11-Year-Old Long Island Girl Wins Google Doodle Contest

An 11-year-old Long Island girl's drawing was featured on Google's homepage Monday after she beat thousands of other young artists in the yearly Doodle 4 Google competition.

Audrey Zhang of Levittown drew a whimsical water cleaning machine, titled "Back to Mother Nature," for the contest, which was based on the theme “If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place.”

Zhang created what she called a “transformative water purifier” that would clean dirty rivers, lakes and oceans.

"I came up with the idea when I learned that 3 million people die from diseases from polluted water every year, and most of them are children," she told NBC 4 New York. 

She said her invention can clean water at a very fast pace. 

For winning the competition, Zhang received a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for her school, Island Trees Memorial Middle School.

"Google did contact us and said we'll have an opportunity to either upgrade our technology lab, purchase Google Chromebooks or purchase Google tablets," said principal Roger Bloom. 

Zhang also got to take a trip to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, and received a new computer, a tablet and a T-shirt printed with her drawing.

Google said it will also make a $40,000 donation in her name to a charity providing clean water to schools in Bangladesh.

This year, Zhang also got the opportunity to work with Google to animate her design.

“We quickly lost count of all the delightful elements of Audrey’s doodle,” Google said in a post announcing the contest’s winner. “So in the spirit of this year’s theme, we asked Audrey to spend a day with the doodlers to turn her illustration into a moving animation.”

"She's on the quiet side, so then you look at her artwork and it speaks so much louder than her words," said art teacher Karen McNally. 

Zhang said it felt "awesome" to win the contest. Her drawing will be on Google's homepage through the end of the day.

-- Roseanne Colletti contributed to this report. 

Contact Us