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Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold

Girls Inc.: Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.

It's good to be a girl in this world today. I like being a girl because I can speak for myself. I can stand up for myself. Being a girl makes me strong.

Girls Inc. 2016 National Scholars

Amina Abdullahi, Girls Inc. of Omaha 
Amina's Girls Inc. mentors created a safe space to discuss religious and cultural diversity in a world that can often be difficult for a young Muslim woman in America. After gaining confidence in herself and her abilities, Amina discovered her passion for engineering. She plans to study Architectural Engineering at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

Tyesha Brown, Girls Inc. of Sarasota County
For more than 10 years, Girls Inc. has been a second home for Tyesha. Being connected to trusting mentors helped her to feel valued and supported. Now, she is the first person in her family to go to college and has plans to earn her MBA at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and start her own business.

Laura Chavez, Girls Inc. of Orange County
At Girls Inc., Laura learned about positive body image and gained the self-esteem necessary to overcome unhealthy behaviors. She discovered love and respect for the body she was given and has become a confident leader among her peers. Laura hopes to attend the University of Pennsylvania to study biological science on her path towards a career as an ER Physician.

Rae-Jean Davis, Girls Inc. of Memphis
From an early age, Rae-Jean played the role of caregiver to her younger sibling.  At Girls Inc., she found a place where she could be a teenager and began to open up about her struggles at home. Girls Inc. connected her with a zoo internship and, thanks to this experience, Rae-Jean has decided to study marine veterinary medicine. She plans to eventually join the Navy Marine Mammal Program.

Jennifer Duran, Girls Inc. of Lynn
When she first came to Girls Inc., Jennifer was shy and didn’t feel comfortable interacting with others because of her language barrier. She was soon introduced to a group of peers who made her feel safe and empowered her to become a leader for change in her community. Jennifer plans to study business in college in an effort to further her civic involvement.

Nelzy Gonzalez-Zaragoza, Girls Inc. of Alameda County 
Nelzy connected with mentors at Girls Inc. that helped her to appreciate herself and gain confidence, rather than striving to resemble the women she saw on TV and in magazines. Inspired to change the unrealistic standards set for women by the media, Nelzy plans to attend the University of Southern California to study directing and use film to empower women and girls.

Ekra Haq, Girls Inc. of Alameda County
Ekra grew up experiencing religious intolerance in her community and found safety and acceptance at Girls Inc. This sisterhood of support encouraged her to explore her interest in computers and other male-dominated STEM fields. Ekra now plans to attend the University of California, Davis to study Computer Science.

Cynthia Herrera, Girls Inc. of Orange County
Cynthia watched as other girls in her neighborhood became teen mothers and knew that she wanted something different for herself and her future. Girls Inc. provided her with the resources to prepare for college and the self-confidence to go after her dreams of being an FBI agent. Cynthia plans to attend California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in pursuit of a career in law enforcement.   

Ana Navarro, Girls Inc. of Orange County
Ana’s Girls Inc. mentor encouraged her to surround herself with people who would build her up and helped her find the courage to separate herself from a long-term, unhealthy relationship. Ana also discovered her love of construction and entrepreneurship through Girls Inc. She plans to study entrepreneurship at Chapman University in the hopes of one day starting her own construction company.

Zaa’Raa Padgett,
Girls Inc. of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey
Zaa’Raa describes herself as a caterpillar that transitioned, with the help of Girls Inc., into a bold butterfly. Zaa’Raa overcame her shyness and found her natural ability to lead through coding and public speaking. She plans to pursue a career in Marine Biology at Clarion University in Pennsylvania.

Angela Phillabaum, Girls Inc. of Owensboro-Daviess County
For Angela, Girls Inc. offered a reliable and safe environment to discover her unique talents and passions. She has excelled in science and technology and, following graduation,  plans to study electrical engineering at the University of Louisville J.B. Speed School for Engineering.

Lilybeth Ruiz, Girls Inc. of Sarasota County
Lilybeth discovered a supportive, nurturing family at Girls Inc. and took comfort in knowing that she had mentors in her corner. Lilybeth’s Girls Inc. family provided her with the tools necessary to pursue her dream of being the first person in her family to go to college. She now tutors other girls and plans to study nursing with a focus in pediatric medicine.

Addysanne Stout, Girls Inc. of Owensboro-Daviess County
Girls Inc. programming taught Addysanne to protect herself from physical and mental bullying. She now shares what she has learned by serving as a mentor to younger girls and plans to study social work and business management.
Addysanne dreams of overseeing operations at her Girls Inc. affiliate, empowering other girls to be strong, smart, and bold.

Dalina Tesfamariam, Girls Inc. of Alameda County
Girls Inc. offered Dalina a safe space to escape from school bullying. She discovered her voice and the confidence to talk openly about racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression that she had experienced in the classroom. Girls Inc. inspired Dalina to pursue a STEM career. She plans to attend Claremont McKenna College to study computer science.

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Terri Wright, Girls Inc. of Chattanooga
Terri discovered mentors at Girls Inc. that encouraged her to learn about her rights as a woman. She found the confidence to set big goals for herself and the drive and determination to see them through. Terri’s participation in IMPACT (Infant Mortality Public Awareness Campaign for Tennessee) helped to spark her interest in medicine. She now plans to study nursing at Spelman College.