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Heidi Pan ’24 Wins Gold Medal in Harvard Writing Contest

Rudy Brandl

Heidi Pan ’24 clearly cares a great deal about the environment and she’s determined to bring awareness to important causes dedicated to saving it.

The W+H junior was recognized with a gold medal from The Harvard International Review Academic Writing Contest, which encourages and highlights outstanding high school writing on topics related to international affairs. Heidi was happy to earn gold for her work but equally thrilled that her essay titled “Bilge Dumping – The Environmental Disaster Going on Behind Closed Doors” is helping raise awareness for a somewhat unknown issue.

“The purpose of the topic was to bring awareness. Without awareness, no action is taken and if it’s not talked about, it’s not addressed,” Heidi said. “There are so many topics out there but a lot of them are not getting coverage. That’s why I wrote about this. It has an impact on economies all over the world. I looked it up and it was only being covered by a handful of media outlets. I wanted to do something worthwhile with this opportunity.”

Heidi spent a month writing and researching the topic and credits W+H history teacher Dr. Raechel Lutz with offering guidance, collaborative discussions and proofreading assistance. Heidi is currently working on another piece covering climate change and its effect on economic growth while rebuilding the W+H Green Club with some of her classmates. 

“I got to accomplish my goal of bringing awareness to this issue and the fact that it was published on the website was important to me,” Heidi said. “I’m very hopeful for what the Green Club will be able to accomplish in the next year and a half before I graduate. I’m hoping to make an impact.”

The Harvard International Review is a quarterly magazine offering insight on international affairs from the perspectives of scholars, leaders, and policymakers. Since its founding in 1979, the HIR has set out to bridge the worlds of academia and policy through outstanding writing and editorial selection.