“It takes a village” is an accurate statement — whether it is to raise a child or impact a cause. On the eve of International Women’s Day we had the true pleasure to participate and sponsor STEMapalooza, hosted by the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana.
Organizations ranging from DuPage Children’s Museum and Morten Arboretum to the National Association of Black Engineers and 99 Women Pilots, set up booths equipped with hands on activities.
Our involvement was initiated by the Technology and Manufacturing Association (TMA), an association we actively participate in. TMA’s participation wouldn’t have been possible without Teresa Beach-Shelow, President of Superior Joining Technologies and the Women in Manufacturing Committee, who made TMA’s booth extra special.
The booth involved “DIY Keychain Making’ with bowls of parts made from a variety of substrates for the girls to collect on a carabineer. The carabineer also had a CAD drawing as to how it was made. Several TMA members donated a variety of parts for the fun activity. And when we didn’t think things could get much “cooler”, Bi-Link (our client!) donated two 3D printers that operated throughout the day.
The volunteers shared with the Girl Scouts the message that manufacturing is everywhere from the cereal they ate for breakfast to how Girl Scout vests are made; to parts that go into their cell phones and even airplanes! We encouraged them to focus on their math and science classes so they can participate in the Makers Movement and work towards a career in building things stronger, better, and faster.
The girls were thoroughly engaged — particularly with the 3D printers. Although most of the girls knew what a 3D printer was, most of them never had the opportunity to get this close to one in motion. They were fascinated and asked fantastic questions. Shannon, Red Caffeine Content Director, brought along her little sister. The day after the event, her sister had asked her dad if she could have her very own 3D printer for her birthday. And a few lucky Girl Scouts mentioned they’ve been through manufacturing plants and training centers and knew of CNC machining, and we think that’s super cool!
The mission of STEM is to help girls build confidence and inspire them to stay focused in school so they can build the skills they need to change the world. A 14-year-old Girl Scout named Samantha was so proud to share she was in accelerated math and science classes. She told us “I know it’s cool to be smart.”
Dear Samantha — we’re proud of you too!
The experience for us was priceless. We’re hoping more opportunities like this come our way. We’re passionate about educating and informing girls and their parents of all the opportunities in manufacturing, along with related careers involving science, math, and technology. STEM is making its move, but requires collaboration from all of us to make it our cause, and participate in programs that educate both children and their parents.
Congratulations to the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana for a successful event!