2014 Grand Prize Winner
Samantha Herold, Junior, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Read the 2014 finalist essays here




Discover Prize Winner Inspires Next Generation of Women in STEM
Morgan DiCarlo, the 2013 Discover Prize winner
Read the article here


2012 Winners Tell All
Read the article here




2015 AAGS Press Release - Word 2015 AAGS Press Release - Word




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The AAGS Scholarship submission period is now closed.
Please check back for the posting of the 2015 AAGS Finalists.


About the Scholarship

The Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship (AAGS) engages college students in pressing women's issues and connects them with today’s impactful leaders so together they can achieve the further global advancement of women. Discover partners with Womenetics to encourage future leaders to think critically about the business issues affecting women today by offering $15,000 in scholarship funds.

The winner of the competition will be announced at the 2015 Global Women’s Initiative conference in Chicago on November 13, 2015, which will convene international thought leaders to explore Confidence is Key: Solutions for Building the Bench. This year’s conference will examine how attention by employers to the intersection between professional and personal realities is essential for companies to fully leverage diverse talent and for women in business to successfully grow and lead. What strategies can be used to develop women leaders and to generate holistic work environments that allow them to thrive?

2014 AAGS Scholarship Finalists in Chicago (L to R): Samantha Herold, Susan Liu,
Erin Trumble, Sara Miller and Anna Hiran




5 students will be selected to win a total of $15,000 dollars and an expense-paid trip to attend and participate in the 2015 Global Women’s Initiative conference in Chicago on Nov. 13, 2015.

  • Grand prize (1): $5,000

  • Runners-up (4): $2,500

Prize money is intended to finance education, travel or other opportunities that may lead to further understanding of these important global business issues.

Deadline for Essay Submissions

August 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM EST

2015 Essay Topics

Applicants must submit a 2,500-word essay on one of the following topics.

Career Growth and Flexible Workplace Initiatives

Effective talent management is important for developing and retaining high potential employees, regardless of gender. A study by the global consulting firm, Mercer, indicates that traditional programs aimed at developing female talent through flexibility, such as adjustable work hours and leave programs, may actually slow the advancement of women in the future and lead to complacency within organizations on the issue of gender equity. Given these challenges, how can companies improve current programs or develop new programs in order to promote flexibility without jeopardizing the career development of women?

Men in the Game: How to Make Gender Diversity an Enterprise-Wide Effort

In their “Women Matter 2013” report, McKinsey & Company cites having a corporate culture that supports gender diversity as one of two key drivers of gender equity within organizations. According to United States Department of Labor statistics from the 2013 population survey, men have greater representation in the workforce, with 69.7% of working age men participating in the national workforce as compared to only 57.2% of women. As such, in your opinion, what role can men specifically play in developing more women leaders in business? Design a possible program or set of programs that companies and organizations could use to gain the support of male employees and build a unified effort to improve gender balance and enhance productivity in the workplace.

When Employees Thrive, Businesses Thrive

Research continues to reinforce the connection between employee wellbeing and company performance. Employees who feel that their needs are met – physical, mental, and beyond – are more likely to be engaged; according to a 2012 study by Towers Watson, companies with high levels of employee engagement show a 19% increase in operating income. Various factors, including the greater tendency of women to be family caregivers, can require different support in the workplace for men and women. Consider some of the unique needs of women employees, especially financial acumen and healthcare needs. Develop a program that companies can use to more effectively address one of these needs and to improve the likelihood of retaining more women in leadership.

Developing Key Competencies in the Next Generation of Leaders

In a recent study by Development Dimensions International, today’s executives identify three main competencies needed to be successful in top-level positions, namely the ability to think strategically, to lead change, and to create and rally others around a vision. These competencies require a base level of confidence that is developed long before individuals enter the workforce. Analyze how policies, such as Title IX, aimed at creating equal opportunity for young women in educational institutions, have impacted confidence in women and consequently female representation in the workforce. What strategies can be used to instill in young girls the confidence necessary to develop key leadership competencies later in life?

P&L Responsibility Gap among Female Leaders

Although trends show increasing numbers of women on boards and in top management positions, the increase in representation may in some ways overstate the gains made by women in the workplace. In their 2014 “Gender 3,000” study, Credit Suisse cites that within senior management, women represent 18.9% of senior managers in shared services as opposed to only 3% of CEOs. Shared services positions typically offer less influence, less P&L responsibility, and less opportunity to advance to the most senior positions. Research some of the key factors leading to the underrepresentation of women leaders in P&L roles and discuss what companies can do internally to help woman prepare for and enter these roles.

Requirements for Entry

  • Essay must be 2,500 words or less and submitted in .doc or .docx format

  • Formatting:

    • Name your document file “Lastname_Firstname_EssayTopic”

    • Include your name and the essay prompt to which you are responding at the top of the document

    • Use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, double-spaced

  • Cite your research with proper in-text citations and a works cited page in MLA, APA or Chicago format (The works cited page will not be included in your word count.)

  • In addition to the essay, at the end of the document, include a 200-word (maximum) personal statement about what you would do with the prize money if you win.


Eligible applicants must be:

  • Enrolled as an undergraduate student in an accredited college or university.

  • A U.S. citizen or legal resident of the United States.

  • In pursuit of their first bachelor's degree. (Students who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree are not eligible.)

  • Available to attend, expenses paid, the 2015 GWI conference in Chicago Nov. 12-13.

  • Previous AAGS winners are ineligible to compete for the 2015 prize.

Selection Process

Essays will be read anonymously and scored using a detailed grading rubric. Essays will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

        • Content

        • Originality

        • Quality of research

        • Organization

        • Style and mechanics

The essays with the top five scores will be selected as finalists. The grand prize winner will be selected from the top five essays by the Honorable Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Institute for Women, Peace and Security and former Inaugural United States Ambassador on Global Women’s Issues.


The AAGS Scholarship submission period is now closed.
Please check back for the posting of the 2015 AAGS Finalists.

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