USF Student Video Contest Finalist

Mark Araya’s video about safe and smart driving is competing for a $25,000 scholarship top prize.


Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (July 16, 2012) – A University of South Florida student is a finalist in a smart driver video contest sponsored by Bridgestone Americas.


Mark Araya, an advertising major in the College of Business, could win a $25,000 scholarship if he is the top vote-getter in the Bridgestone Americas Teens Drive Smart Video Contest. He’s looking to the USF community to help bring in some votes.


Araya is one of 10 contestants whose videos have been selected in the national scholarship competition. The contest challenges 16- to 21-year-old students to create short videos about safe driving and ways to make better decisions behind the wheel. Araya’s video was chosen from 2,322 entries received by Bridgestone Americas.


His video, “My Distractions,” takes a clever look at the everyday distractions drivers are faced with on the road.  Using animated characters, the driver reminds viewers, “I make sure I keep my distractions where they belong – off the road.”


“I’ve been illustrating for a few years now and I loved making the characters for this film,” said Araya. “So many videos out there focus on the scare tactics so I thought it would be cool to use animation in something that wasn’t quite so serious.”


A panel of judges selected the top 10 most compelling videos, which were chosen based on how well they encourage viewers to be more safety-conscious drivers and how effectively and creatively the message is communicated.


All 10 videos, including Araya’s, are now posted at The public can help determine the top three winners by voting online for their favorite video through July 23. The three winners will receive college scholarships: first place receives $25,000; second place receives $15,000; and third place gets $10,000. All three will win trips to New York City, where the grand prize-winning video will be unveiled on Aug. 1.


In addition to the scholarship, the first place winner will have his or her video air on the MTV Jumbotron in Times Square during the month of August. Each Teens Drive Smart winner will also have the chance to have his or her video used as a public service announcement (PSA) on television stations across the United States.


“Teens across the nation showed us their true breadth of talent, and choosing the top 10 videos proved difficult for our judges’ panel,” said Angela Patterson, Manager, Teens Drive Smart Program, Bridgestone Americas. “Our hope is that through these impactful videos, teens will understand the importance of making smart decisions behind the wheel. And just maybe, it will help save a life.”


Visit for more information.