Back in 2012, the Girl Scouts Research Institute conducted a survey, called the Generation STEM report, in which they discovered that 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM. However, that fades through middle and high school, in large part because their exposure to STEM isn’t in a way that informs or supports their career decisions. Now, the Girl Scouts is launching its first computer science program, aimed at girls in grades 6–12. It’s sponsored by defense contractor Raytheon.
The goal of this program is to encourage girls to consider and pursue careers in fields such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, robotics and data science. By educating girls in these topics, the thinking goes, they may have more confidence to pursue theses fields later in life. This first phase of this program will function as a pilot in select cities early next year. It’s planned to be fully implemented across the country in the fall of 2018.
The Girl Scouts and Raytheon are also introducing the Cyber Challenge, where girls in the computer science program will team up to show off their coding skills. The pilot of that program will happen in 2019.
This is just another chapter in a history of the Girl Scouts promoting and supporting STEM among their members. Last year, the organization teamed up with Netflix to get kids more interested in STEM. And in 2017, the Girl Scouts introduced badges in cybersecurity, robotics and computer science.