I began Girl Scouting when I was about six years old, and continued through my senior year of high school with my troop of about 13 girls. Some of the cooler experiences I had were going camping and planning special events like those for World Thinking Day with my council. I especially loved having an impact on my community—which is why I completed my Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards projects.
What was your Gold Award project, and why was it important to you?
In high school, I was on a competitive computer programming team where we learned how to make a website backed up by a database. Every year, new members would learn introductory stuff, but the older members of the team, who knew basically everything, never had the chance to teach the others before they graduated. It didn’t make sense—we were losing so much knowledge instead of building on it! I knew I wanted to create a computer programming and web development textbook to bridge that gap, so I created a 200-page technical manual on my own and made it available to the general public. Everyone should have the chance to learn computer programming!
Finishing a Gold Award project takes a lot of work. What kept you inspired?
Girl Scouts really taught me the leadership skills I needed, such as how to split things into tasks and delegate to others. I learned how to take a big project, like my textbook, and break it into little, manageable sections. I first planned out the units and lessons, and then wrote out each one individually. It kept me very organized. And the skills I used in my Gold Award just keep helping me in my life. I’m going to need those same skills when I enroll in grad school and write my dissertation.
You’re a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts. Why have you stayed involved?
Girl Scouts taught me that when you match your passion with giving back to the community, you can really achieve a lot and get a lot done.
Everyone should invest in Girl Scouts because every girl deserves an opportunity to succeed and to find out what she is capable of. By giving girls a chance to learn about themselves through diverse experiences, you open up the whole world to them. I love being a part of that legacy.
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Hadiya Harrigan, a mechanical engineering undergrad at Tuskegee University, was named a Girl Scout National Young Woman of Distinction in 2015. Her long history with Girl Scouts of Western Ohio helped her to discover a love of educating children about STEM careers. She is a proud lifetime member of Girl Scouts of the USA.