Me and my fellow Girl Scout Counselors-In-Training at Camp Libbey in 2009. Four years later, I’m still in contact with half of these amazing young women.

 

Starting at age five, I became a Girl Scout. My mother insisted I join, though I did not understand it at the time. To this day, I am so thankful for the times she drove me home from school after troop meetings, helped me walk around the neighborhood selling Girl Scout cookies and sewed on the multitude of patches I earned on to my Brownie vest. My mom also allowed me to be parted from her and my family for a week every summer so that I could go to camp, where I became the person I am today. Summers spent at Camp Libbey will always be one of my favorite memories along with everyone who was a part of the experience.

 

Girl Scouts did more than teach me good marketing skills (always smile, act cute and show people pictures of Thin Mints) and how to build a fire (if you ever have trouble with making your flame catch, stale popcorn makes excellent kindling). Girl Scouts introduced me to my future career: engineering.

Dallas Girl Scouts participate in Cookie Box Creation competition, making a castle much more elaborate than my cookie box bridge was.

In seventh grade, my parents and I combed the camp brochures. I always participated in one sleepaway camp and one day camp during the summer. That summer was the first time Girls Scouts offered an engineering day camp in my area at the University of Toledo, a half hour drive from my house. I was a girl who participated in Mathcounts and owned a chemistry set, so my dad quickly convinced me that this camp would be perfect for me. He was right.

For a week, we explored different engineering labs and saw more research labs than I see during a week of my undergraduate studies. Counselors taught us the importance of having ideas and how to solve problems. During lunch, we played new board games like Alibi which focused on the cool use of logic. The last night, we slept over at the University of Toledo’s engineering auditorium just for fun. The best part of the project was building a bridge which could support our own weight out of Girl Scout [empty] cookie boxes. Being the little leader I was, I formed my group into teams who worked together to build the components of the bridge, put them together, and then beautify the bridge with paint and glitter.

I was awarded the title “Project Manager” off of the TV show The Apprentice by my counselors for all of my hard work and leadership.

This camp stimulated my interest in engineering and continues to fuel my passion for engineering. When I took a career aptitude test the next school year, it suggest chemical engineering. I chose chemical engineering because I felt empowered by the Girl Scout engineer course (and I remain a chemical engineer to this day). I knew that I could solve problems if I put my mind to it. I knew that engineering was where I belonged, no matter how male-dominated my advanced math and science classes became in high school. Girl Scouts helped me discover a world of engineering and I have never looked back since.

 

Note: To this day, Girl Scouts continue to encourage girls to be interested in math, science and engineering. They do research on how to encourage more girls to pursue STEM subjects. They sponsor FLL robotics teams. They host an Imagine Engineering website which explains different types of engineers. The Society of Women Engineers work with Girl Scouts to do workshops where female undergraduate engineers share their love for science with girls aged K-12. Please check it and help them pursue their mission by joiningvolunteering, partnering, donating, etc.

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