To be a college athlete you have to have three things that are also trademarks of a great Girl Scout – courage, confidence and character. It takes courage to face a tough opponent, confidence in team and character to play by the rules so everyone stays safe. It’s no wonder many Girl Scouts become student athletes when they enter college. Girl Scout Alumna Molly Ross is on such alumna who is finding her own path in the male dominated fields of sports and STEM.
Molly became a Girl Scout in elementary school, loving the field trips and getting to do service with friends. In high school, it became a way to make a real difference and try new things. Beyond loving the experience herself, Scouting was a family affair. Molly’s brothers were Boy Scouts, her father was their leader and her mother is a Girl Scout Alumna and First Class recipient (former name of the Gold Award). It was her mother’s experience that inspired Molly to achieve her biggest Girl Scout goal – complete all three major awards (Bronze, Silver and Gold). “I knew it was a big thing for her, so I figured it would probably be a big thing for me and something I’d be really proud of doing,” Molly said.
In 2014 Molly was awarded the Gold Award for her project establishing a Junior Ranger Program at a nearby historical landmark – the Shawnee Indian Mission in Fairway, Kansas. “Growing up I earned about 60 Junior Ranger badges; I love history and I feel like it’s forgotten about sometimes. The Indian Mission was just down the street from me and most people in the area don’t realize how big of an impact it had on our community,” Molly said. The program Molly developed engages children with the site through activities like a scavenger hunt and bingo. Completing this project was a highlight of Molly’s Girl Scout experience and a fantastic accomplishment on her resume as she headed to college visits. After earning her Gold, Molly’s troop decided to take one last big adventure together – to get out of the country.
The summer between high school and college Troop 1476 took a trip to Costa Rica. The trip gave her a unique opportunity to go whitewater rafting and see a completely new part of the world. “I’d been to Canada and Mexico, but I hadn’t been REALLY out of the country, so this was a way to see a new culture and try new things,” Molly said. What a perfect way to transition into life as an alumna – exploring a new country, completing the highest award and expanding a program she loved.
Today, Molly is a sophomore at Kansas State University majoring in Mechanical Engineering and a member of the rowing team. Coming from a family of engineers and having a passion for cars, engineering was a natural fit. “I like working with machines, designing things and I’m really good at math and science, so it was the best fit. It’s amazing to me that so many people drive cars and have no idea how they work,” Molly said. Despite being one of only two or three girls in most of her engineering classes, Molly is a proud woman in STEM and knows this is where her passion lies.
As a member of the rowing team Molly is under the leadership of fellow Girl Scout Alumna, Hanna Wiltfong (“Coach H”) and held to high standards of excellence. Being a student athlete can be a challenge, constantly trying to balance school, practices, workouts and a social life. However, because of the skills she learned as a Girl Scout, Molly feels she is able to manage college life easier than many of her peers. “I see a lot of people not fully grasping time management in college, but because of what I learned in Girl Scouts, even as an athlete with daily workouts, a job and school, it’s a lot easier for me,” Molly said.
Molly Ross is an amazing example of how skills learned in Girl Scout help create the leaders of tomorrow. As a student athlete and a woman in STEM, Molly proving that even in two areas traditionally dominated by men, girls can do anything they’re passionate about. Her love of machines lead her to engineering and no one is going to stop her – that’s real courage, confidence, and character!
“The more women that realize they want to be an athlete or an engineer, the more women are going to be involved in those two things. They’re not necessarily male dominated because men are better suited for the field…it’s because women who could go into those fields just don’t,” Molly said.
Athlete, woman in STEM and high achiever – what an inspiring Girl Scout Alumna! We are so inspired by women who take the skills they learned in Girl Scouts and translate into successful lives as Alumna. If you have an inspiring Alumna story to share, comment below!