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LI women and girls who left a mark in 2017

Women around the world from politics to entertainment made national headlines, but it was a also big year for women and girls across Long Island. Nassau County elected its first female county executive, a Baldwin woman was selected to NASA's newest class of astronauts and three female students from the Half Hollows Hills School District together won $100,000 in the Siemens Competition.

Here's a list of Long Island women and girls who made a mark in the community in 2017.

Jasmin Moghbeli

Jasmin Moghbeli, 33, of Baldwin, was one of
Photo Credit: NASA / Johnson Space Center / Robert Markowitz

Jasmin Moghbeli, 33, of Baldwin, was one of 12 people selected as part of NASA's newest astronaut class, the administration announced from the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"I think I've always had an excitement for exploration," she said. "I remember being a student back in grade school and learning about the explorers crossing the oceans in their ships. That always fascinated me, and I think space travel is like a modern-day version of that."

Ally Fitzgerald

Ally Fitzgerald, 14, of Lynbrook became the first

Ally Fitzgerald, 14, of Lynbrook became the first female to win a sanctioned high school wrestling tournament on Long Island.

"The gym erupted, went simply crazy, when she pinned her opponent," said Lynbrook coach Rich Renz. "It was an unbelievable moment in high school sports. It was amazing. I knew she was good, but she's only a freshman and not as strong as some of the boys -- or so I thought."

Autumn Rose Williams

Photo Credit: Newsday / Kimberly Yuen

"It was definitely a shock," said Autumn Rose Williams, 24-year-old Southampton resident of winning the title Miss Native American USA on Aug. 26, 2017, in Mesa, Ariz. She's the first Miss Native American USA ever from New York and the first from the Northeast since the pageant began in 2011.

Girl football players

Long Island football players Alexis Saladino, a Newfield
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Long Island football players Alexis Saladino, a Newfield kicker, Centereach safety Amber Seifts, Patchogue-Medord kicker Hannah Martin, Calhoun kicker Mia Advocate, Bay Shore linebacker, Cayleigh Kunnmann and Mepham kicker Megan Benzing are among girls who have played varsity football for Long Island public schools.

"I think a lot of girls are seeing, not only women in football, but women in all of kinds of male-dominated fields and just gaining a lot more confidence and knowing that they can do it," said Kunnmann, a senior.

Kathleen Rice

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) made national
Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) made national headlines when she walked out of a meeting with House Democrats on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, saying colleagues weren't taking allegations of sexual harassment seriously enough.

Sister Edward Joseph Murphy

Sister Edward Joseph Murphy is 103 and still
Photo Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

Sister Edward Joseph Murphy is 103 and still goes to daily Mass at Roman Catholic Sisters of the St. Joseph Church in Brentwood. She attributes her good physical and mental state to staying active and constant prayer. She's among three nuns on Long Island who have passed the century mark.

Madison Beer

Madison Beer, 18, of Jericho, this year released
Photo Credit: Getty Images For NYFW: The Shows / Theo Wargo

Madison Beer, 18, of Jericho, this year released two singles, "Dead" and "Say It To My Face," and performed for MTV's "Total Request Live". The singer has plans to tour the U.S. and Europe sometime early next year. She was discovered by Justin Bieber six years ago, after she posted a YouTube video singing her rendition of Etta James' "At Last."

Jiachen Lee, Arooba Ahmed and Jillian Parker

Jiachen Lee, Arooba Ahmed and Jillian Parker, a
Photo Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Jiachen Lee, Arooba Ahmed and Jillian Parker, a trio of young scientists from the Half Hollow Hills school district won the $100,000 top team award in the prestigious Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology for their research into cell division that could help find treatments to cancers, viruses and other diseases.

Laura Curran, Laura Gillen, Christine Pellegrino

In the November general election, Democrat Laura Curran,
Photo Credit: Newsday

In the November general election, Democrat Laura Curran, left, beat out Republican Jack Martins by nearly 8,000 votes to become Nassau County's first female county executive. She'll be sworn in on Jan. 1. Laura Gillen, a Democrat, won the election this November for Hempstead Town Supervisor over Hempstead GOP Supervisor Anthony Santino. Gillen will be the town's first Democratic supervisor in more than a century. Democrat Christine Pellegrino Pellegrino defeated Conservative Tom Gargiulo in the 9th Assembly District special election in May. The progressive and union-backed candidate pulled off an upset victory for the heavily Republican seat.

"This is a thunderbolt of resistance," said Pellegrino, who becomes the first Democrat to hold the Assembly seat. "This is for all the supporters and voters who understand a strong progressive agenda is the way forward in New York."

Lori Interlicchio & Alana Duran

Lori Interlicchio, right, of West Islip, and her
Photo Credit: Gigantic! Productions / FUSE

Lori Interlicchio, right, of West Islip, and her girlfriend Alana Duran, of Southold, was featured in a new documentary, "Bean," which debuted this November on the Fuse network. Duran has lupus, an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissue and Interlicchio donated her kidney to her just months after meeting each other on Tinder.

Lori Lang

Malverne resident Lori Lang, 43, collected over 50
Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

Malverne resident Lori Lang, 43, collected over 50 letters of love for a local Muslim family who received hateful messages in their mailbox in August.

"I was shocked and I just felt so horrible for the family," Lang said. "I thought it was important we do something that shows that this is not how the community feels and to show that we are there for them."

Lydia Pacheco

Lydia Pacheco, 11, of Copiague, was inspired by
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Lydia Pacheco, 11, of Copiague, was inspired by her faith to feed the homeless. Every Sunday, her father, Jose, takes her to KFC, where they purchase five or six "$5 fill ups," meals that include fried chicken, a biscuit, side of mashed potatoes, a cookie and a drink, which they deliver to the needy in Wyandanch.

Taylor Sinett

Port Washington teen Taylor Sinett finished writing, illustrating,
Photo Credit: Wendy SInett

Port Washington teen Taylor Sinett finished writing, illustrating, and self-publishing her third book in which all proceeds go to charity. The book, "Furry & Fabulous: The Life and Times of Taylor Swift's Cats" is inspired by Taylor Swift's two cats Meredith and Olivia who believe that they're the ones who are famous and Swift is really their assistant. Proceeds from the 17-year-old's book went to Companions in Courage Foundation, an organization to help kids' and teens' interactive play spaces in hospitals.

Zahrah Ibrahim

Sanford H. Calhoun High School senior Zahrah Ibrahim,
Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Sanford H. Calhoun High School senior Zahrah Ibrahim, 17, performed lifesaving CPR on her grandmother after she fainted during a basketball game on March 19.

"You never know when it's going to come in handy," Zahrah Ibrahim said of her CPR training. "I never thought that I'd ever have to use it on a person until I had to on my grandma."

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