First Name


Last Name



Anita Debarlaben was born in Alabama and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from high school, she attended The Ohio State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1985. Anita earned her Master in Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1990. She had a successful career as a software engineer in several leading technology companies, including General Electric, Northrop-Grumman, and Lucent-Technologies. She led the Society of Women Engineers/NASA mentoring program, where high school girls interested in technical fields were paired up with female engineers. In 1997, she was recruited as a Girl Scout leader for DuPage AME Church Scouting Ministry in Lisle, Illinois. She was determined to be a fun, caring and educational leader. She started with 2 girls in her troop in 1997. By 2000, her troop had grown to 30 girls. She was appointed the role of President to lead the Girl Scout ministry, and enrollment of the troops grew to 150 girls under her leadership. She was eager to grow the girls' interest in Math and Science. Each year, Anita took troops to the Expanding Your Horizons conference, which was held at different universities. The conference is a way to empower young women to pursue careers in STEM. In addition, attending the conference gave the girls an opportunity to tour different universities each year. Her biggest accomplishment was witnessing all 15 high school girls in her troop earn the highest award in Girl Scouts, the Gold Award. Only 6% of the girls in the country earn this prestigious award, but 100% of the girls in her troop earned the award. Presently, Anita teaches Computer Science and Math at Loyola Academy high school in Wilmette, IL. In addition, she is the mentor for their Women in STEM program, where enrollment increased from 20 girls to 60 girls in one year due to her creative and engaging events and activities.