The BIG Contest

The 2021 winners of the big contest, blue writing against an orange background


This year The BIG Contest looked closely at themes of racial and social equity and we would especially like to thank all of the participants and teachers from UNH and CCSNH that have contributed projects that embody a creative vision for a world without injustice. This work, and work like it, shines a light on the critical role  that the humanities play in shaping our world.  It is through thinking critically, leading, communicating, and working cooperatively, that we continue to drive change.


There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear.

We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.

                                                                                Toni Morrison. The Nation, 2015


Breakout Award for projects by a first-year or novice student

1stPlace: Emma Levin(UNH)

Judge’s Comments: Emma Levin has compiled a very imaginative and often fun video on animal imagery in Shakespeare'sKing Lear. Shecombines animation, music, images of Renaissance paintings, definitions, and audio excerpts from the play into a nicely explained analysis.By setting the video up as a fund-raising campaign for the fictitious "Albion Zoo," Levin adds creativity and levity into her well-researched study.



Picture of gates to a fictional zoo called Albion Zoo


2nd Place: Evan Stanley(UNH)

Judge’s Comments: Evan Stanley contrasts the exclusive, affluent tourist areas with the nearby poverty-ridden slums in Aruba. He shows his privileged upbringingand vacations as they juxtapose with the poverty of this tropical island. Through this visual comparison, Stanley sends a powerful message of there being two worlds that we live in.


3rd Place: Tinotenda Duche(UNH)

Judge’s Comments:Tinotena Duchecombines her own photographs with historical images from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and text to display a powerful message of racial prejudice and perseverance over the past century. The Spark project provides a layered set of resources, and is effectively organized with links to recent web sites and resources.

picture of a raised fist with a dark skin tone, chains are wrapped around the wrist

Direct link:


Honorable Mentions: Danielle Forte and Cassidy Mottola



Change the world award for projects making an impact on the world


1st Place: Melissa Sprague et al. (NHTI)

Judge’s Comments:I find this project particularly compelling from both an academic and a public-facing standpoint. The Eye has (again) linked an extensive amount of research into a clean, readable interface, showing a tremendous amount of learning from the students thatcan also illuminate public understanding and therefore facilitate change. This does a great job of artfully weaving together a series of related sub-topics--Education, Advocacy, History, Politics, Social Justice--as relate to indigenous people. It comes across as the beginning of a much larger conversation we will all want to be a part of.”

picture of a green website with a picture of an eye in the middle, the title "The Eye" is above it



2nd Place: Vianca Wahju (UNH)

Judge’s Comments: “Of the many personal narratives and stories, this one dug the deepest in terms of autobiographical material and rich media. It told an effective story of immigrant identity formation in a new community, both the highs and lows, in a way that personalized and richly nuanced broader political debates.”

Black Screen with script words Race & Identity Vianca Wahju UNH

Note: Video shared only with permission of the author, contact with requests


3rd Place: Kate Persson (UNH)

“This is a really interesting and unexpected project that makes the point that Social Justice is a common concern that transcends boundaries andborders while providing a wealth of focused information and resources. Great page design!”

“As far as breadth of ambition, this project well exceeded its peers. It is still in its process of completion but making available tools and resources for immigrant communities settling into different German communities was laudably audacious in its ambition. The website used and extent of the links are a true attempt to make change by providing a clean, usable interface.”

Photo of website Educate to Integrate, which is written at the top, a red and yellow flag photo is on the bottom

Website direct link:


Honorable Mentions: Lily Pudlo, Iian Connor, Larissa Bisette



Innovative Design Award for creative use of digital tools


1st Place: Brooke Marston (UNH)

Judge’s Comments: This project has scholarly roots but a playful presence. It is an interesting and relevant game design that combines critical thought with technological exploration –the best of the digital humanities!”

Screen shot of video game with the words "geek girl" press space to continue

Direct Link:


2nd Place: Alice Russell (UNH)

Judge’s Comments: “This is a very interesting and innovative approach tothinking about the year through the act of creation. This is a GREAT use of technology, language,and the act of creation here exemplifies the digital humanities.”

white screen with the words 2020 in large black letters

Direct link:


3rd Place: Chloe Serena (UNH)

Judge’s Comments:“This eZineincludes a wealth of “Italian” content –writing, recipes, original video and original art / painting. There is a wealth of research and also a wealth of dynamic elements! The content is strong and includes personal histories. The content scores very highand the innovation is top notch!”

