Katie Tuohy

Katie Tuohy

Katie Tuohy

Katie is a student at Colby College studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She learned about Hardy G*rls through some Muse friends and has been a Muse herself for a year. In her free time, Katie can be found swimming, reading, or mulling over puzzles.

Five Questions with Katie

Favorite book:
Umami by Laia Jufresa
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: AOC. My brain would just grow exponentially.
Favorite feminist anthem: Like a Girl by Lizzo
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: While in motion, though I wouldn’t say no to a whiteboard either.
Perfect day (in one sentence): A day at the ocean with close friends and watermelon; an evening of card games, music, and laughs.

Our Research

Since day one, Hardy Girls programming, resources and services have been powered by the latest research in girls’ development and education. As co-creator and Colby College Education Professor, Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown brings her expertise and research on girls’ development to HGHW.

Dr. Brown’s approach to working with girls, honed at the Harvard Graduate School of Education with Carol Gilligan and the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development, impacts all aspects of Hardy Girls’ programming, materials, and trainings.  As a member of the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Adolescent Girls, she and her colleagues reviewed and critiqued the resilience literature for it’s over-emphasis on the individual and lack of attention to children’s relationships and environments.  The resulting article, Cultivating Hardiness Zones for Adolescent Girls, has become a guidepost for our relational approach to working with girls and our emphasis on building healthy communities and environments for girls.

Dr. Brown often teamed up with former board member and Research & Evaluation Consultant, Dr. Mary Madden.  Together they have developed our program evaluation tools, our training sessions, and our curriculum, From Adversaries to Allies: A Curriculum for Change.  Dr. Brown also collaborates with and seeks advice from a range of other highly respected psychologists and researchers, including Dr. Sharon Lamb, Dr. Niobe Way, and HGHW National Advisory Board Members: Dr. Deborah Tolman, Dr. Janie Ward, and Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel.

Although many, if not most, national programs designed to support girls in the past 15 years have focused on self-esteem and other internal, psychological issues, HGHW is one of the few programs that addresses girls’ lives in relational and social contexts. We believe that it is not the girls, but rather the culture in which they live that is in need of repair. The developmental psychology concept of “hardiness” shifts attention from the individual to their environment-families, schools, and community organizations- as the key agents of change in girls’ lives.

Our goal is to connect girls to these environments, while transforming their surroundings into safer havens. By providing parents, teachers, and community members with skills and resources, we first raise awareness about their capacity to serve as agents of change, and then enlist their action.

We see girls not as the sum of any particular pathology (self-cutting, disordered eating, drug use) or struggle (body image, self-esteem, early sexual activity), but as whole beings living within and affected by a variety of social systems. With increased control in their lives, greater challenge from adults, and closer commitment to their communities, girls will and do thrive. We are connecting with the field of positive youth development that envisions individuals as potential change agents within their schools and communities.

Overall, the purpose of our work is to create a more equitable culture that meets the different needs of girls and boys. We do so by engaging and educating our communities and by empowering youth with new opportunities for control, commitment, and challenge in their lives. To that end, we encourage all youth to continue the ultimate struggle to create healthier societies in a world in which we all are valued for who we are and what we contribute.



Jess – Waterville High School – Waterville

Jess is a sophomore at Waterville Senior High School. She loves being outdoors and enjoys playing soccer. She loves being a part of GAB and hopes to empower girls through what she learns here.

Favorite book: The Girls by Emma Cline
Woman (dead or alive) to have dinner with: Carrie Bradshaw
Favorite feminist anthem: Hard Out Here by Lily allen
Favorite place to go on a feminist rant: little cafe with latte in hand
Perfect day (in one sentence): An empty beach with a good book.

Women’s Action Groups

Are you ready to cause a ruckus?

We have been supporting the activism of girls for a long time but you have told us that there is a great need for convening and supporting the activism work of adult women too.  You are already calling senators, sending postcards, donating. But you want to do more. You are not alone. This is a chance to bring together, in coalition, the many women in our state who’ve thought to themselves, “I can’t just sit here. I need to do something.”

In the vein of our Girls Coalition Groups, we’re offering ongoing Women’s Action Groups. These groups, facilitated by trained Hardy Girls adult muses, will be focused on educating ourselves and taking action on the issues that matter most to women and girls. Each group will focus on a specific issue that is most relevant to them.  Topics could include but are not limited to: combatting street harassment, sexualization of girls and women in the media, access to reproductive health, human rights, and children’s rights.  Whether you want to make change on a local level or advocate nationally, this is your opportunity to act. Groups are open to women of all walks of life and political leanings.

