Pursuing STEM Careers
Medha has always had a passion for science and technology. So it was only natural that she developed a camp focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for young girls in her community. Her efforts earned her the highest award in Girl Scouting, the Gold Award.
“Ever since I was little, STEM has influenced my life,” said Medha, a 16-year-old from El Dorado Hills. “I’ve always been math and science-oriented. But there’s a gender gap between males and females in science. In my science class at school, there were only five girls out of 25 students. I want to unmask the gender gap.”
In July, Medha held a four-day STEM camp for girls in 4th through 8th grade. Fifteen girls participated in Camp EMPWR, which stands for “Engineering Math Programming Women Rule,” and it was so popular that there was a waiting list.
The camp focused on a different STEM-related topic each day. On the first day, the girls learned about binary code by playing games like binary bingo and hangman, and making binary bracelets.
The second day focused on cybersecurity and the girls learned how to secure a computer and help prevent hacking. On the third day, Medha taught the girls about solar energy--and then they built their own solar-powered model cars.
The last day of camp focused on career readiness and included a tour of Intel, where the girls got to see the company’s maker lab and learn about upcoming projects.
Medha started working on her Gold Award project in March, 2017 and handled all aspects of the camp, including securing funds to buy materials; finding a location to hold the camp; designing the curriculum; training volunteers; and, facilitating the camp itself. She used experience gained from past Girl Scout activities to accomplish these tasks.
“Planning and putting on the camp has been so rewarding,” she said. “All of the core values and skills I learned from completing Girl Scout journeys gave me the diligence, confidence and time-management skills needed to organize this event.”
Medha said the camp helped accomplish her goal of getting more girls interested in STEM-related careers.
“I can’t believe the impact we made,” she said. “We got such positive feedback from both the girls and their parents. One girl who wasn’t interested in STEM at all before attending the camp said she’s now considering a career in that field. It was really exciting and rewarding.”
She’s also learned other skills as a Girl Scout that will help her in the future.
“I’ve learned organizational and networking skills that will help me in college,” Medha said. “I had to network with a lot of people to make my project a success, from finding a place to hold the camp to setting up the tour of Intel.”
Medha encourages other girls to join Girl Scouts and expand their horizons.
“Girl Scouts teaches you core values that you need to be successful,” she said. “I gained leadership skills that helped me give back to the community, and unleashed my inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader).”