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Four Girl Scouts honored for STEM achievements


St. Louis, MO – May 4, 2017 – Four area Girl Scouts were recently honored by the local chapter of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) for their aptitude and interest in technology and computing, solid leadership ability, academic history and plans for post-secondary education. The organization honored Caeley Kates and Rose Coughlin with the Aspirations Award in Computing, and Elizabeth Edmunds and Emily Francis were recognized as runners up.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology St. Louis & Southern Illinois Affiliate hosted the St. Louis Aspirations Awards for young women in grades 9-12 in the St. Louis metropolitan area on March 26. Each winner was awarded an educational scholarship for higher education that can be used at Saint Louis University or University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Students at Ursuline Academy, Kates, a junior, and Edmunds, a freshman, are members of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri-sponsored FIRST® Robotics team, Bearbotics. They work with a group of eight other girls to create, build and operate a robot that moves gears and climbs a rope. This is Kates’ second time receiving the award and she hopes to study cyber security or digital forensics in college with the scholarships she received through NCWIT. She was recommended by her computer programming teacher for her passion and skill in programming and passion to learn more about the evolving field.

“Being a part of the Girl Scout Robotics team has given me many new opportunities to learn new technologies while making life-long friends,” Kates said. “Girl Scouts has taught me to have confidence when trying new things and meeting new people.”

Coughlin, a sophomore at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, became involved with technology and computing after joining a FIRST Robotics team in middle school, where she discovered an interest in using technology to organize and analyze problems. She used her skills to help a local non-profit analyze a fundraising event, helping to create an efficient way to calculate donations and provide research about potential donors.

“I was able to combine my love for community service with my interest in computing and technology to benefit others,” Coughlin said. “I love that Girl Scouting helps others find their own unique way to give back to their community.”

Francis is a sophomore at Oakville High School and has been interested in science from a young age. She is part of her school’s robotics club and has enjoyed many science experiences through Girl Scout Camp. Francis is planning to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, and hopes to focus her project on STEM activities.

“It’s good that more girls are interested in STEM; more so than when I was little,” Francis said. “Girl Scout programming is reflecting that.”

STEM is one of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri’s three programmatic focus areas, along with Money Management and Health. The organization partners with top area businesses to provide progressive programming in these areas, preparing girls for successful futures and giving them the knowledge and skills they’ll need as tomorrow’s leaders.