Guest Contributors

Showing Girls that Anything Is Possible

It’s a great time to be a Girl Scout! As Chief Executive Officer at Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Pines (GS-NCCP), I get to experience Girl Scouting and witness its impact on girls each and every day. From the foundation of our mission, defined over 100 years ago, “to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place” to the delivery of technology-based program opportunities for today’s girls, Girl Scouting encourages girls to push their boundaries, test their limits and develop their leadership potential. At GS-NCCP we are proud of the opportunities that we have provided for the girls across our territory, but we could not have done it without partnerships like those we share with IBM, its employees and its Women in Technology group.

IBM employees head a STEM Education Camp Day with Girl Scouts at Camp Mary Atkinson in North Carolina. More than 100 Girl Scouts learned about science activities, as well as role models and experts in scientific fields. Activities during the days included: designing a website, creating LEGO® robots, building a camp telescope, and developing photosynthesis centers.

IBM employees head a STEM Education Camp Day with Girl Scouts at Camp Mary Atkinson in North Carolina. More than 100 Girl Scouts learned about science activities, as well as role models and experts in scientific fields. Activities during the days included: designing a website, creating LEGO® robots, building a camp telescope, and developing photosynthesis centers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2018, the U.S. STEM workforce will require more than 8.6 million people, and yet only 25 percent of all students nationally are interested in pursuing STEM careers. For girls, that number is even lower. While the gender gap in STEM interest had remained relatively steady over the past 20 years, it is now increasing at a significant rate. Female students express STEM interest at 14.5 percent compared to 39.6 percent for their male counterparts.

That is why our partnership with IBM and its Women in Technology group are so important. Our daughters, granddaughters, nieces and their friends deserve every opportunity we can provide to ignite their passion for STEM-related fields. And together, we are doing just that. From providing computer equipment, to helping us in our daily activities, to providing analytics software that has made it easier for us to understand our trends, to having IBMers support our girls at many council sponsored events, IBM has been a remarkable corporate partner for more than a decade.

The Women in Technology group is an incredibly dedicated and strong volunteer resource for the girls of our Council – working with them at a variety of different events each year, including Computer Divas (hosted by IBM), STEM program events at our camps, and TechnoQuest. At these events, girls are able to participate in hands-on activities in safe, all-girl environments which studies show is where they learn best and gain confidence. This is critical because nationally we see that as girls start to lose confidence, particularly as they reach middle school, they lose interest in STEM related fields. Being able to provide them with experiences like these, exposure to women in technology, and careers in STEM fields shows them that they too can take on technology!

Headquartered in Raleigh, GSNCCP serves girls from 41 central and eastern North Carolina counties from Kindergarten through high school. Our girls are racially and ethnically diverse and come from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds. Your commitment and desire to work with our girls, to share your time, and to volunteer not only is appreciated but meaningful. Your efforts extend well beyond the boundaries of our partnership or the counties we represent; they address our future and the futures of our girls by showing them that anything is possible.

It is a great time to be a Girl Scout, and I am proud to have IBM as part of our
Girl Scout family!

Lisa Jones is the CEO of Girl Scouts, North Carolina Coastal Pines.

Related Resources:

Encouraging Women to Embrace the Technology Revolution

Girls Attend Go TechKnow Camp at IBM Research

thinkIT Camp Focuses UK Girls on Technology in Sport

Share this post:

Share on LinkedIn

More Guest Contributors Stories

IBM Discovery Grant Helps Salvadori Center Reach Underserved Youth

How do we improve the teaching of math and science in our schools? When the New York Academy of Sciences raised this question in 1976, the founder of the Salvadori Center responded. For more than 35 years, we have used the built environment – buildings, bridges, parks, and communities – to show students the relevance […]

IBM TryScience Ignites Camp Fire Interest

The U.S. needs more experts in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. Unfortunately, our pipeline for these skills seems to be running dry at just the moment when we need more STEM professionals than ever. And it’s not just industry that benefits from STEM. Studies show that STEM professionals earn more than their counterparts in […]

Returning Veterans Face New Challenges in Today’s Job Market

Of the nearly 1.5 million men and women serving in the U.S. military, more than  250,000 re-enter the civilian work force each year, and an estimated 1 million are expected to leave the military by 2016. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for returning veterans “has consistently outpaced the rate among civilians,” according to The Washington Post […]