New York Student Selected for National 4-H Award and Scholarship

By National 4-H Council October 04, 2021

Brianna Attey Mouanjo receives $5,000 scholarship and will serve as 4-H’s national youth spokesperson for Civic Engagement

Chevy Chase, MD (October 4, 2021) – In celebration of National 4-H Week, National 4-H Council today announced that Brianna Attey Mouanjo, 18, of Endicott, New York, is the winner of the 2022 4-H Youth in Action Award for Civic Engagement. Attey Mouanjo will be recognized nationally for her racial reconciliation leadership, including the development of a series of anti-racism trainings conducted throughout the state. Launched in 2010, the 4-H Youth in Action Awards honor 4-H’ers who have applied the knowledge gained in 4-H to create a lasting impact in their communities.

At age 11, Attey Mouanjo, a Cornell University Extension 4-H’er, moved from her diverse hometown of Takoma Park, Maryland, to Endicott, New York, a majority-white community. “As the daughter of Cameroonian immigrants, it was a culture shock moving to a new community where there weren’t many people who looked like me. By the time I reached high school, I realized people in my school just needed a place to process their experiences with racism.” Attey Mouanjo began hosting a series of conversations during school lunch hours with students, school administration, teachers, and local law enforcement covering topics including white privilege, microaggressions, and other ways racism is experienced in her community.

Partnering with her local 4-H club and the 4-H UNITY (Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth) leaders, Attey Mouanjo expanded her racial reconciliation activism to events outside school, including anti-racism book clubs, movie screenings, and adult curricula on white privilege. As a thought leader, she has shared her perspective in a variety of venues, including with Cornell extension agents, at youth development forums, facilitating Sunday school classes for older members of her church, and as a member of the New York State Government’s Youth Council.

In response to Attey Mouanjo’s leadership, her high school aims to open a “Diversity Café” to continue the work she started on campus.  A grant she received will support the establishment of the café at her high school. Her work also inspired several other 4-H clubs around the state to start their own antiracist programs and other diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

In 4-H, Attey Mouanjo has experienced belonging and freedom.  “After my mother died eight years ago, I struggled to have places to really grieve without feeling like a burden. I mostly just kept myself busy, but 4-H has given me freedom from that. My 4-H leaders have become like second moms to me and taught me how to validate myself – that I will not be a burden or failure, and that I don’t need to be afraid of what other people think of me.”

Now a freshman at George Washington University, Attey Mouanjo plans to study psychology and public health with the goal of working as an adolescent psychologist.

Attey Mouanjo will receive a $5,000 scholarship for higher education and will serve as an advocate and spokesperson for 4-H Civic Engagement programming. She is joined by other 2022 4-H Youth in Action Award Pillar Winners, Tashina Red Hawk of South Dakota (Agriculture Pillar Winner); Kristin Osika of New Jersey (Healthy Living Pillar Winner); and Dhruv Rebba of Illinois (STEM Pillar Winner).

To learn more about the 4-H Youth in Action Awards and to view the other pillar winners from around the country, please visit: Here.