Yale students and alumni appear on the pages of national newspapers and magazines every day. But two current students are prominently featured in a more surprising setting: October’s issue of Glamour Magazine.
Jennifer Staple ’03 and Tina Tran GRD ’04 were among the winners in the magazine’s 45th annual Top 10 College Women Competition. The top 10 were selected from a group of nearly 700 applicants on the basis of academic excellence, leadership on campus and an inspiring biography, competition coordinator Lynda Laux-Bachand said.
Dubbed “The Health Crusader” by Glamour, Staple earned her spot on the list by striking the selection committee as being passionate since an early age about helping people.
At age 13, Staple was touched by the story of a boy who died because paramedics could not open his airway. According to Glamour, Staple then invented the “Tracheosimp,” which helps those with injured throats breathe. Her life-saving device is currently awaiting patent approval.
“She demonstrated dedication to her field when she was very young,” Laux-Bachand said.
Double-majoring in biology and anthropology, Staple has continued her “health-care crusade” at Yale. After working for an ophthalmologist during the summer of 2000, she founded Unite for Sight, a nonprofit organization that provides vision screenings and education programs for low-income Connecticut residents. The organization also hosts a series of speakers on preventative health care, and holds a drive for eyeglasses that has collected more than 1,200 pairs at Yale and the University of Connecticut.
Glamour Executive Editor Kristin van Ogtrop said that all the winners shared a number of qualities including “strong academics and a general sense of well-roundedness.”
In Staple’s case, she is just as passionate about anthropology as she is about medicine — she’s the founder of the Yale Anthropology Club and the Yale Journal of Anthropology.
Staple said her interest in anthropology has enhanced the success of Unite for Sight, as anthropological tools in field survey and population-needs assessment have helped expand the organization.
Tran, a University of Tulsa graduate, has dedicated her studies and much of her work to foreign service. Dubbed “The Diplomat” by Glamour, she spent eight months in Vietnam after high school teaching English. Her encounters in such impoverished surroundings spurred her determination to improve the lives of people in developing nations.
Tran’s ability to function effectively as a public servant shined through during her three years as an undergraduate at Tulsa. She became the first junior ever to be elected president of the student body. And she was successful at creating and helping to sustain an endowment for students who cannot afford to stay in school.
Both Staple and Tran said the most rewarding part of the competition was the opportunity to meet the other winners in New York.
Tran said that while each of the 10 women has a distinct passion, they do share one similarity.
“We all have the same persistent attitude that defines achievement,” Tran said.
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