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Society of Women Engineers

Life After Girl Scouts

SWENext Roving Reporter Marie Y. interviews a NASA Pathways intern about her experience in STEM education and as a member of a Girls Scouts robotics team.

Published On: August 2017

This blog post by Marie Y. was first published in Cookie Bites by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas. Marie will be our SWENext Roving Reporter at WE17 in Austin, TX!

Marie (Right) visits Amy at NASA, to check out all the cool things she works on there!

A 5-year-old girl, Amy, walked into her first Girl Scout meeting. She didn’t know what to think or what to expect. Was she going to make friends? Was she going to get into trouble? Would anyone like her? She walked through that door, shy. She walked out of the meeting thinking she had had lots of fun earning badges, she’d made friends, and she wanted to do more with the community.

Traditional Girl Scouts was lots of fun for Amy, but when she got in high school, she wanted to do even more for her community and in her interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).  And she wanted to make new friends outside of her Girl Scout troop.

After a bit of Girl Scout and STEM research, Amy found and joined the Lady Cans Girl Scouts robotics team her sophomore year of high school. Walking into the first meeting was a little like her first Girl Scout meeting. Would she like it and make friends? It was a whole different environment than Amy had ever experienced: ten other girls who all had the same interests and goals, a coach who would help her until she graduated, a community she could call her second home, and friends she could truly call her Girl Scout sisters.

According to their coach, Susie Rich, the Lady Cans is an all-girl, Girl Scouts robotics team located in the greater Austin area.  “They strive to build the courage, confidence and character of young girls and teach them to strive for success in everything they do,” Rich said.

The Lady Cans website says their mission is “to introduce young women to science, technology, engineering, and math principles while developing the skills to be successful in a variety of careers.”

Two years after joining, after building and programming robots, Amy was elected CEO, or captain, of the Lady Cans Robotics Team 2881, giving her the opportunity to learn leadership and public-speaking skills—and to lead an amazing team of 30 girls into being the award-winning team they are today.

Girl ScoutsAfter Lady Cans, Amy went to college with the goal of building robots for NASA. Last fall Amy got that opportunity with an internship at NASA Langley in Virginia building prototype robots for the International Space Station. “[In the Lady Cans,] every girl needs to do the building, the programming, and the leading,” Amy said. “I was more than prepared for my internship here at Langley NASA because of building with the Lady Cans.”

Amy, now 21, is in college studying aerospace engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She enjoys her classes, and she has been accepted into the NASA Pathways Program based out of Houston. The Pathways Program allows young adults to be hired by a federal agency. The interns work one semester and go to school the next. Yes, it takes longer to finish their degrees, but they already have jobs when they finish.

“I knew Girl Scouts and the Lady Cans would give me the opportunities to learn and fail. Through these programs, I learned the courage, confidence, and character to be an amazing leader and employee,” Amy said.

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