By: Katie Sanders - Glamour
They’re the winners of Glamour’s 56th annual Top 10 College Women competition.
And they just might be the CEOs, superstars, and lady legends of our future!
Katherine Bomkamp, 21
For vets who are suffering, she’s a hero.
West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va.; political science major
The daughter of an Air Force officer, Bomkamp was 16 when she met returning soldiers who’d lost limbs. “They’d sacrificed so much for my freedom,” she says. And she had an idea: Maybe heat could stop phantom pain, which affects about 80 percent of amputees. Using the wiring from heated hiking socks, she built her Pain Free Socket, an insert for prosthetics. The patented invention landed her in the National Gallery for America’s Young Inventors; she was also the then youngest person ever to speak at the Royal Society of Medicine’s Innovation Summit, held in London. Is she obsessed? “Well, I do have the reputation on campus as ‘that military girl with the leg,’” she says.
Her goal: To start producing her invention—and to work at Google.
Her tip: Don’t let anyone tell you no. “People wrote me off,” she says. “Luckily, I didn’t listen.”
Noorjahan Akbar, 22
She’s a poster girl for equal rights in Afghanistan. Literally.
Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa.; sociology major
Akbar, who grew up in Afghanistan and Pakistan, remembers seeing a friend of hers get married and leave school—in seventh grade. “I could imagine what women looked like in fair societies, and I wanted that for my country,” she says. Her whole life has been dedicated to women’s rights. At 11 she created a homemade magazine about Afghan women and spoke at a free-press conference. Even though she came to the U.S. for high school and college, she led her country’s first-ever march against street harassment and helped open its first women-only Internet café. Her face graces billboards in Afghanistan, promoting a film about her work.
Her goal: To launch a women’s newspaper in her home country.
Her tip: “If I do something positive for women,” she says, “it affects my life too.”
Simone Bernstein, 21
14,000 kids have paid it forward with her help.
St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.; social entrepreneurship major
At 12, Bernstein was told she was too young for a volunteer gig. Undeterred, she found a children’s shelter that could use her. “I saw what a difference playing Monopoly with a kid could make,” she says. She launched the site volunteennation.org with her brother, and has helped match 14,000 young people around the country with service opportunities.
Her goal: To ace med school (she’s been accepted!), and fight maternal mortality.
Her tip: “Life can be a bubble,” she says. “Volunteer, and you become part of the community.”
Cara Eckholm, 21
She’s out-talked opponents from 30 countries.
Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; public and international affairs major
You don’t want to pick a fight with Cara Eckholm. A member of Princeton’s politics and debate club (and former president), she’s beaten hundreds of foes from around the world, on topics ranging from censorship to sustainable development. “I joined my high school debate team,” she says, “and I fell in love with increasing political engagement through discussion.” Beyond the podium, she’s coached teams of inner-city New Jersey high school students and sits on The Daily Princetonian’s editorial board.
Her goal: To land a Supreme Court seat.
Why not? She went to the same high school and college as Justice Elena Kagan.
Her tip: “Take an adventure,” she says. “Sometimes you need a break from your norm to get perspective on what matters most.”
Margaret Gilroy, 21
By the time you get out of bed, she’s trained 1,200 midshipmen.
United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.; systems engineering major
Gilroy is always on the run. As the lone brigade training sergeant in charge of freshmen, she hops out of bed at 5:25 A.M. to oversee 1,000 sailors- and Marines-to-be in their workout and inspections. And that’s just her warm-up: The captain of the women’s marathon team, she runs up to 20 miles daily and has 10 marathons under her belt. She’s also cofounder of her local Girls on the Run program. “To elementary kids, a 5K is like a marathon,” she says. “To see them destroy this challenge is unbelievable.”
Her goal: To be among the Navy’s first female submariners and complete 100 marathons.
Her tip: Push yourself—and others. “It’s all about telling someone, ‘You can do that,’ when they don’t think they can,” she says.
Otana Jakpor, 19
Her mission: to help 38 million people breathe easier.
