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When Stephanie Victor ’88 graduated with a mechanical engineering degree, she did not anticipate using the engineer’s penchant for “seeing how things work” in a completely different arena — advocacy and community service activities.

Recently, she was honored as volunteer of the year by the Midtown Educational Foundation in Waukegan, Ill. Her volunteer activities for the foundation, which offers enrichment programs for inner-city youth, included serving on its junior board of directors and managing construction for a facility expansion.

She also serves as vice president of public affairs of the North Chicago chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) and is active in the organization’s “Next Generation” program, which encourages youth to develop leadership and life skills. NCJW appeals to Victor because it attracts “women who are like me — who have kids but don’t want to talk about diaper changing,” she says.

And Victor worked with her husband, Steve, to initiate and co-chair Catch Your Breath, an American Lung Association conference.

“Can you believe,” says Victor, “that this was the first conference on women’s lung health, which is the third biggest killer of women?”

Political fund raising and advocacy are other areas Victor has undertaken. In addition to raising money for the local Democratic Party, she meets with legislators to argue for legislation important to the party and its leaders.

“They want to hear from you,” she says, “and when you don’t [communicate with them], legislation can go the other way. Whether you’re for or against, contact your legislators.”

Victor enjoyed her well-rounded experience at Lafayette.

“The best part of Lafayette was that you could work hard and play hard,” she says. “We had great professors and great peers who wanted to be challenged mentally. And there were places to go to hang out and relax.”

The professor she remembers most vividly is Michael Paolino, Dana Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

“He tried to tickle your mind,” she says. “He tried to make learning enjoyableand he had a knack for looking at each individual student.”

Even though Lafayette was small, it still had a lot of activities,” she adds.

Victor was a member of the equestrian team, Delta Gamma sorority, and was features editor for The Lafayette.

“I don’t know if the College fostered all the advocacy and community service I do,” she says, “but it kept me going. It kept my feet wet.”

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles