Girl Scouts of Nassau County (GSNC) and Hofstra University recently held their 8th annual STEM Conference at Hofstra University, which offered Girl Scouts in grades 4-8 an opportunity to participate in interactive workshops and meet some of Long Island’s most prominent women professionals in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math. This year’s incredible event was themed “Imagine Your Possibilities,” and featured a range of activities to help Girl Scouts experience science in action, including color manipulation, harnessing wind energy, bridge building, lessons in nutrition and personalized medicine, and solving crimes using DNA evidence. The event culminated with an inspirational keynote address by Senior Vice President of Global Research and Development for The Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), where she shared her career journey and how ELC is working to advance women in STEM. Following her keynote, ELC R&D product formulators led a hands-on lip gloss formulation workshop.
“Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s mission is to nurture curiosity and creativity, and expose them to opportunities that help build their skills and perspectives as they become the scientists and leaders of the future. This annual conference is an example of our mission in action, and we thank Hofstra University, The Estée Lauder Companies and all who participated for making it a success,” said Rande Bynum, CEO of Girl Scouts of Nassau County. “The workshops led by Hofstra University were incredible, and the story of Lisa Napolione’s journey was inspiring. We were so happy to connect our Girl Scouts with professional mentors to help show them what’s possible and how those before them have paved the way for their success.”
The “Imagine Your Possibilities” STEM Conference was the first part of Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s ongoing efforts to encourage girls to participate in STEM fields and provide opportunities to explore and cultivate their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to reports from the Girl Scout Research Institute, women continue to be vastly underrepresented in the STEM workforce, despite its rapid growth in importance and expanded career opportunities as technology continues to advance. Women comprise about half of the total workforce, but only 34 percent of the STEM workforce and have lower median salaries than their male counterparts. At the collegiate level, women hold the majority of bachelor’s degrees overall, but only 39 percent are STEM bachelor’s degrees, as of 2019. The gender gap is perpetuated by gender stereotypes, male-dominated STEM culture(s), and the gap in female role models. Addressing the gender gap in STEM requires starting early and investing in STEM opportunities for girls, which Girl Scouts of Nassau County steadfastly facilitates.
Throughout the year, Girl Scouts offers a range of STEM programs, including tours and internships in partnership with The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health, engineering workshops with H2M architects + engineers, clean energy and sustainability programming with National Grid/Project C, computer science workshops and more. For more information about Girl Scouts of Nassau County’s STEM programming and opportunities to expand Girl Scouts exposure to science, technology, engineering, and math, visit www.gsnc.org.
We Are Girl Scouts:
Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs in Nassau County, across Long Island and from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alumni, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit girlscouts.org.
*The picture at the top of this article are Girl Scouts participating in the “Solving Crimes with DNA Evidence” lab.