skip to Main Content

January 8, 2019

(Boston, MA) – Today Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs (Bow Seat) announced the winners of the 2018 Ocean Awareness Contest, the largest student arts and ocean advocacy competition in the world.

Bow Seat’s annual Ocean Awareness Contest (Contest), now in its eighth year, invites students to explore how human actions impact ocean health through visual art, writing, music, and film. Since 2012, the Contest has engaged nearly 10,000 teens from 78 countries and all 50 U.S. states, and Bow Seat has awarded nearly $290,000 in scholarships to help advance their creative talents, passion for the environment, and advocacy skills.

The 2018 Contest focused on the theme of climate change for the first time, one of the biggest issues facing today’s youth. Almost 3,000 students from 58 countries and 48 U.S. states responded with paintings, poems, songs, animations, and stories. Their submissions revealed how climate change has already, and will continue to, impact marine life; wove connections between plastic, over-consumption of resources, and global warming; and shed light on the ways in which pollution and climate change affect human communities unequally, particularly communities of color.

The Senior Division (ages 15-18) Gold Award winners are:
– Art: Eunice Choi, age 15 (Los Angeles, California)
– Film: Rose Ho, age 18 (Valley Park, Missouri)
– Music: Saoirse Lewis, age 18 (San Francisco, California)
– Poetry: Taylor Fang, age 15 (Logan, Utah)
– Prose: Daria Syskine, age 18 (Cupertino, California)

The Junior Division (ages 11-14) Gold Award winners are:
– Art: Edith Low, age 13 (Singapore)
– Film: Maria Bascuñán, age 14 (Christchurch, New Zealand)
– Music: Lilly Chertock, age 14 (Venice, California)
– Poetry: Lilli Villiot, age 13 (Woodinville, Washington)
– Prose: Mikaila Sarad, age 14 (Clifton Park, New York)

Senior Gold Award winners each received a $1,500 award; Junior winners, $1,000. Bow Seat also presented $750 Sponsor Recognition Awards to supporting adults who were nominated by Contest participants as individuals who helped to change students’ lives and the world for the better.

To view, read, and watch all of the winning 2018 Ocean Awareness Contest winners, visit

“This year, students expressed their frustration, despair, and anxiety about the climate crisis,” said Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat. “But most importantly, they also shared their hope for the future. We are witnessing a turning point where young people around the world inspire each other to advocate for the change our world needs. Their collective efforts to speak up for a healthier ocean and society are shaping this moment in time and their future.”

“Our participants’ works of art inspired and moved us with their passion and compassion,” said Bow Seat Executive Director Alyssa Irizarry. “Their diverse pieces illustrate that young people understand the challenge before them, and while they are understandably concerned, they are also enthusiastic about working toward positive change. We are thrilled to provide an opportunity to amplify their voices in the global discourse on climate change, which are too often absent from political and cultural conversations.”

As part of its programming, Bow Seat expands the reach of student work through art exhibitions, film screenings, and publications, providing a special opportunity for teens to showcase their talents worldwide while raising awareness of ocean issues to a broader community. Many organizations leverage Contest participants’ creative works to enhance their environmental events. Most recently, Bow Seat student pieces were showcased at Mass Humanities’ Climate Change forum in Boston.

The 2019 Ocean Awareness Contest, “Presence of Future,” is open now through June 17, 2019, to students ages 11-18 worldwide.

About Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs: Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs is a Boston-based nonprofit that works to activate the next wave of ocean leaders through the arts, science, and advocacy. Visit for more information about Bow Seat’s programs, resources, and opportunities.

Back To Top