Eleven-year-old Audrey Zhang of New York is the winner of the seventh annual U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition. She directed a team of Doodlers at Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, as they created the first animated Doodle in the history of the children's logo design competition.
This year's theme was "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place..." The fifth-grader spent a day with Google's doodlers to animate her submission, titled "Back to Mother Nature", which was:
To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier. It takes in dirty and polluted water from rivers, lakes, and even oceans, then massively transforms the water into clean, safe and sanitary water, when humans and animals drink this water, they will live a healthier life.
Audrey beat out more than 100,000 other children in grades K-12.
"When I learned millions of people die from not having clean water and that most of them are children, that's when I decided what my drawing would be," she told New York Daily News.
In addition to being the first animated Doodle 4 Google winner and appearing on Google's homepage all day today, she won a $30,000 college scholarship for herself and a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant for her school, Island Trees Memorial Middle School. She'll also receive a Google Chromebook computer, an Android tablet, and a T-shirt featuring her Doodle.
Google.org is also donating $20,000 in her name toward charity:water, which provides clean water to schools in Bangladesh.
This was the third year Audrey entered the Doodle 4 Google competition. She was a national finalist in the 2013 contest, for this drawing illustrating her best day ever – "My best day ever will be when I discover paradise. In paradise, I could play with dragons, ramp with leopards, and chat with fairies...It would be the best day ever when I could finally live in a mystical, dreamy realm.":
Google also handed out four $5,000 college scholarships, tablets, and T-shirts to four other National Finalists in the Doodle 4 Google competition. Here are those entries:
By Charles Seagle, Mokulele Elementary School, Hawaii: "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place it would be a Time Machine. I would return from the future with a cure for cancer. I could prevent wars and save people from natural disasters."
By Emi R. Olin, Alexander High School, Ohio: "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place I would invent a tiny capsule-like seed that plants can use to grow faster and have the power to share roots; so they all benefit and can protect animals better."
By Renaise Kim, Lake Washington High School, Washington: "I invented magical binoculars that would allow people to see the world more optimistically and be grateful for living in a bright and beautiful world. Wearing these binoculars would also enhance their attitude, resulting in happier and healthier lives and relationships with others."
Amy Carlson, Burlington High School, IA: "I would make the ideatriever! Sometimes you come up with an ingenious idea, but it escapes you as soon as you try to act on it. This nifty little device rounds up all those forgotten ideas and sends them right back to you!"
Past Doodle 4 Google Winners
2013: Sabrina Brady, 12th grade (2013)
2012: Dylan Hoffman, 2nd grade
2011: Matteo Lopez, 2nd grade
2010: Makenzie Melton, 3rd grade
2009: Christin Engelberth, 6th grade
2008: Grace (Suryung) Moon, 6th grade