There’s still time to participate in our 2019 STEMtastic Summer Challenge!

For the last month and a half, Girl Scouts from around Western New York have embraced STEM in the summer as they worked toward earning their STEMtastic badge. The contest is closing soon, but that doesn’t mean you can’t participate!

There are 68 total activities, but the number required varies by grade level:

  • Daisy: 20
  • Brownie: 25
  • Junior: 30
  • Cadette: 35
  • Senior: 40
  • Ambassador: 45

Once completed, you can preorder your patch by coming into any GSWNY shop or calling 1-888-837-6410. Patches can be ordered through September 30 and will arrive in late October.

Download the Checklist Here

The STEMtastic Summer Challenge has started!

Most troops have slowed down for the summer, but that doesn’t mean the Girl Scout fun has stopped. Yesterday, July 1, kicked off the STEMtastic Summer Challenge, this year’s special summer patch!

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) isn’t just a school activity. In fact, summer is the perfect time to explore it and try new things! The STEMtastic Summer Challenge combines the fun of summertime with the excitement of science.

All you have to do is complete the minimum number of activities between July 1 and August 31, 2019. Once you’ve hit your minimum, you can come into any GSWNY shop to place your patch pre-order by September 30, 2019.

There are a total of 68 activities, and here are the numbers required per grade level:

  • Daisy: 20
  • Brownie: 25
  • Junior: 30
  • Cadette: 35
  • Senior: 40
  • Ambassador: 45

Download the complete checklist here

Kate Gleason – Women’s History Month Day 4

Today our incredible woman holds the title of the first female engineer. In a time when engineering schools wouldn’t admit women, Kate Gleason found a way. Even better, Kate was from our very own Rochester.

Born Catherine Anselm Gleason, Kate was born into a mechanical family. Her father owned a machine shop and at a young age she started her education by studying books about machines and engineering.

At age 11, she stepped in to help her father at his shop after her oldest brother, his primary support, died of typhoid. In a time when this would’ve naturally be met with resistance, some researchers believe he let her help without protest due to her mother’s friendship with none other than Susan B. Anthony, famed women’s rights advocate.

Eight years later, Kate entered the Mechanical Arts program at Cornell as the first woman to enter the engineering program. Unfortunately, she was never able to complete her degree. Soon her father’s shop faced some financial troubles so she returned to Rochester to assist him.

This didn’t stop her from earning the title of engineer. She continued to seek out education when she could, including class at the Sibley College of Engraving and the Mechanics Institute, now known as the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Within a few years, she helped expand the company into Europe, one of the first American manufacturers to do so. These international sales remain a core portion of their business.

Today, Gleason Corp. is a top provider around the world of the technologies, machines, and tools used to make the gears found in almost anything you can imagine, including power tools, vehicles, wind turbines, and airplanes. This is largely because of the work she and her brothers did to help expand the business.

Her career didn’t stop at helping her father’s shop. As World War I broke out, the president of the First National Bank of Rochester left to go serve, leaving the space wide open for Kate. She was the first woman to serve as the president of a national bank without family ties.

In this role, she drew on her engineering knowledge and began to think about low-cost housing options for workers. After developing a new pouring method, her work grew into a model for the future.

It was in 1918 that the American Society of Engineers elected her as their first female member. Their decision was unanimous given all of her impressive work.

Her legacy continues in many forms, including

  • “The Kate Gleason College of Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology became the first engineering school in the country to be named for a woman” (1998)
  • RIT also created the “Kate Gleason Endowed Chair in 2003 for a professor, who among other qualities motivates women in engineering activities and builds ‘upon the tradition of Kate Gleason as a role model for women in engineering.'” (2003)
  • “The American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Foundation established the Kate Gleason Award recognizing the contribution of distinguished female leaders in the engineering profession” (2011)
  • Quotes via ASME

Read more about Kate Gleason:

Women of Distinction is two weeks away!

One of the best events of the year is only two weeks away. Every year, we celebrate eight amazing women in the Western New York area for their character, dedication to community, and passion for mentoring girls and women. The event is appropriately called Women of Distinction.

Like all of our events, it’s a girl-led ceremony prominently featuring our Girl Scouts. In fact, eight girls will spend time shadowing and learning from one the honorees. At the awards, she’ll share her experience.

