American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA)

College Students Take Top Honors in National Video Contest on America’s Transportation Network

Christian Surtz, a sophomore at Marmion Academy in Batavia, IL, and Tom Rogers, an undergraduate at University of Maryland University College, are the top winners in the Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s (ARTBA) 3rd Annual “Student Transportation Video Contest.” They will each receive a $500 cash prize.

The association received more than 40 entries this year in two categories. Sponsored by ARTBA’s Research and Education Division (RED), the contest aims to raise awareness about transportation infrastructure issues among younger generations by challenging students to develop a brief video exploring various topics relating to America’s transportation network.

Students are able to choose their own subject matter, with most focusing on how transportation infrastructure is built and paid for, the impacts of traffic congestion, transportation and urban development plans, and the public’s perception of transportation development.

Submissions were reviewed by a panel of ARTBA members and the winning entries were shown last month during the association’s National Convention in Milwaukee.

First Place: “Category I – Elementary, Middle or High School Students”
“By the Numbers: Bridges in the United States”

A high school sophomore who studies broadcast and electronic communication arts, Surtz developed a creative and informative four-minute video highlighting the need to repair many of America’s more than 600,000 bridges. He combined alarming statistics with interesting visuals to make a compelling case for the importance of bridges to our economy and daily life. As the narrator, Surtz explains how and why bridges are classified as “structurally deficient.” He even includes a visit to the structurally deficient bridge near his Illinois home to drive home the message.

Second Place was awarded to: “A Country in Motion,” by Alexander Zemaitis of the Capital Area School for the Arts in New Cumberland, PA.

Third Place was presented to “Bridges: Why America Must Invest Now,” by Alice and David Navadeh of North Allegheny Intermediate High School in Wexford, PA.

First Place: “Category II – Post-Secondary, College or Graduate Students”
“Importance of Infrastructure”

Rogers, an undergraduate from South Boston, VA, studying cyber security at University of Maryland University College, created a compelling four-minute video that explores the impact our "deteriorating" transportation infrastructure has on our personal safety and quality of life. He uses a whiteboard to construct clever, eye-catching images that outline the affect “chronic underinvestment” in transportation has on the nation’s economy and businesses, and cogently explains the clear options our elected leaders face in solving the funding crisis. He also notes that it will take new publicly-financed transportation improvements and public-private partnership to truly address the nation’s infrastructure challenges.

Second Place in “Category II” went to “A Cheaper Way to Travel?” by Shanette Crawford biology major at College of the Canyons in Palmdale, CA, and her partners Shontwanette Osawaru, multimedia production major at California State University Northridge (CSUN), and Zsanette Osawaru, a graduate student pursuing a masters in social work at CSUN.

Third place in this category was a tie between “City Under Construction” by Jordan Johnson, a multimedia production major at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., and “Transportation Infrastructure: Past, Present, & Future” by Patryk Koceniak, a multimedia design & development student at Devry University in Keansburg, NJ.