National University’s second Science Saturday event with the Girl Scouts – “Engineer Your Mom a Gift” -supports emphasis on introducing more young girls to science, technology, engineering, and math
Women make up half of the college-educated workforce, yet they only hold 25 percent of jobs in these fields, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Research further suggests that many girls lose interest in STEM as early as middle school, and this path continues through high school and college, ultimately leading to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers.
On Saturday, May 11, National University, which serves as an approved community partner of Girl Scouts San Diego, hosted an interactive workshop for more than 150 girls to create Mother’s Day gifts using STEM tools such as computer design and 3D printing. This partnership between National University and Girl Scouts San Diego reflects the nonprofit organizations’ shared commitment to education and increasing diversity in future STEM leaders by introducing more girls to these fields at an early age.
- Jodi Reeves, Interim Dean of the School of Engineering and Computing, who spearheaded the event said: “Our faculty, staff and students, who are dedicated to serving the community in and out of the classroom, are proud to support the Girl Scouts’ STEM initiative. The STEM job sector is expected to grow faster than any other, which is why introducing girls to these academic and career pathways early in their education, like at our Science Saturday events, is vital to ensure San Diego, and the nation, remain innovative and competitive in STEM.”
- Chereelle Dioneda, leader of Brownie Troop 1490, which includes her third grade daughter, said: “These girls will never know a day in their lives without technology. Community partnerships and events like these give girls hands-on experience in STEM with tangible takeaways that make them more comfortable and confident in these subjects, and they inspire the girls to bring their unique creativity to future careers in STEM.”
- Stefani Kairs, an NU Scholar and former Girl Scout, has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology and is now pursuing a master’s degree in data analytics. She volunteered for the event because she believes it is important for girls to get early exposure to STEM so they can become proficient in technology, engineering, mathematics, and so they will be encouraged to develop critical thinking skills in these areas, which may lead to more patents held by women inventors in the future.
In 2017, Girl Scouts USA announced an initiative to introduce more girls to STEM, which includes new badges in areas such as cybersecurity, engineering, computer science and robotics. National University, which is the only university in San Diego County to be designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security, is supporting their STEM effort by hosting quarterly “Science Saturdays” in the University library’s Makerspace. NU workshops meet requirements for a variety of badges and journeys across program levels in cybersecurity, design, electrical and computer engineering.
National University’s partnership with the Girl Scouts reflects the larger National University System initiative to develop a diverse pool of qualified candidates to meet future workforce needs. Through nationwide programs such as Workforce Education Solutions and the Sanford Programs, National University System supports students in achieving success through partnerships that provide dynamic resources and educational opportunities in pre-kindergarten to the graduate level and into the workforce.
National University’s Makerspace is open to the public, and the University, which offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in cybersecurity, plans to host several cybersecurity workshops during cybersecurity awareness month in October.
About National University
National University is among the largest private nonprofit universities in California and is one of just six universities in California — and the only one in San Diego County — to be designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security. Dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible to a diverse population of students, National University offers more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees, on-site and online, including master’s and bachelor’s degrees in cybersecurity and 23 teacher credentials.