The Evolution of Trailblazer: Carolyn Kimenya — The AWE Summit Scholarship Foundation

Carolyn, one of our 2024 Summit Scholarship recipients, has been inspired by trailblazers her whole life. Those women who live courageously and call out injustices when they see them. Those who dare to walk paths that have not been trodden upon. And those who reach out to help others become their best selves. Because of these inspiring and strong women, Carolyn’s path has been illuminated, and she is free to pursue her own dreams and, in turn, become a trailblazer herself. 

Since a young age, Carolyn has been enamoured with the spirit of adventure. During long drives to her grandparents, she would marvel at the hills and forests, dreaming of what it would be like to stand on top of one. Carolyn read wild fantasies about camping and being outdoors but didn’t know anyone who did such a thing. When she went to University, that all changed, and Carolyn’s dreams, quite literally, started coming true. 

Today, Carolyn dreams big. She dreams of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca, the Himalayas, the Swiss Alps, and Aconcagua. And Carolyn’s appreciation for the outdoors, which she has nurtured for years, continues to empower her today. As Carolyn shares,

“The inexplicable happiness I derive from my adventurous escapades is a reminder that I’m living my childhood dreams.” 

We had the opportunity to get to know Carolyn a little better, and we hope you take a moment to read her powerful words below. There is no doubt that Carolyn is still dreaming, quite literally, about the mountains. Let this trailblazing mountaineer show you that there’s nothing that’s impossible if you set your mind to it. Keep on scrolling to read. 

Can you describe how you felt when you found out you had won? I was away on holiday when I received an email to suggest a time for a phone call. I thought more information was needed from me about my application. Alex called me in the evening, and as she began to share the number of applications they had received, my heart was racing with anticipation. I couldn’t shake the feeling that at any moment, she would deliver the disappointing news: “Sorry, you didn’t make it.” It was, therefore, exhilarating hearing those words—you’re going to Peru!

The next morning, I was still in disbelief. Had that call truly happened, or was it just a figment of my imagination? I had to check my call history, searching for confirmation that indeed, Alex and I had spoken. 

While I was over the moon about passing this hurdle, I was equally terrified.  This win meant that the news would soon be shared with the world, and being a person who tends to shy away from anything that draws attention to myself- I knew that things were about to change. I had to remind myself that it was important to share my story, to let go, to some extent the comforts of my private cocoon. I have benefitted from the many instances where people have been vulnerable to share their stories, and it was about time I stepped up to the challenge, be seen, and, even though I may not realize it, play a role in inspiring someone out there. 

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