University of Southern California, Los Angeles; global health and biological sciences double major
As a kid, Jakpor watched her mom suffer from asthma so severe it required frequent hospitalizations. So when Jakpor learned that her hometown of Riverside, California, had some of the nastiest pollution in the country, she took action, testifying at the California Air Resources Board and conducting her own air-quality experiments. “I got good at begging friends to come to my house, eat cookies, and be a test subject in my science projects,” she says. Her studies earned her citations from the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House.
Her goal: To be a doctor (like her mom!) and help pass national clean-air laws.
Her tip: “Do what matters to you,” she says. “When you truly care about it, you’ll have great results.”
Grace Young, 20
She builds robots that explore the world’s farthest-flung places.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; ocean engineering major
Technically speaking, Young never graduated high school—she was accepted to MIT at 17. Her niche? Robotics, a subject she fell for as a little girl in her great-grandfather’s Ohio chocolate factory. “I watched the machines stir, melt, mold, and wrap chocolates,” says Young, who juggles up to seven classes a semester and spent last spring break volunteering at a girls’ science school in the Congo. “My uncle was always tinkering with things, and I wanted to do it too.” Now she builds marine robots that explore oceans; one mapped part of the underside of Antarctic sea ice.
Her goal: To build ‘bots that help combat climate change, pollution, and overfishing.
Her tip: She lives by this quote by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, which she penciled on her bedroom wall: “Do something you’re not ready to do. In the worst case you’ll learn your limitations.”
Micah Schure, 20
This is Micah. Beyoncé is her fan.
Emerson College, Boston; communications major
With a music-publicist mom and guitar-playing dad, Schure grew up in a house full of tunes. (She recorded her first song, “Hot Woman, Strong Woman,” in her basement at age nine.) She’s since performed her original pop across the country, including at a fund-raiser with Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child. When Beyoncé heard Schure’s single, “Rebel,” she told her, “You have a beautiful voice, and you are killing the guitar. You’re super talented!”
Her goal: To perform with John Mayer. “He wrote on my lyrics book: ‘Keep writing and cross out nothing. It all means something!’ ” she says. “I completely lost it.”
Her tip: Know, and nurture, what you’re good at. “Everyone has one thing that makes them a genius,” she says. “Focus on it.”
Alice Lee, 21
She got 80,000 people to look at her résumé. In just five days. University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; operations and information management major
Growing up in Silicon Valley, Lee was “always jail-breaking Pokémon on Game Boy, doing the things you’re not supposed to do,” she says. In 2011 she took a semester off to intern at Foursquare in New York City and travel to Ethiopia, where she shot photos that helped raise $50,000 for schools there. A year later she built a Web résumé, “Dear Instagram,” hoping to combine her loves of tech and photography with a gig at the company. In a week her site had 80,000 views, and Lee was on the phone with the company’s CEO. After graduating in three years, she’s now the youngest product designer at file-sharing service Dropbox. Her goal:
To win hackathons, manage start-ups, and chronicle it all on, yes, Instagram (@byalicelee
). Her tip:
Learn a new skill each season. “This spring I’m mastering digital painting,” she says.
Julie Johnston, 21
She’s the LeBron James of soccer. (Or is he the “Julie Johnston of basketball”?)
Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif.; communications major
“I didn’t grow up in a flashy place,” says Mesa, Arizona, native Johnston. “I wanted to push myself.” The All-American led the U-20 women’s national soccer team to World Cup victory last year, and has trained with the national team. Says Santa Clara coach Jerry Smith of his top scorer: “It’s like watching LeBron play basketball. She runs the game.”
Her goal: “I’ll be as proud to graduate as I would to win the World Cup,” she says.
Her tip: “Once you pick your dream, you have to sacrifice to get there,” she says.
