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Zonta presents Young Women in Public Affairs Award

By ZONTA CLUB - | May 5, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED From left, award recipient Ekaterina “Katja” Pedersen-Diaz with Estero High School Principal Michael Amabile and foreign languages teacher Susan Delago, one of the educators who recommended Katja with biology teacher Casondra Baird.

The Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva has selected Ekaterina “Katja” Pedersen-Diaz, a junior at Estero High School, to receive the 2021 Young Women in Public Affairs Award, along with the $1,500 check.

Established by Zonta International to address the disparity in the representation of women in legislature, the award recognizes superior leadership skills and a commitment to public service and emphasizes the importance of women having equal participation in decision-making processes.

Almost 17, Katja is involved in her school and home communities. She is vice president of the Estero High School’s chapter of Key Club and participates actively in many student organizations and the school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance. Due to COVID-19, Katja’s plans to play the part of a public defender in a community teen court program have been curtailed for now. In the greater community, she volunteers at Hope Hospice and the Hope Chest Store.

She plans to pursue a degree in biological engineering as a first step toward the possibility of a career in medicine or pharmacology, with an emphasis on women’s health.

Upon learning about the award, Katja thanked Zonta, saying that she had enjoyed writing in her application about her interests, experiences and goals, and seeing that there were others who agreed.

“Sometimes,” she said. “I feel like I am somehow not following the traditional gender role that society too often dictates for girls to follow, and I question myself, but just for a brief minute!” Katja added that she is committed to doing her part to ensure that her future will follow the wider path.

The club plans to recognize Katja today, May 5, via Zoom at its meeting.

Under Zonta International guidelines, Young Women in Public Affairs Award recipients become eligible for further recognition and awards from Zonta, regionally and nationally.

For more information about Zonta, visit www.ZontaSanCap.org.