The Girls Inc. National Scholars and Awards Program was created in 1992 when Lucile Miller Wright, a long-time supporter of Girls Inc., made a bequest from her estate to fund scholarships expressly for young women members. Since 1993, Girls Inc. has awarded over $4.2 million in scholarships, making higher education a reality for hundreds of high school girls across the United States and Canada. Scholarships are awarded annually and are open to Girls Inc. participants in the 11th and 12th grades. For more information, please contact Director of Teen Programs, Maria Tijerino-Lew.
Girls Inc. National Scholars are outstanding young women selected for exemplifying the Girls Inc. mission of inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. For other girls, they are role models who demonstrate a commitment to achieving academically and who serve their communities.
Girls Inc. National Scholars
Eman Khatri was awarded a $20,000 scholarship and named Girls Inc. National Scholar in 2019 as a 12th grader at Alameda High School. Eman participated in several GIIC programs including Eureka! STEM, Ethical Fashion Show, LWVA Teen Debates, and in 2018 she was elected to the National Girls Inc. Teen Policy Board. Through Eureka!, she had the honor of interning at Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s District Office. In addition, Eman has dedicated many volunteer hours to GIIC and is a powerful voice for young women and Muslims. She co-founded the Muslim Student Association at Alameda High School, coordinated a Muslim Day at the Capitol field trip where students lobbied for legislation in Sacramento, and is Co-President of Girl Up. In 2019, she received the prestigious Women Who Dare Teen Award. Eman currently attends Wellesley College where she studies political science and international relations. She hopes to go to law school after college, and to represent and advocate for her community on a national stage.
Amy Chu was awarded a $5,000 scholarship and named Girls Inc. National Scholar in 2018 as a 12th grader at Encinal High School. Amy spent five years participating in numerous GIIC teen programs including Eureka! STEM, CARE (Composting and Recycling Experts), and Ethical Fashion Show where she served as emcee, and in advertising and film production. Amy volunteered for several GIIC events and participated in many outside activities through her involvement with GIIC. She held several leadership positions at her high school and helped champion environmental causes. Amy credits GIIC with giving her the many opportunities to explore and develop her interests. She is currently a student at UC Berkeley studying Environmental Economics & Policy and City Planning.
Julie Vu was awarded a $5,000 scholarship and named Girls Inc. National Scholar in 2018 as a 12th grader at Alameda High School. Julie participated in several GIIC programs including Eureka!, Passport to Success (2013-2015), Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program, LWVA Teen Debate, and Ethical Fashion Show. Julie also volunteered for numerous GIIC events and was a peer educator for YEAH (Youth Education Advocate for Health). She is a first-generation college student and credits Eureka! and GIIC with advancing her personal development, confidence, and perseverance. Julie is currently a student at UC Berkeley majoring in Economics.
Mary Carmen Reid was awarded a $20,000 scholarship and named Girls Inc. National Scholar in 2017 as a 12th grader at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School. Mary Carmen was very involved in several Girls Inc. of the Island City programs including Eureka!, Ethical Fashion Show, and CARE. She credits GIIC’s supportive mentors and peers, and hands-on STEM programming with developing her interest in the biological sciences. Mary Carmen is currently a senior at UC Berkeley finishing her degree in Molecular Environmental Biology. In August 2021, she will begin a graduate program in Global Disease Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins in pursuit of an MSPH (a Masters of Science in Public Health), and she hopes to eventually attend medical school and become an ob/gyn.
Luna Cristales was awarded a $5,000 scholarship in 2014 as an 11th grade student at Alameda High School. Luna thought her future was limited because her family struggled financially, but at Girls Inc., Luna learned that her past and current challenges could be overcome by working hard toward fulfilling her goals. Luna credits Girls Inc. with instilling in her a drive to achieve and set an example for young Latinas.
Anjuli Sastry was awarded a $15,000 scholarship in 2010 as a 12th grade student at Alameda High School and went on to earn a degree from UC Berkeley. Anjuli volunteered for Girls Inc. of the Island City for several years as an editor and writer of OutLoud, a magazine published by teens of Girls Inc for teens. She also volunteered for the Red Cross and was selected as a Red Cross National Youth Council (RCNYC) member and president of the Alameda High School Red Cross Club. In addition, she was a founding member of the Alameda Youth Advisory Commission and a member of the Life in Perspective (LIP) Board for the Bay Area News Group. Anjuli currently works for National Public Radio (NPR) where she is a 2021 Nieman Journalism Foundation Visiting Fellow.
Cynthia Davila was awarded a $2,500 scholarship in 2008 as a 12th grade student at Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School. At Girls Inc. of the Island City, Cynthia participated in the FacilitateHER Leadership Program and Blue Print social-action group. She also served the community through volunteer work at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion and as a member of the Latino Club. Cynthia went on to earn a graduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and is currently a medical student at Michigan State University’s Medical School.
Sara Heaps was awarded a $15,000 scholarship in 2006 as a 12th grade student at Encinal High School. Sara was a founding member of Girls Inc.’s Blueprint social-action group, was an organizer of Girls Inc.’s first Girls Take Charge Summit, and was both an award-winner and an Honorary Chair at Girls Inc.’s annual Women Who Dare Awards. Sara attended Stanford University and is currently an 8th grade science and physics teacher.
Nicole Oliver was awarded a $15,000 scholarship in 2006 as a 12th grade student at Holy Names High School. Nicole spoke passionately about the problem of teen dating violence at Girls Inc.’s Girls Take Charge Summit. She also participated in Girls Inc.’s FacilitateHER Leadership Program and Courageous Girls program. Nicole went on to obtain a graduate degree from San Francisco State University.
Natasha Walls was awarded a $2,500 scholarship in 2006 as a 12th grade student at Alameda High School. Natasha participated in Girls Inc.’s Blueprint social-action group, Girls Inc.’s Girls Take Charge Summit and Girls Inc.’s FacilitatHER Leadership and Teen Zine programs. Natasha attended City College of San Francisco.
Girls Inc. Alumnae Collegiate Scholars
Jill Barcelona was awarded a $5,000 scholarship in 2014 as a college student at the University of California, Berkeley. At Girls Inc., Jill discovered a place where girls are free to think for and be themselves, where girls form strong bonds with one another, and where girls can dream and achieve big. Jill continues to help younger girls reach new heights and success through volunteering, mentoring, and helping others.
Joan Barcelona was awarded a $5,000 scholarship in 2014 as a college student at the University of California, Berkeley. Joan’s perspective about women’s roles and their abilities to achieve strengthened as a volunteer at Girls Inc. As a writer and editor for Alameda’s only teen magazine, Joan learned that her voice mattered and had meaning. Joan continues to give meaning to younger girls’ lives by continuing to volunteer and mentor girls at Girls Inc.