Pictured: Jamielee Buenemann who recently received Girl Scouting’s highest award for her innovative and advanced project focusing on renewable energy. Photo courtesy Kathryn Kiefer (Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri)
WASHINGTON, MO - Jamielee Buenemann, a 2015 graduate of Washington High School and one of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s graduating seniors, was one of only 10 young women nationwide to receive the award.
She completed her Girl Scout Gold Award by researching, designing and constructing a residential-scale wind turbine almost entirely from recycled materials, raising awareness in her community about the accessibility and affordability for renewable energy.
"Being named a National Young Woman of Distinction is the highest honor a girl can earn through Girl Scouts, and it is emblematic of her vision, resolve, and commitment to putting her skills to work to make the world a better place," said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.
"These girls have demonstrated remarkable leadership at just 16 or 17 years old, and what they have accomplished is extraordinary. The entire Girl Scout Movement is so proud of them and everything they have achieved."
Jamielee’s pioneering project has received recognition from several other organizations as well. She traveled to multiple prestigious conferences to present her project, including the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, and the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering and Environment) Project Olympiad in Houston, Texas, where she received a bronze medal. In February, she received a $5,000 Dessert First scholarship from Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.
More than 137 young women were nominated for the award, and the rigorous selection process included each application being reviewed more than five times by both GSUSA and an outside panel. With the NYWOD honor comes many exciting prizes, including $10,000 in scholarships from Kappa Delta Sorority and Girl Scouts of the USA, and a special awards presentation in New York City in October. Jamielee will also get professional public-speaking training and have the opportunity to present her project at a nationally broadcasted, live-streaming TED Talk-style event for International Day of the Girl.
“It was a secret wish on my bucket list to do a TED-like talk, but I thought it was crazy and out of my league,” Jamielee said. “I’m excited to share my research and my mantra for economically available renewable energy with such a wide audience.
Girl Scouts has played a large role in helping Jamielee cultivate her interest in the STEM fields. “Girl Scouts has been an amazing way for me to make a difference in the world,” she said. “It’s a place for young girls to develop confidence and pursue their goals.” This fall, Jamielee will begin studying chemical engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, before pursuing a graduate degree focusing on renewable energy research and development.
As Jamielee continues her education, she plans to continue her relationship with Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri.