Before this day ends, I have to pay homage.

The prowess and extraordinary nature of the woman has always been something I've admired and strive to uphold. From racing boys at recess in hopes of dispelling myths of female athletic limitations and doing research reports on Maya Angelou to learning what it meant to be a feminist and what women's empowerment really looks like, I have spent every day of my life proud to be a woman. 

I take this moment to recognize the legacy of incredible, determined, talented and compassionate women before me whose blood runs through my veins, giving me the strength, will and ability to strive for more. The women who taught me that mediocrity is not in my vocabulary while integrity, faith and benevolence surge through my DNA. I look back at the women in my life, those I've had the privilege of getting to know personally and those whose stories inspire me to be better -- be it academically, professionally, spiritually or as a citizen of the earth. 

To my fellow women —

The trailblazers, trendsetters and pioneers; the innovators, explorers and creators; those who wander and wonder with purpose and curiosity; the geeks, nerds and scholars; the artists, chemists and engineers -- keep on. Keep on exceeding expectations and shattering stereotypes; keep on employing profound compassion coupled with unfathomable strength and resolve. Keep on defying limits, boundaries and boxes. Keep on being extraordinary. Because Maya was right.

You are a woman, phenomenally. ‪