Greenwich High School Senior Melissa Woo was recently awarded a $2,500 Equitable Excellence Scholarship for her work creating a mobile application, “Under My Wing,” that promotes protection from sexual harassment and assault for women.
Its features promote personal safety and risk management via self-defense training and easy emergency contact and police dialing. Her award also comes with a $1,000 grant to Greenwich High School to be used for professional development opportunities for the school.
Equitable Excellence Scholarship offers college scholarships of $2,500, $10,000 and $25,000 to high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in their activities in school, the community or the workplace – especially those that lessen risk to health, safety, the environment, or financial security. The scholarship is sponsored by the Equitable Excellence Foundation.
“We are very proud of Melissa’s accomplishments,” said Greenwich High School Headmaster Mr. Ralph Mayo. “As President of the Girls Who Code Club here at the school, she has led innovative, adaptive and problem-solving solutions. We look forward to seeing all of her future endeavors.”
“This scholarship, along with the other recognition that this app has received (including the Verizon App Challenge Best in Nation Award in 2016), has shown me how propelling innovation into reality truly can effect change,” Melissa said. “It has also reminded me of the importance of perseverance.”
Melissa said software development is tricky. “The technical challenges we faced were plentiful, but I researched fixes on online forums for countless hours and debated solutions with fellow coders. With every bug I fixed came a sense of accomplishment and a realization that we were one step closer to the product that we envisioned,” she added. “Building ‘Under My Wing’ has heightened my sense of social awareness and ignited my passion for designing technology-oriented solutions to address societal issues.”
About the Equitable Excellence Scholarship Program. The program is administered by Scholarship America, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals.