Award-winning student video seeks to inspire would-be scientists

Today, University of Colorado Boulder graduate student Emi Tokuda is trying to find effective ways to battle melanoma, a notoriously drug-resistant disease that is responsible for 75 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths.

But not that many years ago, Tokuda was just a high school student trying to figure out what she was passionate about. Tokuda found the answer with some inspiration from her high school biology teacher, whose own love for her subject seemed boundless.

Tokuda is the subject of one of a slew of videos recently produced for LabTV, a new project backed by the National Institutes of Health and Google to inspire the next generation of bright students to go into biomedical research. The video of Tokuda, which was shot by Emilie Johnson, a graduate student in journalism at CU-Boulder, was announced as a Finalist Award Winner by LabTV at the Tribeca Film Festival in April.

Johnson was interested in the project because the goal of LabTV--to create profiles of young scientists who students can relate to--intersected with her own interest in science journalism. Johnson also has been a contributor to CU-Boulder's student-run Science Update show.

"I've always liked science, but for me, science was always over my head," Johnson said. "I enjoy taking scientific topics that might seem intimidating to myself or to a general audience and making them understandable; I know that if I understand it then my viewers will understand it."

Johnson, who is graduating this month, is also involved in several other documentary-style projects. She says learning videography skills has given her a unique window on the world.

"You get to see it in a way that most people never get to see it," she said. "It's an opportunity to hear stories that are untold and to see things that other people never get to see.

Watch Johnson's video profile of Tokuda below or see other profiles on LabTV's Youtube channel.