Widener recognized with Jackson Lethbridge Tolerance Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sara Widener, a senior majoring in human development and family studies through Penn State World Campus, is the recipient of the 2015 Jackson Lethbridge Tolerance Award, an award that recognizes a junior, senior or graduate student for outstanding efforts to enhance the understanding of diverse cultures and create a community where all individuals are accepted and valued equally. The award is named for its benefactor, a Penn State alumnus.

Widener has worked to promote education for children with disabilities in Senegal, West Africa. In Tanzania, she helped advance government policies to enhance the learning experiences of children with disabilities. Now in Cambodia, she is examining public and community health needs, and is working to expand care to pregnant mothers and impoverished children. She has accomplished all of this while earning her degree and maintaining a 3.83 GPA.

Other causes Widener has championed include helping children with autism and using education to combat and end the cycle of violence through the organization Project PAVE.

“Tolerance, through my lens, comes in many forms and involves more than looking beyond the differences that make up humankind,” said Widener. “It involves a vision, action, commitment and courage. I promote tolerance among globalized societies — I am a catalyst for change.”

A nominator said Widener’s “stand-out” academic record is just a sliver of what makes her so valuable to Penn State. “She embodies the spirit of World Campus — she promotes global citizenship, and her knowledge of diverse cultures enhances both her own learning experience and our classroom atmosphere.”

Last Updated March 24, 2015