University News

Girl Scout STEM program at WIU

April 17, 2017

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MACOMB, IL - A Girl Scout science technology, engineering and math (STEM) program was held Saturday, April 8, on the Western Illinois University campus.

The event allowed the approximately 60 Girl Scouts to earn a variety of STEM badges and a certificate of accomplishment from WIU. The event was sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences Women in Science initiative. Women in Science Director and Chair of the Department of Chemistry Rose McConnell partnered with Jessie Hughes O'Leary, program specialist for the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois-Quincy Service Center, to develop the program.

The Girl Scouts ranged in age from kindergarten to high school seniors, or Daisy Scouts to Ambassador Scouts. Many WIU science faculty members served as team leaders for the event, designing and leading STEM activities the Girl Scouts needed to earn badges. Many WIU student organization members (from all science departments and campus Girl Scout volunteers from the WIU Women's Center) volunteered to be Girl Scout "buddies" to help them perform STEM activities.

The Girl Scout STEM badges include:

• Kindergarten-third grade (Daisy and Brownie scouts) earned the "Home Scientist" badge through activities led by biological sciences associate professors Catherine Miller-Hunt and Sue Hum-Musser.

• Forth and fifth grade (Junior Scouts) earned the "Detective" badge through five forensic activities led by Chemistry Assistant Professor Liguo Song and Sociology and Anthropology Assistant Professor Andrea Alveshere.

Sixth-Eighth grade (Cadet Scouts) earned the "Special Agent" badge with five forensic activities led by Physics Assistant Professor Saisudha Mallur, Geography Associate Professor Redina Herman and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Brian Bellott.

Ninth-12th grade (Senior Scouts and Ambassador Scouts) earned the "Science of Style badge through activities led by Bellott, Mallur and Geology Instructor Sara Bennett.

McConnell said many of the Girl Scouts were impressed to learn the ways science has improved quality of life through advances in medicine, materials and technology.

Plans are underway to make the WIU Girl Scout STEM program a yearly event.

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