Sadhana Anantha

Girl Scout Sadhana Anantha has been named the 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of the USA. The Indian American student’s ‘Ebola Awareness Lab’ earned her the award. (Sadhana Anantha/Facebook photo)

NEW YORK – Girl Scout Sadhana Anantha is only one of ten young women to be honored by the Girl Scouts of the USA, which has named the Indian American student as the recipient of the 2016 National Young Woman of Distinction.

The Cary, North Carolina native has earned the Girl Scouts’ award for her ‘Ebola Awareness Lab,’ which aimed to teach children ages 11-13 about science and medicine.

This year’s recipients, the organization said, exemplified extraordinary leadership by creating positive change around the world, achieving the highest honor in Girl Scouting.

During the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Anantha realized that most kids are unaware of how science is related to global issues around the world. To give students a chance to explore certain topics not taught in school and see how they apply to the real world, she partnered with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to create a mock Ebola testing lab simulation. The lab introduced many students to clinical science, as well as methods used to combat diseases such as the Zika virus.

One of her middle school students placed second at the North Carolina Science and Engineering Fair — exemplifying what she hoped students would take away from her lab.

Anantha’s simulation is successful as a current recurring exhibit in the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ micro lab.

“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,” Anantha, who is currently a student at the University of Miami, said in a statement.

Approximately five 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.

To honor these young achievers, the Kappa Delta Foundation will grant them a combined $50,000 in college scholarships.

Anantha and the other young women will be celebrated at a special ceremony this fall, and will present their Gold Award projects at a national leadership meeting convened by the Girl Scouts of the USA in Philadelphia.

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