Q. What inspired your Gold Award project?
A. I had an interest in STEM and was passionate about STEM education being interesting and accessible for everyone.
Q. Short description of your project?
A. My project implemented a fun and engaging STEM activity program at the Guadalupe Library for students of all ages. I created a set of easy-to-implement STEM lessons that would keep kids engaged while still sparking their curiosity about STEM-related fields and education. Developing this curriculum was done in tandem with library staff to ensure the topics covered and lesson formats were ideal for the population being served and the staff at the library. Kids in this area have unequal access to quality education so small steps such as this program can start bridging that gap.
Q. What were the results or impact of your project?
A. The most successful aspect of my project was how it ended up being completely sustainable without my involvement. At the end of the 2019 Spring semester, I had to leave the city for a summer job and I was nervous that the pilot STEM programs that the library staff and I planned for the summer would not launch, but there were multiple successful programs run by library volunteers and staff over the summer. These were all coordinated and executed without my involvement but using the curriculum, volunteers, and signups I created. They can be viewed at this Facebook link, and the program takes place at the Guadalupe Library. https://www.facebook.com/pg/mcldgu/posts/?ref=page_internal
The library had to give the program I created a name, to put on calendars and such. They named it after me, “Emma’s Mad Scientists.” Note: all project photos are at the facebook link included!
Q. What important lessons did you learn about yourself?
A. From this problem, I learned how complex deep-rooted social issues can be. For a program as small as this to be successful, it took a large amount of communication and learning about the needs of the area. There would never be enough funding and the materials to keep the project sustained relies on the goodwill of others. If I had these challenges as a young student, I cannot imagine the complexities of actual education legislation or larger nonprofits that do similar work. For myself, I learned that I have to be truly passionate about an issue for a project of this magnitude to be successful. With the many frustrations I had, the only thing that kept me going was how much I cared about the project’s potential impact.
Q. How long have you been a Girl Scout?
A. 13 years.
Q. What has Girl Scouting meant to you or what impact has it had on your life?
A. Girl Scouting has impacted me in so many ways I cannot begin to fathom. It has given me an incredible community of passionate women that I know will support me through anything, it has given me confidence and drive to go after my career or support those in my community. Some of my closest friends I have bonded with through Girl Scouts and it has completely shaped the person I am today.
Q. What high school did you attend?
A. Desert Vista High School in Phoenix
Q. What are your future plans?
A. Currently, I am a student at Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University studying Mechanical Engineering (Energy and Environment) with a certificate in Biomimicry. I want to have a positive impact on the environment as a part of my career as a mechanical engineer!
Emma is a Desert Vista High School Graduate and currently attends Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.