86.4 F
Laguna Hills
Friday, Jul 19, 2024

OC Firms, Girl Scouts Promote STEM

Some of Orange County’s major companies have joined the move to help Girl Scouts aim for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“We know there’s a tremendous interest in STEM from Orange County girls and their families,” said Julie Weeks, chief marketing officer for the Girl Scouts of Orange County. “Every time we have STEM opportunities they’re among the first to fill up.”

The programs have become pervasive for the county’s almost 20,000 Girl Scouts, hoping to turn around a statistic showing that women fill only 24% of STEM jobs nationally.

“All the girls experience STEM in some way, shape or form,” Weeks told the Business Journal, with backers united in the Scouts Orange County STEM Consortium that supports the various programs.

Among the OC heavyweights in the consortium are Edwards Lifesciences, Kaiser Permanente, Western Digital, Cox, Blizzard Entertainment, and the Broadcom Foundation.

“They’re making a commitment to support all of the STEM programs that we do,” said Lara Childers, Girl Scouts’ STEM manager, of the consortium established in 2015.

“We’re looking to provide girls with opportunities where they can see themselves in STEM careers and going to college, focusing on their STEM courses as they get older,” according to Childers.

CSUF Event

For example, Kaiser Permanente of OC brings “girls into their simulation lab in Irvine and they show girls the technology behind their high-fidelity manikin,” Childers said. The girls also get to work with the manikin for first-hand experience.

Girl Scouts of Orange County has also introduced two of their own STEM badges that local girls can earn after completing various activities and requirements developed by the sponsoring STEM Consortium.

“In 2018, 4,370 OC Girl Scouts in kindergarten through 12th grades earned badges in STEM and 1,412 girls participated in council-run STEM events,” according to the OC Girl Scouts’ annual report.

The OC Girl Scouts will hold their fourth annual Orange County STEM Expo at California State University-Fullerton on Nov. 17, with 400 girls in grades four through eight registered for the event that attracts about 50 exhibitors including companies, nonprofits, and student groups.

Topics range from extracting DNA from bananas, to robotics, coding and the technical side of car motors, according to Childers, and it is not open to the public.

Next month’s expo will also feature a career corner with women professionals from exhibitor companies for the girls to talk to about possible careers.

“The girls are the next generation of their work force coming in,” Childers said. “They want to get the girls excited about what they do.”

Want more from the best local business newspaper in the country?

Sign-up for our FREE Daily eNews update to get the latest Orange County news delivered right to your inbox!

Kevin Costelloe
Kevin Costelloe
Tech reporter at Orange County Business Journal

Featured Articles


Related Articles