NASA helps Girl Scouts explore technical careers

Caroline Laska

Volunteers interested in space, science, math and technology programs should take notice of “Adventures in Human Space Exploration,” a Girl Scouts workshop sponsored by the scouts and NASA Cleveland.

“We want to increase these types of programs to the girls,” manager of programs Jennifer Kruger said. “By recruiting volunteers and providing them with training and resources, they can return to their communities and work with the scouts in their area.”

The free training will be held April 21 at the NASA building in Cleveland.

“This is a great opportunity for volunteers to put leadership skills to use and to educate young girls,” Kruger said.

Topics will include: gravity and reduced gravity, living in space, the STS-118 space shuttle mission, plant growth and a chamber challenge. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to tour NASA’s Exercise Countermeasures Lab and the Zero Gravity Research Facility.

“We want these volunteers to educate and encourage young girls about becoming engineers, math majors or scientists. These are careers girls don’t really think about, and we want to introduce them these possibilities,” Kruger said.

Once the volunteers are trained, the Girl Scouts Council will help them plan a date to teach the girls.

“It doesn’t matter if a volunteer wants to dedicate three hours to teaching or if they want to dedicate 12 hours,” she said. “It is up to them.”

According to the Girl Scouts Web site, women represent 46 percent of the total workforce but only 25 percent of the technology workforce. Early interest in science, math, technology and engineering is thought to be critical to girls’ success in those subjects. Girl Scouts has worked with NASA for more than 15 years to promote such interest.

Currently, more than one-third of Girl Scout Councils have attended one or more trainings by NASA science experts and these councils have helped more than 100,000 girls get involved with NASA missions and research.

The deadline to apply for this volunteer program is Thursday and space is limited. Contact Kruger at (330) 864-9933 for more information.

Contact social services reporter Caroline Laska at [email protected].