Young Women in Public Affairs Award

These Awards recognize pre-university and pre-college women students committed to leadership in public policy, government and volunteer organizations. See the Awards Application for further information regarding eligibility, application requirements, contact information, and application process.


Though about 40% of the world’s workforce is women, according to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, only 25.7% of all national parliamentarians were female as of 1 September 2021. Because Zonta International believes that young women are the key to women’s advancement in the field of public service, it offers the Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Award, which recognizes young women, ages 16-19, for demonstrating leadership skills and commitment to public service and civic causes, and encourages them to continue their participation in public and political life.

Established in 1990 by Past International President Leneen Forde, Zonta has given 1,091 awards, US$1,488,750, to 919 young women from 61 countries.

The program operates at the Zonta club, district/region and international levels. Zonta International offers 37 international awards of US$5,000. Each district/region may submit one applicant for consideration for an international scholarship. The five largest districts may submit a second applicant for a total of two applicants.


Women, aged 16-19 on April 1 each year, studying at a secondary school, college or university in a Zonta district/region, or who are studying elsewhere but are citizens of a Zonta country, who demonstrate evidence of the following, are eligible to apply.

  • Active commitment to volunteerism.
  • Experience in local government, student government, or workplace leadership (paid or unpaid).
  • Volunteer leadership achievements.
  • Knowledge of Zonta International and its programs.
  • Support in Zonta International's mission of empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

Applicants from geographic areas within a Zonta district/region where no clubs are located may apply via a Zonta e-club or directly to the district to be eligible for the district/region and international awards. Z and Golden Z club members are also eligible to apply. Classified members (club members and individuals with direct membership with Zonta International) and employees of Zonta International and Zonta Foundation for Women, and their family members (ancestors, descendants, adoptees, siblings, nieces or cousins, and those of their spouse or co-habiting partner), are not eligible to apply for the Awards. Previous International Young Women in Public Affairs Award recipients are not eligible to apply.


The application process must start with a Zonta club. All application materials must be received by the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley by the deadline printed on the application.

Zonta clubs select one application to send to the Zonta governor/region representative. A district/region evaluation committee selects one applicant per district/region to submit to Zonta International Headquarters. The five largest Zonta districts in terms of membership numbers may submit two applications to Zonta International. The Zonta International Headquarters team confirms the eligibility of the applicants put forth by the district/region and submits a recommendation to the Zonta International Board for final approval.


Applications must be completed and returned to the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley by February 26, 2024. After the club recipient is selected, the application is presented to the governor/regional representative. Then the district/region recipient is selected, and the application is presented to Zonta International Headquarters by May 2024. Club recipients will be announced May 2024.  The Zonta International 2024 recipients will be announced by July 2024.


YWPA district/region and international Awards are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta International Foundation Young Women in Public Affairs Award Fund.  Our local YWPA awards are made possible by generous contributions to the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley Foundation.  You can make a difference in the lives of young women by donating today!

Watch here for the 2025 application

Help Women and Girls Today

2024 Young Women in Public Affairs Award winners announced

Lt to Rt: Nicole Miller, President SCV Zonta Club, Katherine Brook, Brooke Saavedra, Caitlyn Park, Co-chairs YWPA Committee MaryAnn Dortch, and Gloria Mercado-Fortine

Our Young Women in Public Affairs Award recognizes young women ages 16-19 for their commitment to volunteerism in civic causes, volunteer leadership achievements and dedication to empowering women worldwide. Three outstanding young women, Katherine Brook, West Ranch High; Brooke Saavedra, Golden Valley High; and Caitlyn Park, Saugus High, received this award for their outstanding work in their high schools and SCV community.


2024 YWPA Award Recipients are:

Katherine Brook

Katherine is a Senior at West Ranch High School, who concurrently takes a Journalism class at College of the Canyons. She is the founder of the West Ranch High School Z Club and serves as its President. Katherine is very involved in her school’s Mock Trial team and is the highest scoring member. She believes in “...expanding awareness through media and journalism…” and is striving to build a better world for women and girls by working towards her Ph.D. in Sociology and Film and Media Studies. She will start a Golden Z Club at her University and will continue in her role as a Broadcast Journalist. She has been working as the Canyon News Producer/Director/Reporter and West Ranch TV Producer/Reporter, receiving the National Student Television Network 1st Place Broadcast Excellence Live Daily News Show and PSA finalist. In addition, Katherine is the captain of her Club Soccer team, an AYSO referee and volunteer assistant coach. She is a West Ranch Dual Student-Athlete, Soccer and Track & Field four-time High Honor Scholar-Athlete. She is highly recommended by her COC Professor of Media Entertainment Arts/New Media Journalism and by her principal at West Ranch High School.


Brooke Saavedra

Brooke is a high school junior at Golden Valley High School.  She enjoys working with people, volunteering and being a support system to those that need support.

Brooke has served in various leadership roles including, serving as ASB Executive Secretary, President of the Pad Project Club, President of Very Inclusive People Club Committee, Media Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Public Relation Representative for Grizzlies Are Crafty Club, Student Council Rep, past Cheer Captain, and past ASB Sophomore Class President. Brooke also serves as Media Director for the EmpoHer Foundation, and she is a member of the Grizzly Z Club.

Brooke states, “The joy I feel when I know I am helping the world and my community grow positively is indescribable.”

Brooke is interested in teaching and would like to be an elementary school teacher.  She plans to study literature with a focus on elementary education.


Caitlyn Park

Caitlyn is a senior at Saugus High School. She will begin her studies at Stanford University in a few months, where she will double major in public policy and international relations, while minoring in business administration. She is inspired and driven to lead and motivate others. She founded a chapter of Future Business Leaders of America at Saugus and then expanded to start FBLA chapters at four local high schools. She is heavily involved in student government, serving as Student Body Vice President this year and previously as grade-level vice president for two years. She has founded a community organization called The Pad Project SCV, which provides hygiene products for women and girls. Caitlyn is a weekly volunteer at her church. She has served as a Student City Intern to the City of Santa Clarita.

Congratulations to all. You are our future.