The Grossmont College English Department/Creative Writing Program recently collaborated with the La Mesa-El Cajon American Association of University Women (AAUW) to sponsor the 7th Annual “First Female” essay contest. This year’s winner is Anger Agoth, a sophomore at Granite Hills High School.
On April 25, Oralee Holder, chair of the Grossmont College English Department, and English Professor Sydney Brown, co-coordinator of the Creative Writing program, presented Agoth with the award at the AAUW Author’s Luncheon, which had over 300 people in attendance.
"Anger read her speech and brought the room to their feet—many of us were also brought to tears," Brown said.
Anger's essay is below.
First Female: Creating the Future
By Anger Agoth
Growing up in a country with little freedom, rights, and opportunity was a barrier to becoming a first woman to do something inspiring. I was born in Khartoum, Sudan and was raised in Cairo, Egypt. My parents were unable to finish their education at a young age because of the civil war that has and continues to occur today between North and South Sudan.
My parents wanted us to have greater opportunities, education and a better life. They struggled to bring us to the United
States; it took years till my family and I were accepted through the United Nations
to come to the United States. Our arrival to the United States was a door opened of
various opportunities and I promised myself that nothing would become a barrier
that would stop me from achieving my goals.
Ever since 5th grade, I wanted to become an engineer. At first I wanted to become a Civil Engineer but then quickly changed my mind to Computer Engineering. I attended Emerald STEM Middle School my 6th and 7th grade and was involved in the robotic pathway. I was able to attend one summer of Robotic Academy hosted for Emerald students and the academy made me fall in love with building robots and computer programming.
My 8th grade year, I moved to Montgomery Middle School, where my science teacher nominated me to sign up and become part of BeWise (Better Education for Women in Science and Engineering). BeWise had allowed me to be part of many engineering programs, from Robotic Hat Academy, where I got to create and program a robot hat, to other programs that I got to be part of at UCSD and SDSU.
However, one special program that I took part in was ISS (International Space Station) program where a group of 12 to 15 other girls and I created a NASA micro lab to test and block radiation using boronated hydrocarbon putty in space. The micro lab was launched on September for a 90-day trip. The ISS program made me become the first young Sudanese female to send something to space and contribute to NASA. I am beyond honored to have contributed to NASA and create a device that successfully blocks radiation in space.
Growing up, I never thought I would be able to attend school or even become a United States Citizen. My family’s life has been nothing but struggles followed by many blessings. As the oldest of five, I will be the first woman in my family to finish high school, attend
college, become an engineer, and set a perfect pathway for my younger siblings. One
of my favorite quotes is, “The best way to predict the future is to create it” (unknown).