Izzy Kasdin is a history major at Princeton University, where she was recently awarded twice for her achievements. Izzy was the co-recipient of the University's 2014 Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate. This honor is given to a senior who shows excellent scholarship, as well as strength of character and outstanding leadership skills. She was also awarded the Gates Scholarship, bestowed to only 40 students in the US each year who plan to study in areas that will help make a difference in the world. Izzy will be attending the University of Cambridge in England later this year, where she plans to earn a master’s in archaeology.
When asked about her achievements at Princeton, Izzy didn’t hesitate to credit many of the things she learned as a Girl Scout to her current success. Izzy was Girl Scout for 12 years, and said it was a “rite of passage” for her and her fellow graduating troop members to become lifetime members together. In fact, once when she lost her wallet, the first thing she thought to do was call her mom and ask her to secure a new lifetime membership card!
Izzy praises her troop leader, Kristin, for really giving girls the reigns, allowing them to learn collaborative leadership throughout their entire scouting experience. “Her goal was to build leaders,” says Izzy. The troop experienced many incredible things, and was always focused on the big picture goals. The girls raised funds to take a trip to Savannah near the end of their girl experience, but they weren’t content with just a vacation. While there, they did service for a senior citizen home and were even feature on TV for their efforts. “For us, Girl Scouts was always about service and helping people.”
Izzy earned her Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, and also served on the Gold Award review board as a girl representative. Izzy remembers how positive Girl Scouts was, encouraging her to achieve her dreams. “Girl Scouts never said no, you can’t do that, you’re not able to do that.” As an adult and a Princeton University student, Izzy has continued to push forwarded towards new goals, knowing she can do anything thanks to the confidence she gained as Girl Scout.
Advice for Girl Scouts
“I’d convince girls to stick with the program – the moment people give up on Girl Scouts is when Girl Scouts gets really special. All of the life changing experiences happened when I was older. Those experiences are really powerful. Girl Scouts is a powerful force of people who can get behind you and help you accomplish big projects in a supportive framework. This experience will help you do that in other parts of your life.”