Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarship


Creating Shared Value:  Powering Profits, Benefiting Society

About the Scholarship

We believe the future of women’s empowerment worldwide lies in the hands of today’s students. The Advancing Aspirations Global Scholarships (AAGS) are designed to engage young people in pressing women’s issues and to connect students who are interested in the global advancement of women with thought leaders in impactful roles.

U.S. Bank and Discover have partnered with Womenetics to encourage future leaders to think critically about the business issues affecting women today by offering $22,000 in scholarship funds. The prize money is intended to finance education, travel or other opportunities that may lead to further understanding of these important global issues.

Click here to read a letter from Kimberly Topping about her experience as a 2012 AAGS winner.


Ten students will be selected to win a combined total of $22,000 in scholarships and grand prize winners will receive an expense-paid trip to attend the Womenetics Global Women’s Initiative conference in Atlanta or Chicago this fall.

Grand Prize (2): $5,000 in scholarship funds and an expense-paid trip to attend the Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) conference and a VIP reception with featured speakers and other top business, academic, nonprofit and policy leaders the evening before the event.

  • The US Bank Prize grand prize winner attend the Atlanta GWI on Sept. 25
  • The Discover Prize grand prize winner will attend the Chicago GWI on Nov. 13

Runners-up (8): The eight remaining finalists will each receive $1,500 in scholarship funds and an expense paid trip to attend the Global Women’s Initiative conference and a VIP Reception with featured speakers and other top business, academic, nonprofit and policy leaders the evening before the event.

  • Four US Bank Prize winners will attend the Atlanta GWI on September 25
  • Four Discover Prize winners will attend the Chicago GWI on Nov. 13

You may enter both the U.S. Bank and Discover Prizes only once; however, if selected for one prize, you are automatically ineligible for the other.

Deadline for entry: Friday, July 26, by 11:59 p.m. EST

All finalists will be notified via email on Sept. 3, 2013. Grand prize winners will be announced at the Global Women’s Initiative conferences.

Questions can be addressed to

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Requirements for Entry
Your essay must be 2,500 words or less and submitted in .doc format

  • Include the essay prompt to which you are responding at the top of the document
  • Use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, double-spaced
  • Cite your research with proper in-text citations and a works cited page in MLA, APA or Chicago format (The works cited page will not be included in your word count.)
  • In addition to the essay, at the end of the document, include a 200-word personal statement about what you would do with the prize money if you win.

U.S. Bank Prize Essay Topics

U.S. Bank

Shared Value: Everybody Wins
Explore how the concept of creating shared value (CSV) – creating economic value while also creating benefit for society – increases competitive advantage by capitalizing on the interdependence between business and community. Address the social and economic implications of women’s increasing levels of income worldwide. Then, using the principles of CSV, write a persuasive, research-based proposal that urges a corporation to adopt a social impact investment strategy to solve an issue that affects women. Explain how it benefits the company and the global community.
Women’s Influence and Innovation
Study after study indicates that companies with focused diversity and inclusion efforts are more innovative. Examine what conditions are necessary to foster a corporate culture of creativity. Cite examples of companies that saw greater levels of innovation with the inclusion of women in leadership positions. Finally, design a research-based proposal with implementable practices for companies to increase thought diversity and, in turn, innovation.

Corporate Ethics: Women’s Impact
Over the last few decades, women’s participation in the workforce has grown exponentially. Research and analyze the impact increased numbers of women have on corporate culture – particularly in terms of accountability and transparency. Then, citing research, support or debunk the argument that women make more ethical leaders than men.

Discover Prize Essay Topics


Women on Boards: Shared Value vs. Quotas
The business philosophy of creating shared value (CSV) focuses on the connection between societal progress and economic growth. Examine the effect that women on corporate boards have on company performance in terms of bottom lines and philanthropic spending. Then, analyze the debate over the European Union’s decision to mandate that 40 percent of a company’s corporate board members must be women by the year 2020. Could incentivizing a CSV approach be an alternative to the “command and control” nature of quotas? Explain why or why not. Write an action plan for companies to increase the number of women serving on their boards, either by applying CSV principles or otherwise.

Plugging Women Into STEM
Despite the rapid expansion of employment within industries related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the gender gap in these fields remains. Provide a research-based analysis of the factors that keep women and girls disengaged from pursuing STEM-related careers. Explain why women’s participation in these industries is essential to the United States economy and propose one or more programs to bolster women’s employment in STEM fields.

Parenting + Career = Struggle
As more women and men choose to combine parenting and career, examine companies that are successful in their efforts to support and retain working parents, especially mothers. Discuss whether investing in and retaining women is important to a company’s overarching success and, ultimately, bottom line. Based on your research, explore how corporate culture and American businesses can adapt in order to address the competing demands of parenting and career, enabling working parents to continue to advance within a company. Propose public and/or private strategies and policies to help accelerate this cultural shift.


Eligible applicants must be:

  • Enrolled as an undergraduate student in an accredited college or university.
  • A U.S. citizen or legal resident of the United States.
  • In pursuit of their first bachelor’s degree. (Students who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree are not eligible.)
  • Previous AAGS winners are ineligible to compete for the 2013 prizes