Technology continues to dominate much of our daily lives, but where is the female equivalent of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg? According to Forbes, the problem starts as early as grade school. Young girls are rarely encouraged to pursue math and science, which is problematic considering studies show a lack of belief in intellectual growth can actually inhibit it. In addition, there exists an unconscious bias that science and math are typically “male” fields while humanities and arts are primarily “female” fields, and these stereotypes further inhibit girls’ likelihood of cultivating an interest in math and science. Popular culture plays a role, as well. Girls grow up seeing women in powerful positions as doctors and lawyers on TV, but the media continues to promote stereotypes when it comes to programmers, often portraying them as geeky men.
On September 24, the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas (GSNETX) broke ground on Phase One of the first ever STEM Center of Excellence at Camp Whispering Cedars to encourage girls in North Texas to think outside of the traditional female roles. Located in South Dallas, the STEM Center of Excellence will be a living laboratory where girls in kindergarten through 12th grades can explore science, technology, engineering and math programs, activities and careers in a unique, girl-centered outdoor leadership environment. Construction has started on Phase One which includes The Rees-Jones Welcome Center and The Hoglund Foundation Girl Program Center. “We are so grateful to the numerous donors who are committed in investing in girls,” said Jennifer Bartkowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas. “We are committed to providing a 21st century facility and program that will provide the leadership skills, experiences, mentors and encouragement that girls need to increase their interest in STEM. Ultimately more girls in the STEM workforce pipeline is good for our entire community.”
The STEM Center of Excellence was made possible by the gracious individuals, foundations and companies who donated, including: · Boone Family Foundation · Millie and Alan Bradley · The Dallas Foundation · Lyda Hill · Hillcrest Foundation · The Hoglund Foundation · The Hoblitzelle Foundation · The J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation · Oncor Electric Delivery Company · The Rees-Jones Foundation · Harold Simmons Foundation · George & Fay Young Foundation The grand opening for the new center is slated for April 8-9, 2016. Phase Two of the STEM Center of Excellence is scheduled to begin in January 2016. For more information about the Girls Scouts of Northeast Texas visit http://www.gsnetx.org.