2023 NHS Scholarship Recipients

Quick Links: Finalists | Semi-Finalists

NASSP, parent organization of the National Honor Society, is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 National Honor Society Scholarships!

Every state in the U.S. is represented among the winners, along with the District of Columbia and our overseas chapters. These students, all members of the class of 2023, were chosen from among thousands of applicants.

Finalists | $5,625

Keira Adams
Franklin High School
El Paso, TX

Meet Keira Adams, nicknamed “Mitochondria” because she’s a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with. Keira’s infectious personality, quick wit, and radiant smile light up any room she walks into.

Keira is no stranger to change, having attended three elementary schools, four middle schools, and two high schools. But regardless of where she goes, she leaves an impact. Currently residing in El Paso, TX, Keira is the National Honor Society president, valedictorian, and founder of Women of Color at Franklin High School.

Her passion for community service was ignited during her time living in Dakar, Senegal, and she has since accumulated over 1,000 service hours. Keira aspires to continue serving others as a pediatric neurologist with Doctors Without Borders.

In addition to her academic achievements and service work, Keira is heavily involved in her school’s boards of DECA, FBLA, HOSA, and Chick-Fil-A Leader Academy. She is also a member of a national youth council focused on combating food waste and world hunger.

Keira has attended both Harvard’s Summer School Program and Johns Hopkins’ Internship in Brain Sciences. Yet, she remains humble and prioritizes making people feel special no matter the occasion.

The National Honor Society has had a profound impact on Keira’s life, and she plans to hold its pillars close to her heart for the rest of her life.

Salwa Azrak
Metro Early College High School
Columbus, OH

Meet Salwa Azrak, whose life changed forever in 2016 when she was visiting family in Istanbul, Turkey, and witnessed a military coup. This event made her realize that circumstances can change in an instant, and she was inspired to make a positive difference in the world. When she returned to the United States, Salwa joined the National Honor Society because of her belief in its four pillars of leadership, service, scholarship, and character.

Currently, Salwa serves as the president of her high school’s National Honor Society, Muslim Student Association, and Student Council, all while serving as the student CEO of Rock the Street Wall Street. In addition to her impressive leadership skills, Salwa enjoys volunteering at her local mosque and is passionate about community work.

Salwa has also shown an incredible commitment to her academic journey by taking college classes at The Ohio State University for three years, earning 70 credits. Her passion for healthcare has led her to major in health sciences, and she hopes to make a positive impact on the world through her work in this field.

Salwa’s experience in Istanbul taught her that life is short, but by serving others and being an engaged citizen, she can make a positive impact on the world.

Rohan Bosworth
Poway High School
Poway, CA

Meet Rohan Bosworth, a true leader and passionate educator. When he isn’t captaining his world-winning robotics team or conducting research as a graduate student at the University of California at San Diego, he’s busy teaching STEM to underserved students.

Rohan’s commitment to expanding access to STEM education is evident in the robotics club he founded at Cristo Rey San Diego High, where he still serves as a mentor to students from low-income families. Rohan also teaches robotics to underserved students during summer and holiday breaks. So far, his innovative curriculum Computer Aided Design has reached over 1,000 students.

Not content with just local impact, Rohan is an advocate for STEM education worldwide. He has taught robotics to students in developing countries like Paraguay, Peru, Benin, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, as well as to refugees from Belarus and Ukraine.

Rohan’s dedication to education doesn’t stop at teaching. He has also worked with local legislators to make STEM part of the core curriculum, especially at schools serving low-income families. As the president of his school’s National Honor Society, Rohan developed the first tutoring program through the counseling office.

Rohan is not just a determined scholar, but also a passionate leader working towards increased access to education.

