We were back again this year at the annual TouchTomorrow event at Worcester Polytechnic Institute! Pictures to follow.
Today was "Geek is Glam," a day-long Girl Scouts event. It's been quite the geeky, glamorous day. Over 400 girls signed up for the event; there were various workshops pertaining to different topics that the girls had to sign up beforehand. GUST held three workshop segments, in which we explored circuits and electricity. We then made greeting cards that lit up with LEDs!
Really cool stuff. Even the Girl Scout leaders, who were chaperoning the girls, wanted to make one (left-most in the picture.) Of course, I'm once again wearing my robotics hoodie (the maroon 1100 one in the back right.)
It's been my first school year running GUST. In just the span of the past couple months, we've gotten so much done! It's been beyond amazing working with the hundreds of girls I've gotten to know through this project. Whether it's the girls I see every week at after school GUST clubs or the ones I've worked with just once at an event, I'm honestly humbled more than anything to have a chance to make even a small difference.
The other day, some of the girls I work with came up to me when I was wearing my robotics team's sweatshirt. They began peppering me with questions, everything from "How does your robot work?" to "Did you name your robot?" I suggested to them that they join their school's FLL robotics team once they got to middle school, and some were ecstatic at the prospect. However, more than a couple were hesitant, telling me that they "didn't think they'd be very good at robotics."
Lies. I know these girls well enough to know that they'd all be phenomenal if they joined the team.
This is the kind of mindset I'm working to eradicate. I'd be beyond happy if I managed to change even one of those girls' minds. Hoping I see some of the fifth graders on their robotics team next year :)
TouchTomorrow is Worcester Polytechnic Institute's yearly STEM festival. I've been going since I was young, buzzing with excitement over real space suits on display and driving little robots at the different booths. This year was really no different, except for the fact that I was on the other end of things.
Project GUST's booth was -- dare I say -- too big of a hit. The event garnered close to 10,000 attendees over the course of the day, and the volume of people at our booth was overwhelming, but in the best way. Lesson learned: we need more than two people working at any future booth.
Exciting news! GUST just had its first meeting with the Boys & Girls Club of Worcester, where over 20 girls joined in a riveting chemistry experiment in which we grew crystals! (Well, it'll take a couple days to get a final product, but the crystallization has started enough...)
It was an easy enough experiment, but the end result is supposed to be pretty cool. I'd love to see how they turn out for the girls. Maybe I'll just have to go back with another experiment.
Hi! My name is Asma and as of today, I'm officially launching Project GUST as a side project of mine! I read this article the other day, and what stuck out to me was that a large percentage of girls begin to lose interest in science-related topics by middle school.
Yeah, some part of me is appalled by the statistics, but I'm also somewhat unfazed by it. It makes sense. I'm a junior in high school, and I've seen the way a lot of my friends have slowly given up on their lofty ambitions as we grew up.
But just because it exists doesn't mean it's acceptable.
GUST stands for Girls Unlocking Science & Technology. I think it is important for young girls to understand that they can pursue whatever they are passionate about -- and that there is a lot to be excited about. GUST is going to partner with local schools starting next month, where we will establish STEM clubs and engage elementary school-aged girls in a variety of scientific topics.
Each meeting will consist of a brief lesson and discussion on the day's topic, which will be followed by an experiment or activity related to the subject. Experiments and activities are the best way to get students excited by a topic; hands-on experience really does make a difference. I used to have a big book of science experiments as a kid, and I still fondly look back on enjoying each and every one of them. It's my goal to make sure the GUST kids feel the same way someday.