Google rewards 11-year-old Doodle winner with $30,000 scholarship

An imaginative New Yorker takes home the top prize in Google's annual contest for her doodle of a device that transforms dirty water into something clean and drinkable.

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This year's award-winning Doodle 4 Google doodle courtesy of 11-year-old Audrey Zhang Audrey Zhang/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

An 11-year-old girl from New York now has money to help fund her college education thanks to her award-winning Google Doodle.

For its 2014 Doodle 4 Google contest, Google challenged school kids in grades K-12 to doodle an invention that would make the world a better place. In her doodle, 11-year-old Audrey Zhang illustrated a device that imagines one solution to the problem of finding clean drinking water.

"To make the world a better place, I invented a transformative water purifier," Zhang said. "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."

Now in its seventh year, the annual Doodle 4 Google contest awards the winner a college scholarship and school grant, so it's a lucrative honor both for the young doodler and the doodler's school. Google gave Zhang a $30,000 college scholarship and bestowed a $50,000 Google for Education technology grant on her current school. The search giant's Google.org arm also donated $20,000 in Zhang's name to charity:water to assist its efforts in providing clean water to schools in Bangladesh.

This year's competition was tough. Among more than 100,000 submissions, 250 state finalists, 50 state winners, and 5 national age group winners, Zhang emerged victorious. The folks at Google even invited her to work with artists to animate her drawing and bring life to the water purifying device. The version seen on Google's home page today reveals the mechanical water purifier with gears and wings as it slurps in the water from a lake while the animals of the forest look on in wonder.

Last year, Google bestowed the top Doodle 4 Google award to 12th grader Sabrina Brady for her depiction of her father's return home after having served in Iraq.

About the author

Journalist, software trainer, and Web developer Lance Whitney writes columns and reviews for CNET, Computer Shopper, Microsoft TechNet, and other technology sites. His first book, "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time," was published by Wiley & Sons in November 2012.

 

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