By: Teresa Manion
I know this title seems a little cliché, but the truth of this message still holds true today. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus explains how those that enter the Kingdom serve the least of the people. He specifically tells us “whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
I was given a very powerful reminder of this message while serving as a Eucharistic Minister at daily Mass. As I held the host up before my peers, I realized that as a Eucharistic Minister, I am literally forced to look through Christ to see everyone I am distributing communion to. When I continued to dwell on this though, I realized that I had just distributed communion to three of my best friends. This forced me to ponder if I always look to find Jesus in them ,and if I act in a Christ-like manner toward them.
The fact that I sometimes struggle to see Christ in those whom I hold most dear served as a great reminder and wake up call. As Christians we are called to serve our next door neighbors, our best friends, and even those in our lives who annoy or ridicule us. Not only that, but Christ calls us to take a step further and realize that He is present in these people, sometimes we just need to adjust how we see them.
By: Leah Darrow - http://www.focus.org
Know who you are, dress in accordance of who you are and love in spirit and truth of who you are - these three things, while not an exhaustive list, are what I wish every college student knew about true womanhood. No one has said it better, at least to my knowledge, than the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen: "To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women."
-Archbishop Fulton Sheen
While there are many women who are already leading lives of virtue, there are still many more who are afraid to step out of the grind and take a new path toward true womanhood. Kudos to those women who are already on the straight and narrow. But I’d like to reach out to the woman who knows that she is made for more, knows that she has the ability to do something great in this world but who is not sure how to get there. These three non-negotiable’s are for you: 1. Know thyself.
Women of God can never be like the women of the world. It’s just that simple. However, too often the world, through culture, tells us who we are with its glittery marketing techniques. Culture tells us how our relationships should look like, our weekend activities, our hair color, what to donate, what to buy - and the list goes on. Culture today desires women to define or identify themselves with its philosophy.
If we dare to call ourselves Christian
, we should know that our identity is in Jesus Christ who lived, was crucified and has risen from the dead in order that “we may have life and have it abundantly(1).” We cannot understand or know ourselves, the fallen creatures, without first knowing and understanding God, the perfect uncreated Being. True womanhood takes on the task of knowing thyself which presupposes knowledge of God. It comes down to knowing your worth.
How do we know God and thus know ourselves? Spend time in prayer, receive the Sacraments and study your faith (apologetics/theology). Where our heart is, there is also our treasure(2). True womanhood is how a woman sees herself in the eyes of God rather than in the eyes of men. 2. Want to be treated like a lady? Dress like one.
What we wear sends a message of who we are, what we believe in and even our destination. Modesty(3) is more than just a hemline, it is an interior disposition that influences not only our dress, but our thoughts and our actions. While more can be said about modest behavior, here we’ll focus on dress.
All women want to be treated with respect and dignity. Not only because we are a lady
but because we are a person
made by God, composed of both body and
soul. It seems reasonable then that we should dress in a way that compliments this identity, not distracts from it. Dressing in beautiful modest attire makes a statement that a woman is confident in herself and knows that she doesn’t have to show all of her womanhood
to prove she’s a woman. Trust me ladies, they know we are women - the lip gloss and high heels are pretty compelling!
True Womanhood is allowing our natural beauty and dignity to be shown through modest dress. We are more than a collection of body parts and our dress should communicate this by veiling ourselves in a way that emphasizes our person
rather than our parts
St. Paul reminds us that we are called to glorify God with our bodies and in the same breath states that we were purchased at a price (4). Being an authentic woman of God and enjoying fashion can co-exist but the bottom line is this: know your price tag and then dress (and act) accordingly. 3. Define love, not the relationship.
“I love you” has become the catch-all phrase for any sentimental thought or feeling. Yet, most people go their entire lives without ever defining love. Defining the relationship (aka DTR) seems to be the demand many young women make upon their male counterparts while in the dating/getting-to-know-you process. It certainly has its place but before we consider defining the relationship, we must first define
An understanding of love that is based on purely emotional values is an understanding void of sound reason and ultimate fulfillment. However, this is exactly how culture bases its definition on love; whatever feels
right trumps what is
right. God, faith, or religion never seem to come into the conversation when love is communicated through movies, magazines, TV, etc... and sadly we often adopt this version of love and pay the consequences.
A proper understanding of love, or definition, does not separate God and neighbor but joins them all the more closely. St. Thomas Aquinas said that love was desiring the greatest good for the beloved. The greatest good is not sin or a relationship that leads one away from God. In fact, the greatest of all relationships, no matter their end, are those that lead in the direction of God.
1 John 10:10
2 Cf: Luke 12:34
3 See CCC, 2521-2525 for more information on modesty
4 Cf: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Photo: Sydney White
By: Amanda Teixeira - FOCUS
Ah yes, it’s that time of the year again! Potential new members walk campus like cattle, being herded from one house to the next, praying it doesn’t rain on their hairstyle that took an hour fighting with a curling iron to pull off. Fraternity men sit on their front lawns watching, hoping girls that pass them by will think they are cool and want to hang out with them someday. Sorority members are exhausted from waking up at the crack of dawn to practice their songs, skits, and conversation skills for more than a week straight. Fuses are blown as a hundred women all turn on their hairdryers at once to get ready for the first rush event of the day. Coffee is guzzled more quickly than Usain Bolt running 100 meters. Everyone is stressed out about ranking numerically their top choices for houses and new members. It’s officially recruitment season!
Having never been in a men’s fraternity, it’s hard to say exactly what recruitment is like. From what I have heard, fraternity recruitment consists of the following - dudes talking, barbequing, playing some sort of yard game, having fun in a laid back manner, and chilling with a group of guys. Eventually if fraternities like a guy they simply ask him to join and if he wants to, he does. Sounds a lot less stressful or complicated. Though it may be very different, it’s still recruitment!
Though styles vary, at the end of the day, members of fraternities and sororities want to recruit a strong new member class. Tons of effort goes into the entire process. Recruitment chairs putting in effort over the summer, “Polish Week” practicing endlessly until perfection is reached, hosting actual recruitment events, new member training first semester, and finally initiation. Thousands of hours go into investing in the future of a fraternity or sorority. This effort really stood out to me in college. I really loved being part of recruitment…but my sorority was only something temporal. My biggest identity is not Amanda, an Alpha Phi but rather Amanda, a Daughter of God. I became convicted that if clubs and groups that end upon death put all this effort into recruitment, why don’t I do the same for souls?
Some of Jesus’ last words to the Apostles in Matthew 28:11-12 say, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Left and right in the scriptures I see Jesus doing recruitment asking men to “come, follow me” and then traveling for three years hanging out and doing ministry. In the beginning of the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit is given to the Apostles and they begin boldly proclaiming the name of Jesus. It says in Acts 2:41 that three thousand people accepted the message of Jesus proclaimed by St. Peter. They repented and were baptized that day. Talk about an effective recruiter!
Pope Benedict XVI wrote, "We cannot keep to ourselves the words of eternal life given to us in our encounter with Jesus Christ: they are meant for everyone. It is our responsibility to pass on what, by God's grace, we ourselves have received." Catholics are called to share boldly the gospel message, just as Christ commanded the Apostles. They acted on His words, and the Church began to grow like wildfire. I can recruit people into things I am passionate about - my sorority, health & fitness, but can I recruit them as a disciple? I struggle at times to talk courageously about Jesus and His redemption in my life…and He’s supposed to be the one I am most passionate about! Inviting someone into a growing relationship with Jesus is the most important task I can do this side of Heaven…and the only recruitment I can do that will make an eternal impact on someone’s life. St. Jose Maria Escriva says, “Apostolic zeal is a divine madness I want you to have, and its symptoms: hunger to know the Master; constant concern for souls; perseverance that nothing can shake.”
