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The Carletonian

Kevin Close ‘09 wins first place in ACM photo contest

<se, a Carleton College senior from Salt Lake City, won the grand prize in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s off-campus studies photo contest.

Close, a religion major, won for his image “A Long Car Ride,” a photo taken during his studies in Mongolia in the fall of 2007. He simply describes the photo as “One student, one translator, and ten goats.”

“While studying abroad in Mongolia, I spent one month researching a small group of Mongolian Muslims. One of the religious leaders of this group was spending the month herding sheep in the mountains. So, although temperatures were never above zero, I decided to go see him. The only ride available was an old, Russian van and since I was going up there anyway some of the villagers asked us to bring up some extra goats. Thank goodness because the van got stuck multiple times and we had to huddle with the goats to keep warm. The leader gave a great interview.”

Ben Barclay, a senior political science and international relations double major from Ames, Iowa, earned honorable mention honors for his photo “Abandoned.” His image, which shows an orphan sitting alone off the streets of Cairo, was taken during Barclay’s time at American University in Cairo in the fall of 2007.

Barclay’s image description that he submitted with his image read: “UNICEF estimates that there are between 200,000 and 1,000,000 homeless children roaming the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. Survival consists of begging and sexual exploitation—an estimated 50 percent have been exposed to some manner of rape. The government of Egypt has done little to address the problem, and so this multitude of children remain abandoned, just like the car this boy leans against as he sits on his brick perch.”

The winning photos and a selection of honorable mention photos will be on display at the College’s Laurence McKinley Gould Library from March 9-13, 2009.

A traveling exhibit of the ten winning photos and a selection of honorable mention photos is being hosted by ACM campuses through April and will be shown at the ACM 50th Anniversary Student Symposium on Off-Campus Study in Chicago on April 17-18, 2009. The photos also can be viewed on the ACM website at

The judges specifically looked for photos that captured a true liberal arts education––a unique, hands-on experience that allows students to step outside of the box and to do so experientially.

As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM), the consortium sponsored the ACM Off-Campus Study Photo Contest, inviting students at ACM colleges to share the images and impressions they gathered from studying in locations around the world.

ACM, a consortium of academically excellent, independent liberal arts colleges, has been a pioneer in off-campus study, operating domestic and international programs since the early 1960s. The current ACM members are Beloit College, Carleton College, Coe College, Colorado College, Cornell College, Grinnell College, Knox College, Lake Forest College, Lawrence University, Macalester College, Monmouth College, Ripon College, and St. Olaf College.

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