10 women honored as Glamour’s ‘College Women of the Year’


Majorie Kirk copy.jpg

Paidin Dermody

Glamour has released its list for the magazine’s 60th anniversary “College Women of the Year” honorees. 2017’s winners include the founder of the only national organization led by trans youth, a two-time NCAA Division I Championship-winning basketball player, and the Kentucky Kernel’s very own editor-in-chief Marjorie Kirk.  

The magazine chose Kirk in its College Women of the Year competition for her pursuit of withheld sexual misconduct records and covrage of UK’s handling of sexual assault cases. The competition recognizes college women across the U.S. for their academic achievements, campus leadership, community involvement and inspiring aspirations. 

Kirk, a nationally recognized student journalist at UK, is serving as editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper for the 2016-17 school year. She has since been in the national media for her work in the pursuit of investigative documents in the sexual misconduct case involving former associate professor James Harwood. 

Without the dedication and reporting that Kirk and her staff have put into shedding light on the flawed system and UK’s continued transparency issues, the facts of this case would have gone unnoticed. Those people who continue to create survivors of sexual assault would continue to slip through the system unchecked by governmental or public discretion. 

“I am very honored that my efforts at the Kernel have been recognized alongside amazing female leaders,” Kirk said. “I appreciate that my community and others are staying in tune with these important issues of university transparency and concerns for survivors of sexual assault and harassment.”

10 women, including Kirk, will be awarded cash prizes and a trip to New York City to be honored at an awards-ceremony luncheon on April 25. The 10 women will be featured in Glamour’s May issue, which will be available on national newsstands April 11 according to Glamour Magazine. 

This year’s $20,000 grand-prize winner is Ellen Chilemba, a senior at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and founder of Tiwale. Tiwale is an organization that Chilemba set up to help Malawian women get the training and education they need to start their own businesses, according to Glamour. 

“I want to help underserved women change their lives,” Chilemba told Glamour. 

In addition to Kirk and Chilemba, eight other women will be honored for their achievements and have spoken with Glamour specifically about their reasons for being honored. 

Sarah Clements from Georgetown University is the cofounder of the Jr. Newtown Action Alliance, #Fight4AFuture Network and Georgetown Against Gun Violence. Clements’ mother survived Sandy Hook and she said she hopes her work will prevent another mass shooting. 

Rebecca Dharmapalan from the University of California at Berkeley is the filmmaker of the award-winning documentary “International Boulevard”, which follows child sex trafficking in Oakland. She wants the work that she does in filmmaking to make a difference. 

Eli Erlick from Pitzer College is the founder of the only national organization led by trans youth, Trans Student Educational Resources. Erlick works to make trans students feel like they are in a safe environment while at school. 

Best friends Angela Jin from Boston College and Nishiki Maredia from The University of Texas at Austin are co-owners of 1950 Collective, a pop-culture and social-justice lifestyle brand. This duo is proving that hardworking women can have great business ideas alongside men. 

Samantha Marquez from Yale University is a Latina scientist who created the Celloidosome, a living container composed of cells that can be used for an array of medical reasons. 

Kia Nurse from the University of Connecticut is a two-time NCAA Division I Championship-winning basketball player who is showing all young female athletes that they can “defy the odds.”

Destiny Watford from Towson University is an environmentalist who co-founded a human-rights group in Baltimore called “Free Your Voice”. 

This year’s honorees are no exception to the revolutionary women Glamour magazine has been honoring for six decades now. 

“It’s encouraging to see these amazing women pursue careers in STEM, make the choice to stand against injustice and redefine our culture as we want to see it,” Kirk said. “The great thing is we’re not alone, and there are scores more women pursuing the same dreams of equality and service, including those here at UK.”