WYOMING — An event introducing robotics and coding to area Girl Scouts on March 24 emphasized the ability of women to enter any field they choose.
The program entitled “Girls Go Stem!” is part of a Scouting initiative that emphasizes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as part of its programming throughout the year.
“We’re not just about selling cookies,” said Girl Scout leader Maria Parra. “We’re about preparing girls for life.”
Scout Rebecca Polgar had looked forward to the event for both fun and learning.
A student at Wyoming Valley West whose favorite subject is science, Polgar, 12, said she has participated in similar events which allow young woman to consider careers in fields which require science and math.
“In science class, we’re going to do architecture and design,” she said. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Dad Michael Polgar, a professor at Penn State University, said he couldn’t be happier the Scouting program is preparing girls for non-traditional jobs.
“There a phenomena referred as ‘gender occupational segregation,’ and it means that females haven’t kept up with males in regard to some jobs,” he said. “In some areas, like medicine, they are now 50/50, but in other fields, not.”
Tiffany Klotz, representing Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania, led the event, bringing fun and color to learning.
“I brought two different types of robots today,” she told over a dozen attendees. “One which the girls will code in order to draw a picture.”
Klotz also asks girls to draw a robot and share what it would be used for.
“The two responses that I get most often are a robot for doing either chores or homework,” she said. “Those are the two areas that girls say they need help.”
Klotz pointed out the increasing use of robots in various fields.
“For example,” she said, “robots in surgery is a huge thing now.”
The event found participants getting a chance to use an “Oxobot,” a programmable smart robot that allowed them to use coding to draw a design.
The small, handheld robot, used color and light to keep the girls’ attention, while providing a vision about how technology could be used.
The girls would first create a “code,” a digital set of instructions, and then watch the tiny robot follow those instructions.
The girls had a chance to use a sphero, a small round programmable robot which they programmed with an iPad.
“They come to understand the robot’s ‘brain,’” said Klotz, “which is much like our own.”
Girl Scout Eliana Parra, 12, a student at Wyoming Valley Montessori School in Kingston, is also planning a career in science, as a pediatric physician.
“She wants to use science to help people,” said her mom Maria.
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