Recently graduated St. Michaels University School student Aysha Emmerson is headed to Harvard University.
The 17-year-old intends to concentrate on women’s gender and sexuality studies, global health and health policy.
Emmerson’s busy extra-curricular schedule helped her secure Zonta International’s annual Young Women in Public Affairs Awards. One is a $1,500 U.S. regional scholarship and the other a $4,000 U.S. international scholarship.
“I want to use my words to inspire, to empower, to build bridges and break down stigmas,” Emmerson said. “I want to give voice to the dispossessed by using my words to teach others how to use theirs.”
For a high school grad, Emmerson’s resumé is a long one.
Among her bigger accomplishments is founding Self.I.E, Self Inspiration and Empowerment, an organization that conducts day camps for girls entering middle school. Run by high-schoolers, each day of camp includes activities and reflections on one of five themes: self care, self acceptance, self expression, self defence and self-to-others.
“The goal is to help a vulnerable age group appreciate and understand themselves, allowing them to flourish, so they can give back and support other girls,” Emmerson said.
As Head Girl at SMUS for her Grade 12 year Emmerson co-chaired the 40-member prefect assembly, ran school gatherings and served as a liaison between teachers and students. She was involved in sailing, cross-country, soccer, the newspaper, service council, service leadership and model UN. She also served as head of ME-to-WE Club and 30h Famine Club the past two years, sits on the Vancouver Island Royal Commonwealth Society Youth Council, which discusses world issues, youth engagement in the Commonwealth, and addressed an audience of 18,000 at WE Day Vancouver 2017 in October, and volunteered three of the past four summers with Project Somos in Guatemala.