This is an ongoing series highlighting American Legion Auxiliary ALA Girls State and ALA Girls Nation alumna.
For over 80 years, the American Legion Auxiliary’s premier programs ALA Girls State and ALA Girls Nation have been one of the most respected and coveted experiential learning programs presented in the United States. Here, we take a look at the path one past participant has chosen and where she is now.
Dr. Kourtney Hollingsworth
1999 MS ALA Girls State
A recurring message Hollingsworth heard when she attended ALA Girls State was that education is the key to making a difference in the world. Hollingsworth took that message to heart and studied at Mississippi State University for her undergraduate degree, attended the University of the West Indies to study international law, received a master’s degree in business administration from William Kerry University, two specialists in diversity and inclusion and higher education administration, and earned a Ph.D. in philosophy with a specialist in statistics and technology.
Hollingsworth’s years spent educating herself landed her a job with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi where she is the federal women’s program manager and equal opportunity specialist.
“I took the position to be able to diversify the work force,” she said. “What stuck with me since I was at ALA Girls State was the opportunities for women to be able to excel throughout the work force. Once I left [ALA Girls State], I went to work in D.C., and it was always geared toward women and veterans. So, when I got the opportunity to be able to make sure disabled veterans were able to get positions here at NASA and women were given opportunities to excel … I definitely had to take it.”
Hollingsworth added that ALA Girls State gave her insight into the problems veterans face when they return home from war and that she applies that insight daily.
Hollingsworth pays homage to the organization that sparked her passions by volunteering at Mississippi ALA Girls State.
WANTED! Did you attend either of the American Legion Auxiliary experiential learning programs (ALA Girls State/ALA Girls Nation)? Auxiliary magazine is looking for past participants of all decades and the profession(s) you chose after college graduation for this recurring feature in our national magazine. Contact us at alamagazine@ALAforVeterans.org (please include the year, state, and program you attended in the subject line) or call (317) 569-4500 if you can help!