IEMA and American Lung Association Announce Student Winners in Video, Poster Contests

May 9, 2012

Contests promote awareness of radioactive gas linked to lung cancer

SPRINGFIELD – Students from across the state recently put their creative talents to work to help spread the message about the hazards of radioactive radon gas.  More than 700 posters and 224 one-minute YouTube videos were submitted to the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and the American Lung Association in Illinois (ALA-IL) for consideration in the agencies’ annual contests.

“The students who created these posters and videos are incredibly creative,” said IEMA Director Jonathon Monken.  “They took a very serious topic, the hazards of radon, and presented it in fun, innovative ways.”

Poster Contest

The top winners and their prizes include:
  • 1st place – Alanna Buttitta, Westfield Middle School, Bloomingdale, $200
  • 2nd place – Alice Tysse, Connor Shaw Center, Peotone, $150
  • 3rd place – Cameron Hartsfield, Connor Shaw Center, Peotone, $100

These three posters will compete against posters from across the country in the 2014 National Radon Poster Contest sponsored by the National Safety Council in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The poster contest is designed to raise awareness about the harmful effects of elevated levels of indoor radon gas and to increase the number of homes tested for radon.

Video Contest
Winners in the video contest include: 

  • 1st place – Carter Staley and Claire Heshmat, Glenwood High School, Chatham ($1,000 to winning group plus $300 for their high school)
  • 2nd place – Drew English, Wheaton Academy, West Chicago ($750 prize to winner, $200 to the high school)
  • 3rd place – Elizabeth Grace Wilson, Christina Lavery, Dunlap High School, Dunlap ($500 prize to winning group plus $100 for their high school)


In addition, seven videos received honorable mention.  A $250 prize will be awarded for each of the following entries:

  • Christina Michelle Keathley, Cary Grove High School, Gary
  • Chase Larkin Martinkus, Centennial High School, Champaign
  • Victoria L. Worsfold, Seth Peachey, Fernando Alvarez, Galesburg High School
  • Gavin Caruso, Glenwood High School, Chatham
  • Zachary Wong, Hinsdale South High School, Hinsdale
  • Marie Morgenthaler, Riverside Brookfield High School, Riverside
  • Peter Casey, Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Chicago

The prize money for all winners was provided by the ALA-IL.  The winning entries are available on IEMA Radon website at  The website also includes comprehensive information about radon risks, lists of licensed radon measurement and mitigation contractors, home radon test results by county and more. 

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally-occurring uranium in the soil.  It can enter homes and buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pumps or soil in crawlspaces.   

The USEPA has determined that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer, behind smoking.  However, among non-smokers, radon is the leading cause of lung cancer.