Girl Scout Gold Award Honoree: Journei
What was the name and purpose of your Gold Award project?
The name of my project was "Self-eS.T.E.A.M.-Journei' S.T.E.M. Gems." For my Gold Award, I planned and conducted a workshop for girls in grades six (6) to eleven (11). In the workshop, the girls worked in S.T.E.A.M. based activities throughout the day at Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, in Stratford, NJ. The workshop was all day and separated by a lunch provided by Rowan University/SOM. In one of the morning sessions, the girls worked in an Aerospace workshop learning about aerodynamics experiments. They made paper airplanes, flew them and tested the effects of adjustments they made to their aircrafts. The other workshop in the morning was a physics and engineering workshop where the girls learned about motors and magnets and its effect on our everyday life. Just before, lunch the girls participated in a music session. They learned the science and math in music and how technology is playing a role. In the afternoon, Problem Based Learning (PBL) was introduced to the girls. Here they worked closely with a group of medical students from Rowan University/SOM. The girls envisaged themselves as doctors and simulated a medical case which they had to solve and come up with a diagnosis for a patient. The purpose of my workshop was to help inspire girls to do what they love and be in a place of comfort where they are not afraid to explore science and express their ideas. At the same time, my goal was to spark an interest in the girls, and inspire them to pursue S.T.E.A.M., and realize how important more girls to be represented in S.T.E.M.
What sustainable impact did your Gold Award project have on the community?
The sustainable impact my project had on my community was that the girls walked away from the workshop with an open mind about S.T.E.A.M. and learning something new. A lot of girls do not have an interest in S.T.E.A.M. because of either their environment, or the influence from their classmates, friends, family, etc. One Girl Scout who attended, said she is now encouraged to pursue her Gold Award and a non-Girl Scout stated she will now activity explore other areas of science and technology. Ms. Paula Watkins, the Dean of Admissions welcomed the participants and informed them that Rowan University/SOM is their school and has many opportunities to offer students. She also said this workshop is a step in the direction of reaching girls like them sooner rather than later to introduce them to different aspects of the sciences. Mayor Josh Keenan of Stratford, NJ also attended and addressed the girls telling them they are the future and to learn as much as they can from this program. He said he was so happy to see so many young faces in his community this early in the morning interested in science.
What insights/takeaway did you gain from your project?
The insights and takeaway I gained was, girls are very interested in science. They really liked working with the female scientists. They saw themselves in these women. The physicists/engineer looked like a college student. She had so much energy. She helped the girls discover the fun. It was contagious. The aeronautic scientist demonstrated how women can think and create at a higher level. Although I know this and have been exposed to these types of women scientists and workshop activities a great deal over the years, I too was amazed and inspired to keep going. I left my workshop reevaluating my science studies future for the next 10 years and my potential career.
I got to see how excited the girls were learning something new. I expected some of the girls to come into the workshop not wanting to be there with little interest in S.T.E.A.M.. To my surprise many of them came in ready to learn and were excited about the upcoming activities. Also, I got to talk with some of the girls during the day and learn about them personally and made a lot of new friendships. They thanked me for doing the workshop.
Anything else you'd like to share?
I expected working on my Gold Award was going to be a lot of work. But it has helped me think through many aspects and make decisions on events I could not have predicted. Working with so many different adults exposed me to different work styles. I felt good about leading this project. The adults respected my wishes as well as made valuable suggestions for the good of the project.