Illinois native Charles Engelman was selected as the winner in a national contest sponsored by National Geographic, in which he will receive a $50,000 grant to launch his "dream expedition."
Engelman, 21, who studies ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Michigan, said his dream expedition will include trips to spots around the U.S. Once his travel is completed, he will produce 20 to 30 educational and nature videos that will be posted on YouTube.
According to the National Geographic website, the contest—"Expedition Granted"—involved a nationwide search to find "the next generation of explorers and to grant one person's dream expedition for $50,000. It is a contest designed to show that we are all explorers in our own unique way, regardless of how we choose to push boundaries and forge new paths."
There were more than 700 entries, which were pared down to 10, including Engelman's, which was themed, "Get Pumped About Nature!" Over a two-week period last summer, the 10 finalists were posted for an online public vote in which more than 400,000 cast ballots. Engelman learned on Sept. 29 that he was the winner.
Regarding his videos, Engelman tells Brian L. Cox, writing for the Chicago Tribune (Oct. 26), "It's supposed to be fun and entertaining, something that kids can watch and get really excited about nature and learn science at the same time. It's also something teachers and professors can use in class."
See his award-winning entry at expeditiongranted.nationalgeographic.com.
The above story originally appeared in Expedition News.