The New York Times named Meredith Syms of Paradise Valley, a winner of its 5th Annual Student Podcast Contest for her entry “All is Not Lost: Mina Bakhshi’s Escape from Afghanistan with Ascend Athletics”, the story of a young Afghan girl forced to flee her homeland, leaving her family behind when Kabul fell last summer.
With the help of the climbing group Ascend Athletics, an international not for profit organization working to empower young women through mountaineering-based leadership training, Mina escaped and started a new life in the United States, according to a press release.
“I am truly grateful to The New York Times for this incredible honor and to Mina Bakhshi for letting me share how she bravely risked everything to escape life under Taliban rule,” Syms stated in the release. “I am so happy more people will hear Mina’s story and how athletic programs like Ascend give girls the courage to achieve their dreams even in the face of life and death obstacles.”
Marina LeGree, the founder of Ascend described the podcast as a “beautiful and incisive telling of Mina’s story.” Listen to the winning podcast at https://tinyurl.com/4jsz8yu4
According to the release, a record 1,664 students from across the country submitted 5-minute podcast entries on any topic and creative format of their choosing.
A judicial panel of New York Times editors and producers, representatives of The Learning Network, and educators, journalists and podcast producers from schools and organizations around the country, narrowed the entries down to 10 winners.
Meredith Syms is the creator, producer, and host of Sport Up Podcast, where she interviews women leaders in sports both on and off the field.
Guests include Anne Doepner, the first ever head of equity and inclusion of the Minnesota Vikings and Smith College’s Kelsey Parks, coordinator programs for student athlete development, and several other women executives, coaches, and players who are changing the face of sports. You can listen at https://linktr.ee/sportsuppodcast
Meredith is an 18-year-old rising high school senior at Choate Rosemary Hall, where she is the sports editor of the school newspaper. She lives in Paradise Valley with her parents Maria and Mark Syms.