Jane Dinan sews a baby quilt.
you think quilting, a few stereotypes come to mind:
grandmotherly types Sgathered in a rural church hall, sewing and
Sarah Jane Dinan, president of the U.Va. Quilting Club and stereotype-buster.
A brilliant student with a top-1-percent class ranking and 10
A-pluses, she ais pursuing a dual degree in French and government
and foreign affairs.
started sewing at age 7, when she learned from little old
ladies at the Woodlawn Plantation, an estate near her Alexandria
home that offered lessons. She sewed and quilted even as she built
a stellar academic record at Georgetown Visitation School in Washington.
is something concrete I get to do after school work, she
said. Its so nice to sit down for two hours and make
a skirt then its done, and I can wear it.
and thread were mostly a solo pursuit until her third year at
U.Va., when she discovered students with similar interests, including
club founder April Lowenthal, who graduated in 2000.
was really surprised that there was anyone interested in doing
that here, she said. College-age girls are not known
formed the U.Va. Quilting Club, which then numbered about 15,
gathering at members apartments and producing quilts for
residents of Emmaus with Child, a local Christian maternity home
for pregnant women in crisis.
who started the U.Va. Quilting Club, is
the best student that I have known in 12 years
Associate professor of
government and foreign affairs
knit together a regular group of quilters for weekly sessions
through the fall. Academic pressures have cut into quilting time
in the spring, but club members are working to finish one last
quilt for Emmaus before graduation, Dinan said.
works her quilting around her studies, which she pursues with
an unusual passion, according to her adviser, Allen Lynch, an
associate professor of government and foreign affairs and director
of the Center for Russian and East European Studies.
have no hesitation in confirming that Sarah Dinan is the best
student that I have known in 12 years of teaching at U.Va.,
Columbia College and New York University, he said.
is the last of an impressive Dinan dynasty at the
University. Two of her five brothers and sisters preceded her
on Grounds; oldest brother John received bachelors, masters
and doctoral degrees at U.Va. and is now on the faculty at Wake
a trip to Paris, Dinan will enroll in a masters program
in international affairs, focusing on Russia, at the University
of Chicago, where she has a full-tuition fellowship.
will also continue sewing.
love to sew everything. I like to do things that are useful
not like needlepoint that just hangs on the wall, she said.