The Johns Hopkins Gazette: April 10, 2000
April 10, 2000
VOL. 29, NO. 31


Essay on Service Wins IPS Contest On Meaning of Citizenship

By Glenn Small
Johns Hopkins Gazette Online Edition

Brook Dambacher skipped a spring break trip to Cancun, deciding instead to spend six days with a church group lending a hand in an impoverished rural area of Arkansas. She volunteered in a school and in a hospital and helped paint and repair residents' homes.

She also connected to some of the people in a way she didn't anticipate.

Her moving 1,400-word essay describing that spring break garnered top honors in the third annual essay contest on citizenship sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies. Dambacher, 21, a history and philosophy major at Lewis University in Romeoville, Ill., won $2,000.

Dambacher received a certificate and check during a presentation ceremony in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, April 2, at the annual meeting of the American Society for Public Administration, a 10,000-member group of academics and practitioners of public policy. Second- and third-place prizes were also awarded.

A year ago, Dambacher had made plans to go to Cancun with her friend, Erin. But a campus ministries flier caught her attention. She opted for the service trip rather than the tan.

"Erin went to Cancun," Dambacher later wrote. "I went to McGehee, Ark. Erin got a tan. I got hope for the human race."

Dambacher, who is from Hampshire, Ill., will graduate next month and plans to use the $2,000 to help pay for law school in the fall.

Second place in the essay contest went to Aaron Lefkovitz, a student at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., who won $1,500. Third place went to Christie Shannon, a philosophy major at North Central College in Lisle, Ill., who won $1,000.