Girl Scouts, America Makes partner on STEM education

Kent Weeklies

On the 109th birthday of the Girl Scouts of America (GSUSA) organization, America Makes and the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) announced their partnership to promote STEM education through additive manufacturing (AM) techniques to the more than 25,000 GSNEO members with plans to launch the program to the 2.5 million Girl Scouts nationally.

The organizations will also create a Playbook for best practices on integrating AM into Girl Scout programming for use when deploying the new America Makes Additive MFG Patch— the first-ever AM patch.

This patch will be earned through engagement in the AM technical areas of Design, Manufacturing, and Post-Production. Based on industry recognized credentials, the America Makes Additive MFG Patch is aligned to many Girl Scout Badges, including STEM and others where AM can be applied and integrated. Badges are a key component of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, which focuses on four content pillars of Outdoors, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, and STEM, with the goal of fostering courage, confidence, and character in girls to prepare them for a lifetime of leadership.

This America Makes Education and Workforce Development (EWD) project with the GSNEO is part of a larger plan funded by the state of Ohio to create an Ohio Secondary Education Network to expand opportunities for both students and teachers. Designed to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, the network will enable access to advanced manufacturing technologies through formal education and training, and engagement through community organizations like the GSNEO.

“Thanks to the funding from the state of Ohio, we were able to enter into this strategic partnership with the GSNEO to bring the Playbook and America Makes Additive MFG Patch into reality,” said Josh Cramer, America Makes Education & Workforce Director. “The opportunity to work with our local GSNEO council has been inspiring for all of us at America Makes.

“The Girl Scouts are dedicated to building skills and interests in STEM—fields that unfortunately reflect great gender disparity,” continued Cramer. “Within the AM industry for example, less than 15 percent of professionals are women. Girl Scout programming is specifically designed to reverse this trend and promote STEM, ensuring K-12 girls are empowered to pursue STEM-related fields and compete successfully for these positions.”

Since 2017, the GSUSA has been working on its groundbreaking initiative, The National Girl Scout STEM Pledge, to help reduce the gender gap in STEM fields by engaging 2.5 million girls in this area by 2025. Within the GSNEO council, the goal is to engage 37,000 throughout the next few years. More than 14,000 girls in Northeast Ohio have earned a STEM badge in the last year alone.

“Girl Scouts is more than cookies, crafts and camping,” said Jane Christyson, CEO, GSNEO. “Our program is the largest leadership opportunity for girls and now with more new STEM badges we are showing our girls new possibilities in fields like AM. By encouraging girls to explore concepts in this fast-growing field we are creating a female talent pipeline.”

For more information about America Makes or how to become a member, visit americamakes.us.