Girl Scouts take on challenges in their own communities and around the world. By addressing girls’ access to education, six Greater LA Girl Scouts exemplified true G.I.R.L. spirit—and earned $15,000 in scholarships from Students Stand #WithMalala, in conjunction with GSGLA: Jena Anastasi (Grand Prize, Chino Hills), Meera Varma (Second Prize, Burbank) and Honorable Mention recipients Sarah Andrews (Burbank), Sierra Brooks (Gardena), Natalie Gold (Santa Monica), and Jayleen Ramos (Glendale). They received special recognition on Dec. 8 from GSGLA CEO Lise L. Luttgens.
Recently, the issue of girls’ access to education has come to the forefront, largely thanks to organizations like the Malala Fund. The problem was also the theme of this year’s Girl Scout Global Action Award, which Girl Scouts earn by making “a difference on an issue that affects girls and women all over the world.” To apply for the scholarship, high school juniors and seniors needed to have earned the award—and developed and implemented a Take Action project targeting a barrier to girls’ access to education.
Congratulations to our scholarship winners! Here are more details about their projects:
Jena Anastasi, Chino Hills (Grand Prize, $6,000)
In order to provide girls with the confidence to explore careers in STEM, Jena taught four science lessons with corresponding experiments to students at the Chino Teen Center. She was also invited by Threshold Technologies to present experiments at the Love, Hope, & Charity Foundation for youth and families. Participants were so impressed with the program, she was invited back to present a program to 800 more youth.
Meera Varma, Burbank (Second Prize, $3,000)
Meera addressed the lack of female representation in the computer science field by working with the Women in STEM club at Burbank High School to provide coding/Java workshops to fifth graders. The program will continue on a monthly basis.
Sarah Andrews, Burbank (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
Sarah spent more than 116 hours on her project which aimed to increase girls’ exposure to STEM-related careers. She taught robotics to girls ages 11–14 and inspired them to form two FIRST Lego League robotics teams.
Sierra Brooks, Gardena (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
Sierra partnered with a local YMCA in support of a reading program. She replaced books, created a reading area with reading buddies and comfortable chairs, and coached girls to read above their grade levels. By the end of her project, 95 percent of the participants were reading above grade level, furthering their academic success.
Natalie Gold, Santa Monica (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
Continuing her Girl Scout Gold Award project to inspire and encourage girls to explore careers in engineering, Natalie created and conducted a workshop, “Engineering, the E in STEM” at a Title I school, bringing in a STEM professional to assist. She also delivered a speech regarding the STEM gender gap to more than 180 Girl Scouts and their families. Her project website has more than 12,000 hits.
Jayleen Ramos, Glendale (Honorable Mention, $1,500)
With the goal of encouraging more girls to explore STEM-related career paths, Jayleen coached a FIRST Lego League all-girl robotics team. She focused her efforts on an all-girl team to encourage each girl to learn and lead in team-tasking, which is often done by boys on co-ed teams.
To learn more about scholarship opportunities for Girl Scouts, browse through our Older Girl Opportunities on our website and make sure you are signed up to receive Great News!, our monthly member newsletter. You can also learn more about the Girl Scout Global Action Award—open to Girl Scouts of all levels—by clicking here.