I am not saying we should host formal Christian recruitment events like sororities host rush events…as interesting as that would be to watch! It sounds a little funny to say that Christians ought to have a recruitment mindset…a bit too corporate or something. Jesus and the Apostles didn’t think so though. It was the message they spoke with their entire lives. They were even willing to die for the message of salvation. So yea, I guess I am recruiting in the name of Jesus at all times, just like them. I am not ashamed of that fact because ultimately people need Him no matter how much they think they don’t. I don’t have hidden agendas or try to manipulate anyone but I desire everyone to come to know Him and that is no secret of mine or of the Church.
When I was in the sorority and even now as a staff member with FOCUS, it would be foolish to think that recruitment is only isolated to the confined dates for such events. I am always recruiting, as I am a member of these organizations and the way in which I live my life will influence others’ perceptions of the group. As a Christian, I have to pray to get over my fears of sharing the gospel in moments when the Holy Spirit provides an opportunity. I am always in recruitment mode…in how I shop, dress, talk, play sports, eat, drink, read, relax, etc. I am influencing others’ perception of Jesus and the Church. As I watch others in secular organizations always putting their best foot forward to represent their job, school, or club, I am inspired to respond to God’s grace and grow in virtue so my life will draw others to seek the joy I have found in Christ.
Recruitment as a Christian is simply evangelization, the task the baptized are called to. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to carry it out.
By: Kristin Theros
"Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.” - Blessed John Paul II
Memorial Day brings about that time of year again: graduation parties. This time of year allows us to celebrate and reflect on our achievements and growth. In the weeks that have followed college graduation, I’ve had time to reflect on the entirety of my collegiate experience. I’ve been thankful for all of my time at U of I: the people I met, the places I went, and the things I did. Regardless of what college you call alma mater, and regardless of your major of study, if you take the time to reflect, you will likely see how much you have grown academically, interpersonally, professionally, and spiritually. We’ve all spent the past few years nestled in the comfort of our “college life,” and this experience has led us to become who we are today. And while graduation rightfully celebrates who we’ve become and the culmination of our “college life,” it also brings a certain feeling of uncertainty. A feeling of discomfort? A feeling of loss? A feeling of…well, now what?
Whether we’re headed home, jetting off to a new life in a new city, or starting over on a new campus or in a new program, those of us who have graduated face a great unknown as we, quite literally, begin the rest of our lives (cliché, but true). Regardless of how the Lord worked through you and in you during your collegiate days, you have been prepared for this moment. It is important to face the uncertainty of the future with the hope and confidence inspired by the Spirit and the gifts and graces He has given you.
Understandably, however, it is hard to feel hopeful and confident, especially when you must leave the friends and faith community you grew to love behind. However, it’s important to realize that the same God is always with you. He can be found anywhere, any time, in any city/state/country. No matter where you are going, He will be there waiting for you, ready to welcome you with new friends, new insights, and the same amazing love.
Below, I’ve interviewed a few past graduates who have all experienced the same fears, excitement, and anticipation that many of feel right now. More importantly, they’ve all been successful in continuing their faith journey. I hope that their examples may affirm any readers who are graduated or about to graduate, and may show that you are not alone and with God by your side, great things are still yet to come.
* A special THANK YOU! to the interviewees for their honesty, openness, and wisdom. You are all wonderful and dear friends. :)
"The future starts today, not tomorrow" - Blessed John Paul II
PLEASE CLICK "READ MORE" IN THE BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER > > >
Okay, so maybe God doesn’t say “duh!” when we figure out what he wants us to do, but I think that’s the general reaction when we figure things out. What spurs this thought is the realization that everything that God has planned for us is right under our noses. Not seemingly, of course, but considering God’s plan is written on our hearts and we carry our hearts wherever we go, it really is under our noses.
Let me give you an example of this. I’ve been altar serving since I was 9 years old, which makes it some 10 and a half years now that I’ve been serving priests and Jesus at the altar. When you think of an altar server, you think of someone helping set up for Mass, helping others, serving God. Now, fast forward about 8 years, and I start college. I see sacristans at my college chapel and I’m thinking that’s something I want to do too. Set up for Mass, help create the right environment for Mass, serve others, serve God. It’s a no brainer.
