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Sheroes

  • GirlSpring.com, Shero, Sheroes, TRENDING, Video

    Taking SherOCTOBER Nominations Through September 28!

    GirlSpring is seeking extraordinary girls (13-18) to be featured in our Sheroctober video series! 31 videos of sheroes will be selected and displayed on our website and social media throughout the month of October. This is your chance to shine! Build up your digital portfolio and let others know what you are doing that is special! All participants will be part of a compilation video celebrating girls in Birmingham!

    A shero is someone extraordinary and is in general making the world a better place! This could be someone who has started a community initiative, shown academic achievement, overcome adversity, is enhancing the wellbeing of others or using their artistic talents to be a positive change agent in this world. The possibilities are endless!

    Shero Criteria:

    • Girls ages 13-18 years old
    • Nomination from a non-relative
    • Access to an electronic device with video and audio features
    • A standout reason for her sheroism

    How to Submit:

    • Create a 1-minute video clip acknowledging that you (can be more than one person) has been recognized as a shero, addressing what you do that makes you a shero, and explain why we need sheroes in the world.
    • Videos should be interview-style, but feel free to be creative with background music and any other artistic and fun elements! MAKE IT FUN!
    • If using a cell phone, please turn horizontally when filming.
    • Upload videos to youtube, vimeo, or dropbox and include public link on the application form.
    • In addition to the Shero video, all submissions must include a second, separate video clip with the following phrase “My name is __________. I am a shero. We are Birmingham.”
    • Submit a nomination form and link to videos by September 28th to be considered.

    Nominees will be notified by October 1st if their video is going to be featured.

    Questions? Email kristen@girlspring.com

    Sheroctober Nominee Form

  • Articles, Celebrities, Sheroes

    Celebrities and Politics: How the Rich and Famous Wield Their Influence

    When we choose our role models, it is ideal that they possess qualities we ourselves possess or wish to possess in the future. These role models could be family members, teachers, mentors, or even peers who inspire us to improve ourselves. Most times, these role models are celebrities who are in the public eye through social media and the news. Often times we are aware of their successes and the steps they took to reach their goals because of news articles, magazine interviews, and social media blogs. But how often is it that we actually take time to research their contributions to the community and to political causes? We may overlook these actions by our role models because of what the media pushes to the forefront, but some celebrity role models are influencing politicians in a positive way.

    What Are Some Roles Celebrities Have Played in the Political World?

    Celebrities are role models especially for young people, therefore they are spokespeople for many political figures when they want to persuade youth to align with their values. What better way to send this message than through a teenager’s idol such as an actor, performer, or famous athlete?

    In 1960, President John F. Kennedy received support from public figures such as Sammy Davis, Jr. and Dean Martin of the group Rat Pack. In the 2008 presidential election, Senator John McCain was supported, aka endorsed, by Clint Eastwood. Eastwood also endorsed President Donald Trump in more recent elections. You may be wondering, what makes this person so special that they can endorse presidential candidates? Well, Eastwood is a well-renowned actor, producer, and director. A person of this stature is connected with many sources who can also contribute to the candidate’s cause.

    Furthermore, in the 2008 election, household names like Oprah Winfrey, George Clooney, wiil.i.am, Brad Pitt, and Samuel L. Jackson supported President Barack Obama. Oprah Winfrey is a highly respected entrepreneur who is a role model to young African American women. Other actors and athletes supported Hillary Clinton during the 2008. Some of these role models include LeBron James, Amy Schumer, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga.

    What Are Celebrities Doing Today in the Political World?

    Recently, celebrity entrepreneur Kim Kardashian influenced President Donald Trump to pardon 63-year-old Alice Johnson. The great grandmother was serving a life sentence for drug trafficking. According to Vox, the pardon “goes against the broader policy that Trump has been pushing for drug dealers and traffickers.” Trump has said the government should impose consequences on drug dealers and traffickers. However, Kim Kardashian found the punishment excessive for the 63-year-old great grandmother who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Kardashian first came across the case through social media- of course. She then reached out to her lawyer to help deal with the case.

