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Jumping Off the Page

Rather than explain in writing the science behind her research, USC Dornsife chemistry doctoral candidate Candy Hwang has used animation in a National Science Foundation contest.

By Lauren Evashenk
October 29, 2012

For a National Science Foundation competition, USC Dornsife doctoral student Candy Hwang and her team have created a 90-second video-animated presentation of their research on nitrogen.

For a National Science Foundation competition, USC Dornsife doctoral student Candy Hwang and her team have created a 90-second video-animated presentation of their research on nitrogen.

Candy Hwang, a second-year doctoral candidate in chemistry and National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow, has swapped the written page for animation.

Hwang of USC Dornsife entered “Creating the Future,” a multimedia competition that challenges NSF fellows to express how their research may shape the future. A 90-second video created by Hwang and her team offers an animated representation of their research on nitrogen.

Charles McKenna, professor of chemistry and vice dean for natural sciences in USC Dornsife, served as faculty adviser.

Calling upon others at USC, Hwang worked with a team that included students from the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Despite the invaluable technical help of her team, Hwang faced the obstacle of how best to represent and explain her work.

“It was very difficult to explain my research in understandable terms,” she said. In fact, the team spent two months writing and editing the storyboards for the project.

However, the long process and hard work paid off.

“I got to explain science, which is such a difficult thing to do,” Hwang said. “Teaching is my favorite thing. This video was an outlet for that.”

A panel of NSF judges will select the winner from the 14 finalists, but the public also has an opportunity to vote for a People’s Choice Award.

To cast a vote in the competition, visit http://grf2012.skild.com/skild2/grf2012/viewEntryDetail.action?pid=40359

Laura Cechanowicz (editor), Simón Wilches Castro (designer/animator), Louis Morton (designer/animator) and Anna Drubich (music) provided expertise for the video.