Through the financial support from Toyota, Duke Energy, EQT, Lexmark, United Way of the Bluegrass and Motorola Solutions, Girl Scouts of Kentucky's Wilderness Road provided fun, hands-on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, including exciting and challenging robotics experiences, to more than 500 girls across central, eastern and northern Kentucky during the 2013-14 membership year. Girl Scout STEM programs are a successful example of community collaboration to improve girls’ STEM skills.
Girl Scout STEM programs include a variety of learning experiences that help girls understand the importance of science, technology, engineering and math in their everyday lives and to begin seeing themselves as future scientists, engineers and mathematicians.
During robotics workshops, 200 girls learned how to design, build and program LEGO WeDo or NXT Mindstorm Robots. Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road currently has three robotics teams, including two FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams in Frankfort and Erlanger for girls in grades 4-8. This year, Kentucky’s Wilderness Road organized a Junior LEGO League (JLL) Robotics Team for younger girls in grades K-3. The FLL teams were the only all-girl teams out of 40 teams at a regional FLL tournament at Northern Kentucky University in January.
Kristina Rouland, Robotics Project Director, said, “The hands-on quality of this program makes it very appealing to the girls. Many of them have never had the opportunity to program a machine, and a surprising number of girls had never played with LEGOs.”
Community scholarship programs are a specific strategy to reach out to low-income and minority girls in Kentucky whose families cannot afford to pay for them to join Girl Scouts, many of whom qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Kentucky’s Wilderness Road provided a full scholarship for 370 girls to become a Girl Scout and participate in a Girl Scout STEM Program Series.
Girl Scout STEM Programs improve girls STEM skills and increase their awareness and interest in STEM careers, making our girls the STEM leaders of the future!