    Johnson had been serving her sentence since 1996, when she was financially strained and needed to support her family. Although Johnson understands her actions were wrong, she questions if she deserved a life sentence.

    Despite these past 20 years, Alice Johnson is now a free woman and her fight for criminal justice reform has just begun thanks to Kim Kardashian West.

    This goes to show that there is more to learn about our role models, and this includes their politics.

  • Animals, Articles, Sheroes

    SHero: Rachel Mohd

    Rachel Mohd is an animal rights activist that definitely falls into the category of Shero. She is an 18-year-old local to Birmingham who started Animal Allies, a club that works on animal activism. I had the pleasure of interviewing her. Read on to see what she had to say!

    Question: How did you get interested in animal rights?
    Answer: I have always been passionate about animal rights. I think once I started volunteering at my local human society, my love for animals finally had an outlet. Seeing animals gain the confidence they needed in order to be adopted after training them for a few weeks really opened my eyes and made me want others to see what they were capable of.

    Q: When did you decide you wanted to start Animal Allies?
    A: I have always wanted to start Animal Allies, I just didn’t know how. One of my teachers told me that I should’ve started a club at my high school promoting animal allies, but it was too late because applications were due long ago. I thought that was a great idea and still wanted to do it, so I contacted the teen advisory board at the Homewood Public Library and told them my idea and then Animal Allies was born.

    Q:What all does Animal Allies do?
    A: Animal Allies do different things each meeting. We have had guest speakers come in and educate the community on what it takes to own a pet and the importance spaying and neutering. We have also had staff from my local humane society, The Greater Birmingham Humane Society, come in and teach us about how to become volunteers. We were asked to make posters for The Cats and Dogs Foundation to be displayed at Birmingham’s Do Dah Day. We have had vegetarian pot lucks, watched educational films on animal rights, made posters that promoted animal rights to hang around town, made totes with animal rights slogans, and we have even had therapy animals come in.

    Q: Are there plans to expand Animal Allies?
    A: There are plans to expand Animal Allies. We have started to make flyers to put up around town so more people can hear about our club and what we do. We want to continue putting our name out and gaining new members.

    Q: Do you think animal rights are an issue everyone should get involved with? If so, why?
    A: I believe that animal rights are an issue and everyone should be work towards being a voice for the animals. I have always believed that we should support animal rights because animals can’t do it themselves. If we don’t stick up for the animals, no one else will. It is important to understand that you don’t have to do anything big in order to support animal rights. Meatless Mondays, volunteering at your local humane society, adopting instead of shopping for a pet, and even just educating those close to you are all ways anyone can help support animals.

    Q: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start their own sort of organization?
    A: Have passion for what you are do and there is no way you won’t succeed! Many people believe that you have to have certain traits in order to create something, but it’s important to realize that if you have already thought about creating your own organization, you have what it takes!

    Q: What’s your favorite animal?
    A: My favorite animal would have to be a dog!

    Thank you so much to Rachel Mohd for doing this interview!

    (Written by Megan Flint.)

  • Articles, Sheroes

    This Shero devotes her life to math, science, oh and curing brain tumors.

    Accomplishments like the “Most Outstanding PhD Student” award in Mathematics and the Dean’s Award for UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences are just a few of Elizabeth Scribner’s accolades.

    Elizabeth was born in Charlottesville, Virginia but grew up in Talladega, Alabama.
    When she was 15, she went to boarding school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. “There were so many academic opportunities, and the math and sciences were world class. I really enjoyed biology.”

    Elizabeth looks back at St. Paul’s as the birthplace of her math and science passions. “It was great to be in an environment where it was actually cool for a girl to be smart.”

    She then continued to Princeton where she got her undergraduate degree in history, focusing on the intersection of science and history.
    Elizabeth married her college sweetheart right after graduating, not knowing what to do professionally. She decided to apply to be a substitute teacher, and became an algebra and geometry teacher all year. This is where she first found her passion for teaching.

    She then went on and got her Masters in Math at UAB and is currently set to graduate this fall to become Dr. Scribner with her PhD. She also had 3 babies along the way!

    Elizabeth helped her dad found a solar power and LED lighting company, Eagle Solar & Light, and gives presentations about sustainable energy to community groups. She’s also involved in helping her church and several nonprofits, as if she weren’t busy enough.

    A normal day for this do-it-all-shero? Gets up at 6, gets her children ready for school, and then works on her studies as efficiently as possible. Her children are 5, 3 and 10 months old, so she spends every second she can with them.

    Since she does so much, I asked what she would boil her main passions down to. “The common thread in everything I do is helping and teaching people.”
    So, what exactly is she researching? “My research is centered on brain tumor growth. We could use this math model and predict a patient’s tumor growth.”
    She encourages more people, especially young women, to pursue math. “People look at math and think it’s mundane or intimidating. Algebra may seem boring, but it’s a stepping stone. Algebra is what I’m working with now, which is applying math to curing brain cancer.”

    Elizabeth encourages students to study math. “When you can get to those higher stages of math, it is so useful and rewarding.”
    She is happy with her decision to study math, and encourages girls to give it a shot. “There are so many job opportunities for a woman with a math degree.”

    And for how she got to where she is?

    “Fate, luck, and willingness to try something new.”

    It sure doesn’t seem like luck to me, after hearing how hard and endlessly she works. So for any young women that don’t want to do their math homework because it’s “nerdy” or “boring”, just think: you could be like Elizabeth, researching brain tumor cures!

  • Sheroes

    This Shero Went From Being a Harvard Basketball Graduate to a White House Reporter!

    I had the chance to speak with Jacqueline Alemany, 28, on her time at Harvard, and transitioning into the real world of CBS News.

    Upon asking Jacqueline how she ended up playing college basketball, she said, “I was playing basketball since I could walk.”

    Jaqueline attended Harvard for 4 years on the women’s basketball team. Although sports took up most of her free time, she still maintained focus on her major, government, and minor, Spanish.

    During one of her first classes in Government called “Road to the White House”, Jacqueline was taught by a professor named Carlos Diaz.

    Jacqueline reminisces, saying “It was one of my first tastes of politics and D.C. and campaigns, and I just remember loving it. It’s kind of one of the first things that peaked my interest.”

    Fast forward past graduation, she ran into old professor Carlos in the Briefing room in The White House, who is now an advisor to Trump.

    However, Jacqueline didn’t think she’d end up where she is now. She thought she’d go into finance, and started out at a credit card company.

    “I loved the company and who I worked with, but I knew it wasn’t right for me. I was always passionate abut writing.”

    Half way through her first year at her job, she picked up her belongings and decided to move on to bigger and better things- CBS news.

    She writes for CBSnews.com as much as possible. “Writing is a muscle you need to constantly use.”

    She is constantly writing different types of articles. “There’s spot news, which can take 15 minutes, and then there’s articles that can take a lot more time..”

    Every day is different for Jacqueline- she tells me she had early morning shift today- 6 a.m. She’s constantly looking ahead, and looking at things like Trump’s tweets and actions.

    I asked Jacqueline if working so many hours and writing so much gets old. “There’s not a thing I can complain about”, she told me.

    “I feel like I’m in grad school, I get to learn so much every day. The hours are demanding, but it’s rewarding work.”

    It helps that she is surrounded by supportive women. She says, “I always feel elevated and that my ideas are being taken seriously.”

    Overall, Jacqueline says she is content with where she is at, and what she is doing. “I love being a journalist- I learn something new every single day. It’s a really inspiring job.”

    I asked Jacqueline on advice on how to succeed, and to get where she is at. She told me, “My main advice for this job is to be confident. Don’t doubt yourself when other people doubt you. That’s been my biggest takeaway from this job.”