Jeanley Boursiquot
Paxon School for Advanced Studies
Jacksonville, FL

Meet Jeanley Boursiquot, a visionary whose passion for health and wellness is matched only by her commitment to serving others. As chairperson of the Mental Health Committee for the Mayor’s Young Leadership Advisory Council, Jeanley spearheaded the creation of the first Virtual Mental Health Conference and served as a presenter. Her leadership led to the development of mental health digital booklets for teachers, coloring books for students, and other resources to help Duval County students learn about mental health, successfully encouraging her community to take advantage of crucial mental health supports.

Jeanley’s dedication to health is reflected in her work with the Florida Department of Health Covid-19 Epidemiology Call Bank, where she devised a system to package, educate, and deliver test results during the pandemic. She also volunteered at health centers, where she developed translation processes for Spanish-speaking families to help overcome language barriers.

In addition to her service, Jeanley has also initiated a fundraising drive to donate face masks to people experiencing homelessness and served as a medical missionary in Peru with Maranatha Volunteers International. Her exuberant personality and trailblazing spirit make her a force for change and action.

Jeremias Castillo
Technology High School
Newark, NJ

Meet Jeremias Castillo, a driven student inspired by the NHS pillar of service who is committed to enacting positive change in the American healthcare system.

Jeremias’ motivation stems from his father’s passing in 2021, which brought to his attention the health disparities prevalent within the Latinx community. He saw this as an opportunity to fight not only for his father’s memory but also for underrepresented groups who suffer from health disparities.

Jeremias is the vice-president of the National Honor Society chapter at Technology High School in Newark, NJ. Through his chapter, he volunteers every Friday at Clara Maass Medical Center and has collected over 2000 toiletry bags for the Newark Department of Health and Welfare. Jeremias was also a keynote speaker for a citywide food-insecurity symposium, further advocating for his cause.

Jeremias’ advocacy appeared on national television, where he spoke passionately about addressing health disparities on Steve Adubato’s Lessons in Leadership, reaching over 3.6 million households.

Jeremias will continue his studies in neuroscience and political science at Harvard College as a proud member of the Class of 2027, pursuing his goals of creating a more equitable healthcare system for all.

Janice Cheng
St. Andrew’s Schools
Honolulu, HI

Meet Janice Cheng, a student leader inspired by Queen Emma, the founder of St. Andrew’s Schools, who embodies the values of aloha (love), mālama (care), pono (goodness), kuleana (responsibility), hoʻomanawanui (patience), and ʻimi naʻauao (seeking knowledge).

Passionate about holding others up, Janice advocates for diversity, equity, and active inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. Through Shanti Alliance, Janice worked with educators at her school and Hawaii’s annual Schools of the Future Conference to create inclusive school environments.

As the president of the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) club, Janice supported the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of Zero Hunger and Responsible Consumption & Production. She accomplished this by building school gardens to achieve sustainable local food production on campus, after discovering Hawaiʻi’s imports almost all its food. Janice was selected for the American Citizenship Award two years in a row.

Outside of school, she volunteers at The Queen’s Medical Center, continuing Queen Emma’s legacy of service. Janice is also a figure skating coach, teaching children edge control, balance, and safe skating practices. She will attend Boston College, pursuing her aspiration to become a psychologist. Janice is grateful for her parents who immigrated from China to America for educational opportunities.

Deborah Chu
The Woodlands High School
The Woodlands, TX

Meet Deborah Chu, a student leader who has long been passionate about creating connections and building communities. But it wasn’t until the COVID pandemic hit that she truly realized the importance of human connection. As president of her school’s National Honor Society, Key Club, and Model UN, Deborah used her leadership skills to bring people together and make a difference.

During the Afghan refugee crisis, Deborah organized the Beyond Borders Drive, which provided “welcome kits” for 20 families. As the pandemic created economic struggles, she continued to step up and organize events to help those in need. Her efforts resulted in packing over 6,700 pounds of food at the Montgomery County Food Bank, collecting 2000 hygiene supplies for the people experiencing homelessness, and hosting a book drive that collected over 500 books for underserved children.

Deborah’s commitment to service has not gone unnoticed. She is a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award and is a National Merit Finalist. Her ultimate goal is to serve in government and create equal opportunities for all children in America and preserve freedom in our country.

Serena Goyal
River Hill High School
Clarksville, MD

Meet Serena Goyal, a compassionate student leader who finds joy in helping others, locally and globally. Her dedication to serving communities led her to establish the first-ever chapter of the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC) at her school. Her efforts in leading medical supply drives and fundraisers for FIMRC projects have improved children’s healthcare worldwide.

Serena’s community involvement also extends to her decade-long participation in the Girl Scouts, where she earned her Girl Scout Gold Award for community service and was selected as a National Girl Scout Delegate. She will continue to shape the future of Girl Scouts at their national conference this summer.

Serena’s academic achievements are equally impressive. She has a perfect GPA and is a five-time national Dr. Ben Carson Scholar. She was also selected as the sole representative for a study abroad international cohort and placed top five worldwide in the History Day competition.

At the age of 17, Serena has been accepted into medical school and plans to continue her commitment to the National Honor Society pillars by acquiring medical knowledge through scholarship, empathy through service, responsibility through leadership, and compassion through character.

Katherine Green
Woodland Hills High School
Pittsburgh, PA

Meet Katie Green, an exceptional student leader who embodies the spirit of community service.

Throughout the pandemic, Katie launched a unique chalk art project that brought neighbors together and lifted their spirits during a time of social isolation. This initiative earned her an invitation to be an artist at a district-wide event.

Katie is an accomplished leader, serving on her mock trial team, Green Team, and participating in youth climate action summits. She has also developed skills in scriptwriting, editing, and production as part of the teen-led Bridges & Books podcast, which features RADcast segments highlighting cultural and artistic organizations.

As a tutor in the peer writing center at her high school, Katie has shown her dedication to helping others achieve their academic goals. She has also volunteered her time and talents in various capacities, including on stage crews for multiple shows, guiding school events, and participating in voter registration efforts and blood drives.

Katie’s passion for community service extends beyond her hometown of Pittsburgh, as she is part of the Gene Kelly Critics program and the Pittsburgh Youth Media Corps. She is also a member of the Interact Club Regional Board of Directors and the Pittsburgh Youth Climate Council, further demonstrating her commitment to making a positive impact on the world.

Savannah Jomaa
Crestwood High School
Dearborn Heights, MI

Meet Savannah Jomaa, a student leader who embodies the four National Honor Society pillars of character, scholarship, leadership, and service with every step she takes. Her academic prowess, athletic skills, and dedication to extracurricular activities make her a well-respected leader in her community.

Savannah has devoted more than 550 hours to service as a member of the National Honor Society, where she has earned over 24 chapter-based awards. She has served in many capacities on the executive board of her chapter, holding positions such as historian, director of tutoring, and president. As an officer, she spearheaded tutoring programs at both the high school and elementary school levels and raised more than $14,000 for breast cancer and Angelman research.

Savannah’s leadership extends to her captaining of the robotics, Quiz Bowl, tennis, and swim teams. Her contributions to the robotics team led them to earn the District Chairman’s Award and the State Engineering and Inspiration Award, qualifying them for the World Robotics Competition. Her hard work and dedication paid off as she earned several gold medals, including the All-Conference Award in tennis and swimming.

Savannah is also a member of her high school’s Leadership Council, Link Crew, Student Congress, and the Dearborn Heights Stewards Watershed Commission.

Sophie Kloppenburg
Mount Vernon Senior High School
Mount Vernon, IN

Meet Sophie Kloppenburg, a remarkable student leader who has combined the service and leadership pillars of National Honor Society to make a significant impact in her community.

She led the 1878 Memorial Initiative Team to erect a historical marker and memorial bench for seven black men who were lynched in her community 144 years ago. This summer, Sophie is establishing a new exhibit at the Evansville African American Museum, connecting with descendants of the lynching victims, speaking at conferences, and working with university professors to create a curriculum about the impact of local racial violence that can be integrated into high school history classes.

