Yale Student Wins First Prize in Ethics Essay Contest

Yale junior Sarah Stillman was the first–place winner of the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics 2005 Essay Contest.

Winning the $5,000 prize for her essay about sweatshop workers is the most recent achievement of a young woman who had a book for teenage girls published at the age of 15 and who made a documentary film about the Barbie doll culture as a high school senior. The Elie Wiesel prize is also the second national honor Stillman received this year. In February USA Today named her to the elite 20–member All–USA College Academic Team.

While Stillman maintains a 3.95 average as she pursues simultaneous bachelorÕs and masterÕs degrees in anthropology at Yale, she also writes articles on globalization and feminism—among other topics—for a variety of publications and composes prize–winning poetry. She is the founder and editor–in–chief of Manifesta: The Yale Feminist Journal.

An ardent champion of human rights, Stillman, who grew up in Washington D.C., presided over the Georgetown Day School chapter of Amnesty International and has traveled extensively doing research on the plight of women workers, particularly in Asia and Latin America.

As a freshman at Yale, Stillman co–founded a tutoring program for prisoners at a maximum security prison in Connecticut and she continues to teach creative writing there.

She has started building a national network of student–run prison outreach programs, a project she will continue working on throughout her senior year at Yale.

In her prize–winning essay, “Made by Us: Young Women, Sweatshops and the Ethics of Globalization,– Stillman offers a personal account of her exposure to the exploitation of female workers, from a Chinese toy factory, where the average worker is 14 years old, to a sweatshop in Honduras, where girls earn 55 cents an hour working 12–hour shifts, six days a week, and are often obliged to put in unpaid overtime. Despite the gloomy statistics, though, Stillman expresses the conviction that public awareness of such inequities is the first step toward eradicating them.

Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345