Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lessons from Two Gold Award Girl Scouts Changing the World Through STEM

The future looks brighter thanks to Girl Scout alums Akshitha and Morgan.

Check out what these two STEM superstars are up to and how the Arconic Chuck McLane Scholarship helped them give back to their communities through much-needed work, research, and volunteering.


How have the recent global events affected your life and work?

I’ve spent the past couple of months at home with my family as my college transitioned to virtual learning around mid-March. Recently, I graduated from Harvard College with a double major in computer science and statistics. I continue to do research at school, preparing a business case study that aims to understand and forecast the potential impact of transitioning from cars to autonomous vehicles. I’m also beginning to work on analyzing domestic violence in light the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March, there have been dramatic social and economic changes in the U.S. and the rest of the word, and I’m trying to do my best to educate myself and my peers on the current state of affairs.

How can being a STEM leader make the world a better place?

The ability to effectively harness technology and put it to good use makes technologists the superheroes of today and the coming decades. In an era when we want to improve the world, increase accessibility to education, and mediate global warming, technology can be the solution, if used properly and efficiently. We can improve lives, develop cures for diseases, and even address injustices in the world using data and technology. Therefore it is our responsibility as leaders to understand the power of this tool and use it to truly make the world a better place.

How are you planning to use your passion for STEM and your education to make the world a better place?

I want to use data science technology and understand how it can be applied to different industries across the globe. From analyzing traffic accidents in Boston to developing tools that help refugees, I have already begun this journey. While I don’t know where on this spectrum I might end up, I have no doubt that technology will be a driving force in making my decision.

I plan to start working as a data science consultant within the next few months. I am also volunteering, in light of the COVID pandemic, to conduct data analyses of the virus and its impact on society.

Looking back, how has Girl Scouts and the Arconic Chuck McLane Scholarship affected your life?

The scholarship and the Gold Award provided me with the confidence and support to pursue a degree in a STEM field. It also helped me discover that technology lies everywhere, even in a mom and pop store. After completing the project, I discovered my passion for computer science and its applicability to various fields. The project has opened my eyes and mind to a sector, namely technology, that I once found interesting and can now call my “home” for the foreseeable future.


What has your college experience been like thus far?

I am preparing to graduate in December with my bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Utah. My parents have always stressed the importance of doing hard things, and earning my degree has been one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I have had. Since beginning at the university, I have mastered challenging material and learned to apply my leadership skills to managing engineering projects. Both of these skills have been vital to the success of my senior design project: engineering universal “off-road” attachments for pediatric walkers to increase access to outdoor activities for children with disabilities.

How can being a STEM leader make the world a better place?

Last summer, I had the opportunity to be a part of the Department of Defense’s analytics team, which works to improve the safety and effectiveness of heavy military vehicles. I am excited to join the team full-time after graduation, as I know our work increases global safety.

How are you planning to use your passion for STEM and your education to make the world a better place?

I aspire to continue using my degree to improve and save lives. After completing my three-year commitment with the Department of Defense as a civilian engineer, I want to return to school to obtain an advanced degree, so I have more tools to leverage when innovating solutions. I also plan to give back to Girl Scouts as an adult volunteer. I am moving away from my home council after graduation, but I know there is a need for troop leaders and other volunteers everywhere. While COVID-19 is canceling summer camps and may disrupt troop meetings in the fall, I hope I can provide innovative solutions, so girls are able to continue in the program.

Looking back, how has Girl Scouts and the Arconic Chuck McLane Scholarship affected your life?

Without Girl Scouts, I would not be the person or engineer I am today. I exercised courage at camp when I tried high-adventure activities, like rock climbing, for the first time. I often tap into this foundational courage any time I begin something new, professional or personal. I learned to be confident in my abilities and contributions while representing my council as a national delegate and as a member of the Girl Board. As the engineering manager for my senior project, this confidence has been integral to the team’s progress. Having completed my Gold Award, I understand what motivates me as an engineer; I innovate to save lives and improve quality of life. The Arconic Chuck McLane Scholarship was essential to my academic performance and experience.

