Friday, October 12, 2012

STEM Partnerships

This fall, there have been plenty of opportunities for girls to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) - thanks to supportive community partners. Nearly 300 girls attended Science Alive at Norfolk State University and participated in hands-on activities with the university faculty and students. They learned how robots were programmed, generated electricity using a thin solar panel, made telescopes and launched rockets. You can veiw photos from the day on the Council's Facebook!

Valencia Ingram, a Girl Scout alumna who helped the Girl Scouts coordinate Science Alive, has worked as the Education Administrator and STARS Tutoring Director at Norfolk State University for eleven years. She works to help increase the STEM graduation rate at NSU by enhancing the learning environment and encouraging research and achievement in STEM majors.

While Ingram reports that 48% of the STEM majors at NSU are females, she acknowledges the barriers that they face as women in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

“Women tend to second guess themselves and have a feeling that they don’t belong in STEM majors,” Ingram said, “Through a series of mentoring and precollege activities, STARS provides support for females majoring in STEM by exposing them to other women working in STEM fields.”

These same methods of encouragement are used by the Girl Scouts to foster girls’ interests in STEM. Today, women across the country are earning only twenty-five percent of the mathematics and computer science undergraduate degrees, so the Girl Scouts are working to fill the gap by giving girls access to strong role models in the STEM fields. By engaging girls in opportunities to learn from female STEM leaders, they are inspired to envision themselves in similar careers.

There are many other STEM events scheduled by GSCCC this membership year. They can be found in the Council's GO! program catalog. The Society of Women Engineers' Day is on October 27 and Night Skies Above Albemarle will take place on February 2, 2013 at the Elizabeth City State University.