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Every person can make the world a better place in small or large ways each day—an empowering realization that adds purpose and worth to every life.
Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award, 2006
"Service is a way of thinking," says Amanda Stone. "Every person can make the world a better place in small or large ways each day – an empowering realization that adds purpose and worth to every life. Through service I learn about myself, and I understand what it means to live in someone else's shoes."
Judging from the amount of service Amanda has provided since her arrival on campus, she has learned a great deal about herself and others. She has served as leader for the Freshman Interest Group, team leader for ECHO, held several positions with the Service Scholar Program, and is a member of the Lady Spirithunters. During spring break 2006, she traveled to Miami to work with the homeless. Amanda considers her "FSU family" to be the staff at the Center for Civic Education and Service. "It's empowering to be surrounded by people who are passionate about service."
Her academics have also been served well; she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average, which means appearance on the President's List every semester. She's served on the Honors Council, for the Garnet and Gold Key Leadership Society, and on the Leadership Advisory Board.
This past summer Amanda used the monies attached to the University's Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award to travel and work in Kampala, Uganda, as an intern with the Isis Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange, a global resource center that promotes justice and equality between men and women.
Researching women's rights through group discussions with women and interviews with government employees, non-governmental organization workers, and university faculty, she focused on household decision-making power, property ownership, and educational opportunities for women. Sadly, she found "a great disparity between legal and actual rights." However, after being a part of their lives, she is "more committed than ever to making a difference in the lives of women."
She has learned that cultural change must occur before women's rights are to be realized. So Amanda will combine her recent service experience with her upcoming Honors in the Major Thesis in Political Science. "Thus," she says, "adding meaning and context to classroom learning." For the Thesis, she will examine "how social transformations are created and identify how traditions can be broadened to include equality for women without destroying the cultural fabric of the nation."