Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) has received a $4,000 grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing St. Louis to fund STEM programs and financial assistance for girls in East St. Louis. Girl Scouts’ goal is to send 50 East St. Louis girls to STEM Camp next summer where they will not only experience science and technology, but be able to explore nature and the outdoors as well.
STEM and robotics are a key component of GSSI’s commitment to giving girls opportunities and guidance in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). By participating in three different robotics leagues at three different age levels, GSSI aims to engage more girls across southern Illinois in STEM, so that they can explore valuable career options, build critical thinking and technical skills and sustain a lifelong interest in topics that many girls drift away from by middle school.
“Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is very grateful to receive this grant from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing St. Louis to provide girls in East St. Louis with STEM opportunities,” said Emily Stanley, GSSI STEM Manager. “Engaging girls in STEM in fun, creative ways helps keep their interest in these valuable career fields, as well as develop their confidence, teamwork and problem solving abilities.” Stanley added that through valuable partnerships with Boeing and other generous funders, GSSI’s STEM program serves more than 1,800 girls.
GSSI’s STEM program continues to be a progressive and forward-thinking initiative that has grown exponentially in recent years. In 2009, GSSI had just one robotics team. In 2014, GSSI hosted 24 teams. GSSI has dedicated staff and volunteers who develop the STEM program through research, collaborator cultivation, training and hands-on experience.
GSSI strives to offer diverse and high-quality STEM programming, such as simple circuit wiring, programming robots, exploring forensics and more. To ensure that all girls have the chance to take advantage of these future-building opportunities, GSSI has integrated STEM activities into its outreach programs – which bring Girl Scouting to girls in underserved populations, such as low income neighborhoods, housing projects, rural communities and even detention centers.