By Rayanne Kruse
College Journey – Senior/Ambassador Week wrapped up today! The week long camp was hosted on the campus of University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) and sponsored by Texas Instruments. This camp was for girls in ninth – 12th grade that have an active interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Going to camp on the amazing UTD campus gives the girls a taste of what college life will be like and encourages their passion to pursue degrees in STEM.
This camp is structured a bit different then College Journey – Cadette week. The older Girls Scouts were given a choice of five different majors:
- Lab Rats: Natural Science and Mathematics Track
- Design Squad: Engineering Track
- Fab Lab: Integrated Technology Track
- Creating Virtual Spaces: Computer Programming and Game Design Track
- STEM Unleashed: Dabbler Track
All of these majors allowed girls to explore their more individualized passion in STEM fields and gave them experience with choosing educational tracks that they can apply in their secondary education.
There were very diverse sessions going on in the afternoons when the girls attended their classes within their chosen major. The day that I visited, I witnessed the construction of AM radios, Altoid flashlights, digital pattern making, and programed light up bracelets. All of the projects taught the girls about the application and construction of products using STEM knowledge. The passion that the girls displayed while engaging with one another in the lab while creating circuits, designs, and programing was inspiring, they are all so smart and creative!
The girls also attend electives as well as group presentations throughout the week. One of these presentations was by an artist and engineer who had combined science and technology to benefit art. Kevin Page an artist and John Randall an engineer set out and created an “oversized paintbrush” to promote a method of painting called pointillism, which is physically demanding to artists.
The technology that was engineered to stimulate this type of art is a giant robot. The girls learned about the different engineering and design components that went into such a large scale project. Many of the parts could be ordered but some also had to be specially designed and engineered because of the original technology. The session taught the girls a lot about the importance of innovation in technology and the many ways in which STEM relates to other fields.
I love how versatile summer camps are through this council! The girls who attended College Journey this week had such a unique experience by staying on a college campus and cultivating their passion in STEM activities. The girls were all so eager to engage with professionals, current students, and other Girl Scouts with the same passion.