Representing Nevada as one of the best and brightest

Daria Butler, who just graduated from high school, recently traveled from Las Vegas to Mobile, Ala. for the annual Distinguished Young Women competition that celebrates and supports young college-bound women in securing financial scholarships to ensure a path for secondary education.

Each year, one contestant is selected per state and through a series of applications; Butler was chosen to represent Nevada. Applicants are judged on scholastics, interview abilities, extracurricular talents, fitness and self-expression. She is a young role model for high school girls following their dreams and looking to attend college. The organization is both the oldest and largest scholarship program in the county for female students, having given more than $100 million over the years. Notable alumni of the program include Diane Sawyer and Debra Messing—and now Butler. She’s also a part of the Women’s Empowerment Club, National Honor Society, AP Scholar and volunteers for Make-A-Wish.

She first credits her teachers at the Meadows School. “They have always believed in me, supported, encouraged and challenged me throughout my academic career. As I progressed each year in school, I continued to experience the same cycle of guidance and trials that have helped me to become the person I am today. I have also been inspired by a desire to better myself and make a positive impact on the world.”

Butler also looks to her family for inspiration. “They have always been so supportive and encouraging throughout my life. They faithfully attended all of my school programs, piano, dance and choir performances, and even traveled all the way to Alabama to watch me represent Nevada in the Distinguished Young Women national program.”

Heading to the University of Pennsylvania, Butler plans on majoring in philosophy, politics and economics, with a thematic concentration in globalization. Her immediate goals include graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s College of Arts and Sciences while maintaining above a 3.7 GPA, making her eligible for the Dean’s List. “Following my graduation, I hope to pursue a Master’s degree at Harvard University Law School. My dream is to then work for a corporate law firm in San Francisco that works with Asia. I started taking Mandarin at the beginning of this school year at the University of Pennsylvania in hopes of pursuing this goal.”

As for participating in the Distinguished Young Women competition, Butler explained that, “Looking back, the other forty nine participants and I never perceived our two weeks in Alabama as a competition. Our time spent in Alabama was more of a life-changing experience that we all underwent together, supporting each other along the way. The hard work we put into preparing for preliminaries helped us to bond and form life-long friendships. The wonderful host family that I was blessed with will always be a part of my life. I am forever grateful to Jennifer and Robert Moseley for their hospitality and continuing support. I was also lucky enough to be able to gain four sweet beautiful sisters: Madison, Gracyn, Claire and Abby.”

According to Butler, “The Nevada Distinguished Young Women program needs talented, intellectually driven and ambitious high school senior girls to participate in the program. Girls need to submit their high school transcripts, perform a talent routine and have a desire to meet other intelligent and gifted girls. Nevada also needs state sponsors that can promote the great accomplishments that Distinguished Young Women are achieving. The Distinguished Young Women of 2014 are attending the nation’s top universities and have established goals they are determined to accomplish.” Butler admires that the program encourages girls like her to discover who they are on the inside and to appreciate their individuality.

While some might call Daria Butler a Future Fearless Female, she is demonstrating that her future is now and she is already a Fearless Female.