Feng named 2018 Starkville Distinguished Young Woman

Lori Feng was named Starkville 2018 Distinguished Young Woman. (Photo by Laura Daniels, submitted photo)
Winners of the 2018 Starkville Distinguished Young Women program were, from left: Hannah Jian, 2nd Alternate; Lori Feng, DYW of Starkville, Overall Talent Award, Overall Scholastic, Overall Self Expression and Be Your Best Self Essay; Mary Kathryn Munn, 1st Alternate and Overall Fitness; Mia Robertson, Spirit Award and Becca Breckenridge, Fitness. (Submitted photo)
Staff Writer

Lori Feng was named the 2018 Starkville Distinguished Young Woman at the program Saturday night at Bettersworth Auditorium in Lee Hall.

Starkville program coordinator Susan Keith said DYW is a national scholarship program focused on empowering young women.

"The purpose is to inspire high school girls to develop their full potential, to showcase their talents, to emphasize leadership and award scholarship," Keith said. "It's an opportunity for the girls to further their education through college scholarships."

Feng, the daughter of Li Wang and Gary Feng, lives in Starkville and is a junior at the Mississippi School of Math and Science in Columbus.

At MSMS, Feng participates in Future Business Leaders of America, DECA, Model United Nations, MSMS Senate, Poetry Out Loud and National History Day, some of which she started at MSMS herself.

"I was involved in most of those clubs at Starkville High School, but I started several at MSMS so I could continue to compete in them," Feng said.

Feng said she is a member of clubs and activities to help her pursue a career in business, and she is interested in attending the University of Pennsylvania or Yale University after graduating high school.

"I was involved in most of those clubs at Starkville High School, but I started several at MSMS so I could continue to compete in them," Feng said.

Feng said she has been interested in the Starkville DYW program since elementary school.

Feng said she was not expecting to take away so many new relationships after participating in DYW.

"I became so much closer to girls from Starkville High School that I never really got to know before, and I was able to build relationships with smart and inspiring young women," Feng said.

For the scholarship program, the participants are judged based on an interview, grade point average, academic extra-curricular activities and ACT score before the program, and during the program they are judged on talent, self expression and fitness.

The girls also compete in the Be Your Best Self essay contest and the Spirit Award, which is chosen by the girls competing in the program.

"It's for the person who embodies all the positive aspects of the program," Keith said.

Along with winning 2018 Starkville DYW, Feng was also awarded overall talent, overall scholastic, overall self expression, and best Be Your Best Self essay.
"She's a pretty outstanding young woman," Keith said. "She does it all."

Mary Kathryn Munn was a awarded first alternate and overall fitness, Hannah Jian was awarded second alternate, Mia Robertson was awarded the Spirit Award and Becca Breckenridge was awarded in fitness.

The overall winner is awarded a $2,000 scholarship, first alternate is awarded $1,500, second alternate is awarded $1,000, overall scholastic and overall talent are awarded $500 each, fitness is awarded $400, alternate fitness is awarded $200, overall self expression is awarded $300 and Be Your Best Self essay winner is awarded $250.

Keith said the scholarships are funded by program ticket sales and DYW sponsors: Starkville Area Arts Council, Wellspire Financial, Martin Oral Surgery, Starkville Clinic for Women, Starkville Women's Club and Elite Physical Therapy.

"I really like how Distinguished Young Women focuses on everything, not just outer beauty," Feng said. "It showcases inner beauty as well."