Sophie has received recognition for her commitment to her community, including the Elizabeth Baier Youth Spirit Award and MLK Jr. Memorial Recognition from the University of Southern Indiana.

To explore her passions, Sophie has interned at AstraZeneca and spent summers as a lifeguard, anatomy illustrator, and tree farmer. Her driven character has been built through years of competition in cross-country, soccer, tennis, and swimming, including representing the AAU National Team twice.

Sophie has also excelled academically, named as a Rising Star of Indiana and becoming a State Champion as part of the English Academic Team. She was also a national qualifier in DECA and FCCLA.

Sophie will continue swimming, studying, and helping her community at Columbia University.

Reagan Koester
North Posey High School
Poseyville, IN

Meet Reagan Koester, a social entrepreneur, inventor, published writer, founder, and student leader who embodies the four National Honor Society pillars of character, leadership, scholarship, and service. Growing up on a dairy farm, Reagan learned the value of hard work and a positive attitude, which has shaped her character and fueled her success.

Reagan’s infectious energy and natural charisma have earned her the title of Homecoming Queen, and she has received the mental attitude award four times from coaches and teammates despite a torn ACL. As president of seven organizations, including National Honor Society, she exemplifies leadership and represents over 163,000 youth as an Indiana State 4-H Ambassador.

Academically, Reagan excels with a 4.0 GPA and impressive achievements such as being the Math Bowl Captain and National Champion in Agriscience Fair. Her commitment to service is equally impressive, having been recognized as “Top Member” in three state youth organizations and “Youth of the Year” six times.

Reagan’s dedication to service led her to found three charities that address local food insecurity, foster children relocation, and foster teenagers’ self-esteem. She is also a state spokesperson who raises funds to award original service grants to youth statewide, igniting a passion to be uncommon.

Puiyee Kong
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, DE

Meet Puiyee Kong, a student leader whose passion for STEM has been a constant throughout her life.

After noticing a significant disparity in technological access and programs in her community, Puiyee founded CodeClub, a free program consisting of unique, self-created lessons that she teaches to young children in her community. CodeClub has been an enormous success, with over 100 classes covering topics from robotics to coding, and additional volunteer instructors have been brought in to meet the growing demand. Through CodeClub, Puiyee has accumulated over 400 hours of service, which led to her being recognized with the Governor’s Youth Volunteer Service Award for her leadership and dedication.

In addition to her work with CodeClub, Puiyee serves as Delaware TSA State President, where she organizes technical and leadership workshops for youth throughout the state and coordinates STEM education events and competitions.

Puiyee finds the most rewarding aspect of her work to be sharing in the joy and pride of her students and peers when they experience that “aha!” moment.

Alexis Magnano
Ponte Vedra High School
Ponte Vedra, FL

Meet Alexis “Lexi” Magnano, a student leader who has made service a central part of her life. From an early age, she dedicated her birthday presents to charity, and this passion for helping others only grew stronger.

In 2017, Lexi co-founded JaxTHRIVE, a 501(c)(3) that tutors and mentors refugee students in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, JaxTHRIVE has grown to have eight school clubs in three countries, and the volunteers have accumulated over 11,000 service hours. Lexi’s commitment to educating the community about the cultures of JaxTHRIVE’s refugee students inspired her to create JaxTHRIVE Journeys, an adult-level lecture series.

Additionally, in middle school, Lexi co-created SmartART, a program that brought art history and application projects to nursing homes and memory care residents. Despite the pandemic’s challenges, Lexi found new ways to make a positive impact, leading STEAM projects and cleaning up the St. Augustine Homeless Coalition campus. Her efforts earned her recognition as the recipient of the Leadership Jacksonville COVID Unsung Hero Award.

As a Girl Scout for 14 years, Lexi recently completed her Gold Award project, VolunTEEN, a social media platform connecting students with volunteer opportunities.

Her peers recognized her dedication to the community by voting her “Most Involved in the Community” in her senior class, and her high school honored her with the Ponte Vedra High School Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award.

Abby Merhege
Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School
Albuquerque, NM

Meet Abby Merhege, a true force of change. She is driven by a passion for humanity and a deep-seated anger towards injustice. Her tireless dedication to making the world a better place is rooted in a desire to provide the kind of support and guidance she wishes she had received as a young person.

Abby’s unwavering commitment to fighting injustice is evident in everything she does, from organizing school walkouts in response to gun violence as a leader for Students Demand Action, to spearheading her school’s Make-a-Wish team, which grants the wishes of critically ill children. She is also a role model for young women through her work with Girls on the Run, a nonprofit that promotes female leadership, confidence, and emotional intelligence.

Abby’s unyielding spirit of service is reflected in her tireless efforts to challenge the systems that keep us stagnant in society. Whether lobbying for human rights, peace, or simply kindness, she brings a passion and dedication to every action she takes. Through her work, Abby has made a profound impact on her community, inspiring those around her to join in the fight for a better world.

Anika Rao
West High School
Salt Lake City, UT

Meet Anika Rao. As a first-generation Indian immigrant to the United States, her firsthand experience with systemic inequity in both developing and developed nations ignited her passion for social and economic justice. She firmly believes that tackling these multifaceted issues requires interdisciplinary knowledge and collaboration, as well as clear articulation of complex concepts – and this is where her love for writing and journalism comes in.

As Editor-in-Chief of her high school’s newspaper, The Red and Black, Anika has made it her mission to cover underrepresented communities within her school. Her commitment to service also shines through in her volunteer work with the Salt Lake City Public Library and the Salt Lake Peer Court, where she has led projects to increase representation in literature and provide a restorative alternative to the juvenile justice system. Anika also tutors piano students in underserved communities and performs for senior centers with The Mundi Project, a Utah-based music nonprofit.

Serving in leadership roles in the National Honor Society and Key Club, Anika has embodied the four pillars of the National Honor Society: leadership, service, scholarship, and character. With an unwavering dedication to excellence, Anika hopes to pursue a career in journalism and cover global development.

Sophia Salamy
Pinnacle High School
Phoenix, AZ

Meet Sophia Salamy, an accomplished senior hailing from Lebanese roots, whose dedication to academic excellence, community service, and leadership has been a constant throughout her career. With an impressive record of achievements, Sophia has earned a place on the honor roll every semester.

Beyond her academic pursuits, Sophia is passionate about giving back to her community. Her altruistic nature has driven her to volunteer countless hours of her time to various organizations, including church ministries, Turkey and Syria relief projects, and even her own Opportunity Pack Drive, where she collected and packaged school supplies for students in need at Title I schools in Phoenix.

Sophia’s natural leadership skills have also shone through as the president of her school’s DECA chapter and founder and resident of the Arab Student Union, president of the Diocese of Los Angeles and the West Teen SOYO, and representative and media coordinator for the National Archdiocesan Council Teen SOYO, positively impacted thousands of her peers.

Anjali Sivasothy
Logos Preparatory Academy
Sugarland, TX

Meet Anjali Sivasothy, a visionary at the intersection of technology, advocacy, and philanthropy.

Her passion for building equitable communities led her to co-found the Texas Urban Redevelopment Foundation, a non-profit homebuilder providing housing for low-income families in inner-city Houston. As Chairwoman of her mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, Anjali led a 35-member organization to develop a city sustainability plan, demonstrating her commitment to environmentalism and social justice.

Anjali’s policymaking skills also contributed to the development of a campus-wide “anti-discrimination” policy for student handbooks, transforming the educational environment for over 600 students. Additionally, she co-developed PartStack, a semiconductor marketplace startup that democratizes the global trade of microelectronics and empowers women in STEM.