Italian American Roots

Direct Link:


Honorable Mentions: Danielle Forte for her “Behind the Farmstand” video and Erin Williams for her Renaissance Survivor’s Instagram account




Digital Storytelling award for excellence in narrative



1st Place: Rebecca Nann (NHTI)

Judge’s Comments: This film is truly a piece of art. As the filmmaker engages us in research, theory, and personal examples, we are simultaneously experiencing “art-making,” collage work, film, music, contemporary images and videos, and historical pieces. The film reminds us that we are constantly consuming and creating art, especially in the time of a pandemic, and the more aware we are of its power, the greater chance we have to reflect, heal, remember, and gain collective strength.

Green paint box open with a hand reaching in there are various paintbrushes and scraps of paper, one says "art is glue" and another scrap says "hold it together"

Direct Link:

Resource List:


2nd Place: Anneliese Papinsick and Virginia Walsh (UNH)

Judge’s Comments: The Citizenship School project told this important “forgotten”local story through its own artifacts, newspaper clippings, long ago taken photographs, and a carefully reconstructed narrative. The filmmakers’ research and attention to the true story, including the race issues in the early suffrage movement, allowed the spirit, effort, and ultimate success to be retold. We also hear echoes of contemporary issues related to voter suppression. This project is stark, powerful, and well-researched.

Direct Link:

Additional Resources:


3rd Place: Lilian Pudlo (UNH)

Judge’s Comments:“Competition: The Journey of a Closeted Athlete” is a film full of images highlighting the vibrancy and joy of sport as it tells a narrative of identity struggle and the will to live “truthfully.” This juxtaposition is a beautiful and necessary contrast and one that the filmmaker reconciles in the end. Sport and life intertwine as we cheer our narrator on toward peace, acceptance, and the hope we see in those last images on the rugby field, all smiles.

Photo of a child in a pink power ranger costume

Direct Link:


Honorable Mentions: Gabby Podmore, Hannah Clark





Announcing the 202 winners of the big contest!


Andrew W. Mellon Fellows from The New Hampshire Humanities Collaborative, served as judges for the 2020 BIG Contest. All of of organizers and participants would like to offer sincere thanks to them, as well as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, for making this all possible. There are four catagories, view them all below.


Digital Storytelling award for excellence in narrative

1st place: Meghan Murphy

Comments from the Judges: "The Day that Sports Stopped" focuses on Riley Freehling, whose senior gymnastic season was cut short by COVID-19, ending her athletic career. Murphy weaves in the importance of gymnastics and the UNH gymnastics community to Freehling to highlight the pain of losing this sport season. This highly relevant and topical essay uses powerful visual editing and effective music and voice overs to capture the sense of loss to Freehling and her teammates.  


2nd place: Elena Gregory

Cancer and COVID-19: A Patient’s Perspective During the Global Pandemic

Comments from the Judges: "Cancer Patient" is a story of Gregory's father's battle with pancreatic cancer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Using her father's own words, Gregory unveils the challenges of fighting cancer, while focusing on living. This short film gives a universal and moving message of fear and uncertainty as well as hope and strength.


3rd place: Annaliese Schmell

Comments from the Judges: "Same Same, but Different" shows Schmell's experiences while working to help impoverished people in Nepal. She tells the story of how she grew as a person while volunteering, making deep, short-term connections with the people there.  She shows her experiences of heartbreak and trauma, but also love and humanity.


Change the world award for a persuasive project

1st Place: Hope Davids (and company)

A special edition, online publication titled "A Century of Change and Female Empowerment (1920-2020)." All nine students in ENGL287, which is known as "Women in Lit." worked together on this project. We planned the project with excitement about marking the 100th anniversary of women in the U.S. getting the right to vote with passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution. An exhibition of student work was also supposed to take place on our campus on 4/30 with this website featured, along with posters, and this submission to the HUGEmanities "Big Contest." Thankfully, our class, working as three groups, met in person before spring break and have continued to meet in Zoom weekly since then. Two members of the class are part of the campus' literary journal (Hope Davids, VP, and Kathryn Shaw, editor), and we decided it made the most sense to partner with the literary journal to develop our project there to share it with a larger audience. Despite working in grocery stories and more during the pandemic, our class members really pulled together and submitted the writing, photos, and illustrations/infographics they had planned in February, and made a meaningful website.

preview thumbnail and link to the the eye website

This is the home page, which links with the title buttons to the other five pages of the special edition of the literary journal. Please be sure to click on each title button to view the full website.

Comments from the Judges: A beautifully assembled and conceptually well executed piece, with clarity of purpose and a diversity of viewpoints and applications to the modern world.


2nd Place: Jasmine Taudvin

This collection of interviews shows students from around the world (30 interviews, 15 different countries) talking about what they were taught in history class about the same historical events. The point of the video is the highlight how each country teaches the same historical events through a different perspective, and how students from different countries have different understandings of a shared past. Some of these differences are enormous, while others are more subtle. However, our understanding of the past shapes our understanding of identities today, making the fact that these discrepancies exist incredibly important to understanding each other in the present day. Due to permissions, the video posted here is an edited version of full-length video, but it gives an idea of the content.

