New Mexico Girl Scout earns Gold Award for solar-power project

Community Reports

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Natalie Aulwes of Los Alamos earned the title of 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scout—the highest honor participants can receive by being a Girl Scout. This is a prestigious title she shares with nine other teen activists from across the country who have exhibited leadership skills and created positive change in their communities.

Aulwes won the award after she developed a ski patrol helipad that runs on solar power. Her project centered around assisting the Ski Patrol with the Rocky Mountain Division, an organization she’s been with since she was 15 years old.

“I wanted to do something to give back to Ski Patrol and everything they’ve done for me,” Aulwes said. “One of the problems we were having was getting our patients efficiently to our old helicopter pad.”

Aulwes said part of the problem was transferring the patients from the sled to the ambulance, then to the helicopter pad because moving the patient after an injury can oftentimes make it worse. She found a new location for a second helicopter pad which sits at the top of the mountain.

“We did that because from that position we could just hook up the sled to the back of a snowmobile and just drive it up (to the helicopter pad),” Aulwes said.

Additionally, Natalies was inspired to offer an all-girl engineering workshop to demonstrate concepts like circuitry, drafting, and 3D computer-assisted design to encourage STEM mentorship with younger girls.

“Once that was done, I just really wanted to spread the word about women in engineering because when I was growing up, it was kind of difficult by possibly being the only woman in my engineering classes, robotics classes and competitions,” Aulwes said. “I really wanted to give that opportunity back.”

The 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts will receive a combined $100,000 in college scholarships from Susan Bulkeley Butler, founder of a women’s leadership development organization and a former member of the Girl Scouts of the USA Board of Directors. The Kappa Delta Foundation and Arconic Foundation also each contributed $50,000 in college scholarships.

On October 10, girls are invited to attend the Girl Scouts Change the World virtual celebration ahead of International Day of the Girl to meet the ten 2020 National Gold Award Girl Scouts as they share their projects to inspire a new generation to step up in unique ways and transform the world around them.

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