Alison Steele of Avon Lake, OH is the recipient of the 2021 Thomas J. & Marjorie S. Gray Foundation Scholarship. Steele, a 2020 graduate of Avon Lake High School, has been a member of Girl Scouts for 12 years and is a Gold Award Girl Scout.
Steele volunteered over 250 hours in her community during her time as a Girl Scout and in 2020 she earned the highest honor in Girl Scouting, the Girl Scout Gold Award. Her Gold Award project, “Bicentennial Bike Route,” created a historic bike route around her hometown of Avon Lake to commemorate historic sites in the area. Steele’s goal was to educate residents and visitors about the area’s rich history at various points of the planned bike route. With signage, an informative website, map, and an information session about the project, she was able to transform an existing route to accomplish her goal.
Steele was very active in her community through service and leadership as a Sunday School Teacher, Youth Representative on the Leadership Council, and Youth Group President at Westlake United Methodist Church. At Avon Lake High School, where she graduated with Honors, she was part of the National English Honor Society Leadership Team.
Steele is currently attending Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, where she is pursuing a degree in Biomedical Engineering. In her short time on campus, Steele has actively sought ways to get involved in the community. She especially sought out involvement with organizations that promote women in STEM, such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the Women in Engineering Program (WIEP). Steele even helped plan a Coding for Kids day for local Girl Scout troops!
With her degree, Steele wants to leverage her own personal experiences with surgery to encourage others to have hope that technology can help them. During her own diagnosis and treatment for a rare circulatory condition in her legs, she was introduced to cutting edge medical equipment that reduced risk and recovery time. She became intrigued by the devices and determined to study biomedical engineering, with the goal of working as a device representative who ensures medical devices are properly and ethically implanted in patients.
The Gray Foundation Scholarship enables Girl Scouts of North East Ohio to help outstanding girls reach further, achieve more, and use the experiences and skills they gain from the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to take the lead in making a difference in their communities.
To qualify, girls must meet a number of requirements including earning the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting; being enrolled in a 4-year college; committing to a minimum of 90 hours of community service during the scholarship award year; maintaining a connection to Girl Scouts during the award period; and completing a monthly service report.