NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Techbridge have announced the development and implementation of the Engineer Your Journey program. This program is aimed at exposing more girls to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by strengthening and building Girl Scout volunteers' skills in these fields and their readiness to lead STEM-related activities.
With the generous support of the Noyce Foundation, GSUSA and Techbridge blended the Girls Go Techbridge (GGT) engineering curriculum with GSUSA's Leadership Journeys by creating three Engineer Your Journey planners. The planners, co-written by GSUSA and Techbridge, provide step-by-step recommendations to help Girl Scout volunteers blend engineering activities and career discussions with their girls' Leadership Journeys. Through the Engineer Your Journey planners, volunteers are better able to help girls see how engineering and leadership skills can combine to make the world a better place.
"In the U.S. and all over the world, girls and women, from their classrooms at school to their professional adult career paths, continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields," said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. "Yet we know that twenty-first-century businesses and global economic growth will rely on a workforce educated and skilled in STEM. That is why Girl Scouts is committed to offering more opportunities in STEM-related programs and to providing solid encouragement for girls to pursue careers in STEM by exposing them to female leaders who serve as role models. Engineer Your Journey offers girls unique hands-on engineering and leadership experiences that introduce them to the invaluable critical-thinking and problem-solving skills they will need to succeed in today's world."
Generation STEM, a 2013 study conducted by Girl Scouts Research Institute (GSRI), highlights a positive correlation between early exposure to STEM-related activities and interest in STEM careers, further underscoring the importance of STEM education among girls. Over the one-year pilot of Engineer Your Journey, 90 volunteers with limited knowledge and experience in STEM were trained in the three planners, ultimately bringing the blended Techbridge-Girl Scout experience to over 500 Girl Scouts from five councils (Girl Scouts Louisiana East, Girl Scouts Heart of the South, Girl Scouts North East Ohio, Girl Scouts of South Carolina - Mountains to Midlands, and Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania). The results of the pilot test revealed Engineer Your Journey benefits both girls and the volunteers who work with them. Girls enhanced their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and increased their knowledge of potential career opportunities in science and engineering. Similarly, volunteers showed a significant increase in their interest in science and engineering, and boosted their confidence in creating hands-on science and engineering experiences for girls.
"We know that girls like engineering and science when it's introduced in ways that support their interests. This partnership with GSUSA has allowed Techbridge to share its resources and lessons that inspire girls and enable them to see how engineers help us all by solving problems around the world and in our daily lives," says Linda Kekelis, CEO and executive director of Techbridge.
GSRI and Techbridge are currently working on a white paper to be released in January 2016 that will expand upon the findings and detail their recommendations from the Engineer Your Journey collaboration.
We're Girl Scouts of the USA
We're 2.8 million strong—2 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe girls can change the world. It began over 100 years ago with one woman, Girl Scouts' founder Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low, who believed in the power of every girl. She organized the first Girl Scout troop on March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, and every year since, we've made her vision a reality, helping girls discover their strengths, passions, and talents. Today we continue the Girl Scout mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. We're the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs for girls from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to do something amazing. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.
Techbridge is an Oakland, California nonprofit that engages teachers, families, role models, and corporate partners in encouraging girls in technology, science, and engineering. Launched in 2000, Techbridge has reached over 10,000 students in grades 4–12 through a combination of hands-on engineering and technology projects, career exploration activities, academic counseling, and leadership development. Techbridge also provides professional development to teachers, role models, out-of-school-time facilitators, and partners to enhance the network of support for girls and underrepresented youth. Since 2008, Techbridge has brought Girls Go Techbridge programming to 22+ Girl Scout councils nationwide. The Engineer Your Journey pilot expanded Techbridge's involvement with councils, advancing a national partnership that combines two effective programs to increase STEM interest and knowledge among girls. Visit www.techbridgegirls.org for more information, and access Role Models Matter training modules to support effective STEM role model interactions with youth at www.techbridgegirls.org/rolemodelsmatter.
SOURCE Girl Scouts of the USA