Learn more about our partnership with the Arconic Foundation.
Thursday, July 23, 2020

Six Inventive Gold Award Celebrations

Seniors and Ambassadors who earn the Gold Award tackle issues that are dear to them and drive lasting change in their communities and beyond.

2020 has thrown a lot of challenges so far, but Girl Scouts always have a backup plan. With in-person celebrations on hold, honoring Gold Award Girl Scouts in style has been challenging—but not impossible! Check out these creative celebrations:

Honk if you changed the world! Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s drive through Gold Award ceremony honored 56 out of their 62 Gold Award Girl Scouts. Chief Executive Officer Randell Bynum pinned each and every girl as she stuck her head out the window.

Road trip! Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio traveled over 315 miles in about three days to honor their 12 Gold Award Girl Scouts!

Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida celebrated Gold Award Girl Scouts in style! Parents and caregivers presented their girls with their Gold Award pins during this socially distance drive through ceremony. Each girl also received a yard sign so all of their neighbors know of the amazing accomplishment!

Girl Scouts of Maine created an inspiring video honoring each and every one of their Gold Award Girl Scouts with a surprise message from Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Sylvia Acevedo!

If you can’t bring the Gold Award Girl Scouts to the gala, you bring the gala to them! Girl Scouts of Western Washington delivered a “Gala in a Box” to each and every Girl Scout who made a major impact on the community through her Gold Award. 

Grab your popcorn! Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts’s Gold Award and Silver Award ceremony felt like a drive-in movie. It was BYOC (bring your own chair!) to the Northfield Drive-In for some old-fashioned celebrating. 

Gold Award Girl Scouts are the dreamers and the doers who take “make the world a better place” to the next level. The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable—proof that not only can she make a difference, but that she already has.
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

24 New Badges Designed to Help Girls Lead in a Time of Unprecedented Global Change

Drumroll, please! Today Girl Scouts of the USA announced 24 new badges designed to help girls practice some serious leadership skills in civics, entrepreneurship, STEM career exploration, and automotive engineering.

In a year of unprecedented global change, our country's need for strong, broad-minded, and decisive leadership has never been greater. Girl Scouts equips the next generation of female change-makers with the breadth of knowledge, skills, and experiences they need to take action on issues they believe in.

Here’s everything you need to know about the NEW Girl Scout badges:

Civics (grades K–12). Be prepared to lead the change in your town, state, and country! Start with the Civics badges and gain an in-depth understanding of how local, state, and federal government works. Get ready to be a voter, an activist, or a political leader. Research laws and understand how they’re created. Explore how the electoral college works. Learn about the representation of women in government, and so much more. You will also research your own government officials and make plans to meet them. (Funded by the Citi Foundation). Start with your FREE new badge activity samplers.

“There is a huge need for leaders who will advocate for the voiceless and the disadvantaged. As young women in America, we have the ability and the responsibility to create the world we want our own daughters to grow up in.” —Gold Award Girl Scout Julia

Entrepreneurship (grades K–12). Dreaming about creating a business that can make a difference? With the Entrepreneurship badges, you will create and pitch a product or service that solves a real-life problem. Then you’ll build a business plan and think about topics like production, cost, profit, marketing, and competition. (Funded by Susan Bulkeley Butler and designed in collaboration with VentureLab). Start with your FREE new badge activity samplers.

“Girl Scouts should give this badge a chance because developing your hobby to an income or creating your own business is a way to control your future. You get to be the boss!” —Girl Scout Marie

STEM Career Exploration (grades 2–8). Thinking about a career path that’s right for you? Discover the STEM Career badges and make a difference about a pressing issue in your community. Explore computer science, nature/environmental science, engineering, design, health, and agriculture. You will also make a career plan that will help you fuel your passion into action. (Funded by IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies). Start with your FREE new badge activity samplers.

“The STEM Career badges are really fun and show you a range of jobs I didn’t even know existed!” —Girl Scout Bridget

Automotive Engineering (grades K–5). Buckle up and earn about designing, engineering, and manufacturing vehicles, as well as the future of mobility. Design your own vehicle, test prototypes, and see what it’s like to think like an engineer! You’ll even learn how to manage your own assembly line manufacturing process! (funded by General Motors). Start with your FREE new badge activity samplers.

