The three winners of the 2014 Young Women's Leadership Award are exemplary students and leaders, standing out even in a generation known for its "make a difference" ambition.
Aldina Klapija and Reyhan Ayhan are recent graduates of the Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria in Queens, N.Y. Both were very involved in the Tech Crew, a team that helped win their school the designation of an Apple Distinguished School.
Klapija founded "Girl Empowerment" at the Leadership School, which counts among its accomplishments spreading awareness of domestic abuse and its warning signs. She also helped establish a garden to promote healthy living and provide the school with fresh fruit and vegetables. Klapija is a biology major at St. John's University and hopes to become a pediatric neurologist.
The Leadership School has a mentoring group called Step Up Women's Network, and Ayhan was a participant beginning in her sophomore year. Through the group, she has gone on field trips to Pandora's headquarters and taken part in a hackathon. Ayhan is a compter science major at the University of California at Davis. "Hopefully I can do something that will change the world, or be a part of something that changes the world through computer science," she says.
The third recipient is Nahima Uddin, a student at New York University and a graduate of Edward R. Murrow High School. As a global student ambassador to the World at School an organization run by the United Nations her primary focus was educational policy and women's rights. Some of what she learned as an ambassador she brought back to her high school, where she co-founded a group to combat sexism.
Uddin also participated in an Intel program that included an independent study on the how the design of various typefaces and fonts resonates with and affects people with autism. Her paper was among those chosen to be submitted for publication.
Uddin is undecided on a major, but recently completed an internship that piqued her interest in nonprofits.
The Leadership Awards were presented at American Banker's Mentor Factor Day in June. Each student received $5,000 for college. Discover Financial Services was a co-sponsor of the event.