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Community Impact: STEM Exploration Through Girl Scouts


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via FLUOR, Community Relations

Go-getter. Innovator. Risk-taker. Leader. These are the traits found in Girl Scout DNA. Girl Scouts provides an environment where girls can strive to be their best selves – growing in confidence, seeking challenges, learning from setbacks, developing and maintaining healthy relationships and becoming the leaders of tomorrow.

Since 2012, Fluor has partnered with the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) to change the workforce pipeline for future generations of female science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leaders through the High School and Middle School College Journey programs. During the programs, the girls are exposed to a variety of hands-on experiences at local colleges, helping to stimulate curiosity and exploration. Girl Scout STEM programs cultivate STEM interest, confidence and competence in girls from Kindergarten through 12th grades by exposing girls to educational and professional opportunities available in STEM, broadening their world view of what is possible in the future, developing their confidence and addressing gender parity in STEM careers.

Fluor has contributed $115,000 over six years to support hands-on, collaborative STEM programs and activities for more than 600 Girl Scouts, and continues to invest in programs that inspire and prepare students to excel in STEM subjects and disciplines. Last year, Fluor and its volunteers enabled more than 245,000 primary and secondary school-aged students to receive 1.8 million hours of STEM academic training, enrichment and/or to become aware of career opportunities in these disciplines.

“Thanks to the partnership with Fluor, Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas, the national expert in girls’ leadership development, delivers progressive K-12 STEM programming throughout our community,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, GSNETX chief executive officer. “Girl Scouts’ commitment to a girl-led, hands-on, collaborative learning environment in a girl-only space, ensures that girls learn confidence in STEM, develop comfort with risk and cultivate an interest in higher education and STEM careers. Fluor’s investment brings the best of 21st century Girl Scouting to the girls in our community and will change the workforce pipeline for the future.”

Impact from investment

To better assess the impact of the programs, ExxonMobil initiated a longitudinal study (2013-2017) analyzing the relationship between participation in GSNETX programming and girls’ attitudes and intent in STEM and found:

•  Girl Scouts value STEM literacy 17 percent more than their peers;

•  Girl Scouts possess a 13 percent higher positive self-efficacy (one's belief in one's ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task) in STEM than non-Girl Scouts;

•  21 percent more Girl Scouts than non-Girl Scouts are considering a career in STEM, with 14 percent more Girl

Scouts considering a STEM career in which females are underrepresented; and

•  Girl Scouts are participating in twice as many STEM activities outside of school as their peers.

The journey toward leadership

The program not only helps introduce STEM careers, but it also helps develop the next generation workforce. Girls who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable Take Action projects, which identify a need in the community and make long-term, measurable change, are awarded the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement within the organization. Numerous Girl Scouts who have participated in the Middle and High School College Journey programs have gone on to receive the prestigious award. Below, Shelly Goel and Reese Kirkham, Gold Award recipients, share their experiences while participating in the program.

Girl Scout Shelly Goel, who implemented a science program at Sun Ray

School for 75 fifth-grade and sixth-grade students, participated in the Middle School College Journey program in 2013. “I was able to experience college life and explore many STEM fields through STEM activities we did, such as creating the solar cooker oven and touring EnCana, the Perot and Frontiers of Flight museums. I got to meet many

female STEM professionals through the networking lunch and had an    Girl Scout Shelly Goel invaluable experience being surrounded by so many girls and mentors who also shared my passion for STEM.”

Girl Scout Reese Kirkham participated in the Middle School College Journey program in 2016. “It was a wonderful experience filled with engaging activities, such as learning about bees, to coming up with our very own business. This camp introduced me to what college would be like and the various topics we can learn there. I am currently an eighth grade student at Cobb Middle School in Frisco, Texas, and I am planning on majoring in and pursuing a career in engineering. I will be taking my high school engineering classes at the Career and Technical Education Center, and I look forward to the wide range of possibilities ahead of me, and the next phase for me, the Girl Scout STEM High School College Journey.”

Members of Dallas’ GROW group and other volunteers will host a Fluor Engineering Challenge activity at the  Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas STEM Center of Excellence Grand Opening on Saturday, May 5. The event is expected to draw 4,000 Girl Scouts from the Northeast Texas.