Shorter Clip of The London Project

Comments from the Judges: A magnificent and ambitious idea whose composition was truly global and diverse, and which used global diversity to ask wide-ranging questions about how we understand our shared world.


3rd Place: Lisa Robidoux

I was studying abroad in London this semester, and I worked on a semester long "London Project" for my class. While out exploring London, I stumbled upon the Thames River Barrier. This is a water barrier system that was designed to help prevent floods in London and is now being used to help hold back sea level rise and the effects it will have on the Thames and the area around the Thames River. I decided I wanted to research what London, one of the most popular and historic cities in the world, is doing to combat climate change. I wanted to focus on what London is currently doing to fight climate change, what the effects of climate change have on the city and the river, and what their plan is for the future. It was extremely fun and educational to learn what London is doing to fight climate change, and it made me interested to learn what other major cities across the globe are doing, as this is a global issue.  Prezi link can be navigated using the arrow keys on your keyboard.

Link to Prezi

Comments from the Judges: A laudably deep dive into the intersection of a huge problem with a local feature, one with variable and wide-reaching effects touching on history, geography, economics, politics, and more.


Breakout Award for projects by a first-year or novice student

1st Place : Kylie Gorgenyi

Feedback from the Judges: This project was does most everything well: good use of titles, lively narrative pacing, effective transitions, great choice of music, and a sense of humor. The author's skill and creativity at working in visual and written communication are evident throughout. The images are well-chosen, used artfully, and technique and technology are employed very effectively without ever getting in the way of story-telling, This project goes beyond personal narrative to include its audience while making a larger topical point. Very well done in every regard.  


2nd Place: Leah Minnucchi

Feedback from the Judges: This is a very well designed project with a clear and engaging narrative. The voice over is particularly well done, and the numerous pop culture clips and references impart an appropriately friendly, if not humorous vibe. The move towards the end to note the familial and cultural importance of food works well, enlarges the narrative, and builds a stronger connection between the viewers and the narrative. This is a very smooth, seamless project that makes the most of its topic. 


3rd Place: Kelsey Van Dalsum

Feedback from the Judges: This is a strong project with an engaging narrative and good production value. There are some really interesting music choices, and the pacing of the narrative is well done. The entire projects is well thought out, effectively delivered, and enjoyable to watch . 


Innovative Design Award for creative use of digital tools


1st Place: Matt Quinney

"Early 1900’s Process of Adding Sound to Film/Film Noir"

Film Noir (Big Contest Submission)  Dubbing & ADR (Big Contest Submission)

Comments from the Judges: We have decided to consider both of these projects as one. Our decision was based on the similarity of each, which also highlights the skill and ingenuity of the larger project. Each film demonstrated good academic rigor and insight. The design and execution of each project showed a sense of professionalism and skill for not only the use of mixing and editing the video, but also the execution of the sample films. Overall, this larger project works to demonstrate the interlacing aspects of what the humanities are and how it can be highlighted.


2nd Place: Erin Mahoney

"Grief, Guilt, and David Bowie" (Due to the nature of this project, you can veiw this project at:

Collage of writing and pictures around the theme of David Bowie

Comments from the Judges: The project showed ingenuity and was a delight to read. In particular, the writing showed advanced skill, which then worked well with the interactive aspects of the project. The project was difficult to access, but this also highlighted the skill and originality of the participant to tackle an html project.


3rd Place: Evan Edmunds

"London Soccer" (Website)

thumbnail link to website

Comments from the Judges: The project was well organized and had a cohesive wholeness to it that lacked in some of the other blogging projects. The blog was well organized, had embedded video and pictures, and had multiple lengthy entries that highlighted strong writing.





the 2019 Winners of The BIG Contest:


In 2019, we ran our first Big Contest, and gave financial awards for digital work in the humanities and the liberal arts at the University of New Hampshire. This year, we've grown! We're seeking digital assignments from UNH and NH Community College Students!

Please click HERE to read about Big Contest guidelines

and new submission categories for 2020.


Breakout Award: For a distinguished project from a first-year student


Halle Hamilton "Rich Media Presentation"

Halle Hamilton Rich Media Presentation HUGEmanities

Deans Award: James Ennis "Last Hike"

Ennis Breakout 2019

Digital Storytelling Award: For a distinguished project featuring narrative as the driving component


Madelyn O'Leary "The Hinton Family"

Hinton Family


Dean's Award: Abigail McIntosh "Winter"

McIntosh Storytelling 2019
Design and Innovation Award: For a distinguished project involving design as a primary component of delivery


Cassie Hollasch for "Jane Eyre's New Writers Forum"

Also found at: