Graduating nursing student makes award-winning video

SPOKANE – A senior in nursing has won first place in a video contest held by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle to promote the importance of colorectal-cancer screening.

Zach Smith, president of the student nursing association, will receive $2,500. His video “Your Choice” will be featured in a public service announcement on Seattle’s KING-TV and will be incorporated into Fred Hutchinson’s “Get Screened” campaign to raise awareness about colon cancer.

The split-screen video depicts two scenarios; in one, a man gets a reminder letter to get a colonoscopy, undergoes the test and is informed that during the procedure the doctor had removed a potentially deadly polyp from his colon. In the other scenario, the same man throws the letter in the trash and, instead of scheduling a colonoscopy, takes a nap on the couch, oblivious to the time bomb ticking inside his body.

Smith, an amateur videographer who will graduate during today’s WSU Spokane commencement ceremony, says he wants to work in pediatric oncology and that his interest in cancer prevention influenced his decision to enter the contest.

“Making videos has been a longtime hobby of mine, and my nursing degree has been four years in progress,” Smith said. “To finally graduate from nursing school and wed my two interests was a great feeling. To know that my video could help get people screened is all I could ever ask for.”

He worked with two University of Washington pre-medical students and cast his uncle, the mayor of Ridgefield, Wash., in the featured role.

This is not Smith’s only award-winning work; in fact, he appears to be on a winning streak. Earlier this year he won a Comedy Central video contest that sent him and a friend on an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, where they met Comedy Central celebrities on election night.

As a finalist in a Fuji Film contest, he won a camera. He and a group of friends won the WAZZU Independent Film Festival in April 2009, and with a friend he took second place in a cell phone video contest, receiving $2,000 and a trip to Memphis.

“I owe a ton of my success to the faculty who have supported me and the students who have voted for me all along,” Smith said. “Even the audio/visual lab here has loaned out some of their equipment and let me edit on their computers. The support I have had here has been truly remarkable, and for that I am forever grateful.”

The award-winning video and other winning entries can be viewed online at Smith’s videos are available at

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