Islander Students Encourage Science and Fun at First-Ever Girl Scout STEM Day

Published: June 13, 2017

Islander Students Encourage Science and Fun at First-Ever Girl Scout STEM Day

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Increasing the visibility of minority scientists at the local and national level, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is hoping to encourage local youths to grasp the mysteries of science, one child at a time. The Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Chapter of SACNAS partnered with more than eight local Girl Scout troops to generate a collaborative opportunity promoting diversity and equality in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at the first-ever Girl Scout STEM day. The event held on May 20 at the Center for Science and Engineering on the Island University Campus.

“This event helps young minds overcome stereotypes about science and scientists in regards to gender, ethnicity and heritage, as well as the idea that science is hard or boring,” said Diana Del Angel, a doctoral student in the Coastal and Marine System Science Program and a member of the A&M-Corpus Christi Chapter of SACNAS. “Part of why we do outreach is that somewhere along the way people took their time to inspire us to pursue higher education and science and the least we can do is pay it forward. Today we may have inspired a future scientist or Islander.”

The event was organized as a united effort between undergraduate students, doctoral students and staff specializing in multiple disciplines across campus. Volunteers worked together to conduct five demonstrations while hosting campus tours around the Island University. More than 45 Girl Scouts participated in a number of activities in physics, chemistry, ecology, among other themes. In one activity, scouts were given the challenge to see who could collect the most gummy bears in the shortest amount of time representing what it is like to have to forage for food and survive in the wild. After the activity, scouts were encouraged to talk about what traits they have that contributed to a competitive advantage. For example, scouts who possessed traits like small hands or quickness helped them to understand what advantage may lead to getting the most candy in the competition.

“We wanted activities that were fun, safe and appropriate for the age group,” said Del Angel. “As scientists, we love to share our knowledge and excitement with others. When others get excited too, that just makes our day.”

Alongside SACNAS, Girl Scouts of America focuses on implementing and developing solutions for “what works” for girls who show an interest in the STEM field. The collaborative work between local Girl Scout troops and the Island University’s Chapter of SACNAS combats this hurdle and allows young women of all races and backgrounds to be exposed to a diverse sense of community and education in and out of the Island University’s labs.

For more information on the A&M-CC Chapter of SACNAS, and how you can get involved, visit their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SACNAS.TAMUCC/.