Anjali’s passion for philanthropy led her to raise over $25,000 for non-profits serving disenfranchised global communities. Her fundraising efforts resulted in 176,000+ trees planted in Kenya’s Kijabe Forest, generating almost 600 workdays for Kenyan villagers. She supported the construction of five village water wells in rural India, Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda, serving over 6,000 villagers.

Anjali’s entrepreneurial engineering skills, activism, and award-winning cheerleading make her a compelling force for change. She is dedicated to bridging gaps between people and challenging inequities to create a more equitable society.

Mackay Smith
Dierks High School
Dierks, AR

Meet Mackay Smith, a well-rounded scholar-athlete. With his outstanding work ethic, Mackay has not only earned the title of valedictorian of his graduating class, but he has also actively participated in almost every sport and extracurricular activity offered at his school.

His dedication and hard work have earned him numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious Arkansas High School Heisman for his contributions to various teams such as FBLA, Land Judging, Quiz Bowl.

Mackay has held leadership positions such as team captain, student council vice-president, and class president. He also volunteers as a coach and referee for youth athletic events, at a local food pantry, and supporter of fundraising initiatives to benefit his school and community. At his church, he serves as an usher each week.

Mackay doesn’t just stop at his local community. He also serves as an advocate for students across his state to increase athletic and extracurricular participation and improve civility in high school sports as a member of the Arkansas Activities Association Student Advisory Council.

Colin Street
Morgantown High School
Morgantown, WV

Meet Colin Street, a student who embodies the power of community mobilization.

He discovered his passion for robotics in fifth grade, joining a FIRST LEGO League team. Seven years later, he now coaches a team and serves as the president of Mountaineer Area RoboticS (MARS), a nonprofit organization. Under his leadership, MARS has reached over 19,000 individuals through 87 community events.

Colin is also a co-founder of the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Initiative in conjunction with the ACLU of West Virginia. He serves as the organization’s treasurer and works towards providing free gender-affirming care in the state with the highest per-capita rate of transgender youth.

His passion for the environment is reflected in his work as the president of Morgantown High School’s Green Initiative Club. Colin has helped advance sustainability by re-establishing the school’s recycling program.

As quartermaster of the only High School Planned Parenthood chapter in the state, Colin organizes period product drives to promote menstrual equity throughout his hometown.

Colin served as West Virginia’s senator during the American Legion’s Boys Nation and raised a total of $19,200 in grant funding for the organization. Colin plans to continue using political action and grassroots organizing to build and strengthen the communities that shaped him into the person he is today.

Catherine Tang
Glenbrook North High School
Northbrook, IL

Meet Catherine Tang, a student leader passionate about language learning. Fluent in Spanish, French, and Chinese, Catherine is a valuable member of her school’s World Languages Honor Society where she arranges weekly cultural events.

To put learning into service, Catherine is also on the executive board of her school’s World Languages Honor Society, where she organizes weekly cultural events. In 2020, she also served as a Youth Ambassador to Argentina and Chile through USYA, a Spanish exchange scholarship funded by the State Department, and was invited to attend a leadership summit in Washington D.C. that united 75 program alums from 25 countries around the Western Hemisphere.

Catherine is committed to making a positive impact in her community. She serves as a Policy Assistant for a local state representative, advocating for gender equality through her proposed bill ideas. Catherine’s passion for law also inspired her to co-found and lead her school’s law club, promoting citizenship and public service among her peers.

Jennifer Vo
BASIS Chandler
Chandler, AZ

Meet Jennifer Vo, an unwavering advocate for equality and justice. She is the founder of the Arizona chapter of Generation Ratify, a youth-led organization that advances gender equality in the United States. Jennifer works tirelessly as the National Southwest Director of the movement to promote full equality and protection of women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Her advocacy efforts include promoting state and federal Equal Right Amendments to ensure the protection of everyone’s constitutional rights. Jennifer’s work helped pass Nevada’s version, the most inclusive in the country. She is also a passionate gun violence prevention activist, bringing together diverse groups such as gun owners, veterans, and domestic violence survivors to address the issue holistically.