Thank you to everyone who attended our kickoff events!! We’ve finalized our group locations/days/times. Registration for groups is now open. Check your schedules for which one will work best for you. Groups will meet monthly March – December 2017 and be $15/mth. Participants can choose to make a one-time donation of $150 or sign up for monthly payments of $15.

  1. Augusta – 2nd Wednesdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here.
  2. Bangor – 1st Thursdays of the month – 6:30-7:30pm – Register here.
  3. Brunswick – 2nd Thursdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here.
  4. Portland – 1st Wednesdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here. WAIT LIST ONLY
  5. Portland – 2nd Thursdays of the month – 7-8pm – Register here. WAIT LIST ONLY
  6. Portland – 1st Thursdays of the month – 6-7pm – Register here.
  7. Waterville – 2nd Wednesdays of the month  – 7-8pm – Register here.

WAIT LIST NOTE: If you are interested in a group that is full, please still submit your registration for the wait list. We are monitoring these and adding/consolidating groups based on registration interest. 

Awards and Recognition

In October 2015, Hardy Girls was awarded the MYAN Impact Award for Empowering Organization.

In September 2014, Lyn Mikel Brown, HGHW Co-Creator, received a Bammy Award for College Professor of the Year from The Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International.

In May 2013, Girls Advisory Board members Julia Bluhm, Maya Brown, and Izzy Labbe won Maine Women’s Fund’s Samantha Smith Award for their activist work with SPARK Movement

In March 2013, Lyn Mikel Brown, HGHW Co-Creator, was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. The Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, held in March in observance of Women’s History Month, takes place at the University of Maine at Augusta and is dedicated to women whose achievements have had a significant statewide impact and have significantly improved the lives of women in Maine and whose contributions have an enduring value for women.

In May 2012, Karen Heck, HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Statewide Advocate Award by the Maine Children’s Trust at their 2012 Annual Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Recognition Awards.

In May 2012, Kristin Bishop, a HGHW Girls Advisory Board (GAB) member, was appointed by Gov. Paul LePage to serve as a student representative on the Maine State Board of Education. Kristin begins her two-year term in June 2012 as one of only two student representatives on the board. Kristin will represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional District on the board. The Maine State Board of Education advises the commissioner of education on matters concerning state education laws and makes education policy recommendations to the legislative and executive branches of state government.

In April 2012, Maya Brown, 2011-12 Girls Advisory Board (GAB) President, was the recipient of the Youth Philanthropist of the Year Award from Maine Association of Nonprofits and Colby College.

In June 2011, Jackie Dupont, Vice President of Research and Program Development for Hardy Girls Healthy Women was honored with the Maine Youth Action Network (MYAN) Impact Award for her work empowering girls.

In 2010, Hardy Girls Healthy Women was presented with a 2010 Governor’s Award for Nonprofit Excellence at the Annual Colby Institute for Leadership Luncheon at Colby College.  The award was presented by the Maine Association of Nonprofits to the six Maine nonprofit organizations that have achieved significant results by utilizing ingenuity combined with sound management practices.

Governor Baldacci said, “This year’s honorees represent the innovative spirit that has earned Maine a reputation for top quality workmanship, service and a commitment to excellence. Each company selected has an incredibly strong record of community service and workforce investment. I am proud to honor them all as distinguished members of our community.”

In 2010, Tobi Schneider, HGHW board member, was recognized by Colby College and the Maine Philanthropy Center as Central Maine Philanthropist of the Year for her years of work in the central Maine community, including having been with Hardy Girls Healthy Women since the start.

In 2010, HGHW’s President, Megan Williams, was awarded the first ever Open Door Award by the Frances Perkins Center, an award given to a woman under 30 who has demonstrated exceptional leadership.

In 2009, HGHW’s President, Megan Williams, was listed in the Mainebiz Next List, a list of ten amazing people who are shaping the future of Maine’s economy.

In 2009, Lyn Mikel Brown Ed.D., HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the New diMensions Award with Mark Tappan, Ed.D. by Boys To Men, a non-profit whose mission is to reduce interpersonal violence by offering programs that support the healthy development of adolescent boys, located in Portland, ME.

