¡Hola! I’m Laura Solano Florez, and I’m a rising junior at Choate Rosemary Hall, a boarding school in Wallingford, CT. I grew up in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, but I’m originally from Colombia. I’ve been able to live in a diverse environment in Dhahran for 11 years now, and it has greatly shaped who I am today and how I think. My sister introduced Girl Up to me in 7th grade and I immediately wanted to get involved. I began my first Girl Up Club in Dhahran when I was 12 years old, the first one in Saudi Arabia. When I went to boarding school in 9th grade, I realized that my new school didn’t have a Girl Up, so I started Girl Up Choate. Witnessing injustices within my community and around the world is what drew me toward Girl Up and the advocacy movement. In addition to my work with Girl Up, I am involved in the board of UNICEF. I have also been a Girl Scout for 10 years. I earned my bronze and silver award, and am currently pursuing my gold award. For my silver award, I raised money to build a library at an orphanage in Colombia. Literacy is one of the causes that I am most passionate about and I believe that literacy could empower women in developing countries. For my gold award, I am working on building a playground for an underprivileged school. I’m a competitive swimmer and I’ve been swimming for 9 years. I currently hold 7 national records in Saudi Arabia. I now swim for the Choate Varsity swim team and I also began playing water polo this year. I am excited for this amazing opportunity that will allow me to play a bigger role in the Girl Up community.