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Girl Scouts of Utah honors USU President as Girl Champion

Thursday, Sep. 20, 2018

USU President Noelle Cockett

USU President Noelle Cockett has been honored as a Girl Champion by the Girl Scouts of Utah.

In conjunction with International Day of the Girl, Girl Scouts of Utah is honoring the women who lead five of Utah’s higher education institutions with its Girl Champion Award. The women are: Noelle E. Cockett, Utah State University; Ruth V. Watkins, University of Utah; Astrid S. Tuminez, Utah Valley University; Bethami Dobkin, Westminster College; and Deneece G. Huftalin, Salt Lake Community College. In bestowing the award to these distinguished women, Girl Scouts recognizes the ways in which each of them has invested in developing the leadership potential of girls and women throughout their careers in education. Girl Scouts also acknowledges the future impact they and their institutions will have in strengthening the pipeline of girls and women who complete higher education degrees and participate in Utah’s future workforce.

“As an organization that celebrates and nurtures the power within every girl, we are pleased to recognize these five women for the work that got them to their current professional level,” said Brenda Scheer, Board Chair for Girl Scouts of Utah (GSU). “Recognizing them as a ‘troop’ of Girl Champions also expands leadership role models for Utah’s girls and Girl Scouts.” 

When reflecting on being named a Girl Champion, Dr. Ruth Watkins spoke of the importance of mentorship, particularly in developing women leaders. “My academic champions helped me develop confidence in my own abilities and changed the way I saw myself and my future opportunities,” said Watkins. “I am proud to now play a part in the advancement of women throughout the University of Utah, and to see them advance their careers and lives.”

Four of the five presidents are Girl Scout alums, having been in the program in California, Iowa, and Montana. This is consistent with national statistics of how Girl Scouts grow into leadership positions. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute: 73% of female U.S. senators are Girl Scout alums, 52% of women serving in the U.S. House of Representatives are Girl Scout alums, virtually all women astronauts who have gone to space were Girl Scouts, and, all three female U.S. Secretaries of State are Girl Scout alums. 

“We are proud – and not at all surprised – that Girl Scout alums are leading these remarkable institutions of higher learning in the great state of Utah,” said Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “For more than a century, Girl Scouts has helped girls develop the skills and confidence that prepare them for a lifetime of leadership, and this year’s Girl Champion Award recipients are further proof of the incredible impact Girl Scouts has on girls, their communities, and our country.”

Dr. Noelle Cockett remembers that she was pleased to have the experience of being a Girl Scout because of the connections she made. "I enjoyed being a Brownie because I've always loved being with people. Girl Scouts provides an opportunity to meet girls from across diverse backgrounds, different worlds, and communities, and to celebrate being individuals."

GSU will present the Girl Champion Award at the upcoming Utah Day of the Girl Event, scheduled for Friday, October 12th at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. The event will be presented by Dominion Energy, and has received enthusiastic support from business and community organizations, including the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, who has committed to a Gold Level sponsorship.  

High school-aged and young alum Girl Scouts will receive “at-table” mentoring from sponsors. Theresa Foxley, President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, will deliver a keynote presentation on the importance of investing in girls to build the pipeline for Utah’s economic health and stability. Caitlin Burchill, KSL 5 News team member and Girl Scout alum, will serve as emcee. Individual tickets are available for the event at or by calling (801) 716-5153.

For more information, the program’s mission to enhance student readiness for college and support a college-going culture in Utah, visit

Media Contact: Callie Birdsall-Chambers,, (801) 608-7003

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