The 2014 Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship (AAGS) grand prize winner was announced at the Global Women's Initiative in Chicago. Learn more about the 5 outstanding finalists and their essays.
Grand Prize Winner:
Samantha Herold, Junior, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Major: Supply chain management and international business
Herold’s AAGS entry focused on strategies companies can implement to prevent employee burnout among women through the creation of supportive environments. She gained international supply chain experience in London, England, as an intern at FareShare, a nonprofit that distributes edible food waste to the UK’s needy population. Herold hopes to create a positive social and ecological impact through making resources accessible in the most sustainable way possible. Click here to read her essay
Anna Hiran, Sophomore, University of Texas at Austin
Majors: Business Honors, Finance
Hiran’s AAGS essay focused on cultivating confidence and a career focus in school-age girls through the Ladies of Leadership campaign designed by Hiran. She is currently studying finance, political communication and public policy, with a strong interest in government and law. Hiran is an active member in the Texas Democratic Party and currently serves on the finance committee of UT’s Honors Business Association. Click here to read her essay
Sara Miller, Sophomore, Georgia Institute of Technology
Major: Aerospace Engineering
Miller explored the importance of role models as a mechanism to bridge the confidence gap between men and women in her AAGS entry. She worked to establish an organization for women studying aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech her freshman year In addition to her regular coursework, Miller conducts undergraduate research in several fields, including a project involving the cratering record for inner solar system planets and a collaboration with Stony Brook University’s cognitive psychology laboratory. Click here to read her essay
Susan Liu, Freshman, Wesleyan University
Major: International Development
In her AAGS entry, Liu described how the reinforcement of gender roles affects women’s confidence and ambition, and how these social norms can be deconstructed. In addition to her studies, Liu currently serves as a community manager for Givology, an NGO providing education to children in developing regions, and director of public relations for the USA chapter of International Youth Council, which focuses on engaging youth in UN initiatives. Click here to read her essay
Erin Trumble, Sophomore, Florida State University
Majors: Anthropology and history, with minors in international affairs, business and English
Trumble detailed both short-term and long-term solutions to increase women’s confidence with a focus on sociological factors in her AAGS entry. At FSU, she is the president of the Red Cross Noles, which works closely with the local American Red Cross, and Trumble is also on the leadership council of the Phi Eta Sigma honor society. Last summer, she joined the Growth International Volunteer Excursions program (GIVE) in Nicaragua and hopes expand her involvement with GIVE in Thailand. Click here to read her essay
Womenetics knows the future of women’s empowerment worldwide lies in the hands of today's students. Watch the 2014 finalists share their research and ambition in this 30-minute panel discussion.
BONUS VIDEO: Scholarship Winners Continue to Make Waves
Click here to watch a TEDx talk by Morgan DiCarlo, the 2013 Discover Prize winner. The talk, titled "Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Engineers," was based on DiCarlo's research for her AAGS entry on bridging the STEM gender gap.
About the Scholarship
The Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship (AAGS) is designed to engage young people in pressing women's issues and to connect students who are interested in the global advancement of women with thought leaders in impactful roles. Discover has partnered with Womenetics to encourage future leaders to think critically about the business issues affecting women today by offering $15,000 in scholarship funds and an expense-paid trip to participate in the Global Women’s Initiative conference in Chicago on Nov. 12.
The 2014 Global Women’s Initiative will convene international thought leaders to explore Women as the Competitive Advantage: Redefining a Workplace that Works for Women and Men. The conference includes a keynote presentation along with multiple panel discussions that pertain to the overall theme. We will explore how women (particularly younger women) are defining – as well as identifying, directing, challenging and shaping – the most important issues, opportunities and moments at this point in time. How are women shaping not only history, but embracing risks, innovating solutions and creating a paradigm-shifting “herstory” in the process?
Stay tuned for more information about the 2015 contest.
5 Students will be selected to win a total of $15,000 dollars and an expense-paid trip to attend and participate in the 2014 Global Women’s Initiative conference in Chicago on Nov. 12.
• 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 issues.
2014 Essay Topics
CONFIDENCE AND RISK
A recent article entitled “The Confidence Gap” asserts that evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men – and that to succeed in business, confidence matters as much as competence. Develop a research-based review of this issue and the ramifications of whether or not it is true. Design an approach that can be implemented broadly to counter girls’ perceived lack of confidence about their abilities in business and a campaign to encourage women to embrace for-profit rather than nonprofit work.
EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IN A WORLD OF COMPETING DEMANDS
Gallup’s 2013 State of the Global Workplace found that only 13 percent of the global workforce is engaged at work. Actively disengaged employees and resulting burnout cost economies $450-$550 billion annually. And while burnout is not a female-only experience, high achieving women tend to have more expectations placed on them at work, home and in their communities. Already in high-pressure jobs, the additional pressure women experience means that they struggle to balance demands. Examine what conditions are necessary to foster a corporate culture of support that enables female employees to avoid burnout. Research and cite cost-effective best practices and resulting outcomes that would lead to greater numbers of women ascending to business leadership, as well as enable businesses to fully engage their employees while maintaining their focus on growing their business.
ROLE OF MEN TO BE CATALYSTS FOR CHANGE
Women’s contributions to the workplace are still largely dependent on corporate and societal cultures driven by men. If women are going to fully participate and be able to contribute in every way to economic success, men must become champions of women’s engagement, leadership and success in business. Examine the current landscape of gender bias in US business and research factors that drive traditional gender roles in the workplace. Design a program to provide possible solutions to counter gender bias in two different kinds of workplaces – one a service business, the other a manufacturing business – in order to reduce barriers to women’s leadership and produce a more competitive workforce.
WORK ENVIRONMENT AS INCENTIVE FOR SUCCESS AND PRODUCTIVITY
Research shows that building a highly engaged workforce takes a combination of many things, each impacting people in different ways. With the influx of younger workers and the proliferation of technology at work, the whole environment has to be more flexible and transparent. Examine the structure & layout of the traditional workplace and design a proposal for the ideal workplace of the 21st century using design, architecture and sociological approaches.
Requirements for Entry
• Your essay must be 2,500 words or less and submitted in .doc format
• 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.)
• Previous AAGS winners are ineligible to compete for the 2014 prize.