Photo courtesy of She’s The First Nevada chapter
Panelists speak at the She’s The First Summit on Aug. 12, 2018. The organization established a chapter at the University of Nevada, Reno, in fall 2018.

A new club has come to the University of Nevada, Reno, to fight for gender equality.

She’s the First is a national non-profit organization focusing on fighting gender inequality by educating women worldwide. The club first came to the university in the fall of 2018.

“Our organization is dedicated to supporting girls and young women in low-income countries to be the first in their families to graduate school, attend college and be leaders in their communities,” said Josette Medicielo, the president of STF’s Nevada chapter.

Tammy Tibbetts and Christian Brandt founded STF in 2009. They wanted to use social media as a platform to get people to support women’s education.

The organization believes education is important for gender equality as 781 million women are illiterate and 63 million women are not enrolled in secondary education worldwide. With education, they found women’s lives are more likely to be healthier. United Nation Women found women’s deficits in education contribute to family-well being and poverty reduction.

“The young women that STF supports are taking on a serious challenge,” Medicielo said. “They are the trailblazers and our changemakers—whether those around them want to change or not. They become the main breadwinners, taking on family debts and other financial challenges. They often pursue higher education and become leaders in their communities. We, as an organization, are dedicated to supporting these girls and young women through all of that and more.”

Medicielo welcomes all students to the club. STF holds bi-weekly meetings and occasionally hosts socials.

“STF mainly raises funds for first-generation scholars in low-income countries, however, we hold [Gender Awareness Program] discussions every month to raise awareness on women’s issues,” Medicielo said. “Every GAP ends in a discussion on how to impact change in our community. We also encourage our club members to stay civically engaged, volunteer in our community and participate in GAP monthly to promote global citizenship.”

A common fundraiser STF does is a Tye-Dye Cupcake Baking Challenge hosted every October. They have raised approximately $250,000 dollars. The Nevada chapter raised enough funds to support a group of 20 girls in Nepal. The Nevada chapter also has two fundraisers planned for spring 2019 including ‘Sweat for STF’ and ‘Cheese the First’.

“Sweat for STF is most likely going to be a fitness-themed fundraiser where participants can download the app ‘Charity Miles’ and raise funds for STF Scholars,” Medicielo said.”As for Cheese the First, we hope to raise funds by selling cheesy foods and baked goods or holding a social similar to a wine and cheese party where participants can donate, mingle and talk about women’s rights and issues with cheesy snacks and sparkling cider.”

She’s the First’s Nevada chapter plans on attending an annual summit in NYC on girls’ education and gender equality again in the summer of 2019, and offers financial assistance to those who wish to go. Members interested can fill out a form next month.

There are over 1,100 STF scholars, 600 crowd fundraisers and 200 campus chapters and have locations in the United States, Ethiopia, Gambia, Uganda, India, Nepal, Peru and Tanzania. In 2017, STF raised $1.5 million towards women’s education.

Taylor Johnson can be reached at or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.