Bay Ridge

Bay Ridge grad wins Ronald Reagan Scholarship

Sheryl Chen founded GALS leadership program

July 7, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Sheryl Chen will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall. Photo courtesy of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute
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Just a quick glance at Sheryl Chen’s resume offers numerous clues as to how she was selected to be one of only 20 students from around the U.S. to be named a GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship winner.

Chen, a Bay Ridge resident and a recent graduate of Staten Island Technical High School, is the founder of Girls Advocating Strength and Leadership (GALS), a student-run, nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire the next generation of female executives. The organization has received $20,000 in startup funding, has partnerships with major corporations and has won accolades from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Hillary Clinton and others.

Chen is also the founder of a fashion blog, is a TEDYouth speaker and serves as a Global Kindness Ambassador for GenerationOn.

During her high school years, she was a member of the Key Club, National Honor Society, track and field team, Model United Nations and the Future Business Leaders of America. 

Chen, who will be attending the University of Pennsylvania in the fall, is a 2017 recipient of a GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship, a program created by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute and GE to award outstanding students from around the country.

Nearly 14,000 students applied for the scholarships. 

The scholarship program, which just completed its seventh year, offers funds to students who embody the vision and values personified by former President Ronald Reagan, including leadership, drive, integrity and citizenship, according to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.

Each winning student will receive $10,000 a year, for up to four years, to be applied to student tuition and on-campus room and board while the recipient is pursuing a bachelor’s degree at an accredited U.S. college or university. 

On her scholarship application, Chen described herself as “an insatiable knowledge seeker and innovator, always trying to better her community and leave the world a better place.”

She wrote that she created GALS as a result of personal experiences and disappointment over the disparity of women rising to executive positions.

John Heubusch, executive director of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, said the scholarship winners are an impressive group. 

“An extraordinary group of young adults make up this year’s scholarship recipients. We are proud to award college scholarships in President Reagan’s name and that of his previous employer, GE, to these proactive, informed and engaged citizens, who will only continue to make a difference in their communities and our nation in the years to come,” Heubusch said in a statement. 

Ronald Reagan, America’s 40th president, worked for GE from 1954 to 1962, before entering politics.

“Year after year, we have been a proud partner of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “GE congratulates this year’s recipients. We recognize them for their leadership and drive, and wish them continued success as they embark on the next chapter of their academic journey.”


For more information on the scholarship program, visit


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