Johnette Hardiman, Chair of the Board for Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida, Maria D. Tejera, CEO, and Girl Scouts from the local council joined Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) to announce a federal science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) bill that will be introduced later this month with a focus on girls and underrepresented minorities.
The bill, which is expected to be introduced in Congress in the next several weeks, is a necessary step forward in achieving effective programs to increase the likelihood of more girls having a positive attitude toward STEM fields, and then pursuing a STEM career.
The legislation, developed in partnership with Girl Scouts of the USA, would provide competitive grants to community-based nonprofit organizations to provide after-school and outside-of-school programs that engage the interest of girls and underrepresented minorities grades K-8 in STEM. Funds can be used to teach students about STEM careers, link students with mentors in the STEM field, provide hands-on project based learning opportunities, enable students to attend STEM events and competitions, and engage parents in their students STEM learning.
Girl Scouts has a long history of engaging girls in STEM activities and encouraging girls to pursue STEM interests both in and outside of the classroom. In 1913, the first Girl Scout badges in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields – the electrician badge and the flyer badge – were introduced. Today, Girl Scouts continues to encourage girls’ exploration and pursuit of education and careers in STEM to increase their awareness of opportunities in these fields. Girl Scouts’ goal is to have every Girl Scout to explore different aspects of STEM each year by offering girls K-12 the national program which includes the two curriculum resources: Leadership Journeys and proficiency badges. For a dive into current Girl Scouts STEM offerings, check out Girl Scouts: Changing the World Through STEM.
The bill aligns with findings from Girl Scouts Research Institute’s Generation STEM report that highlights girls are interested in making a difference in the world and need more STEM exposure, education, and experience with the help of key adults in their lives in order to see how STEM fields can achieve their goals now and in the future.