Girl Scouts See A High-tech Future

The Girl Scouts of the USA marks its 100th anniversary today, and it would be easy for the organization to get caught up in the past. Yet rather than resting on its laurels, the Girl Scouts has placed itself on the cutting edge of a nationwide crisis.

Most of us have heard about the importance of the United States staying competitive in science, technology, engineering and math -- the "STEM" subjects. Developing workers with expertise in these areas is essential to strengthening the economy, by driving innovation. Yet U.S. students score lower than students in many other countries in math and science.
 
The Girl Scouts is taking a lead role in improving America's STEM skills by respecting young women as prospective scientists and scientifically literate workers, and by bringing awareness and excellent opportunities to millions of girls who might otherwise not pursue their passion for science.
 
Women make up about half of the workforce but hold only 24 percent of U.S. jobs in technical fields, according to the National Math and Science Initiative.
 
Getting girls interested in science is nothing new to the Girl Scouts. The organization has worked for many years with partners including NASA, the National Science Foundation, Dell, AT&T, Google and Lockheed Martin to provide learning opportunities for their troops. Thousands of girls throughout the country have earned badges and participated in leadership courses that involve STEM subjects. Scouts are designing and building robots, completing energy audits in buildings, assessing air quality, and doing sophisticated math, computer programming and graphic design.
 
The Girl Scouts also connects troops with scientists and engineers who serve as mentors, introducing girls to a variety of STEM careers. And it is partnering with organizations such as The New York Academy of Sciences to enlarge its mentoring programs.