  • Articles, Sheroes

    (S)hero in Science: Dr. Jana Veliskova

    I had the incredible opportunity to interview Dr. Jana Veliskova, Professor at New York Medical College and my research mentor, this week. Dr. Veliskova has authored numerous papers in medical journals and has been involved in research for over 30 years! Though she has enjoyed much success in her field, she has also faced many obstacles in her path as a researcher and a Professor.

    Dr. Veliskova first started her research journey in medical school while living in Czechoslovakia, a sovereign state in Central Europe, which existed from 1918 to 1993. From Nazi occupation in 1938 to communist control from 1948 to 1989, saying that life in this trouble-ridden country was hard, would be an understatement. Dr. Veliskova echoed this statement when I asked her about her life before America. She added that a person who never lived under the iron fist of ruling communists would never be able to understand what life was like in a communist country.

    Dr. Veliskova first made her way to America in 1991 after her husband Dr. Libor Velisek acquired a fellowship position in New York. The couple spent many years teaching and researching at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Along with his wife, Dr. Libor Velisek also works at New York Medical College and teaches many classes. Talk about a power couple! As a woman in science, Dr. Veliskova stated that her initial attraction to science research was within the “freedom of mind.” And, as someone who has been in research for over 30 years, Dr. Veliskova stated that her definition of success is “being happy and satisfied with your work.” To substantiate this point, Dr. Veliskova recounted her memories of rushing to the lab in the dead of night to help a student and how she didn’t feel particularly angry or annoyed, but happy being involved in science research.

    When I asked Dr. Veliskova about whether or not she faced any challenges working in America as an immigrant, she quickly answered “yes.” While working at her first medical school, she realized that her salary was significantly lower than those of her peers. As someone who had grown up in the communist lifestyle where prices and salaries were fixed, negotiating for a higher salary was something foreign to her. Realizing this stark disparity 20 years later, Dr. Veliskova and Dr. Velisek sought different workplaces where they would be treated more fairly.

    Dr. Veliskova has contributed tremendously to the field of science and to the next generation of scientists as well. Every summer, Dr. Veliskova opens up her lab to numerous high schoolers in Westchester County where they are able to conduct their own research. There is no doubt that Dr. Jana Veliskova is highly respected in the scientific community and a role model for girls entering into STEM!

  • Sheroes, TRENDING

    Malala Yousafzai: ‘It’s hard to kill. Maybe that’s why his hand was shaking’

    Malala Yousafzai says she’s lost herself. “In Swat [district], I studied in the same school for 10 years and there I was just considered to be Malala. Here I’m famous, here people think of me as the girl who was shot by the Taliban. The real Malala is gone somewhere, and I can’t find her.”

    We are sitting in a boardroom on the seventh floor of the new Birmingham library, the glass walls allowing us a view of a city draped in mist, a sharp contrast to the “paradise” of Swat, with its tall mountains and clear rivers which Malala recalls wistfully. It should be desperately sad but the world’s most famous 16-year-old makes it difficult for you to feel sorry for her. In part, it is because she is so poised, in a way that suggests an enviable self-assurance rather than an overconstructed persona. But more than that, it is to do with how much of her conversation is punctuated by laughter.

    The laughter takes many forms: self-deprecating when I ask her why she thinks the Taliban feel threatened by her; delighted when she talks of Skyping her best friend, Muniba, to get the latest gossip from her old school; wry when she recalls a Taliban commander’s advice that she return to Pakistan and enter a madrassa; giggly when she talks about her favourite cricketers (“Shahid Afridi, of course, and I also like Shane Watson”). And it’s at its most full-throated when she is teasing her father, who is present for part of our interview. It happens during a conversation about her mother: “She loves my father,” Malala says. Then, lowering her voice, she adds: “They had a love marriage.” Her father, involved in making tea for Malala and me, looks up. “Hmmm? Are you sure?” he says, mock-stern. “Learn from your parents!” Malala says to me, and bursts into laughter.