In 2008, Karen Heck, HGHW Co-Creator, was inducted into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame. The Maine Women’s Hall of Fame, held in March in observance of Women’s History Month, takes place at the University of Maine at Augusta and is dedicated to women whose achievements have had a significant statewide impact and have significantly improved the lives of women in Maine and whose contributions have an enduring value for women.

In 2006, Karen Heck, HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Maine Statewide AAUW Achievement Citation Award, the highest award for extraordinary community involvement in women’s issues.

In 2006, Lyn Mikel Brown Ed.D., HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Maine International Film Festival’s GAL (Groundbreaking Activist Leadership) Award for Ugly Ducklings, a cutting edge multi-media program designed to educate and inspire people to take action against bias-based bullying and harassment gay and lesbian youth.

In 2005, Lyn Mikel Brown Ed.D., HGHW Co-Creator, was awarded the Sarah Orne Jewett Award in Portland, ME. The award is given to outstanding women by The Maine Women’s Fund.

In 2002, Hardy Girls Healthy Women’s fabulous Co-Creators, Karen Heck, Lyn Mikel Brown and Lynn Cole, won the Business and Professional Women’s Women of the Year Award. Each year these awards are given to women who are outstanding in their work and/or in helping other women and families.

Girls Rock! Recap

Did you miss the best weekend of the year: Girls Rock! Weekend?

Well it was an amazing time and you need to add it to your calendar for next year.
Nearly 250 girls and their allies attend Girls Rock! Waterville and 125 came to Portland. We celebrated with almost 100 people at our Girls Rock! Awards including sponsors, parents, and representation from Rep. Pingree, and Senators King and Collins.
We’ve posted some photos from the events on our Facebook page. There was also news coverage of Girls Rock! Waterville and a winner from our Girls Rock! Awards. You can see videos of all the winners here.
If you work with/parent/are an 8th grader who might be interested in being a part of the Girls Advisory Board who plans the weekend, applications are open now. If you are interested in bringing girls’ and/or adult workshops to your community/school, please be in touch with us at training@hghw.org or 861-8131. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updated resources and news.
Another thank you to our sponsors, specifically MaineGeneral Health, IDEXX Laboratories, This Girl’s Tees and Bagel Guy. If you loved what you saw that weekend and want us to be able to reach more girls, consider a donation to Hardy Girls.
The Hardy Girls’ Team
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Girls Rock! Awards Winners!

Did you miss our Girls Rock! Awards this year? You can still meet our amazing winners and hear their stories.

Health Promoter Caroline Coxe Falmouth, Age 18  Caroline brought to the lime-light a subject matter many adults are embarrassed to talk about: menstruation.  Inspired by the video, “Homeless Period”, Caroline considered the challenges homeless women in her community face in having access to feminine hygiene products and was moved to do something to make those challenges a little easier.  Caroline is an artist and she decided to use art to bring her community together to help with this cause.  She curated an art show on female empowerment, to both raise awareness and money regarding the issues homeless women face around menstruation.  She also created promotional materials for the art show.  Attendees were encouraged to either donate cash or hygiene products and/or purchase a print of one of the pieces.  Most importantly, Caroline sparked a community conversation about a topic society, and especially women, are often ashamed to talk about publicly.

Thank you to our Health Promoter Award Sponsor:

Maine General


Community Organizer Abbey Gifford, Farmingdale, Age 11  After being told she was too young to participate in most volunteer positions, Abbey worked hard to start a story time at Bailey Public Library  for 4-7 year olds.  In addition to reading stories, Abbey brings a craft and provides snacks that relate in some way to the theme of the stories.  Abbey works hard to earn her own money to pay for crafts and snacks for the children, as well as using from gifts from family and friends to cover these expenses.  Abbey funds author visits through a grant she received from the Maine Community Foundation.  Abbey also plans to purchase books for children in need within her community and donate them.  Abbey chose to do a story time in order to get younger children interested in reading, so that one day they will enjoy reading as much as she does.  
Against the Odds Advocate, Alissah Paquette, Waterville, Age 15  Alissah is undaunted by her own physical and verbal challenges since being diagnosed as a baby with conditions that affect her bone development and verbal language use. Instead, she looks outside of herself to help others.  She sees the many needs of those around her and works to address these issues, through raising money for hospitalized children and local families in need, volunteering with students with developmental disabilities at her school, and working as a lifeguard at her community pool.  She is an inspiration and has far exceeded what she should have been able to do based upon her own personal challenges. She has refused to be limited by what has traditionally been known as a physical or developmental disability and she has been busy redefining “able” and making positive changes for herself and for girls in Maine along the way.  

