Ceremonies, Traditions, & Awards, News

Our Gold Shines Bright: Hadiya’s Story

We’re honored to celebrate the accomplishments of our second National Young Woman of Distinction, Hadiya Harrigan. Hadiya was selected by Girl Scouts of the USA to receive this very special honor in Girl Scouting, for her Gold Award project “Computer Programming Handbook & Modules”. Her project exceeded the Girl Scout Gold Award’s high standards of excellence: addressing a national issue, having measureable and sustainable impact, and showcasing Hadiya’s extraordinary leadership. Way to go Hadiya!

We asked Hadiya to tell us about the development of her project and how ‘Going for Gold’ impacted her. In her own words, here is Hadiya’s story:

“During my senior year of high school, I completed my Gold Award project. The hardest part of the whole process was starting the project. After a few brainstorming sessions, I had come up with a few project ideas, but none really interested me. I wanted my project to focus on something that I am passionate about, and I had to take into account the short timeframe in which I must complete the project. While lying in bed one night, a great idea finally came to me. I decided to write a web development (computer programming) handbook.

This project excited me for many reasons. I was a part of the Cincinnati Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) High School Computer Competition (HSCC) Team from 8th grade until 11th grade. The program taught me both technical skills and life lessons. My project gives back to BDPA, showing my gratitude for all they have done for me. Secondly, I noticed that within the BDPA HSCC program, information was not effectively passed from older to younger team members: when a team member graduated out of the program, the information and skills that he or she knew were lost. Therefore, my handbook serves as a best practice sharing tool for the Cincinnati HSCC team. Lastly, my handbook has a broad audience because it is posted online. BDPA students can update the handbook to demonstrate what they have learned. But, everyone, including those who don’t have access to technical programs, can use it. I hope that students will have more access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) educational materials as a result of my project.

‘Going for Gold’ taught me to pinpoint an issue and take action. Therefore, I improved my problem solving skills. As a mechanical engineering major, this practice was invaluable. I now understand how to break a large, daunting project into smaller pieces. My handbook is 200 pages long, but it is divided into 21 sections, that form a continuous curriculum. After organizing and outlining, I tackled the writing process lesson by lesson. Each lesson took a few hours to write, but it was rewarding to see the final product forming as I wrote each lesson. Also, writing my handbook inspired me to help others learn and understand various STEM concepts. I was a math tutor during my freshman year of college for students in Pre-Calculus, Calculus 1-3, and Differential Equations, so I used the leadership and teaching skills that I gained from my Gold Award project every time that I tutored. Overall, my Gold Award project has helped me to develop practical skills that I use every day, and the experience has shaped me into who I am today.”

Hadiya joins a long line of outstanding women who have used the skills and determination honed in Girl Scouts to make a lasting impact on their corner of the world. Hadiya we salute you! Want to learn more about how your girls can shine bright through Girl Scouts Highest Awards? Check out this post and join this amazing legacy!