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SDSU students win national Geo-Video contest

Civil engineering students Stasia Norris and Izzat “Izzy” Halim let loose with their right brain and won a national geo-engineering contest.
The South Dakota State University seniors won the Geo-Video contest sponsored by the Geo-Institute, a technical society with approximately 12,000 geotechnical engineers and geologists as members.
Norris, of Firestone, Colorado, and Halim, of Selangor, Malaysia, handed all aspects of creation and production of the three-minute video “Mass Movement is Hot.” They topped 109 other entries and were one of three entries invited to present at the Geo-Institute’s annual Geo-Congress in Charlotte, North Carolina, March 20-23.
The video was evenly divided between a presentation on five types of land mass movements and the effect of large wildfires on soil conditions.
The competition’s objective was to develop short videos explaining various geotechnical concepts that could be used in classrooms at various levels (elementary school through college) and by the lay person to understand geotechnical principles. Norris and Halim had high school and college students as their target audience.
Their work was a combination of PowerPoint slides and stick-figure animation using the fictious characters Grace and Meyer to explain the topics.
The videos from the three finalists were shown throughout the day March 21 and were available on a Geo-Congress app. Conference attendees voted for their favorite video with the results announced March 22. Second place went to North Carolina State followed by Minnesota State, Mankato. Norris and Halim spent part of their conference stay soliciting votes.
“It was nice to hear so many compliments. People said, ‘You must have had a lot of help with this.’ We said, ‘No, we just did it on our own,’” Norris said.
Their creativity was a two-week product after fall semester finals in December. The video and animation work were new ventures for Norris and Halim, who have been friends and classmates since their freshman year. This was the first year SDSU had an entry in the Geo-Video competition.
“I’m just so proud that what we did based on our own imagination and initiative was able to win a national championship,” Norris said.
In addition to the trophy that is sitting in Crothers Engineering Hall, the students brought home a $400 award that can be used for other engineering contests. As a contest finalist, Norris and Halim each received $100 for conference registration and $500 each for travel from the Geo-Institute. Additional travel funds came from the college and the SDSU chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
“I’m still blown away that out of 110 entries that we did for fun, we are national champions,” Norris said.
The video can be seen at:
Image for Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering
Image for Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering


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