We Asked High School Girls What Impact They Want to Leave on the World

On Saturday, MAKERS joined with the AOL Charitable Foundation and Step Up for Step Up’s College & Career Connections Conference. 60 high school girls and professional women mentors gathered at AOL HQ in New York, connecting over their ambitions and passion. “Step Up believes all girls should have the opportunity to fulfill their potential,” Teen Programs Manager Cleopatra LaMothe said, kicking off the day’s activities. Over the following six hours, mentors accompanied girls as they designed their future business cards, learned how to “power pose” from executive communication experts, and developed elevator pitches. 

They also filled out MAKERS question cards, which asked, “What impact do you want to leave on the world?” Answers ranged from ending animal abuse to fixing immigration to closing the gender gap in STEM fields. While some didn’t know what, exactly, they wanted to change in the world, they knew they wanted to make a difference. Mallory’s answer encompassed many of them: “I want to leave the world with a positive impact. I am not sure what I want to be or do, but I do know I want to make a difference and help as much as I can.”

We also asked them what they want to be when they grow up, and half of the girls expressed interest in STEM subjects like computer programming and medicine. We also heard from aspiring writers, singers, and pastry chefs. Through Step Up, these girls learn the tools they need to make their dreams reality, while spending the day with forward-looking women who set clear examples. And the results are evident: for five straight years, 100% of seniors active in Step Up have graduated high school and been accepted to college. They will be making the impact they foresee.

See photos from the Career Conference above, and learn more about the AOL Charitable Foundation’s grant to Step Up here.

Featured photo by Karen Stone


A few of the day's volunteers. Photo by Shelby Collins

Photo by Shelby Collins

During the business card-making workshop. Photo by Shelby Collins

An original business card--she wants to be a designer!  Photo by Shelby Collins

Power pose!  Photo by Shelby Collins

The happy group. Photo by Shelby Collins