Diane became a Girls Inc. girl while she was in high school, joining such effective programs as IMPACT (Infant Mortality Public Awareness Campaign for Tennessee) and Women’s History Project, both of which are still in full-swing today. Through her involvement, she was able to develop and practice her already-exceptional public speaking abilities.
And Diane has certainly reached heights: Upon graduating, she is headed into her first full-time career as an executive team leader at a major department store: “I’m looking forward to using the skills I have gathered and seeing how I’m able to lead and execute my tasks. I want to take all I’ve learned in college and at Girls Inc. and make a significant impact. I’m looking forward to seeing how I can apply what I’ve learned to real life.”
But becoming an adult comes with its fair share of challenges, and even someone as bright and capable as Diane has her fears: “I’m dreading the responsibility of becoming an adult. It’s difficult to be economically responsible when starting a new life: looking for apartments and furniture while still trying to invest and save. It’s all very overwhelming.”
However, Diane is also excited to take up the challenge: “Girls Inc. taught me to be the best, to not be afraid of positive risks, of change, and of challenge; to push yourself farther than you ever thought you could. Being awarded with a scholarship from Girls Inc. allowed me to fully participate in college and allowed me to understand the person I have the potential to be. I realized I had the opportunity to continue what Girls Inc. started in me.”
Winning a Girls Inc. college scholarship is just one of many benefits Girls Inc. girls can have. In fact, the national Girls Inc. organization awards more scholarships for girls than any other organization in the country.
“I never expected I would go to UTK, but after visiting the campus, I really felt connected. I saw a lot of opportunities for me to flourish and grow in that community. The tour really told me why I needed to be a part of the UTK family. Not only was it affordable, but it would give me the opportunity that I needed to excel.”
“Strangely enough, my least favorite part of college was also the involvement. Looking back on it, I was always so busy. If I could go back, I would have tried to enjoy my time more.”
Never one to make it all about her, Diane left with advice for girls still in high school who may be uncertain about their future: “For freshmen and sophomore girls, get involved! As cliché as that sounds, I don’t know if I would be the woman I am today if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were presented to me (and even those I had to search for). High school can be a fundamental foundation for how you start your path, for how you will start what you want to do in life.”
“For junior and senior girls, my advice is to start early—and not just looking at colleges but thinking about what it is that you want to do. Having a personal mission statement will help guide you. Even if you don’t know exactly what it is you want to do, you can get in the right area if you have a personal mission statement. Goal setting is another important skill, and I am exceedingly proud of the goals I set for myself (graduate with honors, join organizations, graduate with a job, to not change my major). I even had weekly, semester, and yearly goals, and I was fortunate to achieve them all. Goal setting is something I learned at Girls Inc. and it's helped me stay on track and manage my success.”
Finally, Diane had a few words for all girls: “Really embrace it when Girls Inc. teaches you to be strong, smart, and bold. Those words have significantly made me the woman I am today. I remember them when I feel discouraged with myself or think I can’t do something. I make myself remember that phrase and know that even if I fail, I’ll have the strength to try again.”
By: Meagan Frey, Associate Director of Advancement
Published: May 29, 2014