Juniors Konopka & Kang selected to attend Girls’ Career Institute


Noelia Moore

Julia Konopka and Cecilia Kang will be representing Becton Regional High School at Girls’ Career Institute this June.

Juniors Julia Konopka and Cecilia Kang have been selected to represent Becton Regional High School at the 2019 New Jersey Girls’ Career Institute this June 3 through June 6.

“It is an honor to be selected,” Julia stated. Cecilia added, “I am thankful for this opportunity.”

The Girls’ Career Institute (GCI), directed by the New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Clubs of GFWC, offers junior high school girls an opportunity to attend a three-day event at Douglass College in New Brunswick. According to the president of the Woman’s Club of Carlstadt, Ms. Rosalie Bespalko, the institute assists girls in preparing for college and career readiness. The event will host lectures about female empowerment in the workplace and activities that help build teamwork and comradery amongst girls.

It is an honor to be selected.”

— Julia Konopka

Students are required to submit an essay regarding why they should be chosen to attend the event in order to apply. “I wrote about some of the leadership roles I have taken on throughout my life in my essay,” Julia commented. “I think writing about these roles helped me get accepted.”

Cecilia centered her essay around how she intends to pursue a career in criminal profiling, a male-dominated field. She believes that “by attending these meetings and listening to other women’s experiences, my understanding of the importance for young girls to actively strive for their desired careers will be greatly enhanced.”

Julia’s main concern regarding the institute will be finding girls with similar interests and making friends, but she remains positive that she will find fellow students who are just as passionate about their future career as she is. Cecilia believes that living away from home for the four days will be her primary challenge, yet she also feels that the experience will shape her into a more independent person when she leaves for college in the fall of 2020.

I am thankful for this opportunity.”

— Cecilia Kang

One of the main reasons the juniors are eager to attend the event is because they want to learn how to navigate career paths that are typically taken by more males than females. The GCI is known for inviting women who are in powerful positions in their field to speak with the young girls about the ins and outs of being a female in such an environment.

“I want to learn how to put myself out there more when taking a position or even talking to colleagues and bosses,” Julia said. Julia’s older sister, Ashley, also attended the GCI in 2017, so she is proud to follow in her sister’s footsteps.

When asked who their greatest role models are in life, Julia and Cecilia both responded with powerful female figures they look up to. “My biggest role model is my mother because she is such an independent woman,” Julia explained.

Cecilia’s inspiration is the former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. “She started from a humble home and grew up to be the influential woman she is today. She went to both Harvard and Princeton and fights for women’s equality, which ties perfectly into the lessons taught at the Girls’ Career Institute.”