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(Washington) – The U.S. Institute of Peace today announced the state-level winners of the National Peace Essay Contest (NPEC). Each of the 50 students received an academic scholarship for their essays on "The Impact of New Media on Peacebuilding and Conflict Management."

For 25 years the NPEC has challenged students to evaluate critically the international issues related to the work of the Institute. USIP's Science, Technology, and Peacebuilding Center of Innovation identifies promising new practices, conducts research and develops innovative strategies for applying science and technology to the challenge of peacebuilding in fragile states, active conflict and post-conflict societies.

"This year’s state NPEC winners should be applauded for their thoughtful, critical essays on new media and conflict," commented Pamela Aall, provost of the Institute's Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding. "The essay topic encouraged students to think about how the technology they use on daily basis can play an important role in conflict."

In addition to the $1,000 scholarship, each state winner is invited to Washington in June to explore the essay topic in greater depth through simulations, briefings with foreign policy leaders, and meetings with their elected representatives. The national first, second, and third place winners will be announced at the conclusion of the Washington program week.

The 2012 National Peace Essay Contest State Winners are:



Austin Owen
Vestavia Hills High School
Vestavia Hills, Alabama 

Catriona Shaughnessy 
Notre Dame Academy
Park Hills, Kentucky
Blake Larsen
Jenks High School
Jenks, Oklahoma
Dylan Hardenbergh
South Anchorage High School
Anchorage, Alaska
Jonathan Vogel
Saint Louis Catholic High School
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Katherine Massinger
Clackamas High School
Clackamas, Oregon
Gabe Salmon
Sonoran Preparatory Academy
Scottsdale, Arizona
Matthew Gilman
Cape Elizabeth High School
Cape Elizabeth, Maine
Overseas Schools       
Rubin Kataki
Merivale High School
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Lauren Jackson
Pulaski Academy
Little Rock, Arkansas
Nicole Riemer
Walt Whitman High School
Bethesda, Maryland
Amber Emerson
PA Homeschoolers AP Online Classes
Lewisberry, Pennsylvania 
Madeline Chen
Cupertino High School   
Cupertino, California
Bianca Capone
Pingree School
South Hamilton, Massachusetts
Rhode Island
Omar Zaki
South Kingstown High School
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Zachary Kayal
Cherry Creek High School
Greenwood Village, Colorado

Shirley Wu
Detroit County Day School
Beverly Hills, Michigan

South Carolina
Amy Chang
South Carolina Governors School for Science and Mathematics
Hartsville, South Carolina
Shim Hughbo
The Hotchkiss School
Lakeville, Connecticut
Renee Holzkneck
Elk River High School
Elk River, Minnesota

South Dakota   
Kevin Hilt
St. Thomas More High School
Rapid City, South Dakota

District of Columbia       
Emily Fox-Penner
Maret School
Washington, DC
Taylor Smith
St. Patrick High School
Biloxi, Mississippi
Monica Justo
Girls Preparatory School
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Emily Freilich
Wilmington Friends School
Wilmington, Delaware
Stephen Turban
Rock Bridge High School
Columbia, Missouri
Kamia Rathore
Seven Lakes High School
 Katy, Texas
Lauren Wittine
PA Homeschoolers AP Online Class
St. Petersburg, Florida
Alison Dudek
Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart
Omaha, Nebraska 
US Territories   
Sara Cardona
Academia Del Perpetuo Socorro
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Sophia Chen
Chattahoochee High School
Johns Creek, Georgia
Wen Jay Tan
Coronado High School
Henderson, Nevada
Ha Lee
West High School
Salt Lake City, Utah
Matthew Beattie-Callahan
 ‘Iolani High School
Honolulu, Hawaii
New Hampshire   
Cheyenne Tessier
Alvirne High School
Hudson, New Hampshire
Matthew Grimo
Windsor High School
Windsor, Vermont
Savannah Dunn
Bishop Kelly High School
Boise, Idaho
New Jersey
Mark Gorenstein
Leonia High School
Leonia, New Jersey
Melody Wang
Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School
 Richmond, Virginia
Erin Downs
Belleville East High School
Belleville, Illinois
New Mexico       
Maisa Cook
Del Norte High School
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Micah Allred
Home Instruction Support
Normandy Park, Washington
Melinda Song
Carmel High School
Carmel, Indiana
New York
Esther Keiderling
The Mount Academy
Walden, New York
Genevieve Dornemann
Milwaukee High School of the Arts
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Mary Maher
Ankeny, Iowa
North Carolina       
Kelly Hughes
PA Homeschoolers AP Online Course
Mooresville, North Carolina
Kristen Kennedy
Worland High School
Worland, Wyoming
Brae Miner
Wichita High School East
Wichita, Kansas
Jisoo Hong
Dublin Jerome High School
Dublin, Ohio


A complete list including the honorable mentions is available online.


The United States Institute of Peace is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict through non-violent means. USIP works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security.

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