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.