Robotics Competition Inspires Girls’ Interest in Science and Technology

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On April 16-18, six Girl Scout teams from around the country will travel to the Georgia Dome to participate in the 2009 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics World Championship. The girls will compete against more than 10,000 students, from middle school and high school, in a robotics contest that teaches young people to address engineering and design problems in a creative and collaborative way.

Last year, Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) announced a partnership with FIRST as part of the organization’s commitment to inspiring more girls and young women to pursue STEM (Science, technology, engineering and math) careers. The partnership was designed to foster opportunities for girls to explore STEM by providing hands-on experience in the designing, building and programming of robots while applying the concept of 'gracious professionalism' during competition. The partnership is made possible through support from the Motorola Foundation.

“In an ever-changing economy, there is a growing demand for critical thinkers,” remarked GSUSA Chief of Staff Jaclyn Libowitz. “Through programs like FIRST and our other STEM initiatives, we’re showing girls that not only can they be successful in math and science, but they can also be leaders in those fields.”

In addition to the FIRST partnership, the Girl Scouts help girls navigate technology through other opportunities like LMK (text speak for “Let Me Know”), an online safety campaign created in partnership with Microsoft Windows.

“We’re excited to be able to continue our partnership with the Girl Scouts” said Paul Gudonis, FIRST President. “Through their innovation, teamwork and leadership, the Girl Scout teams that have advanced to the championship are showing other young people that science can be rewarding and fun.”

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