Girl Scouts Partner With AT&T, Host Science Leader
The Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, in a partnership with AT&T, played host on Thursday morning to Dr. Cora B. Marrett, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation, as she held a roundtable discussion with 17 local Girl Scouts and reviewed their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) projects.
Kate Yee, a Girl Scout Cadette from the Maplewood/Brentwood area, was filled with questions for the Deputy Director. Once the roundtable discussion ended, Kate said that she was happy to have been able to speak to someone that works directly in the field of science and math. Kate said she is interested in pursuing a STEM career and looks forward to taking additional math and science classes in high school.
Dr. Marrett, who has worked for the NSF for four years and was named Deputy Director in May 2011, fielded questions from the girls and told stories about her experiences. The questions varied from inquiring about Marrett's life to career advice to specifics on different fields. Marrett spun each answer into a conversation that ultimately related to long-term thinking about STEM careers.
"Events like these serve a dual purpose," Marrett said. "First, it gives the girls an idea of things that are beyond what they have experienced. It also gives me an idea of what creative strategies might work to draw girls into STEM fields."
Following the discussion, Debra Hollingsworth, AT&T's Regional Vice President of External Affairs, presented the Girl Scouts with a $1 million check to benefit an initiative called "IMAGINE: Your Stem Future." The initiative, which is funded through an AT&T Aspire contribution, is designed to reach 6,000 young women across the U.S. and introduce them to a variety of career ideas in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
Currently, minority students and women are gravitating away from science and engineering toward other professions. This trend could pose a future workforce crisis since employment in STEM fields is increasing at a faster pace than in non-STEM fields; it is anticipated that approximately 1.2 million new STEM jobs will be created worldwide by 2018. Educational experts say the U.S. must increase proficiency and interest in these areas to compete in the global economy.
From November 2011 until summer 2012, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, along with 17 other Girl Scout Councils, will participate in IMAGINE's educational curriculum. It offers opportunities for girls to team up with AT&T employees and other volunteers to participate in interactive activities and visual experiments, such as extracting DNA from a banana. These activities are designed to help students imagine a future STEM career and spark interest in taking additional STEM courses in high school. They can then go on to take related courses in college, and open doors to new career options.