Georgia Southern joins Girl Scouts in STEM education
Each year, thousands of Girl Scouts from across the world visit Savannah, Georgia, the birthplace of Girl Scouts founder Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Lowe.
Gordon Lowe’s home is a museum that has been operated by the Girl Scouts of the USA for more than 60 years in historic downtown Savannah. In 2020, the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia saw an opportunity to provide local and visiting troops the opportunity to engage in experiences with STEM and opened the doors to the GIRL Center only a few miles from the historic Gordon Lowe house. The GIRL (Go-Getter, Innovator, Risk Taker and Leader) Center offers hands-on, self-paced activities in a variety of STEM fields.
Georgia Southern University’s College of Science and Mathematics (COSM) signed a memorandum of understanding with Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia in 2020 to assist with consultation of scientific displays and programming, as well as exposure to Georgia Southern’s Statesboro Campus and Armstrong Campus in Savannah. This year, COSM brought in the College of Education’s Center for STEM Education (i2STEMed) to assist with creating STEM activity kits that can be provided either on-site at the GIRL Center or checked out for local troop use.
“COSM values our partnerships with the College of Education and the Center for STEM Education, as well as our partnership with the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia,” said COSM Dean Delana Gajdosik-Nivens, Ph.D. “As a team, we hope to build the love of STEM in girls from across the county and do everything we can to be that positive influence in their lives, which in turn will hopefully lead them to pursue a major and a career in STEM. COSM is proud to do our part to bring more girls into STEM.”
Designed to inspire the Girl Scout ideals of self-motivation and independence, i2STEMed created kits on secret coding (cyber security), basic computer coding (binary beads), tree identification (biology) and forensic science (chemistry). There are plans to develop additional activities in engineering, drawing, ornithology, space science and environmental science.
Girl Scouts that complete activities at the Center will be offered a brand new badge representing the Georgia Southern and Girl Scout partnership. The badge features GUS, the University’s official mascot, holding the Girl Scout trefoil and will be available at the GIRL Center in 2022.
“The work has truly been interdisciplinary in nature, with faculty collaborations to create these kits in order to inspire our future generations in STEM,” said Kania Greer, i2STEMed coordinator. “We were excited to become a part of the team working with the Girl Scouts as this partnership provides us opportunities to reach both local girls and girls from all over the country as they come to Savannah, broadening the reach of STEM and Georgia Southern.”