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Girl Scouts Embrace STEM

The Girl Scouts of the USA are taking a proactive role in teaching girls STEM studies and encouraging them to pursue STEM careers. Studies conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute have shown that girls have a high interest in STEM careers, but that they need more exposure to those fields. The Girl Scouts are addressing that need through Leadership Journeys, Proficiency Badges, and strategic partnerships.

Leadership Journeys help girls discover their special skills and talents, connect with others (forming strong teams and healthy relationships), and take action to make the world a better place. By going on Leadership Journeys Girl Scouts explore a variety of interests and learn what they’re most interest in and passionate about. The three series of Leadership Journeys that girls choose from are “It’s Your World – Change It!”, “It’s Your Planet – Love It!”, and “It’s Your Story – Tell It!”.

Girl Scouts don’t stop with discovering interests and passions: Badges help girls learn about and develop proficiencies in specific topics. The Girl Scouts recently revamped badges to have a stronger focus on 21st-Century skills including STEM-related subject areas. Examples include badges called Naturalist, Digital Arts, Science and Technology, Innovation, and Financial Literacy.

The Girl Scouts have also formed partnerships and sponsorships with STEM-related organizations like NASA, the New York Academy of Sciences, and Ingersoll Rand. Those relationships provide key funding and unique development opportunities for Girl Scouts who are interested in STEM-specific studies. “Imagine Engineering”, for example, is funded by the National Science Foundation and offers low-income girls and girls in underserved communities the chance to “experience STEM and plan for futures in STEM fields.” (source)

The FIRST program is another great example. Co-sponsored by Motorola, UTC, Google, and Dell, the program “gives girls access to materials and mentors so that they can explore fields such as robotics and information technology in greater depth.” (source)

To learn more about Girl Scouts’ research, visit the Girl Scout Research Institute online. For a quick overview of the organization’s research on girls and STEM studies, read this summary of the study, “Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math”.

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