BI girl, 17, empowering women worldwide

Merrill Keating of Bainbridge Island is only 17, but she’s empowering women around the world.

She is leading Girls Ignited: Changemakers Summit, a free virtual event that will feature a fireside chat and Q&A with young women who are founders, entrepreneurs, activists or in the STEM fields and 25 years old or younger. They live in Cyprus, Florida, Africa, New York, New Hampshire and Washington state.

The event will take place on March 19 from 10-11:30 a.m. on Zoom.

Along with Changemakers, Keating founded The Power of 100 Girls and led TEDxBainbridge IslandWomen and TEDxYouth@BainbridgeIsland.

In addition to Keating, panelists include:

— Sophie Beren, CEO of The Conversationalist, the go-to destination for Gen Z, covered by Entrepreneur, Dazed, Huffington Post, Forbes, Elite Daily and more.

— Eleni Charitonos, the world’s first Cypriot analog astronaut, founder of Glasgow University Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, Royal Astronomical Society UK fellow, and participant in a LunAres mission in Poland and a 33-day mission at the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (home to five long-duration NASA Mars simulation missions).

— Rosalie Fish, a Cowlitz Tribe member, UW track & field runner, and activist who made international headlines when she painted a red handprint over her mouth, the fingers extending across her cheeks, to honor the lives of missing and murdered indigenous women.

— Caeley Looney, founder/CEO of Reinvented Magazine — the nation’s first print magazine by and for girls and women in STEM, an aerospace engineer, maker and mental health advocate.

— Ellyanne Wanjiku, Africa’s youngest climate change ambassador and founder of Children With Nature, a nonprofit that partners with 80 public schools to produce fruit for food-insecure students and generate income through the sale of seedlings. Her efforts have led to the planting of 1.3 million trees in Kenya.

— Parmis Mokhtari-Dizaji, the summit’s panel moderator, Youth Leadership Board president for Code Your Chances, and a sophomore at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Details and registration that is open to all can be found at