This year, we have the privilege of honoring:

  • Lindsay Cray: Co-Founder & Executive Director, Earthworks, Inc. (Monroe County)
  • Rosanne Frandina: President of Frandina Engineering and Land Surveying (Erie County)
  • Althea E. Luehrsen: CEO, Leadership Buffalo, Inc. (Erie County)
  • Patti Ann Pacino: Batavia City Council Member (Genesee County)
  • Venus Quates: President and CEO, launchTECH (Erie County)
  • Dr. Dilara Samadi: OB/GYN, Buffalo Medical Group (Erie County)
  • Honorable Joanne Winslow: Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court (Monroe County)
  • Betsy Wright: President, UPMC Chautauqua WCA Hospital (Chautauqua County)

This event isn’t limited to Girl Scouts, either; we’d love to have you with us! This year we’re celebrating at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo Thursday, September 20, with the evening’s events beginning at 5:30 p.m.

If you’re interested, please visit our website to learn more and order your tickets.

To learn more about the experiences and passions of former honorees, check out The Girl Scout Difference campaign for their stories.

Interested in Being a Sponsor?
Sponsorship opportunities for organizations of all sizes exist. Invest in the future of girls today by sponsoring an event – 100% of your investment will stay in Western New York to help girls develop important leadership skills. Learn about sponsor opportunities by viewing our sponsorship packet and change the world by investing in girls today!

For more information about this event or becoming a sponsor contact Eileen Hettich at 1.888.837.6410 x6030 or email

Why STEM Matters for Girls: The Girl Scout Difference

Over the summer, Girl Scouts announced 30 new STEM badges for girls as well as new journeys. In November 2017, the organization pledged to raise $70 million to help bring 2.5 million girls into the STEM pipeline by 2025. While many viewed this news with enthusiasm, some still ask why it matters. Others argue not every girl wants to be in a STEM field and worry Girl Scouts is moving away from its roots in the outdoors. We’re here to help you understand.

What is STEM?

Before we continue, it’s important to identify exactly what STEM is. The acronym stands for science, technology, mathematics, and engineering, four subjects most girls in the United States will be exposed to, yet few will pursue.

16

Why don’t more girls pursue STEM fields?

Think about the clothes you’ve seen in the kids section. The girls have frilly shirts covered with sparkles, claiming things like ‘when I grow up, I want to be a mermaid’ or ‘princess’ or ‘unicorn.’ Meanwhile boys clothes will say things like ‘astronaut.’

Realize it or not, girls are conditioned to think about more ‘feminine’ careers from a young age. This is encouraged through stereotypes and the underlying current of sexism that still plagues our society. One of our studies found that girls were less likely to raise their hand to answer a math question if boys were in the room, even when they knew the answer.

Since we started doing STEM programming, we’ve seen success in our Girl Scouts in a number of ways. One of the most startling is when a girl admits she thought boys were just better at STEM-related activities until she was engaged in them herself. If you want to read more about that and other revelations, check out the full report.

Basically, at some point it became assumed that STEM wasn’t for girls. We’re trying to change that perception.

It goes beyond the STEM pipeline

While we strive for equality in the workforce, both in job selection and salary, it isn’t our sole reason for encouraging STEM in our girls. Most people remember that Girl Scouts is about building girls of courage, confidence, and character, but they may not know the crucial second half: who make the world a better place.

We know there are things in this world that can be improved. Through our journeys and badges, we help girls learn about taking care of the planet and conservation. We encourage them to be away of their impact and what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Simply put, we were a girl-led green movement before it became popular.

We know it’s not for every girl

We’re continuing to add STEM badges in areas like cybersecurity, but it doesn’t mean we think every girl needs to become an engineer or scientist. We just believe every girl has the right to choose exactly what she wants to do, and we want to increase her chances of success by exposing her to different fields.

Maybe your Girl Scout wants to be a park ranger. Or a stay at home mom. Or an accountant. Or a veterinarian. Or maybe even a princess. We’re here to support her no matter what, so your girl can have courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place in her own chosen way.

STEM Training for Adults!

It’s hard to believe that our 2017-2018 membership year is winding down. Then again, it’s hard to believe how fast 2018 is going! As October approaches, we’ve begun to assemble our new programming for next year.

