"It sure felt like combat." - Caroline Cleveland, former First…
“My dream is to help villages, towns, even countries grow in an environmentally sustainable way” – Vanessa Alejandro
Vanessa Alejandro is a 22-year-old geology major at University of Houston Honors College.
One of the winners of Glamour’s Top 10 College Women Competition, she is a great example of someone who is working in the service of OTHERS! Before she finished college, she had already co-founded a nonprofit to teach inner-city kids about science and the environment.
In 2012, when she faced a very personal setback of thyroid cancer, she didn’t let it slow down her creativity and drive. While undergoing radioactive iodine therapy—Vanessa got her ‘next big idea’ to plan to build a community playground that would be an outdoor “exploratorium” for schools without lab equipment.
Now cancer-free for nearly two years, Vanessa says she draws her endless energy from the invincible feeling she gets on tough hikes.
Alejandro grew up catching crayfish in Pearland, Texas, but when she went to the University of Houston, she realized local children couldn’t safely explore like she once did.
In fact, they could better identify gang colors than native Texas animals. So she cofounded Warriors of the Wild, a nonprofit that teaches inner-city kids about science and the environment.
Today Alejandro and her team of 14 volunteers have educated more than 4,000 students via field trips and skits (starring a bird named Jack Sparrow).
Glamour introduced all of the winners in the Top 10 College Women competition to mentors in their respective fields. Alejandro spoke to Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace, who offered this advice:
“Find a workplace where your ideals are welcome.
And call us when you graduate!”
BONUS: Check out all of this year’s Top 10 College Women winners »
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Mother’s Day BONUS:
Meet a girl athlete who also finds fantastic energy by being out in nature!
Brooke Raboutou is a rock-climbing phenom who regularly breaks world records on elite bouldering and sport climbs once thought impossible for someone her age.
And guess what? Her coach is also her Mom! (former world champion climber, Robyn Erbesfield-Raboutou)
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Check out Brooke’s Facebook page here >
Thanks to Glamour for this inspiring story.
This is the 58th year in a row that Glamour magazine has sponsored the Top 10 College Women Competition.
The competition seeks to identify dynamic young women with leadership experience, excellent grades, and inspiring goals in order to feature their stories to inspire others. The magazine awards one grand prize of $20,000 and nine prizes of $3,000. All winners receive a trip to New York City and recognition in a special feature in Glamour.
The competition is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (except for Quebec) who are at least 18 years old and will be full-time juniors in the fall after applying. Student athletes may enter and win the competition, but special accommodations will be made to comply with National Collegiate Athletic Association rules. [symple_column size=”one-fourth” position=”last” fade_in=”false”]