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Optical Design & Engineering

"Be prepared," Indeed!

Photonics for a Better World.

2 August 2018, SPIE Newsroom. DOI:

Cybersecurity. Space exploration. Robotics. Mechanical engineering. Environmental advocacy. These are just a few of the STEM-related areas covered by 30 new Girl Scout badges that reflect freshly-implemented programs for girls 5-18.

Through a collaboration with NASA's Science Mission Directorate led by the SETI Institute, girls in kindergarten through fifth grade now have a window into the wonderful worlds of outer space and astronomy. Fourth and fifth grade girls can earn mechanical engineering badges through hands-on work as they design paddle boats, cranes, and balloon-powered cars, learning about jet propulsion, buoyancy, and potential and kinetic energy in the process.

New Girl Scout Badges
New Girl Scout badges for space science, balloon car design, and robotics

New programming for girls in grades 6-12 includes learning to design, program, and showcase robots, while the Raytheon-funded "Think Like a Programmer" track offers foundational lessons in computational thinking, and "Think Like an Engineer" focuses on how engineers solve problems. The new Environmental Stewardship badge seriesfunded by the Elliott Wildlife Values Projectprepares participants to be environmental advocates.

"As a former Girl Scout and then the mother of Girl Scouts and troop leader, I can personally speak to the strengths of the organization and the way it continually develops its STEM activities," says SPIE President Maryellen Giger. "As one of our long-standing institutions that robustly empowers young girls, it's terrific to watch the way it embraces new innovations, discoveries, and trends, to ensure that Girl Scouts are exposed to relevant, real-world issues and areas."

SPIE Photonics for a Better World logo

Read the full Photonics for a Better World blog.

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