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NMSU students' chance at stardom depends on campus, community

For two New Mexico State University students, their dream of becoming television correspondents at this year's Academy Awards is close to becoming a reality; but they must first convince the nation they deserve it.

New Mexico State University students Brandi Parrell and CMI student photographer Angela Hardenburg were selected as top-ten mtvU finalists in a competition to correspond at the Oscars next month. (Courtesy photo.)

Using their experience and skills acquired while working with KRWG-TV News22, junior Brandi Parrell and senior Angela Hardenburg teamed up to compete in mtvU's third annual Oscars Correspondent Contest. The pair created a two-minute video explaining why they deserve a shot at stardom and are now a top-10 finalist team. If chosen, the two will correspond at the 83rd Academy Awards Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.

"We have years of experience doing this," Parrell said. "Hopefully that experience will set us apart from the other students competing and speak for itself."

Parrell, who co-anchors, produces and reports with News22, and Hardenburg, the station's chief editor and photographer, join team duos from Hofstra University, Madonna University, New York University, University of Georgia, University of Miami, University of Missouri and University of Southern California as finalists.

"I feel honored to be a finalist and be competing with teams from such prestigious universities," Parrell said.

Now through Jan. 28, anyone can register and vote once daily for the team they believe has what it takes to cover the awards show. The three teams with the most votes will be flown to Los Angeles Feb. 24-28 to attend Oscars pre-events, and are guaranteed bleacher seats during the show. These final three teams also will make another video to be voted on Feb. 7-18.

The winner will be announced Feb. 26 and will represent their university while covering the red carpet live prior to the show.

"We hope this will inspire other students to take chances on things like this," Hardenburg said. "We've been doing this since high school and to have an opportunity like this would be amazing."

To vote for Parrell and Hardenburg, go to http://www.mtvu.com/shows/shows-featured-content/oscars-correspondent-contest-top-10/. To view their audition video visit http://www.mtvu.com/on-campus/contests-sweepstakes/oscars/brandi-parrell-and-angela-hardenburg/.