Bombardo leads winners of study abroad photo contest

Each fall, the International Education Center invites students who have studied abroad over the last year to submit photos from their journeys for its annual contest.

This year, Tony Bombardo took first place in the “Sense of Place” category and Ben Michel took first in “Intercultural Experience.”

The two winners each received $100 prizes and the chance to have their work showcased in future university publications. Brin Hanson and another one of Bombardo’s pictures were awarded $50 second-place prizes. IEC also selected third-place photos and three honorable mentions.

“I thought the photos that won truly deserved to win,” said Laura Schmidt, the IEC graduate assistant in charge of the competition. “These students have an excellent eye.”

IEC has held the contest for more than 20 years, according to Schmidt. Winning photos are selected by a variety of judges, including staff members from university relations, St. Thomas photographers, study abroad peer advisers and other IEC members.

“We look for many things in a photo,” Schmidt said. “It’s great because we have so many perspectives on each photo due to the variety of judges.”

Students submitted their pictures by an Oct. 15 deadline in either category. “Sense of Place” entries depict visual aspects like the scenery and landscape of countries, while “Intercultural Experience,” shows the lifestyles of cultures, including native dress and traditional activities.

This year the judges received about 100 photos to choose from.

“It became very hard to determine winning photos once we [were] down to the last few,” Schmidt said. “The photos are all so great. There are usually a few photos that stand out from the crowd, though.”

“Sense of Place”

1st Place: Tony Bombardo, “Florence”

2nd Place: Tony Bombardo, “Spiral Staircase”

3rd Place: Erin Lyle, “Prague Cathedral”

Honorable Mention: Amanda Devins, “Pompeii Ruins and Mt. Vesuvius”

Chelsey Seys, “Grand Avenue”

Brin Hanson, “Happy Warrior”

“Intercultural Experience”

1st Place: Ben Michel, “The Proud Father”

2nd Place: Brin Hanson, “Happy Beat”

3rd Place: Brin Hanson, “Zulu in Red”

Honorable Mention: Rachel Nichols, “No Scribble”

Rachel Nichols, “Parked in Li Hong’s Alley”

Ashley Ciborowski, “La Vida Clara”

Grant Goerke can be reached at