Thursday, May 15, 2014

Girl Scouts Explore and Discover in STEM

The opportunity for girls to explore and discover in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields is more important than ever. The demand for numbers in the STEM workforce in the United States continues to grow, yet women hold less than 30 percent of STEM careers. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls are interested in STEM and are drawn to the creative, hands-on aspects of these subjects, but they need more exposure and better education about STEM careers and what they can offer in order for girls to seriously consider a job in these fields.

Girl Scouts is committed to offering opportunities for girls to have these STEM experiences all year long. This spring, Girl Scouts were introduced to female STEM leaders and what they do at events hosted in conjunction with community partners, including the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Booz Allen Hamilton and Port Discover.

Girl Scout Junior Sianna from Norfolk learn computer
programming from Valencia Ingram with Norfolk State
University at Tech Savvy.
At Tech Savvy hosted by AAUW at Tidewater Community College on March 15, girls learned how a STEM education can broaden their career choices. Girls had the chance to explore marine technology with Nora Kelly, outreach instructor with the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, learn computer programming basics with Valencia Ingram from the Norfolk State University College of Science, Engineering and Technology, study brains with Marissa Rice, a PhD student at Cornell University, discover a world of chemistry with Jamika Brown from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard and more. The event also included workshops for parents to learn about supporting their daughters as they pursue education and careers in STEM. 

Girl Scout Brownie Dorina from Chesapeake tells
Megan Roche, a member of  SWE, what she learned about density.
Later in the month, engineers from SWE and Booz Allen Hamilton hosted a workshop at A Place for Girls called Design Divas, which gave girls insight into how engineers solve everyday problems with science and creativity. Girls learned about energy and friction by making puff mobiles, explored static electricity and density, discovered the use of levers, pulleys and gears in everyday machinery and tried their hand at chemistry by making their own lip gloss.

During the last weekend in March, Port Discover in Elizabeth City hosted a special day for Girl Scouts to learn about life sciences and participate in activities from the Girl Scout National Leadership Journey, It’s Your Planet—Love It!, which engages girls in activities to learn about the protecting the earth and its natural resources. Girls explored the life of a bug, ventured into the Kid’s Grow Garden to learn about flowers and learned about tree species in northeastern North Carolina, taking a close look into the world of forestry.
Girl Scout Daisies Madelyn and Maddie from Smithfield touch
a hissing cockroach at Port Discover.
Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast is dedicated to creating opportunities for girls to interact with women in STEM so that girls can observe firsthand what these careers are like, as well as talk to women about how they have overcome obstacles to succeed. The Girl Scout Research Institute found that 66 percent of girls who are interested in STEM say that they know someone in a STEM career, showing the importance of girls having a role model in these fields.

In September, Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast and Norfolk State University will be hosting Science Alive, a day of gun and learning with sessions in engineering, chemistry, medicine, biology and physical science. All girls, whether or not they are currently registered Girl Scouts, are invited to participate in STEM activities with Girl Scouts. Find opportunities in GO!