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Office of Merit Awards

Office of Merit Awards

Student Success Story

Student Empowers Women in China

By Anne Hamilton

Stacy Aldinger

Stacy Aldinger, SIS/BA '07. Photo by Jeff Watts.

Stacy Aldinger '07 came a long way from Hawaii to become a campus legend. 

At the School of International Service, she became well-known for her boundless energy, friendliness and creativity. She served as the leader of Operation Outreach, an AU student organization that provides tutors in Southeast Washington, D.C., and she founded a student club to celebrate Hawaiian native culture.

However, it was not until Aldinger studied abroad in China that she found her true inspiration. After a year of study in Beijing as a Boren Scholar, she went on to receive a Fulbright Grant to study best practices in institutionalized sex education for young adults in China.

"I work in sex education because it brings together my passions for women's health, education, and empowerment," Aldinger notes. "China's rapid development and collision of traditional and modern gender roles provides a unique context for me to study these issues."

In 2006, Aldinger became the fourth AU student to be named a Truman Scholar in five years. The scholarship will provide $30,000 toward her graduate work, which will lead to a career in international development. She is specifically looking for creative and sustainable models for improving women's health globally.

"Disparities in health lie at the root of inequality, especially for women who have been marginalized," she says. "And health has the potential to be a great equalizer: when women have access to the rights, services, and knowledge they need to maintain their own health, it has a profound impact on society as a whole."

Currently, Aldinger is in Beijing, China interning part time at the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).