Meet the People Featured in Our Winning Student Profiles

Our first-ever Profile Contest asked a lot of its teenage participants. Not only did they have to find someone interesting to interview, then develop questions designed to draw that person out, but they had to edit the resulting conversation into a cogent and compelling Q. and A. of no more than 700 words. In addition, they were asked to take at least one “environmental portrait” of their subject and supply a caption for it, as well as write a headline for their piece.

But over 1,400 teenagers around the world tried it, and — at least according to those who filled out an optional comment section at the bottom of the submission form — most of them had fun. Several noted that profile writing was a different kind of writing from what they are usually assigned in school, so the novelty alone was refreshing. Many also said that, after two years of pandemic isolation, the push to talk to new people in their communities was welcome. As one student explained, “I had so much fun doing this that I cannot express it here. I think that human interaction is precious and is slipping away in the digital age, so the fact that there was an opportunity for me to have a conversation with an old person about their past and have someone actually be interested in it is exciting.”

Below, we are delighted to announce our finalists and introduce you the fascinating people profiled by our Top 10 winners. And though we don’t have room to publish the work of our 11 runners-up and 38 honorable mentions, we hope that, just from reading their headlines, you sense the imaginative variety of the subjects they chose.

Thank you to the teachers and students who took a chance and tried this new challenge. We loved meeting the people you profiled and seeing their accomplishments through your eyes.

“Energy Empowers Her” by Katie Yu

“Jordan Seaberry Thrives on Redefining What It Means to Be an Artist” by Sophia Blythe

“Mental Health: It’s All Around Us” by Shawn Bulloch

“A Store Owner and His Community” by Alexa SB

“Pug’s Having a Great Time” by Nathan Ghose

“Jupiter Fiction Aims for a Future of Subverting Our Expectations” by Alika Jimenez

“Blind but Undefeatable” by Jihoon Josh Lee

“One Man, One Choice and One Saved Species” by Diogo Martins and Luís Martins

“In the Eye of the Storm, Amy Cantrell is Helping Those on the Fringes of Society” by Aidan O’Donnell

“A Community Rises Out of Bread” by Adele Ryono

“Bulgogi for Everybody: The Culinary Ambitions of Mi Ran Park” by Isabella Shin

“Stick to the Rules or Seek a Way Out” by Gan Yihong

“Brenda Lafargue’s Fight Against the Faults in the Child Care System” by Brooke Aron

“Just Keep Swimming: 80-Year-Old Susan Guertin’s Motto” by Finn Bergquist

“Paralympic Gold Medalist Continues to Advocate Change” by Caroline Brennan and Lane Kaeyer

“Rebirth of a Mother-Daughter Love: A Chinese American Author’s Exploration of Her Family History” by Iris Chen

“Realizing a Dream: Pursuing a Second Career as a Children’s Book Author” by Jessica Cheng

“Skyler Chin’s Illegal Dream” by Brayden Chien

“Adopted to the US at the Age of 4. Deported to South Korea at 46.” by Youngwoong Cho

“Tom Fong: Lessons You Need to Hear From an Oncologist” by Knox Choi

“From the Battlefield to the Blackboard: Advice From a Life of Service” by Nina Johnson and Courtney Duffy

“The Life of Daniel Durant, a Deaf Actor in Hollywood” by Ingrid F.

“Living a Double Life: From the KGB to Nuclear Proliferators” by Amelie Godfrey

“From Small-Town Buchanan, Mich., to Olympic Silver Medalist” by Logan Eric Grwinski

“Growing Writers, Readers and Thinkers” by Ava Hoelscher

“The American Dream Lives On” by Kelsey Katt

“Murders, Shootings and Scandals: Crime Reporter Unfazed” by Bella Kim

“LPGA Legend Takes a Full Swing at New Endeavors” by Dione Kim

“Introducing Young Goo Kang: ‘Everyone Needs Their Own Sangwonsa'” by Hwayi Kwon

“Andrea Berloff Seems to Do It All, From Writing to Directing to Producing” by Zoe Lebowitz

“A Therapist Joins a Heated Debate: Can Artificial Intelligence Replace Human Therapists?” by Esther Lee

“‘For Me, It Was a Success Story’: Kathryn Ciminello’s Journey From Rockette to Dance Teacher” by Emily Malone

“Spreading Stories and Music, One Song at a Time” by Sydney Mark

“Changing Period Poverty” by Mallory McMullen

“Hansika Sakshi Shares How Bharatanatyam Transformed Her Life” by Annie Pan

“From Architecture Student to Zen Master: Journey to the True Self” by S. Spencer Park

“From Film to Fish: Meredith McCarthy’s Deep Dive Into Activism” by Olivia Pirrone

“From a Reporter in the Big City to the Editor in Chief of a Newspaper in the Cloud Forest” by Valerie Porras Anchia

“Feed People, Not Landfills” by Deeksha Ravi

“The Back Road to the NFL” by Mylie Roberts

“Inside the Mouth of a Killer” by Katie Rudow

“Impossible Dreams: An Airborne Doctor” by Joshua Sarwate

“Ayodhya Devi: The Woman Who’s Seen It All” by Shivika Sharma

“One Man’s Journey Toward Restorative Justice” by Isabel Ungs

From Senegal to California: Mr. Mbengue’s Journey With His Identities” by Jiaqi Wang

“The Ghosts All Around Roosevelt Island” by Ziyue Wang

“He Started His TikTok Because of a $50 Bet. Now He’s a Storyteller With Over Three Million Fans.” by Allison Xu

“Gala Sorkina Imbues Her Words With Joy” by Benjamin Zaltsman

“From ‘Trash’ to Treasure: Charlotte Kruk Creates Wearable Art From Packaging Waste” by Calvin Zhou

“Lost and Found in Translation” by Kairui Zhou

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