See the full press release below from the Girls Scouts of Eastern Missouri:
St. Louis, MO – March 24, 2016 – Three area Girl Scouts were recently honored by the local chapter of National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT) for their aptitude and interest in technology and computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history and plans for post-secondary education. The organization honored Jessica Thoelke (12) with the Award for Aspirations in Computing, and named Rose Coughlin (9) and Marguerite Goodrow (11) as runners up. All three girls attend Ladue Horton-Watkins High School.
Thoelke, a senior, recently completed her Girl Scout Gold Award project by creating and leading a coding club at Ladue Middle School. Each week, she teaches a group of approximately 40 students as they use Code Red software to explore the world of coding. Thoelke said she discovered her passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) through several Girl Scout programs, including an engineering day and DigiGirlz, a workshop offered through the Microsoft store. Although the Award came with scholarships to the University of Missouri-St. Louis and Saint Louis University, Thoelke plans to study engineering at Washington University.
“Getting to know and teach the kids has been a wonderful experience,” she said. “They come up with good ideas and projects, and seeing them learn and get excited about coding has been really cool.”
Coughlin, a freshman, and Goodrow, a junior, also discovered their love for STEM through Girl Scouting. Coughlin and several other Girl Scouts in her troop are even pursuing a patent for an invention they designed as part of their FIRST® Robotics team, sponsored by Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. Both young women stress that women are important players in STEM and plan to pursue careers in the fields.
“Science is a part of every aspect of our lives,” Coughlin said. “It’s important for women to be more prominent in STEM fields so their voices can be heard and they can influence new technologies.”
STEM is one of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s three programmatic focus areas, along with Money Management and Health. The organization partners with top area businesses to provide progressive programming in these areas, preparing girls for successful futures and giving them the knowledge and skills they’ll need as tomorrow’s leaders.