Wayne State students take top prize at International Microsoft Imagine Cup

July 9, 2008

DETROIT-Microsoft Corp. yesterday announced the winners of Imagine Cup 2008 at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, after a week of intense competition. Finalists were chosen from a pool of more than 200,000 students from over 100 countries and regions. A total of 370 students from 124 teams representing 61 countries and regions competed in this worldwide themed event, "Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable environment."

Team Provisio - Melissa and Jennifer Hui of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and undergraduate students at Wayne State University - were first place winners of the photography category. Their photo essay transported viewers to the cradle of the world's ecosystem - rain forests - and depicted how technology is being applied there to try to slow global warming and deforestation caused by the negative effects of agriculture, deforestation, ranching and harvesting of natural resources.

"We are a sister team from Wayne State University with respective majors in biological science and biomedical physics (pre-medical studies)," said Melissa Hui. "Though photography had always been a creative outlet, we never considered taking our ideas and artistic perspectives to the world - until now. Having grown up together as children of American "Big Three" automotive engineers in the suburbs of Metro Detroit, we were encouraged to view the world in the context of engineering and technology merged with design and ergonomics. From there, we focus our creative ventures in bettering society to portrait photography."

Having recently won the Microsoft National Imagine Cup, this sister duo also competed in the 2007 Microsoft Imagine Cup, placing in the Top 20 in the world for the Short Film Invitational. Their first place finish yesterday has garnered them $8000 in prize money and an opportunity to visit Paris and other parts of Europe.

"We are proud of Melissa and Jennifer's accomplishments in this important competition, but also in their outstanding work as students at Wayne State University," commented Dr. Hilary Ratner, WSU's vice president for Research. "Their ability to embrace artistry, science and technology is a unique gift which certainly makes them stand out among others."

Wayne State University is one of the nation's pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world.