2016 College Women of the Year: A’Dorian Murray-Thomas
"When I was seven my father was killed while leaving his Newark convenience store. I was devastated; I still remember how he tucked me in at night. My education became the ultimate safe haven. Fast-forward to my junior year at Swarthmore, when I received a $10,000 grant to do something I was passionate about. My mom said, 'You know, Newark doesn't have a program helping girls affected by violence.' That was it—all the emotion I had from when my dad died, I poured into She Wins!, a safe space for Newark girls who've been impacted by violence. By the end of this year, I'll have worked with 50 mentees to help them find their passions; I took one group to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the Girls Count Act. These girls were so timid when I met them, but there they were, listening to First Lady Michelle Obama speak. They weren't victims; they were leaders. It was a beautiful thing."—Murray-Thomas, an education and political science major, founded She Wins!, a nonprofit for girls ages 12 to 15 affected by homicide.