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2016 Graduate Student-Postdoc Photo Contest Winners Announced

STONY BROOK, NY -- The Stony Brook University Graduate School is pleased to announce Nicole Bender, a doctoral student in the Department of Ecology & Evolution, as the grand prize winner of the 2016 Graduate Student-Postdoc Photo Contest.

Nicole Hebdon, a MFA student in Creative Writing, and Daniel McCarthy, a master’s student in Ecology & Evolution, were runners-up.

The contest, co-sponsored by the School of Professional Development, the Graduate Student Organization (GSO), the Center for Inclusive Education (CIE), and the Office for the Integration of Research, Education and Professional Development (IREP), asked students and postdocs to capture what inspires them -- what pushed them to pursue their field of study, what motivates them to continue, how their work shapes the way they see the world.

An online gallery of all the submissions is available here.

While each photo tells a particular story, together they demonstrate the scope of the work Stony Brook students undertake: improving imaging technology to reduce patient exposure to radiation; investigating how the greater bamboo lemur can thrive on cyanide-rich bamboo; finding joy in movement and teaching others to find it, too.

But these photos also tell another story. They illustrate how Stony Brook students engage as local and global citizens from the waiting rooms and beaches of Long Island to the Antarctic Peninsula, Senegal, and Panama.

Bender’s research focuses on the spatial dynamics and patterning of penguin colonies in Antarctica, information she hopes to use to ascertain the health of penguin colonies and aid in the protection of those at risk of local extinction. Her photo was taken from a small inflatable boat at Brown Bluff on the northern Antarctic Peninsula. The penguins pictured are Adélie penguins, a species threatened by climate change.

Hebdon, a writer and portrait photographer, is interested in capturing the individual in isolation in both her written and visual work. The portrait of Emyle was taken last summer at Griffith Sculpture Park. “Emyle is an artist herself, so when I took this set, I wanted to focus on her creations as much as I did her,” Hebdon said.

In his free time Daniel McCarthy, a first-year master’s student, scours local parks for wildlife to photograph and sketch. Two years ago McCarthy discovered a fox den at the Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge in Shirley, NY. “There were six kits, and they would congregate in the early morning to play, nap, and wait for their breakfast delivery,” he said. “They seemed indifferent to my presence, even jumping over my shoes as they’d scamper after each other.”

As an artist and ecologist “such brushes with nature are both educational and inspirational.”

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