Google on Friday announced a grant that will provide funding for the Girl Scouts of Western Washington (GSWW) to create 14 new robotics teams in historically underserved communities.
These teams will participate in Washington FIRST Robotics, whose goal is to inspire students to pursue careers in science and technology. The grant enables girls from South King County, Skagit,] and Cowlitz counties to learn about, gain confidence in, and be inspired by STEM.
Google’s investment in the GSWW robotics program will lower barriers to participation in the league by allowing GSWW to subsidize up to 25 percent of program fees per team. The funds will also cover the costs of operating the program. Girls in the program share in a cooperative robotics project from June-February to build a robot, develop a solution to a global science problem, and demonstrate core values including “coopertition,” teamwork, and discovery.
“These students are inspiring,” said Darcy Nothnagle, head of external affairs for the NW at Google. “We are delighted to be involved in a compelling program that provides opportunities and inspiration to girls to help bridge the STEM gap.”
To celebrate the announcement of this grant, 84 Girl Scouts will join State Representative Nicole Macri at Google’s Fremont Campus on Nov. 10 to demonstrate the progress they’ve made on their robots, participate in a STEM activity, and get a tour of Google’s campus.
This expansion program reaches Girl Scouts in neighborhoods that historically have limited access to STEM programming. According to school district data and census information, students in these areas are not meeting state standards in science and math, poverty is significantly higher than the national average, and over 55 percent of students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
“In our region, only 10 percent of students earning STEM degrees come from underrepresented minorities,” said Megan Ferland, GSWW CEO. “By reaching girls in these neighborhoods, we are addressing some of the most urgent issues confronting girls in the U.S. today. We love watching girls light up when they find their passion for robotics and have the resources to explore it.”
Through participation in FIRST Robotics, girls in grades K-12 will explore STEM subjects in a collaborative, all-girl environment and demonstrate their knowledge, mastery and excitement in statewide competition. The project is a component of the Girl Scouts’ strategic diversity and equity efforts across western Washington and is expected to reach 150 girls this year.
Girl Scouts of Western Washington’s mission is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. To learn more, visit GirlScoutsWW.org.