Name: Bindu Mayi
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Project Idea: To implement infection control policies in hospitals and clinics across the nation to prevent MRSA infections
Sound bite: "My twin sister passed away right before our 16th birthday in a fire. She was so much better than me at everything, and I felt guilty that I had survived and not her. I realized I had to do something with my life. I was very dependent on my parents, but left India for the U.S. to get my PhD, going on to do medical research and teaching. It was clear that this is what I had to do."
Name: Jameelah Medina
Hometown: Rialto, California
Project Idea: A program for at-risk African American and Latino youth who have been involved in race-related violence at their high schools
Sound bite: "In my high school we had race riots between blacks and Latinos. That's when I started learning Spanish, and I thought, Wow, if we all knew what we had in common, we wouldn't be fighting. It's important to me to give these kids the knowledge about their commonalities, because they don't learn that in history class."
Name: Tanya Moore
Hometown: San Francisco
Project Idea: The Infinite Possibilities Conference, a national conference to support and encourage minority women and girls in mathematics
Sound bite: "I want to deconstruct the myth that 'math won't help me in the real world.' Math provides a framework to organize information and interpret data. Even if you're not going to use geometry in your life's work, it gives you tools that are good for decision-making and critical thinking."
Name: Annette Morales
Hometown: Las Cruces, New Mexico
Project Idea: To replace existing traditional kilns with brick kilns that emit 95 percent less dangerous fumes during a burn
Sound bite: "When I worked for corporate America, I was involved in the closing of manufacturing facilities. Attempting to assess the damage and transition the employees out was a feat. I decided I did not want to tear down communities anymore; I wanted to build them up. It is much easier to do."
Name: Irma R. Muñoz
Hometown: Venice, California
Project Idea: Mujeres de la Tierra, a nonprofit supporting women to become active participants in environmental issues impacting their families and neighborhoods
Sound bite: "Two of my neighbors died of cancer before they turned 60, months apart from each other. Both women believed that toxins from the nearby oil wells might have caused the cancer. I promised to do something about it to prevent others from getting ill. ... It's time for women from local neighborhoods to act and lead on this critical issue."
Name: Nneka Norville
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Project Idea: Intern Etiquette, business etiquette training for prospective interns to bridge the gap between academia and the working world
Sound bite: "When my mother came to the U.S. from Guyana, she worked in a morgue. She always told us, 'I came here and worked with dead bodies for years—so you have no room to complain.' Then she got her degree and her master's and is now a principal. She instilled in me, 'Do what you want to do.'"
Name: Ebele Okobi-Harris
Hometown: New York City
Project Idea: An organization that identifies, equips, and prepares high-potential African women for business, civic, and entrepreneurial leadership
Sound bite: "I've worked with companies in Africa that bring ex-pats in to do senior jobs, and only hire Africans for the menial jobs. When pressed, they would say they couldn't find locals who were sufficiently qualified. Given that in countries like Senegal and Nigeria there are not enough jobs for college graduates, I was inspired to create opportunities for them to forge their own economic destiny."
Name: Morgan Owen-Cruise
Hometown: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Project Idea: To organize a group bringing weekly art and music activity to kids in local homeless shelters and public housing community centers
Sound bite: "I became aware of how privileged I am—living in a happy home with two parents and a steady income—when I heard my supervisor on the phone desperately trying to find a place to sleep for a runaway teen who was being abused by her mother but too young to enter a shelter. I thought, How would it even be possible to survive in that position?"
Name: Tamara Oyola-Santiago
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Project Idea: A nonprofit, community-based entity dedicated to eradicating poverty in Puerto Rico
Sound bite: "The members of my breakout group at Women Rule! were very different—in both the public and private sectors, working with startups and already-established programs. The richness of experiences was great! We all shared our deficits and our strengths of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). There was very little fear in terms of saying, 'This is what I am good at and this is what I am bad at, or ignorant of, or need help with.'"
Name: Reshma Pattni
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Project Idea: Girls International Forum, an organization working to inspire and empower girls around the world to be active agents of change in their communities
Sound bite: "I have many strong, inspiring, socially active women in my family who encouraged me to dream big. They enabled me to be involved with projects that extended beyond the reach of my small Minnesota town—and ultimately they made it possible for me to join a group of girls and women attending the UN's 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing. Our group became the founders of Girls International Forum."
We Hear You!