Posts Tagged ‘STEM’


Citizen Science Series: Building a Rain Garden

December 15, 2013

By Kristin Yerkie, Camp staff

group photo with dirtTen Girl Scouts are participating in Girl Scout – NC Coastal Pines’ Citizen Science series program which focuses on soil science and the impact eroded soil has as a stream pollutant in North Carolina. This fall, the girls have met with scientists and local engineers to learn about causes and costs of erosion while developing their own plan for a rain garden at Camp Mary Atkinson in Selma, NC.

In their first session, the girls met with Amanda “Dirt” Leisch a Soil Science PhD student at NC State University to build their own 3D model of the Leadership Center at Camp Mary Atkinson and the surrounding grounds using kinetic sand. This project allowed the girls to test out different shapes and designs for their rain garden.

The girls then met with wetland scientist from Sepi Engineering, Shawn Clark, fish and wildlife biologist with US Fish and Wildlife Service, JohnAnn Shearer, and conservation incentives program director with NCDENR, Scott Pohlman. The local professionals explained their design and implementation process for the rain garden they built.

The second session brought the girls out to Camp Mary Atkinson where they got down and dirty! Using augers the girls took soil samples of several locations and saw firsthand the different levels of soil that exist beneath the surface. There is an entire history underneath our feet every day and these Girl Scouts certainly had to put all their energy into digging it up.

Session three brought the girls to the research grounds of NC State University. The girls tested which covering would provide the best filtering for their rain garden by using a rain simulator. The next experiment taught the girls about polyachrilamide, PAM for short. This substance is used to assist in the filtering of water by adhering to the particles in the water and making them clump together.

imaging software2The team then got to use state of the art technology in the Tangible GIS Visualization lab. Using the 3D model they had created a couple sessions previously, the kinetic sand and the Kinnect imaging software, they tested which shape would lead to the most filtration and decrease in polluted runoff from the Leadership Center.

During these first sessions the girls learned a great deal about the science behind building their own rain garden. They couldn’t wait for their final two sessions where they would create their final design and submit it to the engineers for approval. They are truly Citizen Scientists in action!


Girl Scouts Bridge the Gender Gap with STEM

November 12, 2013

By Krista Park, Communications & Marketing Director

Today more girls are showing interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields and STEM-based activities.  But despite this growing curiosity, girls still are not choosing medicine, science, technology and engineering as their number one career path.

Girl Scouts – NC Coastal Pines has prioritized STEM in an effort to help girls bridge the existing gender gap that within these male-dominant career fields and provides opportunities for girls to enhance their exposure to and deepen their engagement in STEM.

Girl Scout Research Institute’s report, Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, highlights that while a majority of today’s girls have a clear interest in STEM, they do not prioritize STEM fields when thinking about their future careers.

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Research in the report shows that 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM subjects and the general field of study. Further, a high 82 percent of girls see themselves as “smart enough to have a career in STEM.” And yet, few girls consider it their number-one career option: 81 percent of girls interested in STEM are interested in pursuing STEM careers, but only 13 percent say it’s their first choice.

Additionally, girls express that they do not know a lot about STEM careers and the opportunities afforded by these fields, with 60 percent of STEM-interested girls acknowledging that they know more about other careers than they do about STEM careers.

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Girl Scouts has a proud history of supporting girls’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through our robust programs and mentoring initiatives. This study only reaffirms what we already know – that it is important to support girls at a young age and make learning about STEM fun and engaging.”

As to what girls are drawn to with regard to these subjects, Generation STEM notes that the creative and hands-on aspects of STEM hold the most appeal. Girls enjoy the hands-on aspect of exploration and discovery and recognize the benefits of a challenge: 89 percent of all girls agree that “obstacles make me stronger.”

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Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines partners with many STEM-based companies and organizations across its 41-council territory including Cisco Systems, IBM, GlaxoSmithKline, Motorola, Red Hat, Time Warner Cable and RTI International. Girls are offered a vast array of programming throughout the year in hopes that girls of all ages can experience fun, hands-on activities exploring STEM fields and careers.

test tubeGirls are also aware that gender barriers persist in today’s society: 57 percent of those studied concur that if they were to pursue a STEM career, they would “have to work harder than a man to be taken seriously.”

When girls succeed, so does society. We all have a role to play in making girls feel supported and capable when it comes to involvement in STEM fields—and anything else they set their minds to and have traditionally been steered away from.


Girls and STEM_Girl Scout Findings


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