There are some inspiring young women leaders in Chester County right now, and Lucy Minchoff is one of them.
An 11th grade student at the STEM Academy in Downingtown, PA, Minchoff is a member of the inaugural class of GirlGov, a program of the Chester County Fund for Women and Girls. GirlGov provides high school girls with an opportunity to learn firsthand about civics, government, advocacy, policy and leadership. The program culminates in an advocacy trip to Harrisburg where the girls will meet one-on-one with legislators about issues that matter to them.
“Currently our group is working on a bill to change the primary school curriculum in Pennsylvania so that there is a focus on climate change and the environment,” Minchoff said.
“We brainstormed to figure out where we could have the biggest impact and determined that it was providing young children with an actual written curriculum,” she added. “As part of our research, we met with teachers, created petitions, and met with Senator Andy Dinniman’s policy and research analyst, Toni Keg. We are now doing the detailed work of writing the curriculum itself.”
According to CCFWG Executive Director Michelle Legaspi Sanchez, the organization has seen a growing interest among high school girls in programs involving advocacy and policy work.
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“[It] is why we partnered with the Women and Girls Foundation in Pittsburgh to start a new chapter of GirlGov right here in our community,” she said. “Lucy has been a leader among her peers on the topic of environmental advocacy, engaging with elected officials and industry experts on ways to improve environmental science education and curriculum in middle schools across the state.”
“She is a confident, poised and passionate young advocate who we are proud to have as part of our inaugural GirlGov Chester County class,” Legaspi Sanchez added.
In addition to Minchoff’s work with GirlGov, she continues to be involved with the nonprofit TechGirlz, that inspires middle school girls to foster a lifelong passion and confidence in their use of technology.
“I participated in TechGirlz throughout middle school,” Minchoff said, “and the program helped me to learn how to ask questions and inspired in me an increased curiosity about how the world works. It made such an impact on how I approach the world that I wanted to give back by mentoring others.”
Last summer, Minchoff attended the HOBY World Leadership Congress, a weekend-long conference designed to empower young people to become future leaders. She also volunteered with TechGirlz, leading three Designing Mobile Apps workshops and volunteering at Girls Take Charge.
During the school year Minchoff helped facilitate the Philly Science Festival and Girls Exploring Tech Together (GETT), was an emcee for the codebreakers event, and assisted with the Rehabilitation Robotics workshop at Penn. Most recently, she was appointed to TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board. These board members serve as advisors and mentors for the middle school girls in the program.
“TechGirlz is forging a continuous path for girls to follow to a career in technology beginning in middle school,” said TechGirlz CEO and founder Tracey Welson-Rossman. “These inspiring girls are committed to continuing and growing their experience in the field as advocates, advisors, and mentors for others within the program.”
“We congratulate and welcome them to this year’s board and are grateful for their service,” Welson-Rossman added. “For the first time ever, this board will also help review applications and choose speakers for the inaugural TechGirlz Girls-in-Tech Summit, an all-girls technology conference that will take place in Philadelphia later this year.”
This coming summer, Minchoff is planning to take a trip to Belize through a Putney Student Travel Program to study the effects of climate change on the coral reefs there. In the future, her goal is to start a nonprofit which would focus on the environment and how we can use technology to save it for future generations.
“Although I love mentoring and I understand the value of education,” she said, “rather than becoming a teacher or working for an environmental firm after I graduate, I want to start my own organization. I think nonprofits can make a bigger impact on the world because they are motivated by passion, not profit. I’m so excited to get more people aware of the power of nonprofits.”
Minchoff’s advice to young women? “Don’t be intimidated by what’s going on in the world, and don’t be afraid to speak up and use your voice, no matter what your age. GirlGov has taught me how much of an impact I can have, even at age 16.
“You really can change the world at any point in your life. It all starts with you and your passion.”-30-
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