Fast forward two years. I’m a junior in college now and changed my major from accounting to hospitality management. How does this relate at all to altar serving, you might ask? Think about hospitality for a minute. It involves the preparation of food, or items, or somethings for an event, or something special, or dinner. You serve others, and in the way I see it, I’m trying to glorify God with doing the best I can with the interests and talents he’s given me. So, the desire to serve at the altar as a 9 year old bears a resemblance to the major I choose 10 years down the road.
That desire, when I think about it now, was truly my own: my parents did not force me into it, none of my close friends were doing it, so it’s not like they influenced me – I really did just want to serve. It seems painfully obvious now that the desires God set in my heart have been there all along, though manifested in different ways.
Now, let’s stop for a moment. Not all your desires at the age of 9 will be the desires you have today. At age 9 I also wanted a bunch of build a bears from Build a Bear Workshop and plenty of American Girl dolls. I’m pretty sure those don’t have a direct application to my life today. But take Fr. Anthony, one of the priests at my Newman Center. One of the things he tells us about his discernment story is that he had always wanted to save lives and help others; initially, he went to college to be a police officer. He found his true calling in the priesthood, in saving souls.
Puts a bit of a different spin on it, doesn’t it?
So let’s take it in a different direction. What happens when you can’t identify a desire like this? I don’t like to sugarcoat things and say that there’s an easy button for figuring out your vocation and what God wants you to do. If you’re in the boat of “I have no idea what desires God has placed in my heart,” then perhaps you could look at what else is under your nose in terms of what God wants you to do with the life he’s given you.
Look at everyone and everything in your life. What brings you closer to God? What doesn’t? Perhaps more importantly, who brings you closer to God? If nothing else, if you can identify the people in your life that bring you closer to God, you have found friends. And maybe that’s what God has planned for you right now. Friendship.
The moment you might start to freak out (like I did) is when you realize that if God’s plans for you are constantly under your nose, what if that is the same for a future spouse, if your vocation is to marriage? Many people say they marry their best friend. Now, I’m terribly excited to be married and have a family. But the idea that my future spouse has been hiding under my nose, disguised as a good friend, for God-literally-knows-how-long, freaks me out. (It’s almost more comforting to think about your spouse being 2000 miles away, since at least you know he/she’s not hiding under your porch, and you’re not being oblivious.)
Let me tell you why. If you’re anything like me, you’re stubborn on just about everything, and you want to be in control of everything. So when a situation that you think is under your control isn’t, it’s not the most comforting feeling. Furthermore, if you’re like me, and surrender to God’s will long after you probably should have (can you say changed my major after 2 and a half years of college?), and there’s been multiple occasions where this has happened in your life, then you start to wonder: what else is under my nose? What else is hiding under my porch?
It’s all a little overwhelming. It almost makes me glad, in the moment, that as a mere human I can’t figure it all out immediately. Personally, I would never be able to handle all that knowledge in the moment. Despite the discomfort of not being in control, however, it is comforting that Jesus is driving my life bus for me. I think he’s probably the best driver out there, anyway.
Humor aside, after a long post, I think I’d just like to sum up in a couple points, as I don’t think I was being nearly as articulate as I thought I’d be: God has placed desires in our hearts, and they’ve been there forever. We simply need to get to know our own hearts and that will lead to what he wants us to do with our lives. However, if you can’t immediately figure out those desires, you can look to see tangible signs of God in your life, in terms of people and events. When you do start to realize those things, don’t freak out. It could be you found your spouse, or your best friend. I couldn’t tell you for certain, and they probably can’t either. But when you do find the things that fulfill you and build up your soul, don’t be surprised when you realize, months later, that those things were perfect for you and your journey towards God. Also, let God be your driver. Not nearly as easy as it sounds, but it’s becoming easier as I realize that it all truly does come together; with that realization, it means life events are right around the corner (in God’s time, of course. My time means it could be anywhere from tomorrow to 10 years from now. At least I’m somewhat prepared?). Oh boy oh boy oh boy.