STEMMy Awards

by Joy Wheeler, CEO, Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri

Women in STEMM
I can’t tell you how excited I am to watch Girl Scout Supporter Panela Leung win a STEMMy Award from the Central Exchange today. These awards celebrate the accomplishments of all women in Kansas City who are setting trends and breaking barriers in their STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics or medicine) fields.

We nominated Panela as an Enterprising Innovator in the technology field, based on her work as a go-getter and innovator helping fuel the pipeline of STEMM leaders. Her business, Generation Maker Lab, supports girls and boys, and she puts a laser focus on the engagement of girls. She volunteers her time to lead local Girl Scouts astronomy programs, expertly helping girls see the power of STEMM and how their ideas and big thoughts can be put into action. She is truly building the pipeline and showing girls what is possible by sharing about her career and community work and providing hands-on activities that capture the imagination.

Panela Leung supports our Astronomy Club Girl Scouts in creating a brand new “Reach for the Stars” mural at Camp Tongawood.

Did you know that women make up 50 percent of the college-educated workforce but hold only 24 percent of the STEMM jobs in Kansas City? In the manufacturing sector alone, the country is short 1 million workers right now, and that number is multiplying. How do we think we’re going to close that gap if we don’t harness the potential of ALL potential workers, including our future females who will enter the workforce.

Girl Scouts is how. As we prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership, we have pledged to build the STEM pipeline by 2.5 million girls by 2025. The STEM programming we provide girls from Kindergarten to age 18 is critical to keeping young girls who are interested in STEM pursuing that dream.

Just a few examples: We have dozens of badges in STEM-related categories, such as Naturalist, Digital Art, Science and Technology, Innovation and Financial Literacy. And we hold numerous community partner events, where girls get hands-on with the practical application of fields like computer programming, science, engineering and finance.

So, we send kudos to Central Exchange for recognizing local women for STEMMy leadership. And we join with them in the commitment to support The 51% Solution to our workforce challenges.

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