side menu icon

10 STEM Gems at GSofSI

10 STEM Gems at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois

We’ve been selected in the Google Impact Challenge Illinois to be awarded $75,000 to help us achieve our dream of having a Mobile STEM Lab to bring more opportunities & support to girls in Southern Illinois – especially our many rural communities. Now, we have a chance to win an additional $250,000 – but we need your help!  Every vote counts towards the Google Impact Challenge People’s Choice Award! 

Vote GSofSI!

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ Mobile STEM Lab contains all of the materials, technology and equipment girls need to earn badges in STEM fields such as “Daisy What Robots Do,” “Senior Special Agent,” “Junior Product Designer” and “Brownie Home Scientist.”  The hands-on programs developed by Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois encourage girls to explore careers in STEM. In addition to the girls attending the programs, adults will be encouraged to attend special training opportunities provided by Girl Scout staff in the Mobile STEM Lab to learn new ways to support their child’s interest in science at home. According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, about half of girls nationwide feel that STEM isn’t a typical career path for girls – in spite of girls’ documented interest in STEM fields. We want MORE girls in Southern Illinois to have the opportunity to explore these interests – please help us achieve our vision by voting in the Google Impact Challenge Illinois now!

Look Back at "10 STEM GEMS" from Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois

Great American Eclipse - Girl Scout Style

Geography blessed Southern Illinois with an extra special STEM spectacular– the Great American Eclipse - and Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois was right in the middle of all the action!  The council hosted 46 Girl Scouts from both local communities and around the nation, for a Girl Scout Destination, or organization-wide travel experience, centered around the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. During the experience, named “Total Eclipse of the Heartland,” girls spent four days engaging in space science activities that included visiting Challenger Learning Center & Saint Louis Science Center, stargazing at camp with River Bend Astronomy Club, learning how animals react to an eclipse with TreeHouse WildlifeCenter and making eclipse-ready tools such as spectrometers made from Girl Scout Cookie boxes.  This opportunity was funded by a grant from NASA – and Girl Scouts were even able to be part of NASA Edge’s live megacast of eclipse activities at Southern Illinois University Carbondale!

Girl Scout Alum & NASA Astronaut Dr. Sandra Magnus Presents Flag Flown In Space

Did you know? Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois has an astronaut alum? Dr. Sandra Magnus grew up in Belleville, Illinois where the Girl Scout movement helped feed her dream. In 2009, Dr. Magnus presented Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois with a Girl Scout flag she flew in the International Space Station! While she was in space, area Girl Scouts were even able to chat with her via livestream with the help of Boeing. Dr. Magnus is still engaged in Girl Scouts activities when she has the chance – including an appearing at GSofSI’s year Annual Meeting. It’s safe to say she has quite the true-green fan club.

First all-Girl Scout Botball Team Calls Southern Illinois Home

Despite being one of the smaller Girl Scout councils, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois hosted the first all Girl Scout Botball team in the nation in 2013. The team took second place among out of 36 teams of middle school and high school students from Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and Arkansas in the Regional Tournament at Southern Illinois University and advanced to compete in the International BotBall Tournament in Normal, Oklahoma. To quote STEM Specialist Emily Stanley, “People kept saying ‘Girl Scouts do BotBall?’ And we said, ‘Yes. Yes we do!”

Girl Scout Robotics Team Goes Global at FIRST World Expo

Each year, the robotics org FIRST hosts a World Festival & Championship that brings young STEM scholars from around the globe together for one epic event.  In 2017, Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois Junior FIRST LEGO League team the Sassy Bot Super Scouts from Carterville was one of those squads! The young team even received the "Effort and Learning" award!

GSofSI Rocks GSUSA/AT&T's "Imagine Your STEM Future" Initiative

In 2014, GSofSI received a grant from Girl Scouts of the USA and AT&T to deliver the “Imagine Your STEM Future” program. Funders recognized that jobs in STEM fields are growing at a faster pace than those in non-STEM fields, and wanted to ensure that students in underserved communities had more opportunity to explore these options that could help build economic promise for girls and their communities. GSofSI not only delivered, we DELIVERED. The grant required a minimum of 100 girls to participate, but we were able to engage nearly 400 girls from East St. Louis, Cahokia, and Collinsville in the program, where they explored exciting STEM-related career ideas in food science, fashion technology, forensics, and computational thinking.

