Thursday, July 23, 2015

Guest Blogger: Girl Scout Zahra Hajee Wins Alcoa Chuck McLane Scholarship!

I started a makeshift school for my siblings during our summers in Texas, when it was essential for us to find games that could conquer the frequent spells of heat and boredom. Role playing “university” lessons in our kitchen was initially an amusing way to cope with the sweltering heat. However, as the classes continued into the fall, I began to receive a tremendous amount of satisfaction in watching my siblings innovate. There were times when they would attempt to solve a complex puzzle, and I would suddenly watch the light go on in their heads. It was almost a physical reaction; I could see the eyes open, the neck snap back, the pulse quicken. It was this moment of understanding I longed for in each class, and one of the most vivid memories that resonated with me as my high school career began and Kitchen Counter University came to an end.

Although my household teaching career had ceased, my passion for critical thinking had not. In college, I aspire to research how we make connections, retain information, reason, and learn, and use these findings to impact our current educational system through cognitive intervention technologies. Through opportunities such as undergraduate research fellowships and support from faculty and like-minded colleagues, I can attain the ideas, network, and stimulating environment to make these dreams a reality.

Because of the Alcoa Chuck McLane Scholarship, I will not only be able to follow my passions, I will also be challenged to embrace different fields and perspectives in a world of specialization. As a college student and innate entrepreneur, I will have the experience of being at the helm of my educational journey while taking risks, learning from failure, and making a unique and lasting contribution to the local and global community.

And this is what Girl Scouts is all about. Programs like Girl Scouts and the Alcoa Scholarship provide the resources for students to explore the best ways to better themselves and impact their communities. With this scholarship and my entire college career ahead of me, I am ready to learn, innovate, and show the world what I am made of.

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the United States, with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 63 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $615 million. In 2014, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow’s leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2014, 58 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 700,000 people and 500 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit