The annual Amelia Earhart Festival speaker symposium will be at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, July 21 in the O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium at Benedictine College.

The three speakers, like Amelia Earhart, were not afraid to fly, not afraid to make the world seem a little smaller, not afraid to engage with people and share experiences. The three women, Cathy Scroggs, Abigail Harrison and Shaesta Waiz, will share their thoughts with the crowd as they converse about the world Earhart circumnavigated and the town and state in which she was born.

Cathy Scroggs is a recognizable voice in Manhattan, Kansas, as the recently retired news director of the Manhattan Broadcasting Co. An Atchison native, Scroggs graduated from Atchison High School and the University of Kansas. She has been recognized with many broadcasting awards from the Kansas Association of Broadcasting, the Associated Press and the American Cancer Society.

Scroggs sings with the Timeless Acapella women’s chorus and her quartet, The 4 Gems. For her involvement in civic activities and for her efforts to keep her community informed, she was the 2017 recipient of the Award of Harmony from the Little Apple Chorus and the Barbershop Harmony Society.

Harrison is a girl with a dream, aspiring to be an astronaut. But it doesn’t stop there, she dreams of becoming the first astronaut to Mars. With dreams this big, it takes setting goals and working hard each day to make them a reality.

At the age of 13 in 2011, Harrison began to speak publicly about her dreams. Her work over the years as an international STEAM and space ambassador has led to a following of over one million people on social media.

At 18, she founded The Mars Generation, a 501c3 nonprofit with the support of an advisory board of astronauts, engineers, scientists and her online supporters.

Waiz, founder of Dreams Soar, was born in Afghanistan and came to the United States as a young girl with her parents and five sisters. She is the first female civilian piolt from Afghanistan, the first to earn undergraduate (and graduate) degrees in her family, both from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and flew around the world solo, inspiring thousands to reach for the stars.

At Embry-Riddle, she also started the Women’s Ambassador Program, an initiative that seeks to mentor and support young women pursuing an education in aviation and engineering. She then sought to advance her efforts to a global scale.

Waiz started Dreams Soar to share her story with women around the world, to let them know it is possible to achieve your dreams, regardless of the challenges and traditions you may face.

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