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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Junior integrates several types of media to spark change

Annette Li
A photo junior Annette Li took during a sunrise walk at Hunter’s Point hiking trail.

In middle school, junior Annette Li enjoyed learning new skills for potential use in the future — ones like photography, video editing and art. This range of skills has come in handy when it comes to her latest interest:  raising peers’ voices about the serious issue of mental health in a website.

Li decided to research mental health last summer and found a new deeper desire to take action to remove mental health stigma. She wanted to use the growing audience of social media to make work that allowed her to be creative while also being impactful to her community.

“I really want to create meaningful projects,” she said. “I like to say my academics enhances my creative projects while my creative projects give me an outlet for my academics. My academics allows me to create meaningful work.”

Li’s website, still a work-in-progress, will allow people to submit their stories through memoir-formatted articles, giving them a space to anonymously talk about their journeys with their mental health without the pressures of sharing in a public space. Her knowledge of programming has come in handy, and she is currently adding more ideas for the technical aspects of the website through an eye for aesthetics she developed through her past experiences with drawing, painting and photography.

“I think it’s important to look at all the aspects of the website [such as the design and accessibility], and make sure that people can comfortably share their experiences,” Li said. “I hope I’ll also be able to post resources for people still facing mental health struggles.”

One of Li’s favorite side hobbies as she was designing the website was photography and videography, a skill she later decided she could use to implement into the website.

Similarly, Li also hopes to allow others to creatively express themselves through their own photography and videography, especially women in STEM. Since Sept. 8, she has been hosting regular meetings with students from multiple schools around the Bay Area to arrange the annual Girls’ 3 Minute Science competition, where participants from all around the world submit their videos related to STEM. As co-president, Li coordinates the competition and her team’s work. Together, they organize these videos and send them to be judged internationally by university professors, after which the team will compile the results to determine the winners.

By hosting an event where women can bring more attention to their STEM projects through digital submissions, she wants people to be able to more freely express their passions. Like how she harbors a great love for photography and video editing, Li hopes her peers will also be able to integrate their interests in STEM through a creative outlet.

“As somebody who intends to major in STEM, I hope that this will be able to raise women’s voices in a field that is typically male-dominated,” Li said.

When Li first started experimenting with videography, she was mostly editing videos for fun to encapsulate moments of her life in short film-like stories. As she got more practice with editing posts, she transitioned into more mainstream media, and she has been part of SHSTV since her freshman year, where she helps host, edit and shoot videos. 

Now, she plans to use her multimedia skills as a versatile addition to her future projects, both in and out of school.

“I think it’s really important to uplift people’s voices, and I hope that by working on these projects, I’ll be able to help people share their thoughts without having to fear being judged or unheard,” Li said.

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