CCA student Dasha Zerboni wins first place at international writing competition


Canyon Crest Academy sophomore Dasha Zerboni loves to write, and it shows. At the recently held 2021 Future Problem Solving (FPS) Program International Conference, Dasha won first place in the Senior Division Scenario Writing Competition.

Dasha Zerboni
Dasha Zerboni

The International Conference (IC) is held annually every year in June, and participation is limited to those individuals that qualify through a regional and state competition round. This is Dasha’s fifth IC competition. There were over 138 Scenario writers competing, with participants from Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and the United States of America.

For Scenario Writing, student authors write an original 1,000-word piece of fiction based on a future scene provided, within a specific time frame. There are five topics explored annually. This year, the IC competition addressed the growing science of neurotechnology, an area that explores the understanding of the brain as well as aspects of consciousness, thought and high-functioning activities. Neurotechnology includes products and procedures that improve and repair brain function, can help treat depression, insomnia, Parkinson’s disease, and many other conditions, as well as improve the quality of life for those with disabilities and injuries.

This year’s topic was a good fit for Dasha, who wants to go into the field of medicine, and specialize in neuroscience. She thoroughly enjoyed this topic, researching the structure and function of the human nervous system and brain, and exploring the potential challenges scientists, policymakers and the public will face as new technological methods are developed for diagnosing and treating various disorders for healing and enhancing the human brain.

Dasha first participated in the FPS program as a 5th grader at Ocean Air Elementary, where she joined an extracurricular course taught by Ariella Leeder, promoting writing, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Leeder made it fun, and really inspired her students. As a 6th grader, Dasha won 1st place at CA State Bowl in the Junior Division Individual Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS) competition, and 1st place at the International Conference in Michigan. She won 1st place again in 7th grade at CA State Bowl in the Middle Division Individual GIPS competition, and in 9th grade, won 1st place in the Middle Division Scenario Writing competition and 2nd place in the Middle Division Scenario Performance competition.

Her winning IC Scenario Writing competition piece will be published in the International Scenario Writing Champions (ISWC) 2021 publication.

“This program has given me the opportunity to learn about different topics, explore various mediums of writing and communication, and has given me the courage to think out-of-the-box in solving real-world problems.” said Dasha.

Dasha is currently compiling a book of short stories, and writing a fictional novel, both of which she hopes to publish before finishing high school. She also edits and provides feedback to writers submitting works for FPS and other local, national and international writing competitions.

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