The Washington Scholars

Women of Achievement

January 2011



There are 87 female members of the 112th United States Congress and four female members of the Executive Office of the President.  Four female Justices have donned Supreme Court robes, four women have held the title of United States Surgeon General, three women have served as United States Secretary of State, and one woman has represented the United States as Attorney General.


The Washington Scholars Fellowship Program ("WSFP") strives to help young women grow and develop in public policy careers, in an effort to see these numbers steadily increase.  Members of the Washington Scholars Ladies' Class arrive in Washington, DC as college students, "bright eyed," as WSFP founder, Rear Admiral James C. Carey [Ret.] describes them, filled with ambition and dreams of changing the future of our nation.  WSFP provides the tools necessary to grow, develop, learn, network, and succeed in our nation's capital.  The intelligent, determined, hard working young women that have graduated from the WSFP have already begun to do extraordinary things.


In the short history of the Washington Scholars Ladies' Class, our graduates have gone on to advanced degrees, non-profit organizations, public policy roles, employment within the Executive Agencies, staff positions with members of Congress, private consulting, and other private industry.  Each quarter we will present the story of how one female Scholar has planted herself firmly within the public policy making arena through utilization of the tools WSFP provided her. 


Comments and suggestions are more than welcome.  Please feel free to contact

About the Editor

 Rebecca Soll, Esq.

Becky SollRebecca Soll was the President of the first Washington Scholars Ladies' Class in the summer of 2007.  She is an alumnus of the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Virginia, School of Law.  She has two Bachelor of Arts degrees, a Juris Doctor, and is licensed to practice law in the State of California, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the District of Columbia.


Rebecca is the Future Leaders For America Chairman of Women's Programs and serves as a mentor to several current and past Scholars.  Rebecca is an attorney with the policy-focused law firm of Patton Boggs, LLP, in Washington, DC, where she works with ever changing international and export laws and regulations, as well as with the complex world of government contract laws.  She has developed her practice to compliment her public policy interests, just as so many other Washington Scholars graduates have done.

A Woman of Achievement:  Emily Springer

Emily SpringerThough it has only been a year and a half since I graduated from college, I could not be in a position to follow my passions if I hadn't internalized the insight and guidance central to the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program.



Growing up a competitive athlete with the desire to make a difference on a broader scale, I naturally developed an interest in communications for public health during my time in college. Upon graduation, I started my Washington Scholars Fellowship in the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  I was almost starstruck by my supervisors, which included the Assistant Secretary of Health, and the impact they had already made in their careers. To make the most of my experience and to learn more about where I might fit in public health, I focused on one thing: listening. I listened carefully as I worked alongside the brilliant minds in my office. I listened intently to the advice of my Washington Scholars mentors, following up regularly. As Washington Scholars advised, I carried notepads to record everything I learned. I listened at informational interviews. I listened to professional contacts I'd made at public health conferences.  At times, it was a challenge finding the right individuals to listen to, as public health communications is very much its own professional niche. But Washington Scholars taught me how to seek out and find the right professionals in Washington, DC to speak with, listen to, and learn from.



At the end of my summer as a Washington Scholars Fellow, my listening paid off and I had earned a fantastic position with a non-profit public health association. There I coordinated training programs supported by ODPHP and other federal public health agencies making strides for disease prevention.  My first job was a terrific fit that allowed me to develop many skills that would be transferrable in several different policy related directions.


The component of my job that I enjoyed the most was running a small online community for one of our student programs, and I quickly grew more and more passionate about the potential new media and social marketing had in promoting health. I continued networking and following health public relations professionals in these arenas, as I already had a foundation in health policy from my Washington Scholars experience that I could leverage into a firmer position in health communications. I found myself much more confident approaching experts drawing from my accomplishments during my Washington Scholars Fellowship. Working closely with those who had mentored me, I was later able to harness the volunteering I had done in strategic communications to give back to the Washington Scholars community and serve as Director of Communications for the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program.




After less than a year of proactively following health communication policy and events around the District of Columbia, my continued listening and networking paid off with the beginning of my career in health communications. I reached out to an individual at a social media and health event in the DC-area in spring, 2010. With the hope of getting a better sense of what her work was like in the field, I followed up with my resume. She was impressed enough with the experiences Washington Scholars had provided me to quickly refer me into her employer's system. Surviving the interview process and spending hours conversing with various Washington Scholars mentors for advice, I am now very happy to report that I am employed with an amazing firm working with social media to promote health on a national scale. The opportunity to effect nation wide impact on our country's health by communicating to promote health on a macro level is a passion that will remain my career focus from this point forward.  Being only 23 years old and already having the opportunity to fulfilling what I've aspired to do professionally is almost overwhelming. In continuing to follow my passion for making a difference for our nation's health, I am grateful for the mentorship and advice central to the Washington Scholars Fellowship Program that has helped me follow my career aspirations and bring me to where I am today.



Emily Springer is an American University graduate, Summer 2009 Washington Scholars Fellow, and is a member of the Booz Allen Hamilton Strategic Communications Team. Currently she supports social media and communications planning for the award-winning Real Warriors Campaign (, a Department of Defense sponsored campaign to promote and reduce stigma surrounding health-seeking behavior among military service members for psychological health, post traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury.