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Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders: Maria's Journey

Friday, March 1, 2024

Women United Helps Pave the Path to Success in STEM for Local Girls

Maria Urdamipilleta understood the obstacles young women face entering STEM careers, making the world of engineering seem like a far-off dream. However, with support from Fort Worth's Young Women's Leadership Academy (YWLA), that dream is now within her grasp as a tangible goal for her near future.


"As a young woman, it is difficult to start in the STEM industry, but with the help of the Young Women's Leadership Academy and robotics, I have found my passion for architecture and civil engineering," said Maria.


YWLA, Fort Worth ISD's only all-girl public school, educates students from grades 6 to 12, with 68% of students coming from families living at or below the poverty line. Fueled by a curriculum that champions STEM, visual arts, and college preparedness, the academy operates with an unwavering belief that when you educate a girl, not only does her life improve, but so does that of her family, the community, and the world.


Recognizing the immense potential of providing young women with opportunities to thrive in STEM fields, UWTC's Women United group made a significant investment in their futures by granting $25,000 in 2023 to the Foundation for the Young Women's Leadership Academy. This gift ensures that Maria, along with countless other girls, are empowered to dream big, shape their communities, and positively impact the world.


Maria, a first-generation Argentinian American, entered YWLA in 6th grade. From then on, she never ceased climbing the ladders of success through the school's engineering pathway. Her passion for robotics led to her joining and becoming co-captain of the Dork Side, YWLA's robotics team, which opened opportunities for her to immerse herself in the engineering design process.


Following robotics season, Maria displayed leadership skills by working with her teacher to reinstate the school's Advanced Vertical Robotics (AVR) drone team, which previously disbanded because of the COVID-19 pandemic and graduating seniors. As team captain, Maria built drones and documented the design process.


"Drone and FTC robotics have taught me how to be a leader, communicate with my peers professionally, and learn more about engineering, a passion I want to continue to explore," said Maria.


Maria's academic achievements and engineering talents did not go unnoticed. YWLA invited Maria on its first-ever tour of Ivy League colleges, allowing her to explore and select the best campus. Her academic successes earned her the prestigious QuestBridge Match scholarship, covering all her college education expenses.


UWTC Women United grants to organizations such as the YWLA Foundation come from an endowment funded by Women United members and proceeds from our annual Investing in Impact luncheon and related events, such as the Guns, Girls and Pearls Clay Shoot. Join Women United in their commitment to empower women and girls in Tarrant County by attending this year’s Investing in Impact luncheon on May 9. At the event, grants will be awarded to local nonprofits dedicated to the Women United mission.


Learn more about attending the Investing in Impact Luncheon