While most of our opportunities are for the girls, like trips to Maine and hockey days, we do have something scheduled that is extra special for adults.

One of Girl Scouts main objectives is getting more girls involved in STEM, both as children and professionally. This year, GSUSA added 30 new STEM badges to help push this cause. Our girls have more opportunities than ever to experience science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While this is spectacular, you as a leader might be feeling overwhelmed. We’re here to help.

To aid in your understanding, we’re holding training for adults around the council. From October to April, you can pick a time and location that works for you!

STEM Adult Lab Learning

Our STEM focus extends to our camps

Hosting STEM programs at camp this summer is like the marrying of two of the initiatives we’re most excited about. Girl Scouting has always been about enabling girls to do more and push themselves and their knowledge further. Because of this, our programs always take a progressive approach to dealing with problems faced by women every day.

This is one reason camp has been a part of Girl Scouts since the beginning. We believe in helping girls become leaders in the great outdoors by showing them important skills. Plus most of us can agree that some of the best memories are created at camp!

Our STEM focus is to battle the overwhelming majority of men who work in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. A major goal of Girl Scouts is to funnel more women in the STEM pipeline and close the gender gap currently found there. By exposing girls to STEM activities at younger age, they feel more comfortable with their place in that world.

With STEM-specific camps, we combine the outdoor fun with the educational aspects associated with these programs. With five programs targeted at younger girls, we want them to get excited about STEM and their potential future in the field!

Camp Piperwood

  • Citizen Scientist to the Rescue (Grades K-8)
  • Science Wonders (Grades K-8)

Camp Seven Hills

  • Silly Scientists (Grades 1-3)
  • Zoologist (Grades 1-3)
  • GIRLbots (Grades 4-6)

 

If you haven’t registered for camp yet, now is the time!

Why STEM, Why Not STEM?

Lately I’ve noticed quite a few articles on women breaking barriers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

I think the progress being made in this direction is wonderful.  There are numerous benefits to having women in STEM careers. They are able to provide greater financial support to their families because traditionally STEM careers pay above the average pay scale. This shift in careers debunks the stereotype that boys are stronger in math and science.  It also speaks volumes to our young girls because it expands the number of career options available to them.

In fact, many companies are lending their financial support to organizations that are exposing young girls to opportunities in STEM.

I recently read an article, Women in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) on iseekcareer.com that said approximately 17 percent of women are chemical engineers and 22 percent function as environmental scientists.  The article listed the top three reasons why there is a gender gap in these careers is because there are no female mentors, there is a lack of acceptance from coworkers and there are gender differences in the workplace.

According to the National Science Foundation, in 2009, 22.6 percent of master’s degrees in engineering went to women. The article said it was the lowest percent given in science, technology, engineering and math fields. The US Department of Commerce found that one in seven engineers is female. These numbers show that men dominate women in STEM careers, but why.

I think men disproportionally outweigh women in STEM careers because there was a time when boys were encouraged to consider careers in math and science and girls were encouraged to go into professions that relied heavily on service occupation skills.

My thoughts were confirmed when I read a Forbes article, STEM Fields and the Gender Gap: Where Are the Women?The article said, “The problem starts as early as grade school.”  That’s when I had my “aha” moment. Working for an organization that builds leadership skills in girls, are we the solution?  Can we be the catalyst for change in this area?

Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI) released a study called, Generation STEM, What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The study was conducted with girls in focus groups and in a national sampling.   The study found that problem-solving, asking questions and figuring out how things worked made girls interested in STEM. Another finding discovered that girls interested in STEM are overachievers, doing well in school, and have support systems versus girls who are not interested in STEM.  One of the final findings revealed that although a girl has an interest in STEM activities it doesn’t always translate into an interest in pursuing a STEM career. We still have work to do.

So, how do we encourage girls to consider career opportunities outside of Art/Design, Social Sciences and Entertainment (ranked the highest by girls in the GSRI study)?

The African proverb says it takes a whole village to raise a child. Anyone who has influence in the life of a girl can make a difference.  Parents, educators, school counselors and non-profit organizations such as Girl Scouts, can dispel myths and increase awareness of what a career in STEM looks like.  This can be accomplished with programs like “bring your child to work” day, having guest speakers who are currently working in a STEM career, and creating programs and activities that are STEM related are steps in the right direction.