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Cary Girl Scout named 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction

Today, Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines announced that Cary Girl Scout Sadhana A. was named by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) as a 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction, the organization’s most prestigious honor. Annually, GSUSA selects ten National Young Women of Distinction among Girl Scout candidates who have earned their Gold Award, which represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting.

Nationwide, thousands of Girl Scouts in grades 9–12 have earned their Gold Award as a result of their efforts to transform an idea and vision for change into an actionable plan with measurable, sustainable, and far-reaching impact at the local, national, and global levels. Approximately 5 percent of all Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award each year—and just ten girls in this already-high-achieving group receive the National Young Woman of Distinction honor. Applications are judged by previous National Young Women of Distinction, female leaders from a range of fields, GSUSA executives, and a representative from the Kappa Delta Foundation, which provides the honorees with college scholarships.

For her Gold Award project, Ebola Awareness Lab, Sadhana educated children ages 11-13 on global clinical science and the diagnostic tests used to identify various diseases. She created a mock ELISA Diagnostic Test, which is used to identify the Ebola virus, and demonstrated the simulation to the children. By participating in this lab, the students learned about how medical issues are addressed globally and the molecular basis of diagnostic tests. Sadhana created the lab to help make science and technology fields more accessible to young adults and to inspire them to pursue similar career paths and interests. Her project is now a permanent exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and is being adapted to inform visitors about the Zika virus.

“Through my Gold Award project, I wanted to give students a chance to explore certain topics that are not taught in traditional classrooms, and give them the opportunity to witness how this type of science can be applied in the real world,” shared Sadhana. “I am honored to be selected as one of this year’s National Young Women of Distinction and share my project and passion with a larger audience. I hope my project will inspire more young women to pursue careers and interests in science and medicine.”

This year marks the centennial of the Girl Scout Gold Award, celebrating millions of Girl Scouts past and present who have created, developed, and executed innumerable “Take Action” projects to make the world a better place. Some examples of projects carried out by girls from Girl Scouts—North Carolina Coastal Pines include addressing children literacy rates in rural communities, leading local wetland conservation efforts, and inspiring girls to about inclusivity and acceptance of themselves and others. These projects exemplify the extraordinary leadership, grit, and collaborative efforts of Gold Award girls as they lead the Girl Scout way like a G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™.

“The Girl Scout Gold Award not only gives girls essential leadership skills that will help them forge successful futures, but shows them that one girl, one voice, and one project can make a difference,” said Lisa Jones, chief executive officer Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines. “Sadhana’s Gold Award project demonstrates her vision, resolve, and commitment to using her skills to make the world a better place. We are incredibly proud of her and her achievements, including being named as a National Young Woman of Distinction.”

To honor Girl Scouts’ National Young Women of Distinction, the Kappa Delta Foundation bestows them a combined $50,000 in college scholarships, reflecting Kappa Delta’s commitment to girls’ leadership and pursuit of education.

Sadhana will be honored during a special National Young Women of Distinction ceremony this fall alongside the 2016 honoree where she will present her Gold Award project at a national leadership meeting convened by GSUSA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Being named a National Young Woman of Distinction, earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, and receiving scholarships are just a few of the countless experiences girls have through Girl Scouts. To join Girl Scouts or learn about volunteering, please visit