This Gold Award Girl Scout Earned More than $160k in Scholarships (and Saved Lives Along the Way)

This Gold Award Girl Scout Earned More than $160k in Scholarships (and Saved Lives Along the Way)

Being a Gold Award Girl Scout is a really special thing. First, you can’t avoid the fact that it’s incredible for your resume. Girl Scouts’ stamp of approval means something out in the world. Lots of kids do service projects, and those are great, but Gold Award Girl Scouts take it to another level, and that sets us apart.

People understand the magnitude of the challenges we take on and know we’ve got the leadership, strength, confidence, and entrepreneurial skills to do big things. My Gold Award was the subject of every college essay I wrote and every admissions interview I attended, and it earned me more than $160,000 in scholarships. That money made it possible for me to attend Rice University and paved the path for my current studies at Baylor College of Medicine. To say it was a big deal is an understatement.

But the Gold Award goes way deeper than dollars and cents or even college admissions letters. Looking back on high school and even my undergrad years at college, there was never a time when any of my teachers or professors gave me the space to think about the mark I wanted to have on the world and then plan out how I might make an impact. Everyone tells girls to dream big, but outside of Girl Scouts, nobody takes it further to make sure girls have both the skills and support to make those dreams become reality.

For my Gold Award, I was determined to improve healthcare in rural India. Was it ambitious to think I could open an outpatient medical ward? I was still a sophomore in high school, so I’d say yes! In fact, a lot of people told me it was impossible or that I should scale back my goal, but those voices and opinions drove me to do a lot of research, network with powerful people both in the medical community in India and in their government, figure out how to file important paperwork, and get to know the needs of the community. It was so much work on top of just being a regular kid in high school—but it mattered to me. I’d found my passion and the deeper reason for it all, and that’s what kept me going.

Finding that passion has been such a gift. Earning my Gold Award was the first time I’d ever taken a stance and really thought about what I stand for, what’s important to me, and how I want to convey that to the world. Though the whole process, my expectations of myself grew. I always wanted to make a difference, but how much further could I push myself? How many people could I reach? I’d already opened a medical ward in another country (it took three years, but all that work paid off!); what more could I do?

It’s an exciting feeling to love what you do and to know you’ve chosen the right path in life. That’s what being a Gold Award Girl Scout has done for me, and I hope it does the same for so many other girls in the years to come.