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Sun Devils shine bright in student contest

Peace Corps ambassador takes top prize in first-ever Students Shine contest

group photo of students holding peace corps signs

Lindsay Dusard (front center), the first-place winner of the Students Shine contest, served as a Peace Corps ambassador.

May 05, 2017

As a way to highlight student achievement and inspire future outreach, Arizona State University's ASASU Council of Presidents sponsored the first-ever Students Shine contest this spring. 

The student-run competition honored six areas of excellence — career, culture, engagement, service, spirit/affinity and wellness. Finalists were chosen for each category in late April, and an overall top three were announced on Friday, with senior Lindsay Dusard taking home the top prize. 

"This contest gave me the platform to share some of the different opportunities that I have taken advantage of here at ASU," Dusard said. "I hope it can encourage others to do the same." 

The W. P. Carey School of Business student has spent time serving as everything from a Peace Corps student ambassador to a counselor at Camp Kesem, a group that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. But Dusard said her favorite experience was her time as the chair of the Woodside Community Action Grant at ASU's Changemaker Central. The grant is a seed-funding competition for ASU students who are passionate about service.

"Being a recipient of and managing the Woodside Community Action [Grant] has had the greatest impact on me as an individual and my understanding of human engagement," she said. "We all think of things we would like to do to improve our community but never seem to have the resources. This program gives students the opportunity to actually make that vision possible." 

Educational Outreach and Student Services (EOSS) facilitated the contest, and the finalists had to fit a specific set of criteria laid out by EOSS social-media workers Regan Norton and Hailey Mensik. 

"We narrowed them down as they came in, and then the ASASU (Associated Students of ASU) Council of Presidents chose the finalists," said Mensik, a sophomore in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. "We were really looking for creativity, originality and how well they represented the university." 

Norton and Mensik came up with the plan for the contest together, as a way to shine a spotlight on ASU students whose accomplishments and hard work may have gone overlooked. 

Stephanie Christensen, a global health major, took home second place for her work as the community service coordinator for the American Medical Student Association. In addition, Christensen also works at Changemaker Central, selling bags and jewelry made in Ghana to cover high school expenses for Ghanian children. She was also honored for the "engagement" category.

Third place was given to Logan Drda, a senior from Las Vegas. Drda is majoring in mechanical engineering and is an intern at Orbital ATK, an aerospace manufacturer and defense industry company.

Drda was also honored for the "career" category.

EOSS hopes the contest can become an annual tradition, Norton said. 

"It was really cool seeing students from campus show how involved they are," Norton said. "We just want to promote these awesome ASU students and help show off all of their achievements."

The full list of category winners is below. The awards also come with a cash prize of $1,750 for the top three winners and $750 for the remaining three finalists. 

  • Service (and overall first place): Lindsay Dusard, senior, business and marketing
  • Engagement (and overall second place): Stephanie Christensen, sophomore, global health
  • Career (and overall third place): Logan Drda, senior, mechnaical engineering
  • Culture: Radwa Ewaisha, graduate, molecular and cellular biology
  • Spirit/Affinity: Caitlin Hornik, senior, English
  • Wellness: Brittany Kunz, graduate, nursing

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