Sandy • Behind her shy, gap-toothed smile, Marianne Liu has a sharp, artistic eye.
The 6-year-old's talent was recently recognized when her Doodle 4 Google beat out thousands of others to make her the state winner in the search engine company's annual contest.
When asked how she felt about being named one of 50 state winners out of 114,000 entries, she had two words: surprised and happy.
She and her family will travel to New York City next week to find out if she won the national prize, determined by online voting. If she wins, she'll receive a $30,000 scholarship to the college of her choice and her school, Peruvian Park Elementary School in Sandy, will receive a $50,000 technology grant.
Liu had to base her doodle on the theme "If I could travel in time, I'd visit â¦" When she heard the theme, she immediately started researching the Jurassic period.
"I wanted to see what the dinosaurs looked like, and the babies and dinosaur eggs," she said. "I wanted to know what the landscape looked like."
As part of her entry, she had to write about why she chose the time period she did.
"If I could travel in time, I would visit the age of the dinosaurs," she wrote for the contest. "I would get to see great big mommy and daddy dinosaurs, baby dinosaurs, and maybe some eggs. I could even swim with a Cryptoclidus. It would be awesome to meet the greatest creatures of all time."
Her picture has the long necks of sauropods forming the "G" and "L," and her Cryptoclidus, a long-necked, paddle-limbed creature that dominated the seas, forming the "E." Eggs and a dinosaur baby compose the middle of the word.
Marianne is a dedicated student who has created several pieces of art for her class.
"She starts a task and works really hard. She definitely has the art skills," gushed Miyoko Hashimoto, Marianne's first-grade teacher. "She's very particular and always likes to do her best work."
Marianne's mother, Joanne Feng, has several of the initial drafts Marianne drew before settling on a design and perfecting her work.
"To do all the refining and reworking, she had to have a passion for it," said Feng, animated with pride over her daughter and wearing a Doodle 4 Google T-shirt. "She put all the work into it."
Ruth Peters, principal of Peruvian Park Elementary, also raved about Marianne.
"Sunshine is pouring down on her, and we hope it keeps coming," Peters said.
Despite all the success and attention Marianne has received, including a schoolwide assembly where representatives from Doodle honored her state win, Marianne has remained modest.
"She's very humble," Hashimoto said. "She's done all this without bragging."
She'll celebrate her seventh birthday on May 16 in New York City, the night before the national winner and finalists are announced. Marianne, who is just starting her academic career, hasn't given much thought to what college she will attend, but she says she'd like to be an artist and a scientist when she grows up.
When asked about how she felt about the national contest, she had one word: nervous.
But she said she was happy with her work, and that so many people get to see it.
Her advice to students who want to enter next year's contest?
"Don't give up."
How to vote
Check out the different drawings and vote for one in each age category
The deadline to vote for the Google 4 Doodle drawings is 6 p.m. today The judges who chose state winners
• Katy Perry, singer
• Jordin Sparks, singer and actress
• Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, creator and executive producer of "Phineas and Ferb"
• Mo Willems, creator of the Knufflebunny series
• Holly Black, author of the Spiderwick Chronicles
• Tony DiTerlizzi, illustrator of the Spiderwick Chronicles,
• Jack Martin, assistant director for public programs and lifelong learning for children, teens and families at The New York Public Library
• Brian Nemeckay, digital design creative director of Crayola.