Girl Scouts focus on engineering at workshop

The Darlington County Institute of Technology, Girls University and Girl Scout Troop 423 partnered to sponsor an “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” workshop.

During this two-hour event, girls envisioned being a part of an aerospace engineering team as they designed and tested paper airplanes. This workshop emphasized collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity.

The purpose for hosting the engineering and other STEM workshops is to increase female participation in STEM careers. In 2015, women made up less than one-quarter of those employed in STEM occupations in the United States.

Those numbers reflect a substantial gender gap in engineering and computer occupations especially for women of color. Asian, black and Latina women made up slightly less than 10 percent of working scientists and engineers.

In 2016, women in the United States represented only 4.2 percent of architecture and engineering occupations.

These workshops are designed to motivate, inspire and educate girls about the opportunities associated with STEM.

Seventeen girls participated in the Introduce a Girl to Engineering workshop at the Darlington County Institute of Technology.

The focus for this year’s workshop was aerospace engineering. The girls were divided into teams with each girl responsible for a specific task within the team. Each team was to design an airplane. They had to determine which resources they needed to purchase for their airplane.

Teams built and tested their airplanes and made modifications as time allowed.

They also had to give a sales presentation. Aurelia Burgess, troop leader for Girl Scout Troop 423, said she “was excited that the activity was really thorough. It required the girls to collaborate with their peers, engage in critical thinking, be creative and communicate within their small group and to the entire group.

“As assistant director at the Darlington County Institute of Technology, I work with students every day and it is clear that students need to develop these skills for success at they go through high school, college and to their future careers.”

These workshops are not one-time events, however, and engineering is only one field of interest to which they are exposed. In December, “Hour of Code” events were held which exposed girls to programming and game design concepts. In February, health care professionals and the girls worked side by side as they discussed the impact of heart disease in women.

Author: Rachel Howell

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