Moira Connell

The Ellis School, 12

Cindy Sun

Academic Achievement

Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, I won a Gold Key for writing (Personal Essay and Memoir). I’ve also received several Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions in both the Art and Writing Categories for both Critical Essays and various artworks both this year and in years past., Receiver – 3 Years
The President’s Volunteer Service Gold Award, I was awarded in the 12th grade for volunteer service that positively impacts communities., Receiver – 1 Year
Cum Laude Honor Society, I earned early induction in the 11th grade for outstanding academic performance. I also received a scholarship award from the PA Distinguished Young Women competition for my scholastic achievement., Member – 2 Years
National Profile in Courage Contest, awarded an Honorable Mention from the John. F Kennedy Library Foundation. 1 of the top 24 winners from across the country, sole winner from PA., Receiver – 1 Year
2nd place, 2021 Pennsylvania Economics Challenge. I organized a team by reaching out to students who share the same academic interest., Receiver – 1 Year

Extracurricular Activities

Internship at the Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office, selected as the sole high-school intern in a college student intern program, Prepared weekly newsletter containing news from all departments sent to 1000+ city government officials and residents., Intern – 2 Years
Speech and Debate, beginning freshman year, founded the first speech/debate club. I coached students, won national Speaking and Service Awards, competed the National World School Debate (national qualifier) and won 1st place, 2nd place for various speech and debate tournaments. I also designed and taught a two-week course on speech/debate at my school and currently work at Carnegie Debate, teaching middle-schoolers debate skills weekly., President – 4 Years
Research, Worked on two research projects affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University. Research topics were “Technology and Gender: Social Linguistic Analysis on a Computer Programming Platform” and “Psychology of COVID-19” through CMU Project Ignite. The first paper is currently under review at an international conference. I participated in Social Innovators Program organized by Upenn and Schoolyard Ventures, and launched an individual project, “Crossing Cultural Bridges,” to form cross-cultural connections and global awareness in Pittsburgh and earned a certificate in social entrepreneurship., Member – 1 Year
Social justice/diversity: I was selected for and attended 2 national diversity conferences (NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference, NCGS National Civic Action Symposium), created/led a workshop on multi-racial identity at a tri-state diversity conference. I’m president of two school affinity groups and worked with female elected officials through the program GirlGov., Member – 4 Years
Visual/Performing arts: I was selected among 18 other students to be a member of the Andy Warhol Museum Youth Arts Council. I collaborated in curating an exhibition for which my piece “Screens” was chosen at the Warhol Museum, organized events for other youth (largest 300+ people); I also performed every year in school plays, musicals, and the choir (since elementary/middle school)., Member – 4 Years

Community Involvement

Canvassed for Presidential election and local mayoral election. I helped my candidates win their elections by canvassing door to door in Pittsburgh neighborhoods, delivering pamphlets, phone-banking, and helping constituents register to vote. I volunteered during the Pittsburgh mayoral election in 2021 and the 2020 presidential election., Member – 2 Years
Helping senior citizens in my neighborhood, as an independent community project I assisted seniors throughout the summer with tasks such as walking their dogs, cleaning, taking care of the cats, etc., Member – 1 Year
Food bank, I organized a food/funds drive for the Pittsburgh Food Bank and provided 1325 meals. I went door-to-door, delivered fliers across my neighborhood physically and virtually, and encouraged my neighbors to donate., Member – 1 Year
East-End Co-op, I have worked in the pantry and kitchen as a volunteer at the East-End Co-op, a local non-profit in Pittsburgh., Member – 1 Year
PGHCCC, I volunteer annually for the Pittsburgh Chinese Cultural Center (non-profit organization) and during the Chinese Cultural Festival. I organized a team to create the first official website (in use currently) for the organization., Member – 4 Years


In the future, I hope to become a senator so I can utilize my passion for economics to represent the communities I love, work for economic justice through policy-making, and make the world a better place.