EASTERN SHORE, Md. (WJZ)—An incredible honor for a student at Washington College on the Eastern Shore.

Jessica Kartalijia reports.

The Baltimore County native will graduate this weekend with the largest prize awarded to a college senior in the country.

Lisa Jones is hard at work. A grants and contracts coordinator, she’s used to writing for her job. Now this 22-year-old has something else to add to her resume.

She’s the winner of prestigious Sophie Kerr Prize.

In her acceptance speech, Jones thanked her professors and advisors and “parents for reading all my drafts and anyone who I met along life’s journey who made true life worthy of a story,” she said.

An anthropology major, Jones submitted a piece about her life-changing trip to Tanzania, an essay that earned her the nation’s top student literary prize and a check for more than $61,000.

“I try and find the essence in humanity and see what makes us similar and what makes us so different,” she said.

A committee of 13 English professors selected Jones, who also wrote about growing up in the small Baltimore County town of Fork.

The prize is the namesake of Sophie Kerr, an Eastern Shore woman who had a successful career in publishing.

Jones says the money will help her pursue her dream as a writer.

“I would love to travel around the world and document stories of children and show the world what underdeveloped countries have to offer,” Jones said.

This year the Sophie Kerr committee also selected four finalists, including Dan McCloskey from Ellicott City and Insley Smuller of Frederick.

Lisa Jones graduated from Perry Hall High School.


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