Jennifer is an accomplished leader, serving as her school’s Environmental Committee chair, founder of the UNICEF Club, and co-captain of the Speech and Debate Club.

Jennifer is driven by her unwavering belief that every individual should be treated with respect and care, regardless of their identity and background. Her efforts have contributed to creating a more inclusive and just society for all.

Carina Wang
American Heritage Schools, Palm Beach Campus/
Delray Beach, FL

Meet Carina Wang, a student leader driven by a desire to promote social good. Her dedication to helping the elderly community led her to develop a technological speaker device for seniors in nursing homes with features including connection to medical databases and contactless blood pressure monitoring. She has also written biographies for hospice patients around the country, creating books for their families to cherish.

As co-president of Speech and Debate at her school, Carina drafts legislation and debate bills to analyze their impact on marginalized communities. She has completed Congressional Cabinet internships with two local members of Congress, working to drive change in her community.

As president of her school’s first robotics team, Carina developed a passion for using technology to solve societal challenges. Her research paper on how facial recognition algorithms affect racial discrimination in criminal justice has paved the way for a more equitable justice system. During her internship at LexisNexis, she developed a robot to help school security personnel identify the location of unauthorized individuals on campus during an emergency.

Carina is committed to community engagement and has volunteered for over 1,300 hours, earning the Presidential Volunteer Service Award. She runs an annual robotics summer camp and tutors non-native English speakers in public speaking and writing. As president of Inter-Club Council, she manages over 70 student groups on campus to help them execute community service projects.

Cole Woody
J F Dulles High School
Sugar Land, TX

Meet Cole Woody, a passionate advocate who exemplifies incomparable resilience and a burning desire to support the most vulnerable in our world. As an accomplished debater, Cole has worked tirelessly to create inclusivity in debate, earning the Academic All-American Award and coaching students who lacked resources.

Cole’s advocacy extends beyond debate. As an intern for Our National Conversation, he wrote public policy proposals and spearheaded congressional policy aimed at banning conversion therapy. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Cole understands the feeling of being overlooked and advocates for a more equitable world.

Cole is the Advocacy Director of the United Nations’ Girl Up Southeast Texas Coalition. He works diligently to increase representation of LGBTQ+ youth, dismantle the patriarchy, and promote the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, he played a monumental role in several Girl Up projects across Texas, from developing and administering curriculums focused on LGBTQ+ sex education to raising $4,000 for gender equity at the annual Unite Summit.

Cole’s commitment to advocacy is a lifelong devotion. He is currently majoring in genetics and researching the pathogenesis of HIV while continuing to pursue his passion for advocacy.

Kanghui Zhang
Los Osos High School
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Meet Kanghui Zhang, a passionate and dedicated student leader who immigrated to the United States from Shandong, China when she was nine. For the past five years, Kanghui has devoted herself to uplifting the local Asian American community as an afterschool tutor, English teacher, summer camp instructor, and translator. Even during the pandemic, Kanghui continued to serve her community and was recognized for her efforts with multiple President’s Volunteer Service Awards.

Kanghui’s passion for human rights advocacy is evident in all aspects of her life. She founded the Human Rights Club and two cross-campus social justice coalitions at her school, and she has combated hate crimes and championed sustainability in her city government as a member of the Youth Leaders program and as the first high school intern. Nationally, she serves on the Amnesty International USA Youth Collective and Human Rights Watch Student Task Force.

Kanghui is a National Merit Scholar Finalist and the winner of the Voices for Justice Honorarium, AIUSA Leading Change Recognition, multiple national and regional Academic Decathlon Gold Awards, the CJUHSD Board of Trustees Recognition and Superintendent Honor Roll. She regularly expresses her desire for wider realization of human rights for all through her writing and music, earning recognition and publications at regional and national levels.

Semi-Finalists | $3,200

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • More Networks
Copy link