Girl Scouts in grades 4-8 from the central Maryland area recently spent the day with an array of female professionals as they participated in activities designed to ignite interest in STEAM careers.
The U.S. Department of Labor is among the employment watch agencies that predict that 85% of jobs in the future will need people with proficiency in Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM). Right now, while women make-up half of the total college-educated workforce they only make up 25% of the STEM workforce, according to the U.S Department of Commerce.
Girl Scouts has taken a special interest in STEM and STEAM because when many of our members join the workforce there will be thousands of jobs available in STEM. Held on Nov. 23 at the Lord Baltimore Hotel in downtown Baltimore, the Girls STEAM Ahead event drew 60 attendees.
Sasha Ariel Alston, author of the children’s book “Sasha Savvy Loves to Code” was onhand to share her STEM experiences. Alston is currently enrolled at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York City where she is majoring in information systems with a minor in marketing. Alston told the girls that, at first, she was hesitant to take an internship with Microsoft. Now, with eight successful information technology and business internships under her belt, this young STEM leader is a sought-after speaker encouraging youth, especially girls of color, to pursue educational and career opportunities in STEM.
Throughout the day, girls engaged in hands-on activities with the American Institute of Architects, Baltimore-based maker coaches from FutureMakers and STEM educators from Snapology. Some rooms were filled with the whir of small motors while others had girls pairing robotic creatures with programs on computers. Women from AIA Future Architects Resources, in which the local American Institute of Architects chapter brings together professionals and educators, challenged girls to see who could design and build the tallest structure using unconventional materials. FutureMakers helped girls create moving robotic creatures using small motors. Girls also learned how the arts and STEM intersect with activities led by the Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Center.
Today’s girls are growing up in a world of mobile phones and talk of self-driving cars. They are immersed in a variety of technologies. Girl Scouts is working to get girls interested in STEM so they can be part of a workforce trained and capable to be creators—not just users―of technology.-30-