“My favorite part about this badge was being able to design and create my own car. It made me feel like an engineer. I learned that engineering is something I love and want to explore it further.” —Girl Scout Julia

“The world has changed drastically this year, and now more than ever, it’s imperative to have strong leaders who can make informed decisions,” said GSUSA CEO Sylvia Acevedo. Our new badges will continue to build the world-changing female leaders of today and the future, particularly in key industries that propel our country forward: automotive engineering, entrepreneurship, civics, and STEM.

In addition, beginning this summer, all councils will also have the opportunity to host their own Girl Scout Cyber Challenge sponsored by Raytheon Technologies, enabling middle and high school girls to learn crucial cybersecurity skills as they compete in challenges such as running traceroutes and identifying phishing schemes. The Cyber Challenge prepares girls to pursue careers in computer science and cybersecurity.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Everything You Need to Know About Girl Scouts’ Great Space Challenge

Girl Scouts are always aiming for the stars—literally!

Whether you’ve searched for shooting stars or found shapes in the clouds, you’ve probably already spent some time looking up at the sky. Now’s your chance to see it in a new way—like a space scientist does!

Follow these simple steps to participate in Girl Scouts’ Great Space Challenge.
  • The challenge launches on July 10 and ends on August 31, 2020. Can’t leave your home? No problem! You can view the night sky in the great outdoors or from the comfort of your own home. Telescopes and other scientific equipment aren’t necessary—just curiosity and creativity!
  • Based on your grade level, complete the required number of activities. Visit Girl Scouts at Home to get all the details for takeoff. From staying up late to watch a meteor shower to touring the sky through an app or Stellarium, there’s so much to experience!
  • Once you complete the activities for your grade level, you’ll unlock the new, limited-edition Discover Space patch available for purchase in the Girl Scout Shop. But wait! There’s more. We’ve hand-picked awesome space and STEM-related activities that are waiting for you here—be sure to check them out!

  • Connect with other Girl Scouts by taking to social media. Show us how you’re exploring space and completing your activities by tagging @girlscouts and using #GirlScoutsAtHome.
  • Hungry for more? We’ve got you. Earn Girl Scouts’ Space Science badges by venturing through the Solar System and beyond. Space is even bigger than you thought!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Is Virtual Bridging for Our Troop? Yes, It Is!

Top 3 Reasons to Celebrate Bridging Virtually

Girl Scout climbing on a tree

Bridging—that is, when a girl celebrates “crossing the bridge” from one Girl Scout level to the next—is one of the most important moments in a Girl Scout’s life. And although the COVID-19 pandemic may have us continuing to pause our in-person meetings and ceremonies, you can still find ways to honor all the good things your troop has done this year and get excited for everything you’ll experience next year!

If you can’t organize an in-person ceremony this summer, consider holding a virtual bridging celebration or taking part in one of GSUSA’s National Virtual Bridging Ceremonies, which will be held August 1 and 8.

Here are three reasons your troop will want to get in on the virtual bridging fun:

Keep the groove going. Everyone’s daily routine has been upended in recent months, and marking this incredible point in your troop’s Girl Scout experience is so important in helping everyone feel some forward momentum. Putting a virtual bridging ceremony on your calendar and counting down the days is going to feel so good!

ALL 👏 YOUR 👏 SISTERS👏 Being a Girl Scout means having sisters across the country and around the world ready to cheer you on! Taking part in one of the national virtual bridging events is a powerful reminder that everyone in the troop is part of a big sisterhood made up of resilient girls and adults who are staying strong and doing good in their communities. Whatever comes our way, we’re never alone!

Celebrate your achievements. The last few months have been challenging no matter where you live, but that’s all the more reason to lift up everything the troop has achieved this year! You earned badges and Journey awards, made our communities better, and continued to shine your brightest. Most importantly, we all stayed Girl Scout strong in the face of hardship—and that’s worth celebrating here and now.

The best part? You can bridge virtually and amp up the experience with an in-person event when it’s safe. Like everything in Girl Scouting, it’s all about what the girls want! And you can make the occasion even more special with an official bridging kit from the Girl Scout Shop.

We can’t wait to see you on August 1 and 8 and create more special memories together!