Girl Scouts of the USA joins the U.S. Department of Education in First National Summit on the Advancement of Girls in Math and Science

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and co-host Dr. Kathie Olsen, Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation, joined leaders from Girl Scouts of the USA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Sally Ride Science and dozens of national organizations on May 15, to address the math-science gender gap and its effect on women entering the careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Left to right: Neela's mother Mrudula, Neela, Patricia Diaz Dennis, Margaret Spellings (U.S. Secretary of Education). Copyright © 2006 NASA/Renee Bouchard.GSUSA Board Chair Patricia Diaz Dennis served as the moderator of an afternoon panel that focused on the impact of media and cultural stereotypes on girls' interest in pursuing careers in the STEM fields. Sixteen-year-old Girl Scout Karin from Pennsylvania, participated in this distinguished panel with such industry leaders as Ann Moore, CEO of Time, Inc., and Ellen Levine, Editor-in-Chief of Good Housekeeping magazine.

Girl Scouts were featured in other aspects of the program as well. Neela, a 15-year-old Girl Scout and 2005 Discovery Channel Young Scientist award-winner from San Antonio, Texas, delivered an opening testimonial about the need to engage more girls in the STEM fields and the importance of Girl Scouting in providing her with the skills to pursue her science goals in a traditionally male-dominated area. Jessica Vasconcellos, an 18-year-old Girl Scout from Rhode Island who will study biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia this fall participated in a K-12 panel discussion. Jessica reflected on how the non-formal, out-of-school activities provided through Girl Scouts sparked her interest in science at a time when her in-school experience would have taken her on a different path.

During her luncheon keynote, Sally Ride announced a collaboration between GSUSA and her company, Sally Ride Science, to encourage more girls to remain interested in STEM and to help adults better foster a love of STEM in girls. GSUSA will also be working with the U.S. Department of Education, The Ad Council and others on an expansion of our Girls Go Tech Web site and PSA campaign. Stay tuned for more as we work with many partners on the next steps in making the STEM world more girl-centric.

See the complete press release on the event.