insight: focus on unique aspects of a locale and its inhabitants
    • Learning from the World: focus on the impact of this travel experience that has strengthened or changed your views on a subject
    • Past Meets the Present: focus on historical features or locations that are timeless in their simplicity or detail
    • Personal Connection: focus on how an event or place relates to your Lone Star College-CyFair experience
  • Photographs that include sculptures, statues, paintings, and other works of art will be accepted; however, when photographing the work of others, it must be as an object in its environment and not a full-frame close-up of another person's art.
  • The photograph, in its entirety, must be a single work of original material taken by the contest entrant. By entering the contest, entrant represents, acknowledges, and warrants that the submitted photograph is an original work created solely by the entrant.
  • The photograph must not, in the sole and unfettered discretion of Lone Star College System, contain obscene, provocative, defamatory, sexually explicit, or otherwise objectionable or inappropriate content.
Learn Award-Winning Photography Techniques - Make Your Photos Outstanding:


The essay accompanying the photo must:

  1. Describe the circumstances in which the photograph was taken.
  2. Explain what the student felt was important, memorable, or unique about the subject and perspective of the photo.
  3. Recount the mood/surrounding/environment the moment the image was captured. 
  4. Express what the student hopes other viewers of the photograph will feel, think, or take away from the image.


  • Entries will be reviewed and prizes awarded by a panel of judges selected by the Lone Star College-CyFair Branch Library. 
  • Decisions of the judges are final and binding.

Review Criteria:

  • Photographic Creativity (33%)
  • Photographic Quality (33%)
  • Essay (34%)


2022-2023 Award Recipients

The Friends of the Lone Star College-CyFair Branch Library have generously provided funding for this award. All of the photos entered will be displayed in the library.

1st  Jessyca Aviles Lopez- Majestic 

2nd Connor Crabtree- Climbing the Stairs

3rd Erika Poole- The Variety of Beauty

Honorable Mentions- Dean Bray, The Traveling Soul of the Transient Body, & Claire Urick, Samos on 35 mm. 

Previous Student Research Award Winners:

  • First place – Daniela Mejia - "Welcome to the New Age" (France)
    Student of Rob Coyle
  • Second place – Sofia Patino  Hernandez - " Bellevue Syrene, Sorrento​" (Italy)
    Student of Andrea Holliger, Cindy Sledge, and Ronnie Nespeca
  • Third place – Skyla Anciso - "Excelsior Vittoria" (Italy)
    Student of Andrea Holliger, Cindy Sledge, and Ronnie Nespeca

  • First place – Demitri Kalergis - “Old Shepherd” (Italy)
    Student of Rob Coyle and Andrea Holliger
  • Second place – Faith Fritch - “Boats on the Bay” (Italy)
    Student of Buck Buchanan
  • Third place – Kenzie Edmondson - “People Make the Place” (Italy)
    Student of David Bruner, Buck Buchanan & Ronnie Nespeca

  • First place – Lauren Gonzales - "This Was Once Home to Many" (Italy)
    Student of Rob Coyle
  • Second place – Anastasia Cowen - "Counting Days" (Poland)
    Student of Rob Coyle
  • Third place – Cody Brautigam - "Amalfi Coast" (Italy)
    Student of Buck Buchanan and Rob Coyle

  • First place – Chelsea Narrow - "Swedish Waltz" (Sweden)
    Student of Rob Coyle
  • Second place – Mario Torres - "Rhythmic Motion" (Belize)
    Student of Buck Buchanan
  • Third place – Camila Téllez - "Je Suis Charlie" (Germany)
    Student of Kelly Schimmel

  • First place – Ala'a Ibrahim - Tears Frozen in Time
  • Second place – Alejandro Ezquerra - Music from Other World
  • Third place – Skyeler Aguado - The Tico Life

  • First place – Jennifer Moore - In the Hopper
  • Second place – Silvia Pineros - Rain, Rain, No Sprinkles
  • Third place – Jamie Hackbarth - Got Volcano?

  • First place – Elizabeth Villarreal - Tanzanian Best Soccer Player (Tanzania)
  • Second place – An Nguyen - Anchoring on Serenity (Tanzania)
  • Third place – Stephanie Hernandez - Maasai Young Lady (Tanzania)

  • First place – Marilyn Ferguson - Ancient Walmart (Italy)
  • Second place – Alex Tompkins - The Rainforest (Costa Rica)
  • Third place – Mamisi Gordon - Praying or Peddling (Italy)

  • First place – Michelle Martinez, Time Left Standing
  • Second place – Jassir Hernandez, Yellow Mountain
  • Third place – Martha Ocampo, Belly of Hongcun

  • First place – Lindsay Green, Footprints on the Sands of Time
  • Second place – Kate Anderson, Vatican Museum Staircase
  • Third place – Meredith Thibodeaux, Stopped Motion


By submitting photographs for the LSC‐CyFair Study Abroad Photo Contest, the student agrees and warrants that:

  • Each photograph becomes the property of Lone Star College System and will not be returned.
  • Each photograph is an original work created solely by the student entrant.
  • Lone Star College System is hereby authorized to reproduce, distribute, and display entered photographs with a name credit.
  • Student entrants waive all rights to fees and royalties associated with this material. 


Submissions will be accepted from June 1 - August 1, 2024.
DEADLINE: Thursday, August 1, 2024
No late or incomplete submissions will be reviewed.