In February, Kansas University student and Lawrence native Sarah Stern achieved one of her study abroad goals: meet the president of Paraguay.
And then when she got home, she checked her voice mail to learn she was also selected one of Glamour Magazine’s “Top 10 College Women."
“It just keeps getting better,” said Stern, a journalism and Latin American studies junior. “I’m in shock.”
Stern, 21, went through a rigorous application process, including multiple phone interviews, for the honor, and was awarded $3,000. Contestants were evaluated for their academic and other community achievements. Stern has been involved in a variety of volunteer activities in Lawrence, and was awarded the Douglas County United Way’s Wallace Galluzzi Outstanding Volunteer Award in 2008. In college, Stern has been active in the Lawrence Action Network for Diversity and Lawrence Fair Trade.
Erika Dvorske, Douglas County United Way executive director, said Stern made a significant impact through her volunteering.
“Sarah was always taking charge,” said Dvorske, who wasn’t surprised to learn about Stern’s selection. “If someone I knew was going to get it, it’d be her.”
Stern was also flown to New York City this week as part of her selection, and she had the chance to network and plan for a future career. Stern, whose photography was noted in her Glamour article, hopes to integrate her love of photography with marketing or advertising.
“Find some way to mix that for the dream job,” Stern said.
Stern also just finished up her first photography book featuring her time in Brazil last year, and proceeds from the book will benefit charities in the town of Rocinha. In 2011, Stern received a William Randolph Hearst Award nomination for her photography work in Rocinha.
Stern will spend a little time in Lawrence before going back to Paraguay to finish the semester.
It’s been a whirlwind last few weeks, and Stern said she’s been “smiling from ear-to-ear.”
— Reporter Shaun Hittle can be reached at 832-7173. Follow him