Girl Scouts Fly Drones at STEM Camp

Girl Scout Drone Pilot. Sounds awesome, right?  Thanks to a grant from Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery, girls at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois’ 2017 STEM Day Camp got to learn all about building, programing and yep – flying drones.

Robotic Gems Shine in United Way Campaign Video

We can’t talk about gems without talking about The Robotic Gems! GSofSI’s FIRST LEGO League team from Washington Park were the stars of the 2013 United Way of Greater St. Louis campaign video. Not only that - Diavion, Jordan, Akayla, Mallorie and R’moni, then 11-years-old - were awarded the Core Values Award during regional competition for exemplifying FLL cornerstones such as collaborative learning, teamwork, gracious professionalism and dedication to a goal. Talk about true gems!

GSofSI Launches First STEM Career Series

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois launched its first STEM Career Series in 2009 thanks to a grant from Lockheed Martin. The first program was “Uncover the Evidence,” where girls explored fiber analysis, fingerprinting, blood typing, and DNA extraction through hands-on experiments. Girls learned how US Fish and Wildlife professionals investigate poachers using DNA, fingerprinting and chemical analysis. Next was “Geo Adventures,” where girls learned how to use the Garmin GIS system to play games, set up a letterboxing course for a younger troop, and map trails to set up study sites for US Fish and Wildlife botanists and wildlife biologists. The last event was “Your Place in Space,” where girls worked with members of our local Night Sky Network astronomy club to learn more about the solar system and backyard astronomy viewing. Career exploration? Job well done.

Girls on Mars? Girl Scouts Tackle NASA Challenge

In 2018, NASA challenged young people to explore the idea if humans could live on Mars. Challenge accepted!  More than 100 Girl Scouts met in Carterville, Effingham, Glen Carbon & Godfrey for the “Powered and Pumped Up” program, where they explored ideas that could one day lead to humans living on Mars. Because viable water sources are key to the challenge, girls planned, built, tested and improved a solar powered water pump while learning about light and lenses, using mirrors to focus energy, building prototypes and other scientific concepts. Girl Scouts are always up for the challenge!

Women in STEM Roundtable

In 2013, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) connected to Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois to co-host a “Women in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Math)” White House Roundtable. Local and national experts met to discuss STEAM development. Participants included Dr. Ann Bartuska, Deputy Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics at the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Dr. Sharon Locke,   Director of the STEM Center at SIUE; Dr. Gretchen Dabbs, Co-Director at the Complex for Forensic Anthropology    Research at SIUC; Angela Smith, Director of the National Great Rivers Museum and Army Corps of Engineer’s Education Outreach Program; Diane Michalczuk, U.S. FIRST Robotics Operational FLL Partner for Illinois; Kindra   Smith, GSofSI Gold Award Girl Scout; Elisabeth Knierim, National Science Teachers Association SIUE President; Sarah Varner, Educational Program Director, Southern Illinois Science Center; and several GSofSI Staff and Board Members. At the White House Roundtable, Girl Scouts was recognized as a leader in closing the STEM gap for its long history of encouraging girls to explore STEAM fields, with Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois noted for its outreach to underserved communities including low income youth, isolated rural communities, and girls in detention centers.


These ten STEM gems are just a glimpse of all the amazing memories we have made at Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois! We are so grateful for the community partners, sponsors, and especially our wonderful volunteers who make everything we do possible. Most of all, we are proud of our amazing Girl Scouts – girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. As we approach our 10th year as a council on October 1, 2019, we want to provide girls with even MORE exceptional opportunities to explore their horizons, take on new challenges, and build bigger futures.

Vote Now for Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois in the Google Impact Challenge Illinois!