UArizona’s Office of Research, Innovation & Impact launches “Young Women of Impact” campaign as part of its annual celebration of women

Nominated by their principals, students from public high schools across Pima County have been named "Young Women of Impact" by the University of Arizona during its second annual Women of Impact celebration.

Oct. 19, 2023


Each year, the University of Arizona’s Office of Research, Innovation & Impact (RII) leads the Women of Impact celebration—a campaign and recognition event to recognize notable women faculty and staff at the University of Arizona. This year, RII is also honoring high school students, nominated by their principals, from 18 public schools across seven Pima County districts.

Alongside 30 UArizona Women of Impact, these students will be recognized for their commitment to and demonstration of six core values at UArizona: integrity, compassion, inspiration, adaptability, inclusivity and determination.

According to Lisa Romero, associate vice president of marketing and communications for RII, adding this new element was about expanding the spirit of Women of Impact beyond the university.

“We recognize the importance of acknowledging young women making a difference in their schools and communities, connecting them with university role models, and cultivating a pipeline of future Women of Impact,” said Romero. “We are thrilled to be able to integrate these inspiring young women into our second annual Women of Impact campaign this year.”

Additionally, the Young Women of Impact program serves as a catalyst for encouraging meaningful bonds between the high school awardees and the university, increasing the likelihood that these students will consider UArizona for their higher education experience.

Participating schools were pleased to be able to select and showcase their students, who will attend the Women of Impact recognition event on the university campus in Tucson on Oct. 20.

Stephanie Ponce, principal of Sunnyside High School (SHS) in the Sunnyside Unified School District, said, “Through programs like Young Women of Impact, UArizona has made sure that students at Sunnyside know that college is for everyone and that they belong, and can thrive, at this university.”

Sunnyside’s nominated Young Women of Impact awardee, Ana Ruiz Torres, is a graduating senior and hopes to attend the University of Arizona next fall.

“This event and being nominated as a ‘Young Woman of Impact’ is allowing me to form a special bond with the university that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise,” said Torres.

“My family is mostly women, my teachers and counselors are mostly women, and I have always thought of them as having a huge impact on my life. To be given a label that I have given to so many women in my life–one of impact–is something I can’t quite describe.”

Torres wants to pursue a career in chemical engineering, an interest she picked up from watching Formula One, an international motor racing competition. In watching, however, she noticed that women engineers in that realm are rarely given the spotlight.

Torres is driven to pave her own way in a field that is mostly dominated by men. “I want to make a change and I want to be seen. The Women of Impact program gives me that push and that validation to be able to say that women, including me, are part of the changes happening in the world.”

Kim Middleton, principal of Cienega High School in the Vail School District, said, “The University of Arizona's commitment to not only inspiring but investing in the confidence and passion of young female leaders is a signal to our community, and the great state of Arizona, of the value placed in empowering female leaders.”

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