On an early Saturday morning, the Edmonds SnoKing branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) hosted a meeting at 10:00 a.m. at Snoqualmie Hall in Edmonds Community College. AAUW is an organization dedicated to “empowering women as individuals and as a community since 1881,” according to their website. AAUW aims to increase the amount of women in STEM-related work areas by providing scholarship opportunities and financial support.
First, scholarships were awarded to students in the Edmonds School District. Of the two awarded, one went to Mountlake Terrace High School’s own Minh Phan. A previous AAUW STEM honoree, Minh was selected from many other applicants due to her outstanding work and impressive resume.
In the words of biotechnology teacher Penny Lefavour, “I consider Minh to be one of the finest students I have ever had the privilege to teach. Highly capable, confident, and kind. Minh is an active leader in our highly regarded peer tutoring program and has led groups of adults and children through STEM activities in our school’s outreach programs and she always receives rave reviews.”
Lefavour continued, “Minh has also logged in over 70 hours volunteering at the Mountlake Terrace library… [she] is definitely a young woman committing to make the world a better place through bioengineering.”
After being honored, Phan was invited to speak. “I want to first start off by thanking AAUW for providing me this scholarship. Not only am I thankful for the generous monetary award associated but having experienced these own gender disparities in my home school STEM program, I am also immensely proud to take part in my organization’s goal to promote the equity of women in a male-dominated STEM industry,” she said.
Phan attributed her success to her hard work instead of the actions of others. “Rather than my accomplishments being products of natural capacity, they are a result of my inquisitiveness and self motivation, characteristics that I truly value in myself.”
Phan will attend the University of Washington next year, where she plans to obtain a master’s degree in biomedical engineering.
Three other STEM students from MTHS were recognized for their accomplishments. Juniors Teresa Bonilla, Selam Ayele and Annika Prom received official certificates and goodie bags for their outstanding work in STEM fields. All were advised to apply for the same scholarship that Minh had received.
For more information on AAUW or their work for women in the world, visit their website at https://www.aauw.org