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Junior in running for magazine honor

Not only is junior Rosana M. Lastra Vicente majoring in chemistry and planning on becoming a medical doctor, she might be one of Glamour magazine’s 2006 Top 10 College Women Competition.

Vicente is a research assistant in USF’s biomedical engineering department. She works in the biomedical laboratory under Michael D. VanAuker.

Along with conducting medical research, Vicente has volunteered with Shriner’s Hospital, Volunteer USF, James A. Harley Veteran’s Hospital, the American Red Cross and many others. She also maintains a 3.8 grade point average and is involved in many on-campus organizations, such as the Honors College and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

“It would be a great honor to be selected as one of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women, said Vicente.

The competition focuses on full-time juniors who excel in academic areas, participate in leadership activities, both on and off campus, and have inspirational goals for the future. Winners receive $2,000 and a three-day, round-trip coach airfare to New York City, where a gala luncheon awards ceremony will take place. The estimated value of the prize is $3,500, and the winners will appear in the October 2006 edition of Glamour.

Applications are available online at, and they must be mailed in along with an official college transcript, a photo of the contestant, a list of activities and at least two letters of recommendation. A 500-700 word essay describing the student’s most meaningful achievements and how they relate to their field of study and future goals must be submitted as well. Winners will be notified by June 30, 2006.

“The contest has been around since 1957,” said Lynda Laux-Bachand, Glamour’s coordinator for the contest. “It started out as a best dressed college girls of America contest. In 57 they sent in three photos of themselves in different outfits, and that’s how they were chosen.

“As the women’s movement came along and picked up steam, the contest changed. (The contest) became more like it is today, which is about opportunities for young women and what they are making of themselves. The sky seems to be the limit.”

Girls selected in the past have amazing credentials and have accomplished phenomenal goals at their young age. Last year, Maria Weybrecht of Cleveland State University was selected. Weybrecht, who suffers from thyroid cancer, started her own charitable organization called “Kids in Flight.” “Kids in Flight” annually takes sick children on plane trips.

Algerian immigrant Ghofrane Benghanem of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was also chosen in 2005. She’s president of the Muslim Women’s Association at her college and aspires to cure Alzheimer’s in her biomedical research field.

“We get amazing students who apply and who also represent a great diversity. Out of all the letters we received after the contest, most letters were about the young Muslim woman, Ghofrane,” Laux-Bachand said. “Women wrote in to say that they were thrilled to see that we were showing someone of her ethnicity in such a positive light. She was a pleasure to be around.”

As of now, no USF student has been among Glamour’s Top 10 College Women Competition, but Vicente hopes to change that.

“I believe that I have many of the qualities that are required, she said, “and that I am a good candidate for it.”