9-year-old launches scholarship fund for women in STEM

A 9-year-old girl wrote to Golden State’s Stephen Curry and unwittingly helped to develop a new style of shoe, the Under Armour ICON Curry 6, and launch a new scholarship fund for young women interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

It all started last fall when Riley Morrison of Napa, California, who shares the same name as one of Curry's daughters, wrote the six-time NBA All-Star player a letter expressing her disappointment that his sought after UA Curry 5 sneaker was only available for boys. "I know you support girl athletes because you have two daughters and you host an all girls basketball camp," Riley wrote. “I hope you can work with Under Armour to change this because girls want to rock the Curry 5’s too.”

Curry responded, and together with Under Armour, addressed the disparity. "I appreciate your concern," Curry wrote. "We are correcting this now!" Curry has long been a champion of women and last August he wrote an essay about gender equality in "The Players' Tribune." “My whole life," he wrote, "I feel like I’ve been receiving this education on what it means to be a woman in America." He later adds, “to be a true supporter of women’s equality—it’s not enough anymore to be learning about it. You have to be doing it.”

Then came Morrison's letter and the catalyst for change. Inspired and co-designed by Morrison, Curry and UA unveiled the new ICON Curry 6 ‘United We Win’ in honor of the 9-year-old and to celebrate “challenging the status quo.” The purple, orchid, and white shoe is currently sold out.

"A nine-year-old girl had the courage to use her voice to call attention to an issue and keep us accountable," Curry said in a statement. "She was focused on the opportunity for ALL girls, not just herself… She is inspiring, and wise beyond her years." The letter also moved Curry to launch a new scholarship fund. The Curry Family Foundation teamed up with United Armour to announce the initiative last week. The scholarship is aimed at young women and girls in the Bay area pursuing a higher education in a STEM-related field.

The 2019 recipient is Vivian Wu, a senior at Oakland Technical High School with an impressive 4.2 gpa. She was awarded the $30,000 scholarship on International Women's Day at Oracle Arena during a Warriors game. Wu is the first member of her family to attend college, and intends to study economics and communications next fall, according to the Under Armour press release.

Thanks to a handwritten note, girls will now have an opportunity to rock Curry 6’s, and will also be part of an expanded effort to bring more women into STEM fields. As for UA, it’s stated its continued commitment to “celebrating people who, like Riley, champion equality, justice and opportunity for all... By uniting others and calling them to action... these Uniters remind us that together we can be a force for good."

About the Author

Ariana Rosas is an editorial assistant for The North Star. She is a writer and researcher based in Brooklyn. She has a background in social policy and is interested in social justice, human rights, and immigration.