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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2014) - A video created as a class project by Lola Gomez, a graduate of Daytona State’s School of Photography, has been awarded the $10,000 grand prize in the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s Homeward Bound photo and video contest.
 
DSC photo alum wins military exchange’s grand prize in contestGomez gave the video, titled “My Heart Back Home,” to her sister, Laura Jimenez, as a gift, who in turn entered it into the contest as one of 672 submissions. Her winning entry will be used as part of the Exchange’s yearlong advertising campaign.
 
“Lola is a talented and highly motivated photographer who is taking advantage of both the aesthetic and technical skills she learned while enrolled in our program at Daytona State,” said School of Photography Chair Dan Biferie. “We are proud of all she has accomplished and are confident she will join a growing list of our program graduates who have gone on to receive critical acclaim and success in their careers.”
 
Using a series of black-and-white photos and videos, the multimedia piece captures a life that is typical of so many military families, focusing on Jimenez and her son, Leonardo, born less than a month before his father, Sgt. 1st class Jesus Jimenez, deployed for a yearlong tour in Afghanistan. Images of the couple’s wedding day, their life together, and mother and son’s daily life with father overseas culminate with an emotional welcome home upon his return.
 
“My Heart Back Home” also earned a silver award in the Domestic Picture Story category in last year’s 68th College Photographer of the Year competition, sponsored by the University of Missouri and Nikon, where more than 600 student photographers representing 130 colleges and universities throughout the world participated.
 
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Gomez, 37, earned her Associate of Science in Photographic Technology from Daytona State in May 2013. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Universidad Santa Maria in Caracas. Her work has been exhibited in the college’s Southeast Museum of Photography, and she is a freelance photographer for several Central Florida newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel.
 
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MORE: Offering more than 100 certificate, associate and bachelor’s degree programs, Daytona State College is the leader in education and workforce training needs of Volusia and Flagler counties and beyond for more than 60 years. The College enrolls nearly 25,000 students a year at its seven instructional sites, with graduates serving in critical fields including healthcare, emergency services/public safety, business, education, hospitality, engineering, technology, digital media, and more. 

Daytona State has been recognized as a leader in higher education numerous times, consistently by U.S. News & World Report, which ranks the College among the Top Tier Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency Center has ranked DSC among the top 50 most affordable public four-year institutions in the country, with less than half the tuition of the national average. Community College Week, a leading publication in higher education, annually continues to feature the college in its list of Top 100 Associate Degree Producers. And U.S. News & World Report has ranked DSC among its Top Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans multiple times.

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