WASHINGTON, July 24, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today joined U.S. House of Representatives' Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee Chair Kendra Horn (D-OK) to discuss women's historic contributions at NASA. Participants also discussed how Girl Scouts is engaging more girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to build the inclusive workforce necessary to maintain the United States' global competitive edge.
The event featured SETI Institute Director of Education Pamela Harman, GSUSA Senior Manager of Digital Content Strategy Cole Grissom, and Girl Scout Space Academy alum Sydne Jenkins. Coming off Girl Scouts' programming announcement of 42 new badges, with three focused exclusively on space science, the organization is poised to continue supporting future female STEM leaders whose insight, skills, and talents have immeasurable worth.
Women's contributions to science are often overlooked by history—but from Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson helping put John Glenn into orbit, to Frances "Poppy" Northcutt, the first woman to work in an operational support role during the Apollo program, women have been instrumental in powering many of NASA's greatest achievements.
"In an effort to fuel the STEM leadership pipeline for women, Girl Scouts is launching three new Space Science badges—Space Science Researcher, Space Science Expert, and Space Science Master—targeted to girls in grades 6 through 12," said Cole. "We've seen enormous demand for the K through 5 space science programming released last year and are excited to extend opportunities in this area to older girls."
Funded by NASA's Science Mission Directorate and led by the SETI Institute, the badges are part of Girl Scouts' broader, ongoing commitment to provide girls with cutting-edge programming in STEM that sharpens their existing knowledge and encourages their interest and development in these crucially important fields.
"The 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing is a significant milestone and a meaningful reminder about the importance of STEM in our lives and our world," said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo, herself a former rocket scientist whose work includes the famous Voyager missions. "It is also a moment to reflect on the remarkable contributions women made to the successes of the past and the vital role they will play in the future of space exploration. As the largest girls' leadership organization in the world, Girl Scouts is committed to providing girls with hands-on learning experiences in STEM that champion their interests and hone their skills in the sciences. Through our new space science programming, we're arming today's girls with the skills and confidence to be tomorrow's astronomers, astronauts, astrophysicists, and more."
The anniversary celebration of Neil Armstrong's, Buzz Aldrin's, and Michael Collins's historic moon mission has also inspired renewed talk of future NASA missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond. But gaps remain in ensuring that women's talents, insight, and skills are fully put to use in the world of space exploration. Women continue to be underrepresented in fields like STEM and aviation.
"Along with NASA, the SETI Institute has a rich history of working with Girl Scouts to give girls more opportunities to learn about space science, and we are excited to continue advancing that cause," said Pamela. "With the latest Space Science badges, we can ignite the curiosity of girls at every level and equip them with the skills and confidence to become the next generation of female leaders in STEM."
The badges, combined with GSUSA's larger suite of national STEM programming, provide a seamless pathway for girls to develop a lifetime love of the cosmos and its endless possibilities.
We're Girl Scouts of the USA
We're 2.5 million strong—more than 1.7 million girls and 750,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon "Daisy" Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we've honored her vision and legacy, 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 from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscouts.org.
"Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts" is based upon work supported by NASA Science under cooperative agreement No. NNX16AB90A. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
SOURCE Girl Scouts of the USA