Photo Credit: Girl Scouts Blog
Girl Scouts Cookies are about to get a whole new meaning. Girl Scouts of the USA recently announced the addition of 23 new STEM badges for robotics, computer science, and engineering, as well as a series of cybersecurity badges over the next two years. It’s a signal of their new, reinforced commitment to STEM education. (Cookies are small files stored on a user’s computer.)
The badges cover a wide variety of topics, from Computer Science: Think Like a Programmer, to Robotics, Digital Art, and Innovation. They’re aimed to give exposure and interactions with STEM to girls as young as five. These scouts will be encouraged to become future industry leaders, regardless of background or status.
74% of high school girls are interested in STEM, according to a recent Girl Scout Research Institute study. But few pursue careers in these fields, in part because many think they’d need to work harder than men in order to be taken seriously.
“Sometimes, access is just knowing about the careers that are available and meeting a young woman who is a role model,” said Suzanne Harper, senior director of program resources at Girl Scouts of the USA.
To develop the badges, the organization has formed new partnerships with AT&T and the New York Academy of Sciences, along with Palo Alto Networks. In a press release, Palo Alto Networks calls the program “a huge step toward eliminating traditional barriers to industry access, such as gender and geography.”
These are in addition to the help of organizations like Code.org, SciStarter, GoldieBlox and the Society of Women Engineers.
Girl Scouts has also released a report highlighting how their STEM programs benefit girls, available to read here: How Girl Scout STEM Programs Benefit Girls. It illustrates just some of the benefits to Girl Scouts when they participate in STEM programs, particularly in relation to social and emotional impacts.
Some other resources to check out for more information are: Smithsonian Magazine's Article and the Girl Scouts Website.
Through adding these STEM badges, Girl Scouts has further emphasized the importance of having girls in STEM and has increased the reach of STEM fields throughout the United States. We hope other organizations will follow their lead, and promote increased awareness of STEM for girls and its importance.
Photo Credit: Lauren Yang
Camp Introduces Girls to AI, the Modern Day Industrial Revolution
Above is an article written by Taylor Fang, one of the cofounders of this blog, about SAILORS 2017.
Daily SAILORS Blog
This is the SAILORS daily blog, which also includes posts from the past two SAILORS 2015 and 2016 blogs.
This past summer, we spent two weeks at Stanford University researching artificial intelligence, surrounded by the most incredible group of girls, counselors, professors, and female leaders in tech. Though it’s only been two months since the conclusion of SAILORS 2017, there’s still no place we’d rather be.
The first week of camp was filled with morning lectures on computer programming, probability, and machine learning, talks by Stanford University professors on computer vision, natural language processing, AI + airplanes, psychology, and sustainability, demos of hexacopters, self-driving cars, and social robots, and nightly discussions with Github and Google employees as well as a former White House staffer. We took a trip to the Computer History Museum, exploring the exhibits in a tour led by Dr. Edward Feigenbaum. We also began working on our group research projects. Every night, we enjoyed an hour or so of free time.
On Friday afternoon, we attended a reception dinner, where we listened to Stanford Professor Allison Okamura give a presentation on her research in haptics. We spoke about our research progress, learned about the exciting future for SAILORS and AI4All, and met some SAILORS alumni.
The weekend was significantly less busy – we also took a trip to the beach, then spent most of our free time relaxing.
During week 2 of camp, we had two computational biology lectures and an AI + education presentation, attended a string quartet performance, and spoke personally with Fei-Fei Li and Olga Russakovsky (cofounders of SAILORS). And finally, on the last day of camp, we presented our research projects to professors, instructors, and other SAILORS, then answered questions during a poster session. Afterwards, we discussed future opportunities/how to stay involved in AI.
SAILORS 2017 was easily one of our most incredible life experiences. If you’re a freshman this year, we highly encourage you to apply. Applications for the 2018 program will probably open later this year, and close in early 2018.
To visit the Stanford SAILORS website, click here.