Alabama is home to a storied scholarship program for young women, founded in Mobile, Ala. Beginning in the 1920's, it was originally known as the Azalea Trail Maids, or the Azalearama Pageant. In 1958 the program officially became America's Junior Miss. Then, in 2010, Distinguished Young Women was announced as the program's new name.
Auburn University has a strong history with Distinguished Young Women. Many of our students have participated in the program. Several have worked there, too.
"I am the Communications Director for Distinguished Young Women, a national scholarship program for high school girls. Distinguished Young Women has a presence in all 50 states with 50 state programs and more than 300 local/county programs. I work for the National Headquarters in Mobile, AL. The program was formerly known as America's Junior Miss," said Stephanie Turner Bradford, Auburn '07 PR alumna.
Stephanie enrolled at Auburn in 2003. "It is honestly the only school I ever considered. It offered everything I was interested in academically and provided the atmosphere I was seeking in a college," said Bradford. "I applied early decision with Public Relations as my major and never looked back!"
Read the entire series: Auburn Alumni & Student Bloggers
On campus, Bradford "was a member of Chi Omega, involved with the Student Government Association, and held an on-campus job with the Office of Career Development Services." (Photo on left: Stephanie with her husband Austin.)
After graduation, Bradford joined DYW. "The concept behind the Be Distinguished blogis to provide content written BY young women FOR young women. Our goal is to build a readership of young girls who may or may not have participated in the program," said Bradford.
"The blog covers a variety of topics written for teen and tween girls. I rarely write posts for the blog; instead, I facilitate posts through a group of contributors who have participated in the Distinguished Young Women program at the local, state and national level (meaning they progressed all the way through the program and made it to the national finals program representing their state)," said Bradford.
Recent posts include:
"The contributors are all college freshman attending various colleges & universities across the country. I give them very little guidance on what they should write about, only that they should write with the intended audience in mind," said Bradford.
"In other words, I encourage them to write about things that would have interested them a few years prior. I have the contributors on a submission schedule and each week I receive their posts via email. I proof the posts and then post them to the blog. I also share them through the Distinguished Young Women Facebook page and Twitter. All state and local programs with Facebook pages are encouraged to share the posts as well." (Photo on right: Christina Maxwell, North Carolina, is the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2012. She received $30,000 in scholarships.)
"My group of contributors are instructed to write about topics, issues, ideas, etc. that they feel would be appealing to our target audience: teen/tween girls," said Bradford.
"It is wonderful to receive the submissions from my outstanding group of contributors each week. Their posts are thought provoking, humorous and thoughtful. My first group of contributors have fulfilled their commitment to the project and I am about to get started with a new group of Distinguished Young Women participants who will be providing content on the blog for the next year."
Distinguished Young Women has served more than 700,000 young women across the country and awarded more than $93 million in cash scholarships at local, state and national events.
Editor's Note: This series highlights students and alumni blogging.
Whether it be for personal pleasure or for work, the practice seems to be growing.
This has now become a four-week series.
~ Robert French