Title IX Champion, Hilary Merrifield, West Rockport, Age 17  Hilary stepped into the world of high school wrestling willingly as a seventh grader and has competed against boys for the past six years.  While many people consider wrestling to be a boys sport, Hilary has worked hard to prove that she is strong enough not just to compete, but to excel.  She has never once complained about the rigors of the sport, nor has she ever sought treatment different from her teammates.  Moreover, she has given back to the sport by volunteering to work with the middle-school team where she mentors a young girl and serves as an excellent role model for her.  She is varsity captain, has recorded 100 career wins and has competed both regionally and nationally.  Hilary is an excellent role model and advocate for all young women who strive to compete and who refuse to allow their gender to hinder their accomplishments.  

Entrepreneur Kaitlynn Hutchins, Westbrook, Age 19  After her dad passed away unexpectedly in 2012, Kaitlynn has embraced his passion for photography and made it her own. Since then, her work has been featured in galleries, and last year she won a photography contest that sent her to Russia for two weeks. She has built her business by taking senior pictures, family pictures, and h Westbrook High School’s events as their official photographer.  Her recent wedding photography has allowed her business to truly take off. By creating a business out of her talent, Kaitlynn has been able to pave her own path in life and not depend on anyone for assistance.

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STEM-gineer Olivia Boudreau,  Waterville, Age 12  While studying renewable energy, Olivia was inspired by the book A Boy Who Harnessed the Wind to fundraise for William Kamkwamba’s windmill projects, and help make a difference in poor African villages. Her team raised over $1,000 toward these projects. Olivia knows that there are improvements to be made locally as well.  She was part of a group of students who presented a proposal to the school board to research the feasibility of solar panels for her middle school. If there is an environmental puzzle to solve, you can rest assured that Olivia is working on it. As she learns, she acts.  She is a great example of how girls can make a difference in the sciences.  Thank you to our STEM-gineer Award sponsor:



Thank you to all of our event sponsors!  Yelp_Logo_No_Outline_Color-01Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.30.25 AM




Register for the Girls Rock! Conference

Registration for the Girls Rock! Conferences is officially open.  Space is limited so reserve your spot today!

The Girls Rock! Conference is an event planned BY girls FOR girls.  The high school girls on the Girls Advisory Board choose topics for the conference that are relevant to them AND YOU!  Get ready for a fun filled day of learning, sharing, growing and some girl-powered activism! #girlsrock17

Girls Rock! Waterville will be in at Colby College (Pugh Center) in Waterville, on Thursday, April 6th from 9am-1pm (registration opens at 8:30) The conference is open to girls* in grades 4-8 and their chaperones.  Registration is $20 per person before March 31st with full and partial scholarships available. Lunch and a t-shirt are included with your registration. Register online or print and return your paper registration by mail.

Girls Rock! Southern Maine is at Westbrook Community Center, 426 Bridge Street, on Friday, April 7th from 9am-1pm (registration opens at 8:30) The conference is open to girls* in grades 4-8 and their chaperones.  Registration is $20 per person before March 31st with full and partial scholarships available. Lunch and a t-shirt are included with your registration. Register online or print and return your paper registration by mail. THIS CONFERENCE IS FULL. WAIT LIST ONLY. SOUTHERN MAINE SCHOOLS ARE WELCOME AT THE WATERVILLE CONFERENCE. 

*Inclusivity Statement: Interested participants who self-identify as female are welcome to apply to our programs. This includes participants who were not assigned to the female sex at birth, but live and identify as female now. It also includes participants who are legally assigned to the female sex, but who identify as transgender or gender fluid.

2017 GRW sponsor logos (2)

New Mission and Vision

The Hardy Girls Healthy Women board and staff took some time in October to think about our future. There is a lot for Hardy Girls to be proud of and a lot more we want to accomplish. With this in mind, we rewrote our vision and mission, wanting to highlight the activism that is unique to our approach to working with girls.

Mission: Hardy Girls Healthy Women takes girls seriously and puts the power in their hands to challenge a society that ignores their brilliance. We dare adult allies to join us in standing with girls. With the vision of girls causing a ruckus. 

We were inspired specifically by former Girls Advisory Board member, Emma’s particular articulation of what is so great about Hardy Girls Healthy Women. Check it out!