New STEM Center for Excellence for Hawaii’s Students and Teachers Nears Completion
Girl Scouts of Hawaii’s new STEM center intends to create more global citizens.
Thin mints, samoas, tagalongs, do-si-dos — hearing these cookie flavors is sure to conjure up the words “Girl Scouts” in anyone’s mind. But what about science, technology, engineering, math? If those words, or STEM, don’t make you think about Girl Scouts, that could soon change.
Girl Scouts of Hawaii is encouraging its members — as well as the community at large — to think outside the cookie box. Its new STEM Center for Excellence at Camp Paumalu can help with that. The center, which is nearing completion, will serve as a quality STEM leadership training facility for both students and educators, among many other things. Its goal is that leaders of all ages better understand their relationship to the larger world and become responsible global citizens.
“There’s STEM in everything you’re looking at,” says Shari Chang, CEO of Girls Scouts of Hawaii. This simple truth, along with the fact that STEM jobs in the Islands are slated to grow exponentially, suggests that this new STEM center is just what Hawaii needs.
“We need to spark genuine excitement for science and technology in girls and creating these opportunities is a solid investment in our state’s future.”
—Lori Teranishi, Girl Scouts of Hawaii Board Chair
“The STEM Center will help change the trajectory of the STEM worker shortage in Hawaii,” says Girl Scouts of Hawaii board chair Lori Teranishi. “We need to spark genuine excitement for science and technology in girls and creating these opportunities is a solid investment in our state’s future.”
Teranishi, who was once a troop leader herself and now has daughters who are Girl Scouts, is passionate about the organization as a whole, as well as the impact its new STEM center will have on Hawaii. “The organization really does change lives,” she says.
Chang adds that 80% of female leaders who are in STEM professions were once Girl Scouts, which makes the Girl Scouts/STEM connection all that much more relevant. “And knowing that a girl’s STEM personality is already formed by third grade shows the importance of engaging girls at a very early age,” she says. “This is all done through hands-on progressive learning activities from kindergarten through 12th grade with programs like cybersecurity, mechanical engineering, space science, coding, etc. We’ve invested very heavily in STEM programming because it’s going to be the future.”