Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bringing Space to Earth in Arizona

Arizona's Tucson Citizen reports that the Girl Scouts of Southern Arizona’s Family Astronomy Night will bring the cosmos down to earth.

The 1st annual Imagine Astronomy Family Night on May 30th from 6 to 9 pm at Double R Arena. Imagine Astronomy Night will feature telescopic viewing, hands-on activities, and will celebrate the female pioneers in Astronomy.

Imagine Astronomy Family Night seeks to expand girls’ universe in a whole new way. Led by Girl Scout STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Director, Michelle Higgins, and Planetary Science Institute’s Senior Education Specialist Larry Lebofsky, the program will present experiments and demonstrations to supplement formal science curriculum and provide activities that can be easily repeated at home.

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. Despite recent gains gender barriers persist. According to Girl Scout Research Institute’s Generation STEM Report about half of all girls feel that STEM isn’t a typical career path for girls. Moreover, 57% of girls say that if they went into a STEM career, they’d have to work harder than a man just to be taken seriously. Imagine Astronomy is one of many Girl Scout offerings that look to debunk this myth by introducing girls those working in the field and showing that science is truly for girls just as much as boys.

Girl Scouts and AT&T are uniting to advance underserved high school girls in science and engineering. As minority students and women are gravitating away from science and engineering toward other professions, and employment in STEM fields are increasing at a faster pace than in non-STEM fields, educational experts say the U.S. must increase proficiency and interest in these areas to compete in the global economy. The Girl Scouts of the USA and AT&T are addressing this issue with a $1 million AT&T Aspire contribution to spark interest in STEM in underserved high school girls across the country.