SETI Institute to Lead New STEM Project with Girl Scouts: “Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts”

girl scouts

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate selected “Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts” as a new, 5-year space science education program that will bring together Girl Scouts with scientists, engineers and educators at NASA and beyond. 

“Reaching for the Stars” will partner the Girl Scout’s national movement for girls in grades K-12 in a variety of activities that span local troop programs, Girl Scout camps, and events like the upcoming 2017 solar eclipse that will engage girls in space science. Through early and sustained exposure to the people and assets of NASA and the excitement of NASA’s Mission, girls and leaders will explore STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics— content, discoveries, and careers.

Girl scouts enjoying a visit to a science museum. Image credit: Girl Scouts USA

“We are delighted that NASA selected us to work with the Girl Scouts,” said Edna DeVore, project lead and Director of Education and Outreach at the SETI Institute. “Together with our astronomy education partners and NASA, we will create a series new Space Science badges and out of school experiences for Girl Scouts nationwide. Girl Scout leaders and girls both will benefit. We look forward to creating “Reaching for the Stars” to engage more girls in STEM.” 

The Girl Scouts of Northern California is a key partner. They are a recognized national leader in STEM for the Girl Scouts. They are known for their work with ‘Girls Go Tech’ among initiatives that engage girls in STEM careers.

“Girl Scouts of Northern California is delighted to be working with SETI Institute and our other partners to help design and pilot “Reaching for the Stars.” Girl Scouts’ new national online volunteer toolkit, which provides a unique platform to develop a fun and up-to-date badge program for girls in grades K-12, supported by volunteers,” said Marina Park, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Northern California. “ Whether girls are building solar ovens to cook their lunch, exploring the night sky at camp, or tracking the latest NASA mission  – all will be opportunities to foster curiosity and inspire more girls and the volunteers who work with them to explore science.”

Led by the SETI Institute’s DeVore and Pamela Harman, the partners include NASA STEM professionals, the Girl Scouts of Northern California, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA), the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, University of Arizona, and ADNET at Goddard Space Flight Center. NASA scientists, engineers and technologists will be key contributors and role models for the project. 

 

girl scout astronauts

“Our team is excited to share new discoveries about our universe from the James Webb Space Telescope with the Girl Scouts.  We enjoy helping people see how science, engineering, math, and technology can empower them in their careers,” said astronomer Dr. Don McCarthy, University of Arizona. With Dr. Larry Lebofsky, McCarthy will bring an established network of more than 250 Girl Scout leaders in 41 states who have participated in hands-on training at University’s astronomy camps. Special astronomy camps will be offered for leaders and older Girl Scouts.

Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Suzanne Gurton will connect Girl Scouts with the 500+ amateur astronomy clubs of the Night Sky Network for star parties, campout events and the total solar eclipse of 2017. The Night Sky Network clubs seek ways to interest young people, especially girls, in amateur astronomy. It’s a win-win partnership. Gurton will also bring ASP’s significant experience in working with the youngest stargazers.

“ADNET Systems, a leader in space and Earth science research, technology and education is proud to be a part of  “Reaching for the Stars” and look forward to contributing our over two decades of experience working with Girl Scouting to this exciting program,” said Dr. Lou Mayo at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has trained many Girl Scout leaders and girls, and supports about 150 after school astronomy clubs worldwide. Mayo, a heliophysicist, will lbe creating special materials for Girl Scouts nationwide to prepare for the 2017 total eclipse of the Sun.

The Girl Scouts of Northern California, led by Marina Park and Jean Fahy, will work with the consortium to develop, test, publish, and provide online training for the new Space Science badges. GSUSA is transitioning from paper manuals to online, just-in-time materials for leaders and girls, implementing 21st-century learning technologies with a new Volunteer Toolkit .  The “Reaching for the Stars” online materials will have dynamic links to NASA resources and STEM professionals.

There are 2,000,000 Girl Scouts and 800,000 volunteer leaders in the USA. Initial development will be carried out in partnership with Girl Scouts of Northern California (50,000 girl members and 31,000 volunteers). GSUSA will also manage program evaluation and lead dissemination of “Reaching for the Stars” to the more than 100 Girl Scout Councils over five years.

Read the Press Release