Erica Weitzel, a 2007 graduate, was named the first place winner of Xavier’s sixth annual International Photo Contest with her entry from inside a temple in Saigon, Vietnam.
“Cao di Temple” was one of 125 entries submitted by students over the last five years of the contest. The best 25 entries of the last five contests were selected and displayed in the Faces of World Lounge in the Gallagher Student Center during the spring semester. Members of the Xavier community and friends on Facebook viewed the entries online and voted for their top three choices.
The 2012 International Photo Contest showcased international photos taken by students, many of them while they were participating in Xavier-sponsored study abroad programs. The Center for International Education, the Office of University Communications and the Department of Art announced the winners at a reception on Feb. 29.
Second place went to “Fish in the Streets,” taken at Inle Lake, Myanmar, by 2008 grad Kailyn Cripe. And third place was awarded to Adela Orovay, an occupational therapy graduate student, for her entry, “One Thousand and One Nights,” taken in Assilah, Morocco.
Weitzel said she began working as a professional international photographer as soon as she graduated, moving first to Uganda where she took photos for a newspaper and worked at the Sudan Human Rights Association. She also lived in a village in central India where she set up a free art school for women and children who lived on the streets. She also lived in Mexico where she had an oceanfront studio and created a number of original pieces for a building reconstruction program.
“This is an honor, especially since it was voted on by the public,” she said of the award. “All my volunteer work in Africa and India and smaller projects are a direct result of the influence of Xavier’s service-based approach. I did Alternative Breaks in Ukraine and Jamaica and a summer abroad in Italy through the art department. At 26, I’ve traveled to 35 countries. Xavier really opens the door for knowledge on a global scale and for that I am extremely grateful.”
The photos can be viewed at the international photo contest website.